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Man retires to move to South America; is called selfish; says, 'I told you my plan.' AITA?

Man retires to move to South America; is called selfish; says, 'I told you my plan.' AITA?


"AITA for retiring and moving to South America like every single person in my family knew I planned to do since I was 16."


I (M55) just pulled the pin on my retirement. I put in 33 years of work and I'm done. I bought property in South America 12 years ago and I have been building our retirement home down there. I have dual citizenship so I can own property without it being a hassle.

The house was designed to be perfect for us. We have a pool, a small house for the caretaker/gardener, and 34 different fruit trees. The bathroom is up to North American standards and the shower has grab bars and stuff already built in for when I'm old. Everything is on one level so there are no stairs.

My wife helped by making suggestions to the design of the house and by taking care of decorating it. We have been vacationing there for eight years now and renting it out when we aren't there for some extra money. We have hosted friends and family there both with us there and on their own.

My wife has now decided that she doesn't want to live there for seven months of the year. We have grandkids now and she wants to be more involved in their lives. I love my kids and grandkids. And my parents who also live up here. But I am done with winter. If I never see snow again it will be too soon.

The house has guest rooms and flights are cheap. If they want to see me in the winter, they are all welcome to come down. Plus I will be back for five months in the summer to do some contract work. I will see everyone then.

My wife said she didn't want to go down this winter. And that is absolutely her right. I booked my flight for September and she asked me about the expense on the credit card. I said I was leaving for the winter like I had told everyone I was planning to do. This is when she said that 'she didn't want to go this winter' actually meant 'she didn't want us to go this winter'.

I said that I was going and that I would see her in the spring unless she changed her mind and came down. Now her, my parents, and my kids are bugging me about leaving her alone for the winter. It is 100% her choice.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


NTA. You can't force her to live there, but she can't force you to live where you don't like either. 'If I never see snow again it will be too soon.' Same here. I hate snow.


After one particularly bad winter I vowed to be somewhere warm by the next winter. It started an entirely different life path for me. OP if you aren’t happy in the snow and cold (and the short, depressing days), then you don’t need to be there. NTA.


This is such an AITA response where everyone is an island. Married people make compromises for each other. There is a middle ground where they spend 3 of the worst winter months in SA together and then OP heads back alone for a couple of weeks here and there throughout the year.

People are allowed to change their minds about where they want to live long term. Wife isn't an ass because she became more attached to her grandkids than she anticipated. Yeesh.

When wife said she didn't want to be away 7 months anymore there has to be a big discussion and they both have to give a little. To just shrug like he is fine with it and then book flights without saying anything is a huge asshole move.

The members of this board must be deeply lonely or hate their spouses since the majority thinks this is a-okay. These two might as well divorce if OP is happy to spend 7 months of the year away from his wife and doesn't care about her wishes.


While I agree about it being a discussion that needed to happen, literally everything you say here also applies to the wife who is not compromising either.

Also, a 7-year plan for retirement isn't something you back out of suddenly. This has been OP's life goal for literally their whole marriage and it is pretty clear that was well communicated, given the buying, vacationing, and prepping for this very part of his life. She's entitled to change her mind, but, frankly, this is a pretty huge slap in the face to him.

It's sort of akin to someone working toward getting into Law School with their partner's support, and when they are finally accepted the partner saying they actually didn't want to relocate now. Sure, fine. But that's a relationship-breaking preference.


This. Married life IS compromise, but it sounds like the OP did everything in his power to advertise his intentions. The wife had years to get off the train before this stop. This absolutely sounds like one of those “Oh I can change him” attitudes of his wife and when he actually pulled the pin, she surprised him with an about face.

People can do what they want, but IMO in this case, she was the one who pulled the bait and switch. You don’t suddenly change your mind on this; she should have been fighting this out for years. While its possible the OP ignored warning signs, this was HARDLY an impulsive life move by the OP. NTA.


'I think the time to say something was before they bought the house, he retired, and he was getting ready to spend the winter.'

Bought the house? No, OP had the house built! Wife had plenty of time during those 8 years of vacationing/rent their home to discuss her change of mind. But like others said, she thought she could change his mind when he retired, he didn't!


NTA. Communication is key, and my guy has been communicating this for what, 39 years (55 now, 16 when he started to talk about it), and then the wife decides she suddenly doesn't want to do it anymore after always knowing the plan and even participating on it. F*ck that noise, enjoy your retirement!


HER priority changed. Yours stayed the same. NTA


NTA. You didn't exactly spring this on her. She changed the plan not you.


NTA, this is going to be a problem for the rest of your life, she has grandbabies and MANY grandparents don't want to miss out on the growth and fun of grandbabies. You don't even come back for the holidays? That may be an *ss move, and for sure your wife would want to be around for holidays. September is very early to be a snowbird, where are you from that winter starts that early.


Things change dude, 35 years ago I bet you didn’t think grandkids would anchor your wife, but here you are.

My mom had planned a big move to Tennessee from Illinois. Bought a house, cars, moved all this stuff ready to move in. Until my daughter was born. Now she’s selling the house in Tennessee as she can’t imagine living without being involved in her life.

Wifey changed with grand children. Sucks it’s this late but it seems you’re unwavering in your conviction with your plan. Which you have every right to do and even communicated to her about it. NTA but im pretty sure your wife’s values have changed and she didn’t really communicate that to you very well. Hopefully snow birding won’t crash your relationship. Best of luck.

So, do you think the OP has the right to spend his retirement however he sees fit or should he consider that priorities change as you grow a family?

Sources: Reddit
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