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Old 01-11-2008, 05:19 AM   #121
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I have no advice for the OP, since I've never been married.

I do have advice for my fellow board regulars, be a bit gentler. His second post sounds like a man in true pain. The time for tough love, frank talk can come a bit later.

Retiring early is great, but if you gave me the choice of being happily married with two good kids,or my current situation. I'd take the Ozzie and Harriet marriage option.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:49 AM   #122
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I want to again thank you all for offering advice. It seems like many can relate to my story, even if they haven't encounter the same scenario in their lives. I am not offended by people offering their opinions, even if they are stinging. I want to hear them to look for kernels of truth that may be present (and I think there are many here). This is a message board of people interested in FIRE, not a board where psychologists or counselors sit around and talk shop. I understand this.

I thought it would take a couple of weeks to think about love and whether or not I love my wife (by the way, she is less than two years younger than me). It took only a few minutes of thinking about us to realize that I do indeed love my wife with all my heart. That being said, I do feel like she may be taking advantage of her situation, but maybe I am the one who allowed that to happen by not being more insistent in the past about her returning to work.

What I think I realized over the last couple of days is that she has a whole different set of goals totally unrelated (and seemingly totally incongruent) to my ER plans. A couple people mentioned this. I think perhaps this is the core of the problem. I come home from a stressful week at my job and I am looking for her to get a babysitter so she and I can go out together and blow off some steam. She doesn’t make this a priority because helping me relieve the stresses of the week isn’t really part of her set of goals. All last year she volunteered at one of the kids activities every Monday night. So I would come home, eat by myself and sit in front of the TV wondering why she couldn’t even take one single Monday off to be with me while the kids were at their activity (there were plenty of other adults at the activity each week to supervise the children – most parents just dropped their kids off and came to pick them up two hours later). I asked her time and time again to take just a Monday or two off during the year… she said she was needed at the activity. I realize now that this activity was in line with her set of goals of raising the kids. Certainly I feel that my needs were being overlooked here, but then again she would come home and I would give her a kiss, ask about her day and talk to the kids while they were brushing their teeth and getting ready for bed. I’d ask again about her staying spending a Monday with me at some future date… with the same results.

A couple of people mentioned respecting the life she has built for herself and the children. That is a good point. I do feel that I respect the life she has built for our family which is why she hasn’t worked for the last 10 years. This has afforded her the opportunity to work on all of her child-rearing goals unimpeded by financial worries. When I asked her to switch roles with me, she looked at her goals (maintaining the house, raising the children, etc) and felt that her working and my staying home would not further her goals. So she said no. I am not sure I agree… I think I could be a good stay at home Dad. But either way, I do respect what she does for us, for the life she has built for me and the children and I respect her plan.

Several mentioned that my financially oriented goals are having a destructive effect on our relationship. I think there may be something to that statement… especially when coupled with her strong child rearing goals. Because of these factors, I think my options regarding my current job (and associated ER plans) are limited. Several people mentioned that I am facing a lot of headwinds with my circumstances. This got me thinking that there are three main things that are getting in the way:

- My job is unfulfilling. So is the commute. So are the health issues.
- I have a desire to help raise my kids (other than over the weekend).
- I have a spouse whose plans do not include my ERing, creating a real or perceived inequality in each of our contributions to this marriage… an inequality backed by the state - whose laws I appear to be on the wrong side of.

None of these things are easily solvable. If I was just dealing with any one of these problems, I believe I wouldn’t have any trouble handling my situation. Three is too many.

So I think I have three alternatives (maybe someone else sees another alternative?):

- Maintain the status quo and continue to deal with the escalating health issues and mental instability for the next five or so years.
- Work in a less stressful position and defer ER indefinitely.
- Make due with what we have, stay home with my wife and help raise the children.

The first option seems like hell to me. The job is what brought all of this on to begin with.

The second option, suggested by several posters, is not going help me to spend time raising my kids. This may be a good option for down the road. Part time at home may be an option, but I don’t think those types of opportunities are plentiful or pay very well.

This leaves me with the last option… simply walking away from work. This will allow me to take an active role in the raising of my children. We will not have much money and certain things like vacations, the children’s allowances, our $2,500 Christmas budget for the kids and other members of my family, eating out, having two cars. Running the heat/AC all day will have to go. Cell phones will need to go too. We will likely need to downsize our already modest home as well which will have the added benefit of helping us get out from under our significant property tax bill. But I have accumulated enough to keep everyone clothed, fed, warm and insured with a 4% draw rate. We may even qualify for aid programs such as free lunches at school and subsidized electricity if I can structure things correctly. Anything my wife and I want beyond these things will need to be worked out beforehand… If one of us wants to go on vacation, then we will need to decide who is going to do what work and for how long in order to save the money to go. I think that seems fair.

Maybe one of us can go back to work some years down the road when the kids are in high school and doing their own thing.

Some may ask why I would put my wife’s dreams and wishes ahead of my dreams and wished of providing a good life for my family and ERing young. I can’t really answer that but it just seems like it fits better. By aligning my goals with hers, neither of us is making any outsized contribution and neither will have any built in expectations with regarding to spending time together or blowing off the stresses of the week. It also resolves my, perhaps overstated worries, about a future divorce, splitting of assets and all that. A couple people mentioned that that divorce might happen after the kids are gone or 10 years from now. Now, if it does happen we will likely share much more equally in whatever burdens such a separation would create. After all, I’ll have no income and neither will she and we’re both well educated with good earning ability.

The only thing I am still trying to work through is the loss of my plans of enjoying a dignified ER… a goal I have been working on for a number of years. But it solves all three of the issues I stated above. I will have goals that are congruent with my wife and I will get to help raise my kids. I will grow closer to my family. As many have suggested, I will certainly schedule some counseling sessions with our EAP people before the final decision is made.

I also regret that I didn’t see this coming sooner. I thought I knew all of the factors that could topple my ER plans (weak dollar, low market returns, high inflation, loss of well paying job, serious illness, etc.). I honestly didn’t see this one coming. I think the divorce of my friend that I mentioned in my first post coupled with a high pressure, high stress job and a wife with strong goals incongruent to my plans (and the associated problems that created) led me to where I am right now.

I’ve learned something else too. That involving the state in your personal affairs, which evidently is a big part of what a marriage is, seriously limits your future options for the rest of your life. I didn’t know the laws were so ruinous and seemingly lopsided. I don’t know what choice I would have made long ago when I proposed, but I like having full disclosure before making decisions. I was just full of love for her and to hell with everything else. I still feel that way. However, I don’t understand why the state needs to bring these lopsided regulations into our relationship. Maybe the laws work well for people who have few assets and mountains of debt. It seems like they don’t work well for people who love each other but have differing ambition levels and different goals.

I have two boys and will someday share this experience with them (…hey guys, remember the time when Santa stopped bringing Wii’s and Playstations for Christmas?). I wouldn’t tell them don’t ever get married but to think long and hard before making the commitment and to run through as many scenarios as they can think of before involving the state in their commitment to another person. Can they love them without the state being involved?

I am still forming thoughts around all of this. I am going to give some thought as to how to best present this plan to the wife as well. I don’t think I’ll be dealing with a potential H-bomb here like the paper divorce scenario… maybe just a bat over the head? Also, someone suggested that there may be provisions in the marriage laws for people who have contributed significantly more assets during a marriage… does anyone know more about this? Any ideas on how to present this to my wife in a loving, gentle manner? Again, I always welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions.
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:42 AM   #123
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OP

One other thing to consider is that your wife has her own goals that do not accomodate your goals. This will not likely change no matter what you do. If you were sitting at home, would she include you in her activities? I suspect you might get a share of the housework, but I am willing to bet that there will be conflict surrounding raising the children.

Dysfunctional relationships seldom get fixed when there are fundamental conflicts underlying them. That is why Dr Phil and Oprah have been such a success. There are no end of situations like yours or worse. Tread carefully as you address this head on. You may not like the outcome.

There are many couples who loved each other but could not live together owing to underlying conflicts (including both my own and my soulmate's previous marriages).
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:43 AM   #124
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I don't understand how the second option wouldn't help, if you can find a job with less stress, a shorter commute, and flexibility to take some time off during the day to see the occasional kids' event at school, and more often, after school. Is it because this would still be unbalanced with respect to what you are contributing?

The state laws aren't intended to be ruinous to you. They are intended to make certain the children are provided for.

I thought ladelfina had an interesting theory that your wife might have Aspergers. It's interesting that you don't even mention trying to get her properly diagnosed and get some help. All I'm hearing is that life is unfair to you, and the system is out to get you.

If she's resistant to even going to a doctor, are there any family or friends that can help? Keeping the whole money/divorce/your unhappiness out of it, can you go to one of them and tell them your concerns about her behavior and see if they can help?
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:44 AM   #125
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You asked how to present this in a loving, gentle manner. I think that talking to her in a loving, gentle manner is probably a really good idea.

It sounds like your wife loves you a lot and you know, some people really belong together. I am happy for you that you found one another, but I want to stress how lucky you are and that this marriage sounds like it is worth bending over backwards to save. Besides, before you know it, the kids will be grown and gone, and you will be ER'd with your wife whom you love deeply, and life will be so much better.

Personally, I found that going back to work was ridiculously easy after being a stay-at-home Mom for three years. Work was like a vacation but one that I didn't think would be the responsible choice for our particular baby at that particular time in her life.

I dunno. Maybe I just see the woman's point of view on this. I would push option #1; five years of hell is a small price to pay for 50-60 years of heaven. Try going to the Monday night activities with her, and staying the whole time (and eventually taking over that duty so she can have some time off).
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:54 AM   #126
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Your plan is to walk away from your job and let the chips fall where they fall? That's a plan that might get you into big trouble. It's more like shooting yourself in your foot financially and domestically. (And you just inched back into the troll category in my mind.)

Before you unveil your plan to her, spend a weekend away from the kids on a romantic get-a-way and unburden your heart and discomfort to her. How about you try to reconnect with your wife and explain to her that the roles she and you have morphed into during the marriage are causing you a lot of angst; that your job really sucks and you need her to be more supportive of you; that you want to spend more family time with your children and her; and that you would like her to be more compromising in her roles. Tell her you love her passionately and don't want to live without her, but that you find it very difficult to be in this relationship that appears to be sucking you dry and you can't stand it! I wouldn't even mention FIRE or money.

This isn't about FIRE or money -- it's about the roles you have morphed into. Good luck and I'm outta here with advice.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:38 AM   #127
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The second option, suggested by several posters, is not going help me to spend time raising my kids. This may be a good option for down the road. Part time at home may be an option, but I don’t think those types of opportunities are plentiful or pay very well.

We may even qualify for aid programs such as free lunches at school and subsidized electricity if I can structure things correctly.

I have two boys and will someday share this experience with them (…hey guys, remember the time when Santa stopped bringing Wii’s and Playstations for Christmas?).

. I don’t think I’ll be dealing with a potential H-bomb here like the paper divorce scenario… maybe just a bat over the head? Also, someone suggested that there may be provisions in the marriage laws for people who have contributed significantly more assets during a marriage… does anyone know more about this? Any ideas on how to present this to my wife in a loving, gentle manner?
I just have to say, the more you post, the more you reaffirm/ confirm your intitial impression of your first post.

You and your wife are on completely different pages. Different goals. Different visions of life.

Your #1 goal in life is ER.
Your wife's #1 in life is her kids.

That's what you need to reconcile. B/c if your goal is really to spend more time with your kids, then do it!
You get home...so instead of sitting in front of the TV. Spend time in front of your kids.

Your wife won't take off Mondays, b/c she thinks it best for the kids that she be there.
Why would you question her motive or intent? You trust her to be the primary caregiver to your kids, so trust that she needs to be there on Mondays.
There are 6 other days of the week to take her out.

I don't understand why option 2 is a no-go when it actually seems like the most reasonable option. Crank back the hours and spend more time with your kids.
Options #1 and #3 actually sound unsustainable, based on the way you comment.
I personally work 50+ hours a week and spend at least 4 h every night with my 2 yo.
You just have to make every minute count. And as someone posted, yeah, why aren't you going with the rest of your family to those Mon night activities.
Remember, there are lots of jobs, not just the one you are occupying.

Re: the free lunches and subsidized electricity, let it be stated here that it would be fraud for you to 'structure' your application. If you can live off a SWR 4%, then you are better off than 90% of all persons in your state.
Not a good example for your kids either.

It can be argued that kids are better off without Playstation and Wii.

And finally, i'm still not sure that you love your wife.
If someone wanted to take a bat to my dh or ds, I would have such a visceral response.....I guess I just don't understand your love.
Just LOVE her. LOVE the kids that she loves.
Don't worry about if it shows.
If you deeply love someone, it can't help but show.

Concommitantly, if there is no love, it can't help but show.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:39 AM   #128
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You say:

"Some may ask why I would put my wife’s dreams and wishes ahead of my dreams and wishes...."

It doesn't sound to me like either of you really know what the other's wishes and dreams are, for whatever reason. It also sounds to me from your second post that you would not be so unhappy with your work situation and staying on the current RE plan if your domestic situation were happier. For both your sakes you should go to counselling. You can call any church and they will recommend someone. You can also call your family practice doctor and they can also recommend someone. You can go by yourself if she doesn't want to go, but I imagine she would.

I don't think you will be happier until your issues (both yours and your wife's) are worked out.
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:14 PM   #129
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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. ........

Getting a divorce has nothing to do with kids. That is a red herring.

...........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.

Looks like OP has decided to ignore your (and Shawn's) advice.

Good for him.
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:38 PM   #130
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Don't be surprized if you bring this up in a nice loving way and your wife says she has been thinking about leaving you anyway and this is the final straw .
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:45 PM   #131
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SecondCor.. do you mean "the former" of your two choices would have been better? [1=w&k, 2=FIRE]... Either way, thanks for sharing.
ladelfina, I meant me giving up on FIRE and staying married would have been the better choice for everyone. My ordering wasn't clear, sorry ;-)

Interestingly, I have some characteristics of AS, and have a nephew who has been diagnosed with it. I took an online test that showed me to be normal, though.

As an aside to Runningbum, I read ladelfina's post to be that you thought the husband might have AS, not the wife.

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Old 01-11-2008, 12:48 PM   #132
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Don't be surprized if you bring this up in a nice loving way and your wife says she has been thinking about leaving you anyway and this is the final straw .
Yes, this could very well happen. It amazes me that she hasn't already said this. The fact that she hasn't (yet) done so is why I think she must love him really a lot.
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:26 PM   #133
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Yes, this could very well happen. It amazes me that she hasn't already said this. The fact that she hasn't (yet) done so is why I think she must love him really a lot.
.. because she cares deeply for her kids.
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:39 PM   #134
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As an aside to Runningbum, I read ladelfina's post to be that you thought the husband might have AS, not the wife.
You are right. I first read it as an alternative to the wife's self-diagnosis of OCD, especially when she talked about symptoms of perfectionism (e.g., unwilling to vaccuum the carpet unless she has hours to do it).

Now I see it was the other way, though she did mention that it was not uncommon for the spouse to have some symptoms...perhaps a mutual attraction of like personalities?

Anyway, I won't try to give any more counseling myself, as others have said, we don't have all of the information.

Financially, the OP hasn't even said which state this is, so nobody will be able to give any meaningful advice for his situation in case of divorce. As I suggested before, he should talk to a professional-- a family law attorney-- who should be able to tell him how the courts would rule if he and his wife were unable to come up with an agreement. I doubt there is any loophole unless the wife agrees. From the court's perspective, she gave up her career to raise the kids, and kept the family budget down to enable them to save 70%. Unless there is an obvious sign of neglect which leads to concern about the kids' welfare, she'll get the kids and the child support, and probably alimony. Right or wrong, that's how it is. The only thing you could possibly fight is the alimony, that she could go get a job. Might not be so easy after a few years out of the market though. Since the OP is complaining that he can't just get another job so easily, how can he say she can go snap up an $80K job?
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:23 PM   #135
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Maybe this can help !

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Old 01-11-2008, 02:32 PM   #136
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To the poster, P.S. - I didn’t mean to say it would be a bat to her head… I was implying that instead of her dropping an H-bomb on me for my bringing up a paper divorce, maybe she would just hit me over the head with a bat. Also with regard to your comment about the lunch program - every year the children’s school sends home a federal form about receiving free or discounted lunches. The income levels presented on the form would be below my income generated from a 4% draw rate if I stopped working now (much of the draw would be capital as income would accrue in the deferred accounts). The form doesn’t ask anything about savings, assets or anything else. Just income. It also says that if we qualify for the free lunches (which I believe we will), we likely qualify for a whole host of other items that they listed out… such as electric, phone, medical for the children and other things that I can’t remember. There is no lying involved as I think you were implying… and by structuring, like any good ER plan, I meant I wouldn’t put a bunch of bonds in the taxable account and let them generate taxable income.

The comments about her response to my proposal of stopping work are interesting. If she did indeed say that she didn’t want to be with me anymore because of that, it would be quite ironic since she told me that she isn’t interested in switching roles with me and working for a while. For those who think she may leave me over this, is there some reason why I should be the only one expected to work in this relationship? Because that is the alternative I would be left with. If she wants a divorce over this, it would be an ideal time to split as it is only going to cost more from here, which one of the earlier posters pointed out. I will not have any income because I will stop working. The assets I have worked for at this point in my life, while significant, are not yet so substantial that a tremendous amount would be lost if she takes half. I seriously doubt that the conversation will take this path. Of course, I didn’t think her working for a while would evoke such a strong negative response either but asking for an actual divorce versus saying she isn’t going to work seem vastly different to me.

I don’t like the closer to home option/less stressful job option because I am still wasting a substantial portion of my day only now I am doing it for a lot less money (jobs in my field are readily available for high performers). But I will still be away from my children all day on most days and feel I have already been away for too long (10 years and counting). If I am going to be away all day, I want the rewards to be something substantial and something substantial only comes from high stress jobs as far as I can tell.

As far as the intent of the marriage laws, I don’t know what the intent of the laws were as originally written, but they appear to be harmful to the more ambitious spouse. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t even know one. All that I know about this is what my friend went through and what little I have read on the internet about the subject. Maybe the laws are in fact fairer that I perceive. But, all my life I have heard numerous stories about men being taken to the cleaners. I saw my friend go through it up close and personally. Either way, I don’t know why anyone, particularly employed males, would invite the state into their personal commitments.

To the poster who suggested we take a weekend together. We did that before Thanksgiving and it was wonderful. We connect very well when everything is going smoothly.

I have encouraged counseling for her self-diagnosed OCD, but she refuses every time I bring it up, insisting it is nothing that can’t be controlled and it is not impacting our lives significantly.

I also took the online AS test and it deemed that I was normal. I think my wife would be too, but perhaps I will bring it up one day as something to try.

We are in Florida.
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:39 PM   #137
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OP -- Strange as it is to say -- you and I have a lot in common. Yes, I'm a 50-year-old woman, unmarried and without kids, but we have one key similarity.

I, too, have a job I hate and which I belive to be damaging my health. But I also have a financial goal, and so I keep my nose to the grindstone.

And I do what you do -- I come to this site for advice, scheme on ways to solve my problem, and come up with ideas that are sometimes harebrained, at best.

This is no place to be. It "feels like hell" to you because it is hell. I have seen co-workers literally carried out dead from heart attacks in their 50s, know of more than a few who have been on psychiatric disability due to stress, and know one friend in line for a significant retention bonus who walked out just 2 months before he got it saying "not ONE more day."

I mention my own case, and the case of these colleagues (several of whom are unmarried and childless), to make an important point. You would be in the same place -- with a health-damaging job -- even if your wife and kids were not in your life.

You might try to see this for yourself with a thought experiment. Sit for a moment and imagine that you're single and childless, but that you have your same job and same stresses.

Don’t you still have a problem to solve?

When human beings get into painful circumstances we often cast around for a solution and often, unfortunately, focus on an issue that may be related, but not core, to the problem. We spend time trying to fix the related issue, or fuming over the proposed fix not working, and that takes our eye off the ball, to our detriment.

This is not to say that your wife is being fair, or that your friend's divorce is not painful to him and of concern to you. But these are not core issues.

At the core is a fundamental choice -- to continue to enjoy the lifestyle and retirement you had envisioned, or stop working at a job you hate and enjoy a more modest retirement. It is by no means an easy question, as evidenced by the many people out here (myself included, obviously) who have not yet pulled the plug on toxic environments.

Because you HAVE a wife (which others do not) you have quite naturally gone first to her for help. You have asked her to do one of two things -- get a job to maintain the status quo financially, or reduce her needs to allow you quit your job. She is willing to do one of these, apparently, but not the one you prefer.

Had she been willing to work you would have been spared the VERY DIFFICULT decision. Unfortunately, she is not. You are left with the dilemma and must deal with it. The “golden handcuffs” are yours to wear, and yours, alone, to throw off.

So… you seem to perceive this and have made a preliminary decision to leave the job. You recognize that you have made ‘enough’ to take care of your family, and that you are working now to buy non-essential things in life.

But I still see evidence of a lot of black and white thinking. It’s the job you have, or no job at all. It’s your dreams and desires, or your wife’s – no blend of the two. It’s toys for your kids, or no toys (as though they'll look back in 20 years and remember the gadget they got for Christmas more than they remember the day Dad took them to the ballgame.)

And you’re still mulling over the unfairness of the divorce laws, when they are not really the issue here.

(Another thought experiment – you have a job you absolutely love – are you STILL after your wife to work or to sign away her claims to your income? Or are you happy as a clam to go to work, leave her to the children, and join her at night to share your joys and successes with one another?)

This confusion is not your fault. You are in a vicious cycle here – you want to find a solution that will eliminate your stress, but your stress makes it impossible to think straight. This causes you to cycle around and around about tangential problems and come up with untenable solutions.

IMHO the very next thing you need to do is see a counselor – on your own, by yourself. You need someone (other than the yahoos on this board, again, myself included), who has the training and experience to dispassionately guide you through the issues, your needs, and your options. You need someone to show you that there are a million ways to go here – not just the few that you can see. There is part-time work, there’s not working, and there’s retraining for a career that feeds your soul and not just your bank account. You might take a sabbatical to test the waters before plunging in to any plan at all.

FWIW, I think you have the brains and awareness it takes to realize that you’re going down the wrong path here. You are capable of re-recognizing that a lovely wife, two great kids, and the money to (albeit modestly) retire at your young age are blessings few will ever have.

Stop focusing on your wife as your enemy – in fact, stop focusing on her at ALL. Stop seeing your job as the only one worth having – millions of people are employed, happily and productively, at jobs entirely different from yours. Instead, find someone who can guide you on the treasure hunt you’ve got in front of you – the search for what YOU want to be - the search for yourself.

I, for one, am rooting for you.
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OCD or OCPD?
Old 01-11-2008, 02:57 PM   #138
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OCD or OCPD?

Long-time reader, first time poster...

The OP referenced his wife's perfectionism and need for control (e.g. babysitter). I recently became aware of the existence of OCPD, which is different than OCD and often confused because of the similarity in name .

I would suggest researching the description of "Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder" (OCPD). If you find that OCPD fits the bill, then I'd suggest getting the book "Too Perfect" by Allan Mallinger. For someone with OCDP or living with someone who is, it will provide a lot of insight.
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:12 PM   #139
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I will not have any income because I will stop working.
That might not work. I have a friend in NC, who got divorced, then got laid off. He wanted to go into something else that he loved, at about 60% of the income, and tried to get child support reduced. Someone (not sure if it was his lawyer, his ex- and her lawyer, or if it went to court and it was the judge) said nope. You have to make a real effort to find a job in your field.

That wasn't fair. Life's not fair. Would that happen to you? Very possibly. What do you think a judge will say when you petition for child support to be drastically cut because you quit your job? My friend got laid off, and he didn't even get a break.

What do you want? You want sympathy? You got it. You're in a tough situation, though it could be a lot worse. Your wife could be chewing through that savings. She could be cheating on you, she could be getting fat sitting on the couch watching soaps.

You want an answer to your situation? Deal with the realities. Don't waste time on things not in your control. The divorce and child support laws aren't likely to change, even if they aren't fair. Try to change what you can, and cope with the rest. What you can't cope with, you'll have to change in some way.
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:38 PM   #140
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Hi,

I have read through most of this, and I'd just like to add this:

You say you only have 3 options, one of which is to get a different job, not plan to ER, and that this won't help you spend more time with your kids.

I have to question your logic here. You are only 39. I am 38 and plan to FIRE at 52. You can still ER with a lesser paying job - maybe not 44, but how about 50? Or 52? That is still FIREing. I will retire early saving 30% of my salary - so can you!

Also, there are certainly jobs that will help you spend more time with your kids - find one closer and with normal, 40 hour work weeks. Take the pay cut (saving that 30% instead of 70%), save your sanity, spend the extra time with your kids, etc.

You need to break down your multiple issues into chunks you can work on separately - fixing the job is one problem; finding common ground with your wife is another problem; dealing with your feelings about her contributions to the marriage is another.

FIREing is something you should be working on together. You refer to "her" goals and "my" goals - where are the "OUR" goals? You are not a team if you are both living your lives on different pages.

If you truly love your wife, I think you should use your EAP and find a good marriage counselor.
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