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Wedding Woes

There are ways to resolve this without splitting.

Dear Prudence,

I’m 30, and I have been with my husband for six years. We met in the military; his contract ended last year, and mine ends next month. I joined to help pay for my education, and my long-term plan ever since my husband and I met has been to finish my military career and go to graduate school in Alaska. My father spent years living there and used to bring us up for visits. It’s my favorite place on Earth, and it’s always been my plan to move there. I spent a summer in Anchorage in college and can’t wait to make it my home. When my husband and I got serious (he’s from the South and very close to his family), we had a long talk about the reality of living in Alaska and came to a compromise. He didn’t want to spend his whole life so far from home, so we agreed that if I were accepted to graduate school there, we’d live there for the two to three years it would take to finish my degree. I was accepted, and now he says he won’t go. I feel duped. This was his compromise, and we’ve been telling people for years that our plan was to go to grad school in Alaska. He was supportive when I applied months ago. I feel like he co-signed this plan believing it was a pipe dream, and now that it’s a reality, he’s just trying to brush me off. I have to respond to the offer in a few weeks. I love my husband, but my mother always taught me never to sideline your ambitions for a man. I don’t want to leave him over this, but I sort of feel like he played me.

—Anchorage Away

Re: There are ways to resolve this without splitting.

  • I mean he’s totally not being be fair, but if he’s not going to go, you can’t force him. This is one of those situations where being right doesn’t mean much; he’s of course wrong for agreeing then backtracking, but that doesn’t make the choice any better. 

    Can you live live apart for those years? Would he agree to summers there/winters apart? What does his job situation look like? I feel like there are a lot of ways to make things work and compromise, but that only happens if both people are willing to. Doesn’t sound like he is. 
    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • Use your words.   Ask him why he's saying no.  

    Is the answer that it's uprooting himself and putting his career on hold and he promises to make trips to see her?  If so then great.   It's hard to detour your career path for years.   So maybe that's a solution.

    But if this is a bait and switch then she needs to know now.  


    OurWildKingdom
  • He's treating it like a 2-3yr enlistment, NBD on time away, she's treating it like she's hoping to change his beliefs on Alaska and will be settled in and buying a house/property before the end of the three years.  Different values and married young in a sense with a common bond of the military.  I suspect this is a dealbreaker issue, she wants Alaska, he wants Momma and Southern and very few professions/industries will allow for part of the year to be one and the other part the other side of the country...
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    OliveOilsMom
  • MesmrEwe said:
    He's treating it like a 2-3yr enlistment, NBD on time away, she's treating it like she's hoping to change his beliefs on Alaska and will be settled in and buying a house/property before the end of the three years.  Different values and married young in a sense with a common bond of the military.  I suspect this is a dealbreaker issue, she wants Alaska, he wants Momma and Southern and very few professions/industries will allow for part of the year to be one and the other part the other side of the country...
    That's also a good point.   Is she really going to be happy with the plan or was she going to use it as a means of a multi-year sales technique? 

    They need to decide what's the most important thing here.  
    short+sassy
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited February 21
    banana468 said:
    MesmrEwe said:
    He's treating it like a 2-3yr enlistment, NBD on time away, she's treating it like she's hoping to change his beliefs on Alaska and will be settled in and buying a house/property before the end of the three years.  Different values and married young in a sense with a common bond of the military.  I suspect this is a dealbreaker issue, she wants Alaska, he wants Momma and Southern and very few professions/industries will allow for part of the year to be one and the other part the other side of the country...
    That's also a good point.   Is she really going to be happy with the plan or was she going to use it as a means of a multi-year sales technique? 

    They need to decide what's the most important thing here.  
    Agreed.  

    I don't think not moving to AK is 'sidelining' LW's ambitions for a man.  It doesn't sound like he's saying he doesn't want LW to go to grad school, just that he's gotten cold feet on AK.  His reasoning for that needs to be explored and it could be that he feels LW will pressure him into staying in AK for good.  2-3 years is one thing and foreseeable future/rest of your life is another. 

    Going from the south to the military to living in a place like AK in a matter of a decade is a lot and I can understand his hesitation.  This is LW's 'favorite place in the world' and even if he's been there and was fine with being there, does that mean he has the same feelings of attachment to it?   Also even though he told LW it was 'OK', did he find himself feeling piegon-holed or railroaded by this plan?  It sounds like LW decided this before they even met their H, which OK...but if you choose to share a life with someone, some dreams may need to be altered or reconsidered in order for you and your partner to be happy. 

    The way LW writes this, it seems LW was shell-shocked by his admission and has now shut down on him instead of trying to talk it out and explore options.  They have to have an open discussion on the future and how to navigate from here. 
    banana468short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    That is a good point, Mesmrewe. It kind of sounds like they both married each other and made this "compromise" hoping that it wouldn't be a compromise at all but their partner would eventually give in. 

    LW and H need to sit down and really talk through all of this and decide what options they have that work for both, or to determine if this really is a dealbreaker. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    OurWildKingdomMesmrEwe
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I wonder if LW will want to stay in AK the whole time herself.  She was only there during the summer, when the daylight is long and its warm.  Has she been there in the winter when its freezing, snow everywhere and very little daylight?

    I also think the H pulled a bait and switch by backing out of their compromise.  But together, they need to use their words and find the right solution for this problem.  It doesn't have to be divorce.

    short+sassyMesmrEwe
  • VarunaTT said:
    mrsconn23 said:
    banana468 said:
    MesmrEwe said:
    He's treating it like a 2-3yr enlistment, NBD on time away, she's treating it like she's hoping to change his beliefs on Alaska and will be settled in and buying a house/property before the end of the three years.  Different values and married young in a sense with a common bond of the military.  I suspect this is a dealbreaker issue, she wants Alaska, he wants Momma and Southern and very few professions/industries will allow for part of the year to be one and the other part the other side of the country...
    That's also a good point.   Is she really going to be happy with the plan or was she going to use it as a means of a multi-year sales technique? 

    They need to decide what's the most important thing here.  
    Agreed.  

    I don't think not moving to AK is 'sidelining' LW's ambitions for a man.  It doesn't sound like he's saying he doesn't want LW to go to grad school, just that he's gotten cold feet on AK.  His reasoning for that needs to be explored and it could be that he feels LW will pressure him into staying in AK for good.  2-3 years is one thing and foreseeable future/rest of your life is another. 

    Going from the south to the military to living in a place like AK in a matter of a decade is a lot and I can understand his hesitation.  This is LW's 'favorite place in the world' and even if he's been there and was fine with being there, does that mean he has the same feelings of attachment to it?   Also even though he told LW it was 'OK', did he find himself feeling piegon-holed or railroaded by this plan?  It sounds like LW decided this before they even met their H, which OK...but if you choose to share a life with someone, some dreams may need to be altered or reconsidered in order for you and your partner to be happy. 

    The way LW writes this, it seems LW was shell-shocked by his admission and has now shut down on him instead of trying to talk it out and explore options.  They have to have an open discussion on the future and how to navigate from here. 
    I disagree.  LW writes out the actions of taking all the steps we would recommend to someone who came here as a beebee and said, "I really want to live in Alaska and FI is from the South and close to his family, what should I do?!?!"

    She talked to him about her long term plans while dating.  She and he compromised on their dreams (her more than him, in my perpection) that her long term education plan would still be in AK, and then (presumably since she leaves it out) they would move back home.  She then puts their plan into action and he backs out.

    This reads to me like she did everything she was supposed to be a conscientious wife/partner and he was like...NVM, I can't do this.  Which, TBH, I find totally fine, AK is a hella big move and I'd be hard pressed to move that far from my family.  BUT she gets to be pissed and she now gets to decide what she's gong to do and it doesn't necessarily need to involve his feelings or dreams any longer, in my mind, b/c she already did and he reneged.
    I think the big missing piece is his 'why' behind the change of heart.  It's not disclosed in the letter.

    Also, since I don't know the context of all this AK talk...I can see both sides of the issue here and am hard-pressed to make him the 'bad guy' here.  As it has gotten closer to reality, has LW's tone changed about the move?  Has LW sounded more like AK is permanent instead of temporary (consciously or unconsciously)?  

    LW needs to talk to him and try to draw out his hesitation/worries/etc.  If neither one of them is going to budge on the move and/or come up with a creative solution to make them both happy, then it may not work out.  But I am really wondering if they have both been talking without really listening to each other for some time now. 
  • I wonder if LW will want to stay in AK the whole time herself.  She was only there during the summer, when the daylight is long and its warm.  Has she been there in the winter when its freezing, snow everywhere and very little daylight?

    I also think the H pulled a bait and switch by backing out of their compromise.  But together, they need to use their words and find the right solution for this problem.  It doesn't have to be divorce.


    I had to go back and read the letter when I saw your post ;).  For some reason, I was thinking AK was where she had lived for a few years when she was growing up.

    Ah ha!  Nope.  She spent a summer there and visits.  Visits, I'll point out, when she was a kid.  And didn't have the responsibilities of having to go to work every day.  Or picking up the groceries and running errands in freezing cold weather and snow.

    Grad school does sound like the perfect time to experience the realities of what it is like to actually live there, as opposed to being on vacation.  I'd strongly recommend she go.  Especially since that was the deal they had all along.  I think she would always wonder and regret it, if she doesn't.

    But it's such a tough choice!  It might destroy her marriage.  Distance can potentially do that.  And what if she loves it as much as she thinks she will?  Then she might not be happy living elsewhere.

    Or, she might come away from it with, "OMG, Alaska!  Great place to visit, but I do NOT want to live there."  And then, happy and satisfied, spend the rest of her years in the land of hot sun, fried chicken, and pecan pie. 

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  • VarunaTT said:

    I wonder if LW will want to stay in AK the whole time herself.  She was only there during the summer, when the daylight is long and its warm.  Has she been there in the winter when its freezing, snow everywhere and very little daylight?

    I also think the H pulled a bait and switch by backing out of their compromise.  But together, they need to use their words and find the right solution for this problem.  It doesn't have to be divorce.


    I had to go back and read the letter when I saw your post ;).  For some reason, I was thinking AK was where she had lived for a few years when she was growing up.

    Ah ha!  Nope.  She spent a summer there and visits.  Visits, I'll point out, when she was a kid.  And didn't have the responsibilities of having to go to work every day.  Or picking up the groceries and running errands in freezing cold weather and snow.

    Grad school does sound like the perfect time to experience the realities of what it is like to actually live there, as opposed to being on vacation.  I'd strongly recommend she go.  Especially since that was the deal they had all along.  I think she would always wonder and regret it, if she doesn't.

    But it's such a tough choice!  It might destroy her marriage.  Distance can potentially do that.  And what if she loves it as much as she thinks she will?  Then she might not be happy living elsewhere.

    Or, she might come away from it with, "OMG, Alaska!  Great place to visit, but I do NOT want to live there."  And then, happy and satisfied, spend the rest of her years in the land of hot sun, fried chicken, and pecan pie. 

    But here's the thing.  You can replace every "she" with "he" in the last few paragraphs.  He could go to AK, discover he's right that he doesn't want to be there, and move back home, with her.  I feel like we're putting a helluva onus on the "wife" position of this marriage to compromise, that we wouldn't aren't equally putting on the husband.

    I've been musing and unless someone in his immediate family is possibly fighting an illness or aged, him backing out is really unacceptable to me.  So, I'm not sure what "why" would make it okay, to me, for him to bow out of an agreed upon compromise that seemed pretty balanced to me (each one got a bit of what they wanted and each one gave up a bit of what they wanted).
    It doesn't sound like it's south vs. AK, moreso the mainland vs. AK.  

    But I've also been musing about this...I think knowing why could reveal a lot more about a) the ability overcome his concerns/objections to the agreed upon compromise and b) if there is something else going on with him.  I cannot imagine if DH and I compromised about something as major as this and then one of us just said, "I don't want this," that there wouldn't be a conversation about 'why' there was this change of heart.  And yes, it could be a situation where no 'why' is good enough, but I think it's a critical piece of understanding the whole picture.   With all Prudie letters, we're only hearing one side and with most LW's, this one is putting themselves in the best light possible.  
    charlotte989875
  • VarunaTT said:

    I wonder if LW will want to stay in AK the whole time herself.  She was only there during the summer, when the daylight is long and its warm.  Has she been there in the winter when its freezing, snow everywhere and very little daylight?

    I also think the H pulled a bait and switch by backing out of their compromise.  But together, they need to use their words and find the right solution for this problem.  It doesn't have to be divorce.


    I had to go back and read the letter when I saw your post ;).  For some reason, I was thinking AK was where she had lived for a few years when she was growing up.

    Ah ha!  Nope.  She spent a summer there and visits.  Visits, I'll point out, when she was a kid.  And didn't have the responsibilities of having to go to work every day.  Or picking up the groceries and running errands in freezing cold weather and snow.

    Grad school does sound like the perfect time to experience the realities of what it is like to actually live there, as opposed to being on vacation.  I'd strongly recommend she go.  Especially since that was the deal they had all along.  I think she would always wonder and regret it, if she doesn't.

    But it's such a tough choice!  It might destroy her marriage.  Distance can potentially do that.  And what if she loves it as much as she thinks she will?  Then she might not be happy living elsewhere.

    Or, she might come away from it with, "OMG, Alaska!  Great place to visit, but I do NOT want to live there."  And then, happy and satisfied, spend the rest of her years in the land of hot sun, fried chicken, and pecan pie. 

    But here's the thing.  You can replace every "she" with "he" in the last few paragraphs.  He could go to AK, discover he's right that he doesn't want to be there, and move back home, with her.  I feel like we're putting a helluva onus on the "wife" position of this marriage to compromise, that we wouldn't aren't equally putting on the husband.

    I've been musing and unless someone in his immediate family is possibly fighting an illness or aged, him backing out is really unacceptable to me.  So, I'm not sure what "why" would make it okay, to me, for him to bow out of an agreed upon compromise that seemed pretty balanced to me (each one got a bit of what they wanted and each one gave up a bit of what they wanted).

    I can't speak for other people.  But you can switch the genders and my advice would be exactly the same.

    Unless there is something more compelling she didn't mention, he is a jerk for backing out on what they agreed to.  Especially since she gave up far more in the compromise.  I don't think it sounds like much to experience living in a new place for 2-3 years.  But then, that is more my own personality anyway.

    I initially didn't think this was a dealbreaker for her.  I had the impression she was trying to decide between going or not going to grad school in AK.  But I just re-read and in the last sentence she is thinking about ending it.

    That's a perfectly justified choice, considering the circumstances.  But I don't think what he did is so bad that it's an obvious choice either.  I'm assuming that he meant to live up to his agreement all along.  However, when push came to shove, he realized he just couldn't do it.  I think that's a dumb choice and exceedingly unfair to the LW, but it is what it is.

    For the LW, the only choice I think that is the least desirable is to not go at all.  So then the next choice will be if she wants to divorce her H or not.  Unfortunately, that's a decision of two sad choices.  I'd lean toward at least seeing how it goes for the first year.  But there's also a good argument to be made for GTFO. 

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    mrsconn23
  • I don’t know that it matters she spent summers there v lived there. Or even his reason for why, IMO. She was clear about what she wants, they talked about it, arrived at a compromise, and he’s going back on what they, together, agreed. I’m not sure what more she should have done besides not having this goal in the first place? 

    He doesnt have to move anywhere he doesn’t want to, but why are we assuming she might not love doing what she has (for a while!) known she’s wanted to do? Maybe he’ll end up loving it? 

    Because that's been my life, lol. 

    I agree he might love Alaska.  Which is a big part of the reason I think he's ridiculous to not even try.  But he isn't, so that's the point the LW needs to work from.

    A person might have an idea they would love/hate living in a particular place, but I just don't think they can really know until they are actually living there on the day-to-day.

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  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I don’t know that it matters she spent summers there v lived there. Or even his reason for why, IMO. She was clear about what she wants, they talked about it, arrived at a compromise, and he’s going back on what they, together, agreed. I’m not sure what more she should have done besides not having this goal in the first place? 

    He doesnt have to move anywhere he doesn’t want to, but why are we assuming she might not love doing what she has (for a while!) known she’s wanted to do? Maybe he’ll end up loving it? 


    My wondering if she would truly love living in AK year round was outside of the H backing out of their compromise.  I just know the winters and summers differ so drastically in AK, that her visits during the summer to see her father might not have given her the most well rounded view of AK daily life.  

    LW was clear about what she wanted and they reached a compromise.  I think its shitty of the H to back out, now that she has been accepted to the program she has always wanted to attend. 

    charlotte989875
  • This hits close to home for me. My D was accepted to grad school before she even met her FI, but had to defer due to health reasons. So when she got engaged, it was with the understanding that they would move down to the Boston area after getting married, so that she could begin her program. Well, FI said he was okay, but basically freaked out all through their engagement about having to leave and start over in Boston. (He had also been to grad school there and didn't want to go back.) It made the engagement kind of tough. But he honored his promise and they moved down three weeks after the wedding, where she started her program in August. Well, guess what? She hated it, and dropped out after a month. The irony is that he loves his work down there and wants to stay, while she really wants to move back to Maine. They're both mature enough to laugh about the shift in their POV, but have learned a lesson in compromise along the way. I think the LW should follow through with her plans, because this is what they committed to, but both partners may find that they see things very differently after a while.
    charlotte989875short+sassyVarunaTT
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    VarunaTT said:

    I wonder if LW will want to stay in AK the whole time herself.  She was only there during the summer, when the daylight is long and its warm.  Has she been there in the winter when its freezing, snow everywhere and very little daylight?

    I also think the H pulled a bait and switch by backing out of their compromise.  But together, they need to use their words and find the right solution for this problem.  It doesn't have to be divorce.


    I had to go back and read the letter when I saw your post ;).  For some reason, I was thinking AK was where she had lived for a few years when she was growing up.

    Ah ha!  Nope.  She spent a summer there and visits.  Visits, I'll point out, when she was a kid.  And didn't have the responsibilities of having to go to work every day.  Or picking up the groceries and running errands in freezing cold weather and snow.

    Grad school does sound like the perfect time to experience the realities of what it is like to actually live there, as opposed to being on vacation.  I'd strongly recommend she go.  Especially since that was the deal they had all along.  I think she would always wonder and regret it, if she doesn't.

    But it's such a tough choice!  It might destroy her marriage.  Distance can potentially do that.  And what if she loves it as much as she thinks she will?  Then she might not be happy living elsewhere.

    Or, she might come away from it with, "OMG, Alaska!  Great place to visit, but I do NOT want to live there."  And then, happy and satisfied, spend the rest of her years in the land of hot sun, fried chicken, and pecan pie. 

    But here's the thing.  You can replace every "she" with "he" in the last few paragraphs.  He could go to AK, discover he's right that he doesn't want to be there, and move back home, with her.  I feel like we're putting a helluva onus on the "wife" position of this marriage to compromise, that we wouldn't aren't equally putting on the husband.

    I've been musing and unless someone in his immediate family is possibly fighting an illness or aged, him backing out is really unacceptable to me.  So, I'm not sure what "why" would make it okay, to me, for him to bow out of an agreed upon compromise that seemed pretty balanced to me (each one got a bit of what they wanted and each one gave up a bit of what they wanted).
    This exactly. There's absolutely nothing in the letter to suggest that LW is trying to back out of the compromise and keep him there forever. The idea that she's trying to change his mind or get him to buy a house there are just made up conjecture. Nothing she says suggests that she wants to back out of the original compromise.

    I don't think she should even consider not going, and I sure don't think the onus is on her to get him to tell her why he's backing out of their agreement. If he has a good reason to break a prior commitment to his wife, the burden is on him to articulate it. 

    Maybe she'll get there and hate it. Maybe she'll love it. But she sure shouldn't give up the chance to find out for herself because her husband is selfish. 
    charlotte989875VarunaTT
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    VarunaTT said:

    I wonder if LW will want to stay in AK the whole time herself.  She was only there during the summer, when the daylight is long and its warm.  Has she been there in the winter when its freezing, snow everywhere and very little daylight?

    I also think the H pulled a bait and switch by backing out of their compromise.  But together, they need to use their words and find the right solution for this problem.  It doesn't have to be divorce.


    I had to go back and read the letter when I saw your post ;).  For some reason, I was thinking AK was where she had lived for a few years when she was growing up.

    Ah ha!  Nope.  She spent a summer there and visits.  Visits, I'll point out, when she was a kid.  And didn't have the responsibilities of having to go to work every day.  Or picking up the groceries and running errands in freezing cold weather and snow.

    Grad school does sound like the perfect time to experience the realities of what it is like to actually live there, as opposed to being on vacation.  I'd strongly recommend she go.  Especially since that was the deal they had all along.  I think she would always wonder and regret it, if she doesn't.

    But it's such a tough choice!  It might destroy her marriage.  Distance can potentially do that.  And what if she loves it as much as she thinks she will?  Then she might not be happy living elsewhere.

    Or, she might come away from it with, "OMG, Alaska!  Great place to visit, but I do NOT want to live there."  And then, happy and satisfied, spend the rest of her years in the land of hot sun, fried chicken, and pecan pie. 

    But here's the thing.  You can replace every "she" with "he" in the last few paragraphs.  He could go to AK, discover he's right that he doesn't want to be there, and move back home, with her.  I feel like we're putting a helluva onus on the "wife" position of this marriage to compromise, that we wouldn't aren't equally putting on the husband.

    I've been musing and unless someone in his immediate family is possibly fighting an illness or aged, him backing out is really unacceptable to me.  So, I'm not sure what "why" would make it okay, to me, for him to bow out of an agreed upon compromise that seemed pretty balanced to me (each one got a bit of what they wanted and each one gave up a bit of what they wanted).
    This exactly. There's absolutely nothing in the letter to suggest that LW is trying to back out of the compromise and keep him there forever. The idea that she's trying to change his mind or get him to buy a house there are just made up conjecture. Nothing she says suggests that she wants to back out of the original compromise.

    I don't think she should even consider not going, and I sure don't think the onus is on her to get him to tell her why he's backing out of their agreement. If he has a good reason to break a prior commitment to his wife, the burden is on him to articulate it. 

    Maybe she'll get there and hate it. Maybe she'll love it. But she sure shouldn't give up the chance to find out for herself because her husband is selfish. 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    VarunaTT said:

    I wonder if LW will want to stay in AK the whole time herself.  She was only there during the summer, when the daylight is long and its warm.  Has she been there in the winter when its freezing, snow everywhere and very little daylight?

    I also think the H pulled a bait and switch by backing out of their compromise.  But together, they need to use their words and find the right solution for this problem.  It doesn't have to be divorce.


    I had to go back and read the letter when I saw your post ;).  For some reason, I was thinking AK was where she had lived for a few years when she was growing up.

    Ah ha!  Nope.  She spent a summer there and visits.  Visits, I'll point out, when she was a kid.  And didn't have the responsibilities of having to go to work every day.  Or picking up the groceries and running errands in freezing cold weather and snow.

    Grad school does sound like the perfect time to experience the realities of what it is like to actually live there, as opposed to being on vacation.  I'd strongly recommend she go.  Especially since that was the deal they had all along.  I think she would always wonder and regret it, if she doesn't.

    But it's such a tough choice!  It might destroy her marriage.  Distance can potentially do that.  And what if she loves it as much as she thinks she will?  Then she might not be happy living elsewhere.

    Or, she might come away from it with, "OMG, Alaska!  Great place to visit, but I do NOT want to live there."  And then, happy and satisfied, spend the rest of her years in the land of hot sun, fried chicken, and pecan pie. 

    But here's the thing.  You can replace every "she" with "he" in the last few paragraphs.  He could go to AK, discover he's right that he doesn't want to be there, and move back home, with her.  I feel like we're putting a helluva onus on the "wife" position of this marriage to compromise, that we wouldn't aren't equally putting on the husband.

    I've been musing and unless someone in his immediate family is possibly fighting an illness or aged, him backing out is really unacceptable to me.  So, I'm not sure what "why" would make it okay, to me, for him to bow out of an agreed upon compromise that seemed pretty balanced to me (each one got a bit of what they wanted and each one gave up a bit of what they wanted).
    This exactly. There's absolutely nothing in the letter to suggest that LW is trying to back out of the compromise and keep him there forever. The idea that she's trying to change his mind or get him to buy a house there are just made up conjecture. Nothing she says suggests that she wants to back out of the original compromise.

    I don't think she should even consider not going, and I sure don't think the onus is on her to get him to tell her why he's backing out of their agreement. If he has a good reason to break a prior commitment to his wife, the burden is on him to articulate it. 

    Maybe she'll get there and hate it. Maybe she'll love it. But she sure shouldn't give up the chance to find out for herself because her husband is selfish. 
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