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Old 08-06-2007, 07:03 AM   #21
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Beerman, you have my sympathy. What you're up against is really difficult. Sexist or not, I believe most women have a very strong "nesting" instinct and that this makes about any lifestyle "change" unattractive. Your wife is burrowed into a wonderful situation for her. Now, just about everything you are proposing would reduce that.

My wife had the same reservations to ER - and she's the one of our marriage that has the most stressful job. What turned her around was the loss of her mother and being called into work over last Christmas. I think she really "wanted" to be turned around, but the problem was she just couldn't get her head around the concept on her own. She needed the catalyst.

And frankly, so did you. It was seeing proof of personal mortality that made you realize none of us has forever.

My guess is that her way of dealing with your ideas is not much more than denial. When you bring up the "plan", she tosses out any distraction she can think of. You two aren't really communicating yet.

If you want her support, I think you need two things:
1. real communication - probably in the form of joint counseling.
2. the ability to show her why it all be "OK" if she accepts, again this might mean a professional's appraisal, but this time maybe an accountant's.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:48 AM   #22
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Oh the sense of entitlement. To just sit on one's duff, putter around the house, play with the kids, lunch with the girls, play at nursing when one feels like it, shop and let the man take care of you. That and having you pick up 50% of the house hold chores. I worked with a few nurses who had it that way. Every girls dream, must be nice.

A 60 to 80 hour work week sucks. I know I used to work them the make ends meet and to get out of debt. They grind you down and make you sick. You can't hang like that when you are in your 40's, the body just does not take it. It gets worse the closer you get to fifty, trust me on this I know what I'm talking about. Your body is giving you a warning, listen to it.

You did your bit, take care of your self and down shift, you earned it. Just do it, your wife will have to make any adjustment needed but believe me she is not going anywhere and she is not going to work full time. Just ride out the tantrum. It will be worth it to see your children grow up.
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:54 AM   #23
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Another female who agrees with Cattusbabe. Yes, your wife has it very easy and just to her liking---but where does her concern for you come into the picture? Would she like being a widow? Or your caretaker if you break physically or emotionally? I live in a retirement community of 76 units---and there are only 26 men here (with six being under 60). I do think there may be some differences in male vs. female pathology and physiology, but surely a lot of women outliving men has to be that they had so much less stress, not working outside the home.

And I also agree with Cattusbabe that the hours and stress take an even worse toll on your body in your fifties---beware! It may have helped you to vent a little here (and I'm glad if it did), but I think you need to follow it up with some real action. You've got to look out for yourself because it sounds like DW isn't going to belooking out for you at all!
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:06 AM   #24
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Beer Man,

Have you thought about changing your handle (screen name)? When do you find the time to enjoy beer?

I wish I have a working suggestion for your case. I'd even settle for a suggestion that has a tiny remote chance of success. FWIW, I understand your situation completely.

I have seen the other side too, where the man depends on the woman. The big difference is that the man has no input/power whatsoever in the future plan.

I was brought up believing that women are at a disadvantage. The more I learn, experience, observe, the more I realize that that is furthest from the reality.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:44 AM   #25
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Another female who agrees with Cattusbabe. Yes, your wife has it very easy and just to her liking---but where does her concern for you come into the picture?
Beerman, have you noticed that the unvarnished appraisals are mainly coming from women?

Women see other women more clearly than men do. They understand their motivations, their rationalizations, their manipulations. They can call a spade a spade when a man would look sexist and harsh to do the same thing.

Ha
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:08 PM   #26
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I had a stay-at-home wife who was Phys Ed consultant before we had our first child. After two children, when they were both in school fulltime, I started asking her to consider going back to work. I said that it was needed for our financial flexibility but also that it would be healthier for her mentally than hanging around with a bunch of unemployed females. She refused to consider it.

The big house on an acreage meant that I also spent one day a week doing maintenance of our house and property, after 50+ hours at work. I also completed several projects on the house because we could not afford to hire contractors. I started to burn out but put up with it for another 8 years. I suggested downsizing to ease the burden during that time. But all of my pleas fell on deaf ears.

We separated in 1995.

Twelve years later, with a new highly-supportive mate, I have been retired for 5 years.

I hope you have better luck dealing with this fundamental rift than I did.
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:47 PM   #27
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Beer Man,

Have you thought about changing your handle (screen name)? When do you find the time to enjoy beer?
Usually when I'm grilling something for dinner or doing the dishes after. Makes things more efficient.
I appreciate everone's input. Yes Ha, the women's comments are enlightening! I was hoping the was some sort of book(or support group?) to help spouses understand the burnout process I'm going thru. We obviously have communication isssues and maybe I just cant articulate all this in a way my wife understands. I was hoping someone knew of a book or something to help her understand.
But as previously posted, she may be ignoring it hoping it's a phase that will pass and we'll continue with the status quo.
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:51 PM   #28
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Beerman,
Here's another female's observation on your situation. Marriage isn't a 50/50 proposition. Sometimes one partner will give more than 50% while the other gives less for awhile due to the circumstances that are unique to that particular marriage. Then, sometimes the situation is reversed. That's why a successful marriage is truly a partnership.

But based on what you've said, it sounds like your marriage is very lopsided with you carrying more of the load and increasingly resenting it.

I agree that your wife probably doesn't want to make any changes because let's be honest here, she's got it pretty good. She has created a lifestyle that she's comfortable with and frankly, with your work hours, you're not really a part of most of it. She has little motivation for change.

If you continue at the same rate, as others have pointed out, your health will likely fail. At that point, your choices will be far more limited than they are now...and you may also have a non-sympathetic spouse who may then resent you for "letting yourself go." (More common than you think.)

You have to take this bull by the horns and make the changes that you know you must make. Talk to your doctor about your health; talk to your financial advisors about your fiscal condition; talk to a counselor about your marital concerns; find another job or cut back on your current hours but most of all, you must either get your wife on board or be prepared to do what you need to do for yourself. Life's too short to be so stressed.

(And on top of everything else, you cook AND do the dishes Geez!!)
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:58 PM   #29
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As a woman, I will chime in as well, though not with any solutions. I always felt I needed to support myself. I w*rk FT, as does my DH. When we had kids, there was never any question - it's all hands on deck in all ways at all times. Don't know how you can change the mindset if she is not already there.

You may need to start making some gradual adjustments to your work schedule and ease into the change.

But, try taking a day away from the kids for quiet activities (state park or long brunch )I would talk to her, what are her greatest fears if you cut back? and then work on each one (she is going to worry about how this will effect her life, not yours)
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How about the other side of the story?
Old 08-06-2007, 02:16 PM   #30
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How about the other side of the story?

Wow! I posted earlier in this thread for BeerMan's sake. I saw some tough issues to get through. Now I'm astonished by the level of critique from the women on this thread. But I must admit now that I'm really curious what DW's take would be on this subject. Do you think she would say, " He's so inconsiderate to even suggest that I give up my life with my friends and get a job so he can slow down. Why, I married him to provide all my high maintenance needs. How dare he try to wiggle out of his responsibility now that I have kids and have lost my figure." Probably not. Wonder though what she would say...
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:27 PM   #31
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Usually when I'm grilling something for dinner or doing the dishes after. Makes things more efficient.
I appreciate everone's input. Yes Ha, the women's comments are enlightening! I was hoping the was some sort of book(or support group?) to help spouses understand the burnout process I'm going thru. We obviously have communication isssues and maybe I just cant articulate all this in a way my wife understands. I was hoping someone knew of a book or something to help her understand.
But as previously posted, she may be ignoring it hoping it's a phase that will pass and we'll continue with the status quo.

Check to see if you insurance plan has counseling.... if it does USE IT...

SHE needs the adjustment and you will not be able to get her to see it without an outside voice.. a book will not help as I doubt she would read it anyhow...


To others (and maybe Beerman....)... I see a few guys here at work and they have it the same way... but the wife does NOT want to change and could care less what happens to the husband... there are more problems with their marriage than working and she will not change a bit... and since they are Catholic, divorce is out of the question for them so he has to work to pay for the stuff she wants to do.. and if he worked less, she would just spend him into debt... a no win situation.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:31 PM   #32
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To others (and maybe Beerman....)... I see a few guys here at work and they have it the same way... but the wife does NOT want to change and could care less what happens to the husband... there are more problems with their marriage than working and she will not change a bit... and since they are Catholic, divorce is out of the question for them so he has to work to pay for the stuff she wants to do.. and if he worked less, she would just spend him into debt... a no win situation.
Hey, they could become Episcopalians! Worked for Henry VIII! And if that doesn't do it, there is always the tower.

Ha
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:11 PM   #33
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My advice is to run, don't walk, to a marriage counselor.

How much is this new attitude of yours coming "out of the blue" for your DW? Has she been aware of how you've been affected by these deaths close to you? You mentioned that you have twins. My guess is that between you working such long hours, and her spending all of her time the last few years dealing with childcare, you have not had much time to really talk to each other and you've both created lives that are pretty much separate and only intersect around the children.

Having a third party involved tends to force you both to actually discuss the issues as opposed to just skirting around the edges and not really accomplishing anything. Maybe your DW doesn't deal well with change. Maybe she's just scared because this is a completely new idea for her. These attitudes can be overcome if both parties are willing to deal with it head on. If she really loves you, I find it hard to believe that she won't sign on to the program once she understands how you feel. And if she isn't willing to support you emotionally (or to start paying for her priorities herself), well, that at least tells you where you stand in the marriage.
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:27 PM   #34
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Several changes: Lost a friend and coworker to cancer, my twins were born 5 years ago, another friend with cancer-remission-recurrence,brother died in a car wreck 2 years ago, and then one of my closests friends diagnosed with cancer 1 year ago. Now it just seems insane to work like I do. I would rather be home raising the kids, or at least there when they get home from school. Work has always been a mix of enjoyment and annoyance. My tolerance for the annoyance is gone, and the enjoyment is not as enjoyable. Feel like limiting the work time might make things more tolerable.
I'm not a counselor,but it sounds like it could be a few things:

1)She thinks you grumble a bit, but your marriage is on strong footing, and she has gotten used to the fact you're hardly ever home,so she has fashioned a life based upon that. She may worry if you cut back that you will love her lessor something. Just a thought.......

2)She has gotten used to being able to afford things she wants WITHOUT having to "watch the figures". I don't think that's high maintenance, but it could be......

3)It's hard to know if the deaths close to her have affected her in a negative way. Everyone grieves differently, and sometimes grief manifests itself in different ways.......

Good luck, I hope it all works out for you. If she really loves you, then she will want you to be happy....
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:10 PM   #35
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If the situation were reversed what would most women do ? They'd bail after they made every attempt to change the situation .So drag her to a counselor before it's too late .Nothing changes ER plans like divorce .
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:10 PM   #36
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Here's another thought. By the way, I'm a single mom working hard at a career in addition to side jobs and raising a child. I can't imagine having a second income of any kind to play with--what a luxury!

Beer Man--how comfortable is your wife with personal finances in general? If she's like 99% of Americans, she's never had a course on personal finances or had an interest in it. Now as you talk ER, she's thinking cut down on life style...NO WAY! Get her a simple beginner's guide to personal finances--David Bach's Smart Women Finish Rich was a life changer for me. You might also try his Smart Couples Finish Rich. Once she realizes what her "latte factor" is and how she could cut some of the expenses and contribute to the ER pot, you might have her full on-board. GOOD LUCK!

Of course, it might also be that she enjoys having you out of the house 60 to 80 hours a week
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:58 PM   #37
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Beer Man- Just thought that I would let you know that I am female too. You have not been on the board very long, so you probably did not know that I was speaking from a female point of view also. I took an early retirement from my job after working there for 32 years and 8 months. I worked prior to that job also. I have a pension that would support me if DH were to die. He is still working. I now take care of the house, meals, grocery shopping, laundry, bills, finances, taxes, etc. Before I stopped working we shared in these tasks. My DH told me that I did not need to do everything and that he could still do things around the house. (He still takes care of the outside things.) I told him that I knew he could help, but that I did not want him to since he is still working full-time. (Of course, he still does if I am away on a trip.) I have always pulled my own weight and would not consider having it any other way. Our marriage is a partnership.

Do you think that it would help to show your DW this thread? If not, I would make sure that I had the heart to heart talk with her and let her know how you feel emotionally, mentally and physically. Let her know that you willingly did this when you were younger, but can not keep it up since getting older. Let her know how you feel you are missing out on seeing your children grow up. Maybe, when she really hears this from your heart, she will see the toll this is taking on you and she will be able to come up with some suggestions herself. Good luck.
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:21 PM   #38
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It is worth trying to have a heart-to-heart with her as a first try. But if it does not work, and I suspect it will not, then definitely seek out counselling even if you have to go alone at first. Once she realizes you are serious, she should come around to participating in counselling sessions. An objective and skilled third party can work wonders. Seen it, been there, done it.
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:01 PM   #39
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Beer Man, we have quite a bit in common. Same age, wife is a part-time RN, tired of w*rk, etc. I bring home plenty, and we have not paid a ton of attention to budgeting.

We have experienced quite a few close family and friend losses in recent years. I am overweight and am more stressed than I would like to be. Also, men on my side of the family have not tended to live very long.

Fortunately for me, my DW is very supportive of my desire to RE as possible. She doesn't like to work either, but she does the extra shifts when we need a little extra. She would be supportive of downsizing or cutting back, if I decided that I needed to change to something that didn't pay nearly as well.

I take care of all the financials, but I think it has helped when I have pushed her to become familiar with the accounts and bills. Having the conversation of "You need to know what to do if I drop dead tomorrow" sure puts things in perspective, and my DW seems to want to help me delay that. You might have that conversation, coupled with the reflection on your friends the died too young.

One other point. You mention that you might be able to get by if you quit now, but you need to work until 59.5 to cover expenses. You should do a search and read up on 72T withdrawals from your tax advantaged accounts, if you are not aware of that option.

Good luck to you.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:30 PM   #40
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From another female's perspective, I think a marriage only works when there is sufficient communication, and both partners are willing to share the other's occasional misery and comfort them when needed.

Someone used the word "entitlement" earlier. I agree. Sometimes people get too comfortable in their environment and take things for granted. Time for a little shake-up!
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