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Old 01-11-2008, 05:17 PM   #141
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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?
Isn't it obvious? Because, just because.

I can't quite figure it out, but you could report that you just saved a drowning puppy at considerable risk to your own life and the board would jump all over you.

Maybe this is dissonance reduction by all the other trapped folks who have finally learned to look at the bright side of their own enslavement.

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Old 01-11-2008, 05:18 PM   #142
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Aside - Caroline, you are one smart cookie.

OP, I see you following a pattern of making assumptions and then proceeding significantly down paths based on these assumptions before determining if what you think is true is actually true. Some examples:

1. You're assuming that your wife's contributions to the marriage are less than yours (as I mentioned earlier). I suggested methods you could try to determine if this were, in fact, true or not.
2. You're assuming the divorce laws will be unfair to you based on your friend's experience, what you've read on the Internet, and horror stories you've heard. These are not valid sources to verify your assumptions. I suggested a family law attorney is the right place to get solid answers. Alternatively, you could go read the actual law, rules, relevant court cases and guidelines that would apply to you.
3. I'm reading between the lines a bit here, but it sounds like you're assuming that quitting your job would be advantageous to your position in the case of divorce. I don't know the laws in the state of Florida, but in my state (Idaho), we have something called imputed income, which basically assumes that I can make a certain amount of money $X and will base my child support on $X, even if I make less in the future. This may apply to you; again I suggest you determine the facts.
4. I believe you've now mentioned twice a fear that your wife might divorce you in the future, but you haven't said anything objective that supports this fear. It sounds more to me like she's sticking with you pretty well. The ironic thing is that your fear and subsequent actions could drive her to divorce you even when she otherwise might not have.

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Old 01-11-2008, 05:29 PM   #143
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Well no hitlergodzilla has spawned yet.
Maybe we should go in another direction...
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:35 PM   #144
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Maybe we should submit this thread to the Dr Phil show..."Howzat workin' for ya?"
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:47 PM   #145
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I'm with Caroline and Kaudry. If you could FIRE now with a 4% SWR, it would be better in a couple years....why wait the full five? Just do a couple. Then you could even be a people greeter in WalMart for 4 hrs a day while the kids are at school, if you a few extra bucks badly enough (but I think you could find something better for PT work if you wanted). Get counseling, by yourself and for yourself. Use your EAP, that's what it is there for. Don't do anything drastic or as Moemg said you could find yourself in the doghouse, literally...and it sounds like that is not what you really want.

I know everyone's situation is different, and I know your counselor will probably say it softer than this, but you need to figure out what your real goals are, then "suck it up" and go after them. But, be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it!

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Old 01-11-2008, 06:04 PM   #146
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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).
Busted! You are a troll. All of a sudden your wife is less than 2 years younger but in your first post, she was several years younger. How did you suddenly forget your ages? Get a life.
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:10 PM   #147
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Not a troll

I doubt he is a troll. But even if he were, I am glad he showed up because I have learned a lot about social attitudes, at least as are shared by board members.

Hey HK, thanks for volunteering to be the deer that gets pulled across the range. You have been a sacrifice to pedagogy.

Ha
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:00 PM   #148
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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. ... I have accumulated enough to keep everyone clothed, fed, warm and insured with a 4% draw rate.


Oh, man. Here I've been feeling sorry for you because there seemed no reasonable solution, and now it turns out that all you need to do is be a little painlessly frugal, and all of your described problems are solved.

You think it would be hard to not spend $2,500 on Christmas presents and not eat out so often? It would be a lot less hard than being divorced, commuting long distances, and having severe health problems.

You think it would be risky to retire now, move to a small town in a cheaper house that doesn't need AC all day? I bet it would be less risky than your current situation.

Now use us for what we're good at. Tell us your expenses and your net worth, etc, and we'll tell you whether retiring now is a reasonable option.

I've been thinking "Oh, that poor guy -- sure makes me appreciate my own situation." But you could probably be in exactly my situation by not doing things like spending $2,500 on Christmas. You and the entire family could spend all day vacuuming your darn rug. I'm not saying retiring would solve all of your relationship problems, but it removes the stresses of (1) unequal contributions (2) bad job and (3) horrendous commute.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:43 PM   #149
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Great post Al.

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Old 01-11-2008, 07:45 PM   #150
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You may be on to a workable compromise solution here. I think you might also want to think about casting it as temporary - a sabbatical - rather than a permanent change. You can re-evaluate whenever, in a few years. You can add a part-time job for you (or your wife) if the spirit so moves either of you. You can de-stress and think better (in a few months) about what you really want. Kudos for open mind and listening to many points of view.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:54 AM   #151
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Caroline.. fantastic post..

Al.. yep, I was thinking about this.
Let's say the guy takes home (just for ease of calculation) $100k after tax, and the family spends $30k. This has been going on 10 years so they have $700k plus whatever gains on that; at 8% compounded annually this is around a million bucks, which more or less seems in the range (proportionally, if not in actual dollars) of where he is figuring his 'retiring now in squalor' scenario. During this time (him working hard; wife working hard with little kids) things were "equal" in his mind.

Now, he'd like to retire both early and "well". So that requires an extra 5 years (continuing to save at the same rate would give them $2million in 5 years). While he sees this 5-year "home stretch" as impossible, he "presents plans" to his wife that are very black and white and extreme, as Caroline points out.. instead of trying to be creative in all the myriad ways this shortfall could be resolved. It could be a part-time job for him (and not just as a Wal*Mart greeter). It could be reduced spending. It could be a home business they work on together. It could be a lot of things in combination. HK1970, read Caroline's post multiple times. kaudrey also made excellent points and re-assumed key other ones.

Al, I love your rug idea. It could become a family activity!

Also, here's an idea for a collaborative home-based business:
Would you wear a cat hair sweater? - Styledash

I'm still worried that he is preoccupied with the divorce stuff when that should be the last thing on his mind. Whether now or later, it's gonna be bad, bad, bad and he should do everything in his power to make sure that doesn't happen, since it sounds like something neither of them want! That means working on what's causing his frustration w/his job to spill over into resentment towards his wife, who really doesn't seem to be 'demanding' all that much, at least not in proportion to his resentments and fears.

Shawn, as far as the "worth" argument is concerned.. I agree that husbands have similar kinds of "worth" as do wives! That's why we should ALL appreciate the hell out of each other.

HK1970, I'm glad that you scored 'normal'. Hope you are not offended as it was not meant that way; it is a condition that happens and can comport a certain rigidity in thinking, yet many people can learn to work with it.

and as growingolder pointed out.. you have kept a remarkably patient attitude given all the negative reaction! But still you seem to be missing something, and focusing on the negatives much more than on the positives:
Quote:
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?
But she didn't say that! You said she "wasn't totally opposed to" your quitting right now and living in reduced circumstances from the ones you'd envisioned. That sounds pretty on-board to me as far as it goes; she ISN'T expecting you to work the way YOU are expecting you to work.. Read Caroline's post. All the best wishes..
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:03 AM   #152
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From a certified, but recovering, dumba$$ :

Quit worrying so much about money and focus on your family. If you have a crappy family relationship then all the money in the world is not going to matter.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:51 AM   #153
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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.

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What prevents you from going with her?
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:31 AM   #154
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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.

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What prevents you from going with her?
Try tuesday?
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:10 PM   #155
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HK1970 have you considered dumping the job, selling the house, and buying an RV yet? Home school the kids (both of you) and just travel the country until you find someplace you really like. The kids will get a much better education than from most public schools and the places visited will make a lasting impression. Like, is it better to study the Civil War in a book or visit several of the battlefields to gain a perspective on the scope of that War.

I too had a high stress job with a 110 mile daily commute. Found this Forum and FIRECALC . I had always figured I'd have to work until 60 but I left 3 years early at 57. Don't miss the w**k a bit. My lifestyle is not as high as I'd like i.e. $30k/yr travel budget but I smile that ER smile every day
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:51 PM   #156
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You said she "wasn't totally opposed to" your quitting right now and living in reduced circumstances from the ones you'd envisioned. That sounds pretty on-board to me as far as it goes; she ISN'T expecting you to work the way YOU are expecting you to work..
Or she was calling his bluff.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:12 PM   #157
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I'll heartily second (third?) TromboneAl's idea. Post income, expenses, net worth... you'll get (more objective) opinions on your financial situation.


HK1970,

I have an important question for you.

Assume for the moment that tomorrow you find a legal way to end your marriage without your ex-wife having a claim to half your assets. The asset split would be according to the assets you both brought to the marriage and the earnings since. And you wouldn't have to pay any support for your children.

What would would you do?
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:02 AM   #158
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I certainly understand your situation. Been there myself and placed my 1st post on this forum when I reached the breaking point. Let me tell you what I have done since that point last summer.
#1 Vent Vent Vent...it feels good and gets rid of some of the toxins
#2 Unilaterally cut back on work. Tell the boss you need a half day a week to attend to family and then take that time for yourself. Go for a walk. Do the grocery shopping. Listen to some music. Read something entertaining. Just do something besides work. It's amazing how that half day changes your attitude.
#3 Put ER on the back burner for 6 to 12 months and decompress. You(and I) have issues to solve that can't be fixed overnight.
#4 Buy Bob Clyatt's book Work Less Live More and read it. Then read it again.
#5 Make the commute tolerable. Go to the library and get books on tape or cd. It really helps to make the time pass quicker and takes your mind off other issues for 90 minutes.

The key here is to step back from the breaking point, and allow yourself some time for some rational thought. There are many, many more options than the 3 you've mentioned. You just need some time to clear your head so you can discover them. Good luck to you.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:42 AM   #159
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Man.... just read this for the first time... and lots of 'advice' of what to do... SOOOOO, why not me

1> First, I have never met a woman who would put herself in a worse financial situation just so you can have a better one.... on your so called 'divorce' and stay together... why would she agree?? It is only saying in her mind "OK, if YOU leave me in the future, I get screwed as I have nothing"... I do not think this will happen... and I also think it is a bad idea... what about common law marriages?

2> Why are you so stressed at work? MOST people I have met that are 'stressed' are causing this stress on themselves... it is not the job or the boss... and if you are able to quit and live in squalor more power to YOU at work... you would be surprised how a boss reacts when you refuse to do something that is against your wishes and you say 'fire me'..

3> Have you tried to change jobs at your work? I would bet there are less stressful jobs you can do and keep working...

4> About 'Monday' and not getting attention... what about the other 6 days? Sounds like YOU need to get involved with the raising of your kids and that YOU are being taken care of well...

5> Let's see... I can work another 5 years and make money... and then retire and NOT DO ANYTHING, but have my wife keep doing what she had been doing.... sounds like a good trade to me.. she is putting in 30 years of 'housework' to you 5 of 'working'...

6> She seems to have the SAME goal as you about retiring... if not, she would be spending a LOT more money, but you say you save 70%... so she is not out there 'wasting' YOUR money

7> Who decided to spend the $2500 on gifts This sounds to me like your decision, not hers... so YOU are the problem here also...

All this adds up to that YOU have a problem that you need to get some counseling to resolve.... you are jealous that you wife does not work.. and you think she is 'taking advantage' of YOU... (wow, we keep coming back to you for some reason)..

As someone else said... she might be right on the edge of divorcing you also.... that YOU do not care for the family and YOU only care about money... and she wants a more loving husband who is HAPPY...

time for an attitude adjustment IMO....
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:16 PM   #160
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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).

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.
DUDE! You are not getting it at all - ALL of your posts have inferred that the kids, house etc are HER goals - She is getting that message loud and clear as we are here...

Many women go through the first year after a baby is born - in shock, despair and depression - letting go of the fantasy we had that the baby would help the couple bond and have this magical parent relationship. It's a world of vastly different expectations and often - the new moms have to decide if they will put up with the dad's "contributions" to the new baby or leave - if she decided to stay, she probably decided that it was completely up to her if the kids were going to have a decent, loving supportive life. You exhibit this thoroughly - you hardly mention the kids except in this "future" talk about er'g and don't seem to have gone much out of your way to do stuff in the "now" with the explanation of your tough job etc.

Well, I can tell you that is crap because there are dad's who do go out of their way to volunteer, even though they work full time, show up to stuff and maintain interest. I think you checked out a LONG time ago and all of your insistance that you want to ER to spend time with the kids are probably met with one of these or .

Then - to say you want a night for you two to spend together - after disregarding what she does 24/7, making it clear you do not value it presents itself as needy and selfish.

For you to say that raising the kids well, helping out with their activities and helping to maintain the house are "her" goals and "incongruant" to yours makes you very good divorce material.

The folks here who are close or have ER'd as a couple have done so because they worked as a TEAM and appreciated each others contributions very well. I'm always very impressed with the fellas here who so outwardly, consistantly appreciate their spouses because it is in such stark contrast to the mainstream world right now. But of course it takes extraordinary people to ER successfully and happily - not just ER.

Some people have said you need to share your feelings in a kind way - I think you need to shut up and LISTEN to your wife. Really listen or you are going to see everything evaporate in front of your face.

If you took time to see how your wife and kids REALLY view you - you might get over your pity party and realize you've screwed up pretty bad here and need to start taking action now. Sometimes when you do one thing really well (for you it was busting your butt at work, but not the same effort at home) - other balls have dropped - and that is your wife and kids.
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