What to do when you can't settle into a new home

Counsellor Fiona Caine considers how a couple can compromise on their living arrangements.

The problem
“My husband was made redundant at the end of last year. It was a shock as he’d been with the company for many years but, sadly, they’ve now gone under.

“A few months ago, he applied for and got a new job, which is great, but we had to move into the house that comes as part of the package.

“Leaving our old home and uprooting to a new one in a different [area] was a real shock to the system. We decided not to sell it because we knew we would want to come back to it sooner or later and anyway our son has stayed on in our old house. The thing is, I really dislike this new house and have found it hard to settle. I really don’t like the area and there are very few people around of my age – they’re all youngsters or ‘yummy mummies’, not like me at all!

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“My husband won’t listen to reason and refuses to even consider giving up the job. He says that because of his age (he’s 60 next month), he’s too old to find another one easily and he isn’t willing to retire yet. I’m seven years older than him and I retired when I was 65, two years ago. His only suggestion is that I should go back to our old house while he stays with the job. I feel so hurt and can’t believe he would put his work before me after we have been married for nearly 40 years.”

Fiona says
“I don’t think your husband is putting the job before you when he says he wants to stick with this role. He’s right in saying that finding a new job does become harder as you get older, and I’m sure he wants to continue to work to support you and your family. In fact, he was probably very lucky to get himself a job at all in the current environment when so many people have, like him, lost their old ones. Add to that his age and I suspect his chances of finding another one really won’t be easy.

“Please be careful about the pressure you are putting on him to give up this job – he may well resent it, especially if you’re trying to get him to take an early retirement. A lot of people hate the idea of retiring at all and see it as being put on the scrap heap.

Read: How to fall back in love with your home

“You do not say how long you have been trying to settle into this new house for, but I get the feeling that it hasn’t been very long. Have you really given this new home a chance? I know it’s hard when you move to a new place, to make new friends and get involved with new people, but it takes time and effort. Knowing you can always go back to your old home – and wanting to so badly – does make me wonder whether you’ve tried as hard as you possibly can to make things work. Why not try to come to some compromise arrangement?

“Could you, for say, six months, really commit yourself to working really hard at getting involved in the new local community? Investigate any local courses and activities going on. Contact your local library, too – they will probably have an idea of clubs, groups or activities you might be interested in finding out more about. If, at the end of that time you still cannot settle at all, why not talk about the possibility of running two homes, one for during the week and one to go home to at weekends? If you still really can’t bear to stay in the new house, perhaps he could be the one coming back at weekends.

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“Whatever you decide though, you are both going to have to find some kind of compromise, because if you don’t, one of you will be very unhappy.”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

What advice would you give in this situation? Have you ever found it difficult to adjust to living in a new home? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

– With PA

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