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Q. My husband was recently offered a raise and a promotion but the catch is that he would be transferred from his firm's Boston office to San Francisco. Relocating isn't out of the question since I'm an elementary school teacher and I could probably get a job in California. The trouble is that I don't want to be that far away from my friends and family, and I hate the idea of uprooting the kids. However, my husband really wants to take the new position. We argue about this night after night. It seems like whatever we deicide, one of us will be upset. Is there any way to make us both happy?
A. Change is never easy, especially if you're not the one choosing to make the change. Right now you're experiencing a loss of control, and that almost always leads to stress. In order to feel more involved in the decision, why not plan to go to San Francisco and check it out? You could visit schools and places of worship, investigate employment possibilities, find out whether there are opportunities for activities you currently enjoy, explore neighborhoods, price some homes, and get a feel for the cultural scene. This concrete experience will give you a much better idea of whether or not you could adjust to relocating. You'll feel like an equal partner in the plan instead of like an unwilling "trailing spouse." In the end, stretching the confines your comfort zone could turn out to be an enriching adventure. Beyond that, working through this issue with your husband will strengthen your relationship. Better yet, your children will benefit from your flexibility and adaptability if you do end up in California, and they'll respect you for having the wisdom to veto the move if your research leads you to believe it wouldn't be good for the family as a whole.