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Old 01-10-2008, 12:38 AM   #61
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Originally Posted by RetireeRobert View Post
To hell with their kids, full speed ahead, and damn the torpedos, you say? "Cut your losses" you say?

You haven't even heard the spouse's side of the story, and yet you condemn her as "selfish, uncompromising, and uncaring"?

How long have your marriages lasted?
Yeah, cut your losses. Based on the original post, this guy is not willing to work with his wife and the wife is not working with him. They no longer belong together. He is already beginning to resent his wife and they are so far gone he is more interested in risk management than working on issues. It is time to go.

Getting a divorce has nothing to do with kids. That is a red herring. When parents are in unhealthy relationships it messes up children. The kids would be best served having two healthy unmarried parents than two married unhealthy parents.

Regarding the spouses side of the story... I don't need to hear it. A marriage takes two and the OP has already checked out.
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:00 AM   #62
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She is a credentialed professional, capable of making at least $80k annually if she went back to work now and more if she is able to excel (which she did when she was working right out of college). .. I feel like she is kind of withering away, but she does seem very happy not working.
HK1970, this is so clearly about YOU and not your wife. You've put a price tag on her, assessed her value and "capability" in dollar terms, and it sounds like you have hopes for future, enhanced, 'production line' value ("more if she is able to excel"). Sounds like you are investing in a racehorse or a stock. "But she seems happy" seems like a secondary concern. IF you can get beyond looking at the benjamins (maybe you won't be able to) then take some time off work and spend it with your wife and family. Sounds like you need a break. Figure out WHY you married this woman and whether SHE (not her salary or lack thereof) makes you happy and whether you want her in your life. Then reset.

I won't go into all the ways that the "fake divorce" is a complete non-starter. The posters above have done a brilliant job. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

It's sick to even go into the numbers, but since that's where you're at.. what is a decent even part-time housekeeper gonna run 'ya? $10-15k p.a.? An "executive housekeeper" with expanded chores and responsibilities? Double that. GP0S3Y: If you look behind the $100+k "housewife" value, you'll see the numbers go up based on 'perqs' like "sex worker", massage therapist, taxi service, nurse, cook, personal coach/psychologist.. and so forth. I feel bad this woman is doing all this for you (I assume) and you are already plotting how to divvy up the spoils so that WHEN you "actually" divorce, you will come out "on top".. or at least less badly-off. This is not the attitude of a "loving" husband.

If I were your wife and knew this is how you were thinking, I would be sooo outta there, despite any hardships I'd have to endure. Contrary to your assessments women end up worse-off financially than their ex-husbands in most divorces (esp. those with custody of kids; unless the kids can look after themselves all afternoon, there just aren't the same professional opportunities for part-time work vs. full-time, for example), despite how it may look to you now on paper. That seems to occupy significant space in your mind. I consider that troubling, and it is a "tarlo" (woodworm) that is going to keep eating at your brain until you get a handle on it (or just divorce her now and get it over with).

Maybe GP0S3Y is right and this marriage is already over and done with. But not necessarily because your wife isn't a "team player"... maybe she is and maybe she isn't. There's already one confirmed "non-team-player"; your post shows that loud and clear. That you are going to online calculators to put a price tag on what having "loved" this woman MAY cost you is frightening. Figure out why you are looking at your marriage as a financial enterprise only with "winners" and "losers".. figure out why you are putting emotional value and the value of your integral family unit in second place, and you may have hope. Good luck!

P.S. to all the guys responding above (well almost all).. you've shared a lot of life wisdom that the OP needs to learn and assimilate. I don't want to say I underestimated y'all.. but I was surprised (in a good way) to see you send the OP to the woodshed so thoroughly and eloquently. A good group here; well done.

P.P.S. I wear the financial "pants" in the family and have had most of the assets (which I put in joint accounts when we got married). We have gone through periods of him working and me not.. me working and him not.. neither of us working.. and him working part-time. The issue of what dollar amount anyone brings in has NEVER come up. N. E. V. E. R.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:06 AM   #63
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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All I can say about having received 61 replies is WOW and thank you. It is difficult to address each and every post, but there were some general themes that ran through posts by multiple people. Many of these posts got me thinking and for that I thank you. At least four people suggested that there is more to this story. There is more. I will share this information with you because many of you have been very forthcoming in your advice to me and I still have not reached a satisfactory solution. While one person wonders why I am turning to the internet for advice, I don’t really feel that this group is just ‘the internet.’ Unlike a couple of close friends that I have shared my feelings with, this group has a unique perspective of savings and many of you have likely, at one point or another, been in a situation not too drastically different than mine (working hard, LBYM, savings, etc. - though your mindset was probably healthier).

I agree with everyone in this forum who said to forget about the paper divorce. My ‘real life friend’ who I have shared this idea with also thought it was a non-starter. However, none of my real life friends have any assets, choosing instead to live under mountains of debt. I thought that perhaps his financial position may have clouded his judgment, which is why I turned to this forum where people have financial positions more similar to my own. I thought maybe someone here could have experienced what I am feeling and was able to overcome it.

For those who thought there is more to the story, that was insightful. Of course, I only discussed part about equalizing the burden, but there is certainly more surrounding a marriage that has been around as long as ours. My wife says she has obsessive compulsive disorder, but she can control it. She also says she is a perfectionist. She has never been diagnosed as having OCD. On multiple occasions when I have brought up getting help she has refused, even though it would be free through my Company’s EAP. As an example, it took me two years to get her to call me when I am at work. She thought that I was too busy and didn’t want to interrupt, in spite of my repeated calls to her while I was at work and my assurances that it is ok to call. She says it was her OCD, though she calls now. Another example… it took many years for her to finally feel comfortable having a babysitter at the house so we could have time to ourselves. Even her mother was not allowed to babysit. I spent years stressing to her the importance of ‘our time’ together and only got through to her after a number of years. We went for many years with little time to ourselves, away from our children. I know this is a quick path to marital disaster and so did she, but the kids came first and she stuck by that, so this was our life. We started spending time together (after much gentle pushing… this is obviously not something that one can force on to another) when the kids started school, but even now it is in fits and starts, with me trying to think of babysitters who can watch the kids… even though I don’t know many kids of babysitting age because I am working all the time (she knows many but says she is too busy to deal with arranging for a babysitter so we can have time together).

Admittedly, I was not persistent enough with these issues. I just sucked up the fact that I couldn’t get through to her on certain things and I would just try again later hoping she would be receptive some other time. I took my ability to handle these issues as part of being a strong man. Looking back, I think a strong man would have been much less tolerant of the behavior.

A couple of posters suggesting switching roles and wondered if she does all of the housework. She is responsible for performing the household duties but she frequently has trouble completing them, which she blames on her perfectionism. For example, we have a carpeted living room and a long haired cat. After several weeks without a cleaning, cat fur, carpet balls and human hair begin pile up and end up between our toes. I’ll ask about when she is planning on cleaning and she’ll say she meant to do it last week but she didn’t have time to ‘do it right.’ Doing it right means literally spending hours vacuuming the carpets in the house. So I frequently end up going to the closet, taking out the vacuum and spending 5 minutes vacuuming up the debris in the living room carpet. Of course it isn’t perfect, but I don’t have to pull the debris out of my toes when I am finished. I do clean… typically in situations like this. I also do all of the cooking on weekends and holidays and occasionally during the week if she is too busy.

Before I suggested she go back to work, I suggested that we switch roles for a few years with her working and my getting to spend some time with the kids. She has been home for a decade now… 3 years of which have had children in school full time. I opened up to her and let her know that I felt like I was falling apart (literally – exercise is almost nil and I recently developed some sort of stress related GI illness that I am on medication for and I find my self engaging in riskier behaviors, such as aggressive driving during my 96 mile daily commute). The work is complex and tedious (as opposed to complex and stimulating) and errors in my department lead to big and embarrassing problems for the company I work for. That is why the pay is generous and why ER is potentially only 5 years away. (Someone suggested my work may be unfulfilling… another insightful response. It is.) I laid out the framework for her… it would only be for a few years, while I recuperate, exercise and get healthy and spend some time with the kids. I told her that I don’t feel that I spend near enough time with the children (it is pretty much just the weekends, which are also filled with projects my wife will not do – such as painting). I told her I would take care of everything that needed to be taken care of at home and with the children. I promised we would sit down and re-evaluate where we are in three years… maybe I will be healthy and ready to start a business or reenter the work force. Maybe she’ll have been promoted at a good company with reasonable working conditions and hours. Maybe our investment portfolio would be large enough to support FIRE. Either way, if we are a team, I thought that the above scenario was not unreasonable. She thought it was. Further discussions on the subject were constantly derailed.

Her unwillingness to compromise on this issue led me to evaluate who is putting what into this union, which is when I realized she wouldn’t trade positions with me for anything. That got me thinking that maybe we aren’t really a team which led me to start wondering why I am making myself sick, working hard for a woman who has a history of ‘undiagnosed OCD/perfectionism-related stubbornness’ who may one day decide she would like to split up our assets and demand child support. That is why I came up with the idea of an alternative divorce… and why I am posting a message seeking advice saying I love my wife and talking about divorcing her in the same post. Someone posted how ironic that was. I agree.

I guess I still have some thinking to do about love. I have never thought about not loving her. I have known her since before I turned 10 years old (though we didn’t start dating until college). I have trouble even typing the words about not loving her. There is definitely more thought required here. If she wouldn’t trade places with me and isn’t interested in helping me get healthy, is that really love? Maybe I am in love with the idea that I am married to someone I have known pretty much my entire life… without actually loving the person anymore? I will be thinking about this question a lot over the next few weeks.

Several of you suggested counseling. I think that if I do decide to do something rash, like quitting my job and accepting a lower pay job and giving up my dreams of ER, I will seek counseling. I understand these types of life changing decisions are not to be taken lightly.

I am actually a little bit surprised that there is no way around this issue that anyone has dealt with. This is a potential ER breaker. Then again, I think that most people on this forum are successful ERers or are on a successful journey to ER. Those before me who may have found themselves in my situation are probably not checking the ER message boards anymore, since they are not FIRE’d and probably never will be.

In retrospect, I think I was probably a little naïve when I got married. I was young and dumb when I graduated from college. I had no idea that the state marriage laws were so rigid and ruinous. I just thought it was cool to marry my wife who I loved for years before we tied the knot. If I had a chance to do it all over again think I would have tried to find an alternative to involving the state in my personal matters. I understand that the marriage laws are there to protect the children and they try to even things out in a divorce, but in my case there is no protection when my spouse refuses to work and there is no protection for marital contributions.

I fear that these circumstances may have ruined my chances at ER. I’ll be stuck living in squalor or working in some less stressful position many, many more years.

I apologize for the long post. Once again, I welcome your thoughts and I thank you for taking the time to offer your advice.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:50 AM   #64
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HK,

Thanks for additional info. If she truly has OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder), she needs to seek treatment or help. Long ago, I once lived with a woman who was obsessed with hand washing and sex and repeatedly asked for assurance or confirmation about our relationship. It was unbearable living with her. The relationship only lasted for 6 months, nevertheless.

In the interim, take care of yourself – exercise more and work less.



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Old 01-10-2008, 09:57 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by HK1970 View Post
I opened up to her and let her know that I felt like I was falling apart (literally – exercise is almost nil and I recently developed some sort of stress related GI illness that I am on medication for and I find my self engaging in riskier behaviors, such as aggressive driving during my 96 mile daily commute). The work is complex and tedious (as opposed to complex and stimulating) and errors in my department lead to big and embarrassing problems for the company I work for. That is why the pay is generous and why ER is potentially only 5 years away.
I agree that your spouse has some issues with process & time management. I don't know how to fix those.

But IMO her problems pale in comparison to the problems that you're not solving. Here's one way your post could be interpreted: "Honey, work sucks and it's too much for one human being to handle. How 'bout you step up and help me with a job that's killing me?" Why would anyone, let alone a spouse who loves you and wants what's best for you, agree to enable a self-destructive quest for ER? You say that you have trouble getting through to her on cleaning the carpets. Maybe her "No job for me!" attitude is her way of getting through to you the need for you to do something about your own work-life balance.

Introspectively, is it possible that you've decided your frustrations with your employment & workload are easier to transfer to your spouse than to solve on your own or to negotiate with your employer? To me it sounds like you're working way too hard with too many other dissatisfiers (a 96-mile commute?!?) which could be cut back or even eliminated (admittedly for significant life-changing tradeoffs). Instead of solving the work-related problems, the focus seems to have shifted to her own inadequacies of producing income and completing housework. Her "shortfalls" don't seem to have much to do with solving your employment quality-of-life problems.

Yeah, your paycheck will get you to ER in five years, assuming you survive the experience. Everything else around you may be a shambles, but you'll be financially independent-- with plenty of time to meet lawyers, negotiate visitations, pay child support, nurse yourself back to health, and essentially rebuild your life. I'm not sure how to budget for those categories. But congratulations for being on track to achieve a goal.

Perhaps once the workplace problems are resolved-- either through negotiating different responsibilities/workload or by cutting down your hours or by seeking other employment-- then the domestic problems will assume a different perspective. But right now, what appears to be your primary goal of "ER at all costs!" may very well be achieved.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:58 AM   #66
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HK, I think you have a tough road. Good luck to you!

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Old 01-10-2008, 10:00 AM   #67
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Marriage can be difficult.

Even marriages that have been through difficult times together can (and will!) have troubles from time to time. From what you've posted I'm not getting a sense that you have anything so unusual going on that your marriage is abnormal in that regard. In other words, the specific details of your issues are unique to you as a couple, but the magnitude of the problems is nothing unusual.

You are right, that divorce is probably most harmful possibility for FIRE. If you divorce either now or in the future, your FIRE plan will be wiped out. On the other hand, I'm not seeing anything in what you've posted that indicates your wife is in any way against FIRE - in fact she's supporting you in her way.

I've found that as my FIRE date gets closer, my tolerance for the workplace has decreased. I understand that when I get very very close I may find a period of detachment when I may tolerate it better, but now that I am a few years away so many things about w*rk bug me more than ever. Maybe you have some of that going on and spilling over into your personal life?

PS If you want to influence your wife's housekeeping habits, criticising her and doing it yourself when she doesn't measure up will get you nowhere except make any issues worse. Even if you do this rarely (even if you do this once) you will build ill will that never get you what you want. She spends most of the day on housework (you say). Find something (anything) you like and thank her for it.
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:12 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by HK1970 View Post
All I can say about having received 61 replies is WOW and thank you. It is difficult to address each and every post, but there were some general themes that ran through posts by multiple people. Many of these posts got me thinking and for that I thank you. At least four people suggested that there is more to this story. There is more. I will share this information with you because many of you have been very forthcoming in your advice to me and I still have not reached a satisfactory solution. While one person wonders why I am turning to the internet for advice, I don’t really feel that this group is just ‘the internet.’ Unlike a couple of close friends that I have shared my feelings with, this group has a unique perspective of savings and many of you have likely, at one point or another, been in a situation not too drastically different than mine (working hard, LBYM, savings, etc. - though your mindset was probably healthier).


What do you consider to be a "satisfactory" solution? You are questioning your future for this marriage. Either you are willing to continue trying to work it out with your wife or not. That is choice number one. The divorce rate still is over 50% in America, which idicates you are not alone in your situation.

All I know is after being on here for awhile, a KEY ingredient to a healthy FIRE is that BOTH parties are on board with working together to achieve FIRE.

Quote:
I agree with everyone in this forum who said to forget about the paper divorce. My ‘real life friend’ who I have shared this idea with also thought it was a non-starter. However, none of my real life friends have any assets, choosing instead to live under mountains of debt. I thought that perhaps his financial position may have clouded his judgment, which is why I turned to this forum where people have financial positions more similar to my own. I thought maybe someone here could have experienced what I am feeling and was able to overcome it.


I have yet to see a "paper divorce" work. In the past 10 years, I have worked with about 15 different clients through their divorces, and it's ugly for both parties no matter what.

Quote:
For those who thought there is more to the story, that was insightful. Of course, I only discussed part about equalizing the burden, but there is certainly more surrounding a marriage that has been around as long as ours. My wife says she has obsessive compulsive disorder, but she can control it. She also says she is a perfectionist. She has never been diagnosed as having OCD. On multiple occasions when I have brought up getting help she has refused, even though it would be free through my Company’s EAP. As an example, it took me two years to get her to call me when I am at work. She thought that I was too busy and didn’t want to interrupt, in spite of my repeated calls to her while I was at work and my assurances that it is ok to call. She says it was her OCD, though she calls now. Another example… it took many years for her to finally feel comfortable having a babysitter at the house so we could have time to ourselves. Even her mother was not allowed to babysit. I spent years stressing to her the importance of ‘our time’ together and only got through to her after a number of years. We went for many years with little time to ourselves, away from our children. I know this is a quick path to marital disaster and so did she, but the kids came first and she stuck by that, so this was our life. We started spending time together (after much gentle pushing… this is obviously not something that one can force on to another) when the kids started school, but even now it is in fits and starts, with me trying to think of babysitters who can watch the kids… even though I don’t know many kids of babysitting age because I am working all the time (she knows many but says she is too busy to deal with arranging for a babysitter so we can have time together).


She says OCD, maybe it is that. Maybe it's depression. Either way, she probably needs help with her feelings of perfectionism or inadequacy or other things.

Quote:
Admittedly, I was not persistent enough with these issues. I just sucked up the fact that I couldn’t get through to her on certain things and I would just try again later hoping she would be receptive some other time. I took my ability to handle these issues as part of being a strong man. Looking back, I think a strong man would have been much less tolerant of the behavior.


Yes, and no. As my grandfather told me time and again (married 55 years): "Don't win the battles and lose the war"

Quote:
A couple of posters suggesting switching roles and wondered if she does all of the housework. She is responsible for performing the household duties but she frequently has trouble completing them, which she blames on her perfectionism. For example, we have a carpeted living room and a long haired cat. After several weeks without a cleaning, cat fur, carpet balls and human hair begin pile up and end up between our toes. I’ll ask about when she is planning on cleaning and she’ll say she meant to do it last week but she didn’t have time to ‘do it right.’ Doing it right means literally spending hours vacuuming the carpets in the house. So I frequently end up going to the closet, taking out the vacuum and spending 5 minutes vacuuming up the debris in the living room carpet. Of course it isn’t perfect, but I don’t have to pull the debris out of my toes when I am finished. I do clean… typically in situations like this. I also do all of the cooking on weekends and holidays and occasionally during the week if she is too busy.


Sounds to me like you have strong feelings of inequality in the marriage. You are making all the money, doing your share of cooking and cleaning, etc. Have you had a honest heart-to-heart discussion about all these issues? Unless you have truly had that conversation, and it has gone nowhere, you may be over-reacting............

Quote:
Before I suggested she go back to work, I suggested that we switch roles for a few years with her working and my getting to spend some time with the kids. She has been home for a decade now… 3 years of which have had children in school full time. I opened up to her and let her know that I felt like I was falling apart (literally – exercise is almost nil and I recently developed some sort of stress related GI illness that I am on medication for and I find my self engaging in riskier behaviors, such as aggressive driving during my 96 mile daily commute). The work is complex and tedious (as opposed to complex and stimulating) and errors in my department lead to big and embarrassing problems for the company I work for. That is why the pay is generous and why ER is potentially only 5 years away. (Someone suggested my work may be unfulfilling… another insightful response. It is.) I laid out the framework for her… it would only be for a few years, while I recuperate, exercise and get healthy and spend some time with the kids. I told her that I don’t feel that I spend near enough time with the children (it is pretty much just the weekends, which are also filled with projects my wife will not do – such as painting). I told her I would take care of everything that needed to be taken care of at home and with the children. I promised we would sit down and re-evaluate where we are in three years… maybe I will be healthy and ready to start a business or reenter the work force. Maybe she’ll have been promoted at a good company with reasonable working conditions and hours. Maybe our investment portfolio would be large enough to support FIRE. Either way, if we are a team, I thought that the above scenario was not unreasonable. She thought it was. Further discussions on the subject were constantly derailed.


She may a woman whose goals were to be a stay-at-home mom, and now that you have been able to give that to her, she is defending her "turf" so to speak. I know several men that stay at home, and they love it. The thing is, some people like routines and don't like them disrupted. My stepmom is like that, Type A, perfectionist, but God help anyone that tries to change HER life without HER permission..........

Quote:
Her unwillingness to compromise on this issue led me to evaluate who is putting what into this union, which is when I realized she wouldn’t trade positions with me for anything. That got me thinking that maybe we aren’t really a team which led me to start wondering why I am making myself sick, working hard for a woman who has a history of ‘undiagnosed OCD/perfectionism-related stubbornness’ who may one day decide she would like to split up our assets and demand child support. That is why I came up with the idea of an alternative divorce… and why I am posting a message seeking advice saying I love my wife and talking about divorcing her in the same post. Someone posted how ironic that was. I agree.
Quote:

I guess I still have some thinking to do about love. I have never thought about not loving her. I have known her since before I turned 10 years old (though we didn’t start dating until college). I have trouble even typing the words about not loving her. There is definitely more thought required here. If she wouldn’t trade places with me and isn’t interested in helping me get healthy, is that really love? Maybe I am in love with the idea that I am married to someone I have known pretty much my entire life… without actually loving the person anymore? I will be thinking about this question a lot over the next few weeks.


The fact you have put a lot of thought into it and are struggling with the decision indiciates love to me. If you really didn't love this person anymore, you would have already taken steps to end the union.

Quote:
Several of you suggested counseling. I think that if I do decide to do something rash, like quitting my job and accepting a lower pay job and giving up my dreams of ER, I will seek counseling. I understand these types of life changing decisions are not to be taken lightly.


A wise decision.

Quote:
I am actually a little bit surprised that there is no way around this issue that anyone has dealt with. This is a potential ER breaker. Then again, I think that most people on this forum are successful ERers or are on a successful journey to ER. Those before me who may have found themselves in my situation are probably not checking the ER message boards anymore, since they are not FIRE’d and probably never will be.


There's no free lunch I know of in this matter. Most of the folks on the ER forum fall into one of 3 categories:

1)Same spouse for their path to FIRE, usually many years.

2)Divorced, because spouse was not on board or other irreconcillable differences.

3)Single folks that either have not found the right person, or think that staying single is the best way to get to FIRE.

Quote:
In retrospect, I think I was probably a little naïve when I got married. I was young and dumb when I graduated from college. I had no idea that the state marriage laws were so rigid and ruinous. I just thought it was cool to marry my wife who I loved for years before we tied the knot. If I had a chance to do it all over again think I would have tried to find an alternative to involving the state in my personal matters. I understand that the marriage laws are there to protect the children and they try to even things out in a divorce, but in my case there is no protection when my spouse refuses to work and there is no protection for marital contributions.
Quote:

I fear that these circumstances may have ruined my chances at ER. I’ll be stuck living in squalor or working in some less stressful position many, many more years.

I apologize for the long post. Once again, I welcome your thoughts and I thank you for taking the time to offer your advice.
Quit worrying about the laws in divorce, see if you can figure it out with your wife first..........
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:19 AM   #69
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Thank you for saying that I was insightful (along with others who asked you if there was more to the story).

You admit she has never been diagnosed as OCD by anyone but you, "Dr. HK1970". If she is OCD, then I am too, and so are a lot of people. This is a form of "name-calling" and you seem to really want to put her in her place, don't you! I think that is what all the "divorce but live together" talk was about - - you wanted her to slave away at the house and child-raising, but have no obligation to do your part.

You say,
Quote:
I am actually a little bit surprised that there is no way around this issue that anyone has dealt with. This is a potential ER breaker.
The reason nobody has dealt with this and found a way around it, in my opinion, is that (if I may be frank) the problem here is you, along with your hostile, demeaning attitude towards your wife. And no, divorce is not a "potential ER breaker"... lots of people here have gotten through a divorce and know for a fact it is not. In your situation, I believe that the potential ER breaker is your attitude.

Personally I am beginning to wonder if you are just another troll (so I don't know why I bother to answer). If not, then in my opinion, you are pretty immature, don't know what you want, and can't/won't communicate - - I'm surprised she hasn't divorced you yet, instead of vice versa.
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:19 AM   #70
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You would put OP's financial position ahead of the emotional welfare of his kids?
yeah, who's gonna take care of the kids if they divorce?
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:22 AM   #71
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I'm actually amazed that not many people related to the resentment that builds up when one person contributes more to a relationship financially than the other. Yeah, you can say that the spouse that stays home and takes care of the house and kids is on "equal footing". But compare working at home as a "domestic engineer" to a high pressure job with no end in sight...I see little comparison. I don't know what the solution is but I do have empathy for people caught in this situation. My sister is in a similar position. She is the main bread-winner of her family and her significant other has only worked a full time job maybe 1-2 years out of the last 15 years. The have twin 4 year olds and he has stayed home to take care of them since they were born. That was a wise choice. But once the kids get to the age where they're in school all day long, I would expect my sister's significant other to start contributing to the family's income by working at job outside the home and giving my sister a chance to have a less stressful job for once. What's wrong with that? Some people have gotten used to the gravy train and don't want it to end! Do you blame them?

Having said that, I cannot decide for a couple what best works for them...only they can decide for themselves. Some couples prefer that the husband or wife remain at home for various reasons because it works for them. Clearly this isn't working for the person that started this thread. And I don't see an easy solution unless he's willing to change his work situation so it's not so stressful OR somehow convince his wife to share in the financial responsitilities by working.
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:29 AM   #72
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lots of counseling - couples and individual counseling needed for both.
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:33 AM   #73
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First let me say that I am truly sorry for the situation that you find yourself in. Knowing, and loving someone for that long, it must be difficult to separate what is true, from what you would like to be true. After all... after that long you certainly have a vested interest in having things "work out".
I am not married, nor have I had a relationship lasting as long as yours has. I think a bit over a year was my longest so far. But I would like to think that if I told my wife/girlfriend that I was so unhappy... can you help me somehow? That her first reaction would be "I want to help.... what can I do?" Now the level of help, or what form that help will take can certainly be negotiated. I am fairly certain that if my wife/girlfriend came to me and was that upset, my first impulse would be how can I help?
I find it truly sad and disheartening that that, was not her first reaction! I have seen this same situation develop in many relationships that I have seen. The man, or the woman is working, while the other stays home. After the children are somewhat older and do not need to be looked after 24/7 they view themselves as "on permanent vacation". As in, because the children are now raised (or mostly there) their job and purpose is now over. Well let me state this very clearly. Marriage is NOT an excuse to become useless! This applies to both the man and women in the relationship. What if something happened to you where you could not work for a while? Would she come to you with love and determination and say, "How can I help here, we are going to get through this together!", or would she come to you and say... "Well... what are you going to do to fix this?" In closing.... and I am very sorry to say this... and I do not say it lightly. Anyone that views you as the means to their lifestyle with no reguard to your feelings in the matter does not love you. When you love someone, it means that you care more about their welfare, than your own.
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:54 AM   #74
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You say,

The reason nobody has dealt with this and found a way around it, in my opinion, is that (if I may be frank) the problem here is you, along with your hostile, demeaning attitude towards your wife. And no, divorce is not a "potential ER breaker"... lots of people here have gotten through a divorce and know for a fact it is not. In your situation, I believe that the potential ER breaker is your attitude.

Personally I am beginning to wonder if you are just another troll (so I don't know why I bother to answer). If not, then in my opinion, you are pretty immature, don't know what you want, and can't/won't communicate - - I'm surprised she hasn't divorced you yet, instead of vice versa.
Well, picking an Internet forum for marriage advice is a little strange...... If he's a troll, he goes into more detail than most trolls......

If not, he's venting his frustration on here. Somehow I don't think he's shared even 10% of his TRUE feelings with her.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:18 AM   #75
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Arriving late to this party, I think that even Dr. Phil could not fix these problems. The relationship is dysfunctional. Both parties have contributed to it. Neither is going to fix it.

Get on with your lives and forget about ER. Your wife has already retired. You need to develop a plan so that you can too someday.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:30 AM   #76
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Alternative to divorce?

Cash out all your accounts, fill a couple duffel bags and disappear.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:46 AM   #77
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Alternative to divorce?

Cash out all your accounts, fill a couple duffel bags and disappear.
Yeah; I suggest one of the outer islands in the Indonesian Archipelago.

Also, does anyone else think this guy is getting a pretty hard time from us? If a woman showed up on these boards, and told the exact same story about commuting 100 miles a day, being totally stressed out by her work load, while having a husband who stayed home with the kids, but now the kids are in school, keeps house but poorly, and refuses to dialogue on either of these issues- we would be all over "what a bum he is, dump this lazy free-loading slob, talk to your barracuda of choice now!"

I think the main good that could come from this thread is as an example to single men. Tread carefully boys, there are tiger traps out there. And if you fall into the pit, don't expect much empathy even from your fellow warriors.

Ha
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:03 PM   #78
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I'm actually amazed that not many people related to the resentment that builds up when one person contributes more to a relationship financially than the other. Yeah, you can say that the spouse that stays home and takes care of the house and kids is on "equal footing". But compare working at home as a "domestic engineer" to a high pressure job with no end in sight...I see little comparison. ... Some people have gotten used to the gravy train and don't want it to end! ...
DallasGuy, a job can be "high-pressure" but also money-making (v. important to the OP), status-giving, and intellectually stimulating, plus it gets you out into the world, even if that's not always pleasant.

GP0S3Y is out of his cotton-pickin' mind if he thinks taking care of a household is a 10-15 hr./week job, even if you don't vacuum every day. I would say meal preparation alone occupies at least 10 hrs/wk. of my time, not counting shopping OR cleaning up.

Having just got finished with making & cleaning up after lunch (1 hr.), ironing shirts (1 hr.), scrubbing grody stove (25 min., 1x/week or so), vacuuming & washing kitchen floor (45 min.), dealing with and cleaning up after the plumber (1 hr.).. I've had a pretty full afternoon by now (5:45).. and I don't even have kids..

No one, including the OP even really mentioned any time his wife spends with the kids aside from "shuttling" but I'd imagine that would include school admin. crap, making lunches/snacks, taking them shopping for clothes/supplies or doing that for them, doing their laundry, helping them with homework and school projects. Maybe there are "bake sales" and fundraising drives and field-trip chaperoning. He doesn't say how old his kids are, but if they are under 12 your afterschool time is going to be occupied with them, and not housework.. my sis runs from one mess to the next with their painting projects and other stuff they "need".. "Mooooommm!!!"

Kids in school full-time for 3 years sounds like the littlest is what? 8? 9?

I can see where the wife is coming from. She may well be depressed. I think I am borderline depressed sometimes.. because I gave up fairly interesting work. Now when I get up, I don't have any j*b worries, but I can look forward to.. house-cleaning... yay!

Wow, what a great "gravy train" this gal is on.. a life of housecleaning in exchange for room, board, and a husband that's trying to TIME his divorce options to max them out for HIMSELF.

Of course, I can blow off cleaning and have fun. And a very dirty house, which is not fun. I am NOT a perfectionist, and the place is a sty at times. It takes a lot more work than you think, and it is pretty soul-deadening. It's great the OP helps out some "when she is busy", but what is she "busy" doing at these times? Her nails? The wash?


"No end in sight" for the OP is 5 years. That is a great position to be in at 39. He has a lot more options than most people, financially. I'm glad the OP went into more detail and gave us a more balanced picture, but the fact he's still worried about his post-divorce stash.. and that in two long posts I didn't catch ANY mention of what this divorce would do TO HIS KIDS.. just lots and lots of detail on what it would do to his FINANCES makes me bearish.

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I just thought it was cool to marry my wife who I loved for years before we tied the knot.
Hold that thought.

Quote:
Before I suggested she go back to work, I suggested that we switch roles for a few years with her working and my getting to spend some time with the kids. ... I laid out the framework for her… it would only be for a few years, while I recuperate, exercise and get healthy and spend some time with the kids. ... I promised we would sit down and re-evaluate where we are in three years… maybe I will be healthy and ready to start a business or reenter the work force. Maybe she’ll have been promoted at a good company with reasonable working conditions and hours. Maybe our investment portfolio would be large enough to .. I thought that the above scenario was not unreasonable. She thought it was. Further discussions on the subject were constantly derailed.
Her unwillingness to compromise on this issue led me to evaluate who is putting what into this union, which is when I realized she wouldn’t trade positions with me for anything.
YOU picked a high-paying high-stress job because YOU want to retire at 45. Now that YOUR CHOICE is taking its toll.. you've given HER the ultimatum! Two choices: Your first "offer" was that she go back to work and take on ALL the breadwinning duties. Your second "offer" was that she go back to work part-time. There is no third offer. Oh.. wait.. there is:
Quote:
If I do decide to do something rash, like quitting my job and accepting a lower pay job and giving up my dreams of ER
How much lower-paying could this job be?? So you retire at 50 and not 45.. Is it really EASIER to contemplate breaking up your family than deferring retirement or living with a dirty carpet??

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working hard for a woman
.. no, you are working hard for YOU..
SHE's not spending the extra money.. she's willing and able to keep her and the kids' spending to w/in 30% of your salary with the house expenses included. You obviously don't realize how unusual that is... Why don't YOU take a part-time job at 50% salary and semi-retire? You'd still be able to save 20% which is STILL more than most people!!
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:33 PM   #79
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For anyone who has walked the halls of a high functioning school - you will see the army of stay at home moms and dads, and some crazy working moms and dads who volunteer their time to make the school a wonderful place. My daughters Kindergarten class has 13 volunteers out of 19 students - pretty great returns for all the kids in the class. My daughter's dance studio also has an army of stay at home moms who sew, shop, decorate, plan all kinds of incredible things for the kids that would definitely suffer if they evaporated from the scene.

So there is often a lot MORE to staying at home - and contributing to the family, school and community life. I don't know of a community that has a great family atmosphere that doesn't fully utilize all the stay at home parents to the maximum...

of course, every stay at home parent is not the golden volunteer - A friend of mine works full time and her boyfriend stayed home to "take care of the kids" - which meant sleeping, surfing ebay and playing video games while the kids vegged...

Anyhow - i think Nords hit the nail on the head - with addressing your dissatisfaction with your demanding job - or letting go a little and making a difficult choice to find a new line of work and disrupt your ambitious ER plan. I think she may not "hear" your issues perhaps because she is busy "defending" herself and her position - which your posts have obviously diminished/downplayed - combined with your resentment, tiredness etc - could not have been a positive conversation.

Learning how to be a stay at home mom may have been her goal, or may not I don't know. But I know a LOT of parents who are very traumatized by the experience and once they "figure it out" would again be traumatized if someone tried to take over their role.

Divorce can hit kids much like a death in the family - even though "everyone's doing it" doesn't mean it isn't having an incredible affect on kids everyday, everywhere....
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:06 PM   #80
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WOW, WOW.

HK1970, you convinced me with your last post you're not a troll. Somehow, unfortunately, many of us lose our bearings in our relationships. If you still love your wife as your soulmate -- and it seems that this is the most critical issue confronting you -- you will find a way to get through this crisis. This will entail a lot of hard work. Stop looking at the relationship from the jaded prisism of dollars and cents -- it detracts from the real issue afflicting your partnership arrangement -- and it sounds like you just want to "pimp" your wife out to work and are unfairly maligning her choices in your relationship.
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