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Old 12-05-2015, 09:26 AM   #21
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Junglejoe, you sound a bit like me. I'm divorced and had the resentment thing going on, like you. We were incompatible psychologically, I think, and her non-working perhaps was a conduit to express the negative energy from the incompatibility. I had a huge fear of divorce and didn't want it, but she did, She promised to go back to work after having our child, but never did. Always an excuse. Me dying every day trying not to get fired, as a computer programmer, struggling, not cut out for it, but it paid well, so stayed in the fray. She staying home, raising a child, yes, and having dinner ready, nice clean house, but she was EQUATING the degree of difficulty to my struggle. I was expected to be the strong provider, happily giving the money to the wife as a token of my love and esteem. Eventually we had our child in school and she still could not bring herself to get a job, but she found lots of time to do volunteer work and use my gas and car, and spend my money (no, not our money) on her volunteer work. Oh, and I was supposed to be excited to spend my time on her volunteer crap. OK, this is getting very ugly, so I'll stop here. I can relate to your resentment! Oh, and before we got married she was one heck of a good secretary, with good work ethic. Something happened. My advice. See if you can bring yourself to accept her flaws, and concentrate on her positive points. That works for me with my current gf. Good luck !
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:28 AM   #22
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You might not want to hear this, but it is obvious that you, and only you, have decided to change the longstanding terms of your relationship. She is not on board with your plan, which is not her fault. You sound like a bank that says, "We have decided to change your 30 year mortgage to a 2 year mortgage. Pay up and it will be good for us both.". You: "I am unhappy about those new terms and refuse.". Bank: "Why is this client so lazy and pampered?!"

This sounds like a guy who left the heavy kid raising responsibilities to his wife for 18 years, and now has too much time at home being semiFIRED, and wants her to subsidize his new lifestyle. It has nothing to do with your difficult childhood. You are not starving and that's a crutch. Somehow I feel I'm wasting my time playing Dr. Phil... The transition to retirement is one of the periods with the highest divorce rate. Sad.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:28 AM   #23
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Unless she will be motivated in a manner that she finds beneficial, based on her current desire to balk at the suggestion, this could be a fruitless endeavor. Synergies and a lifetime of basically not being in the workforce will be tough to overcome. Just looking at myself, I have been retired almost 6 years and basically done little work the past 4. Though not wealthy, I don't even spend my monthly pension. I have thought of doing something PT at times, but isn't going to happen. I am too far gone.
The roles you two have had for your marriage maybe too entrenched. You, the breadwinner, and she the homemaker. I wouldn't push this issue to the resentment stage.



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Old 12-05-2015, 09:43 AM   #24
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To the OP, I think you are looking at the wrong side of the equation. instead of focusing on "forcing" your wife to go back to work (which will not end well for your relationship), focus on what you can do to better save/cut back in your present circumstances.
Jollystomper probably said this better than I did. The OP's post sounds like the whole issue is a battle for control and "forcing" his wife to go back to work. Marriage is not about slavery! All that this focus on forcing and control will do, is drive the couple apart, IMO. Instead, why not focus on what brought you together to begin with, the fulfillment of having spent your lives together, and your dreams and plans for the future and how the two of you can work together as a team towards the future you both have in mind. If saving or cutting back will help, certainly that should be a part of the discussion.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:00 AM   #25
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Instead, why not focus on what brought you together to begin with, the fulfillment of having spent your lives together, and your dreams and plans for the future and how the two of you can work together as a team towards the future you both have in mind. If saving or cutting back will help, certainly that should be a part of the discussion.
+1

I've never been in this situation, (although I have been divorced), but ISTM that unilateral 'decisions', (regardless of the topic/situation), are, at best, going to generate repressed hostility.

Sit down, outline your mutual goals, compromise where necessary, and develop a joint strategy.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:37 AM   #26
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One other thought: It's often good to step back and look at the entire "body of work"; that is, the entire duration of the partnership, past, present and future.

She certainly held up her end of the bargain as a SAHM, I'm willing to bet. It's possible that she may have even pulled *more* than her weight, especially if yours was like some households where when Dad got off work, he was *off*, while Mom was pretty much on call more than 8:00-5:00 Monday through Friday.

Marriage is not 50/50. "Keeping score" is rarely healthy, if ever. Sometimes marriage is 80/20; other times it's 20/80. There are likely going to be times when one of you is carrying the other on your back, and vice versa. Just because you are doing most of the heavy lifting now doesn't mean you always have, or even that you always will. Does she at least deal with the housework, and running the errands so you don't have to deal with those outside work hours? If so, I suspect it's closer to a "fair deal" than you are thinking it is, because it's not *all* about money and who is earning it when it comes to managing a household. In any event, it seems pretty evident that using a stick isn't going to work. Got any carrots?

I spent most of the first 21 years of our marriage bearing most of the burden, which I (mostly) accepted freely. I had the main job responsibilities. I brought in the (relatively) big paycheck and the benefits, while my lovely bride flittered in and out of jobs and in and out of school trying to discover what she ultimately wanted to do. (Keep in mind also that we had no kids, so being a parent, male or female, did not apply.) Sometimes this was 80/20, sometimes more like 60/40, but only occasionally close to "50/50" because she often did most of the housework and ran the errands when she wasn't working much.

Well, when she finally discerned her vocational calling and got started in it (I was about 45 at the time), we were pretty well set, I was close to being able to quit my IT job (I planned to pull the plug at 50).... and then I was laid off at 47. For quite a while I did almost nothing and loved it. Suddenly it was 20/80. I was the "slacker" and she was the breadwinner.

Neither of us ever felt like we needed to accuse the other of not pulling their weight. Looking back to the past and into what we expect for the future, I don't think either of us feel cheated or are unfairly being put upon. It will probably never finish out as 50/50, but we feel it's close enough that it's not worth developing toxic attitudes about who is doing more.

That's often easier said than done, I know, and I guess we are just blessed to have found each other.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:47 AM   #27
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This sounds a lot like a struggle my parents went through except it came to an apex when I (youngest) entered middle school. My dad was looking at looming college costs and freaked out. He didn't handle it well.... I remember lots of fights about my mom going back to work. He would read the newspaper and circle ads for menial crappy jobs (tuna packing plant for an example)... she took the bait - in a positive way, and found a staff position for a local elected official. (She started by volunteering on his campaign.) It turned out to be a good fit for her - but she found it because she was so pissed at Dad for expecting her to take a menial job when she had a college degree and good organizational skills. She ended up with enough years with the county to get a great retirement pension.

Part of her motivation to get the good job was fear of divorce. They managed to work things out - but it was dicey for YEARS based on this fight.

I'm not suggesting you promote crappy jobs for your wife... unless you want to get divorced... I'm suggesting you and your wife have a conversation about the bottom line finances, what the financial goals are, what kind of job would she be interested in and how could she prepare for it.

I suspect a big part of her resentment is based on fear/discomfort about failing in the workforce. She's been good as a SAHM, now she needs to put herself back out there in a different role - and she's out of her comfort zone. Having you push her too hard is only going to aggravate that fear/discomfort.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:13 AM   #28
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I'm not taking sides here at all, but based on the OP's general description of their finances, I bet if they get divorced she has to go back to work. Maybe she should think about what her life will be like if she doesn't bend at all.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:24 AM   #29
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I'm not taking sides here at all, but based on the OP's general description of their finances, I bet if they get divorced she has to go back to work. Maybe she should think about what her life will be like if she doesn't bend at all.
And he will probably have to work a whole lot longer too, so he should think about that too.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:30 AM   #30
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What is your current financial situation?

Also, 20 years is a long time. If it was just staying at home the first 3-5 years then going asking her to go back it might make sense but in this case I think it would be very difficult to change the status quo or expect someone to. If she does willingly that is fine, but otherwise I would just become more frugal and make do with what you're making.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:32 AM   #31
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Full confession as I thought this also...But its amazing how jaded many of us are here. We start thinking divorce right out of the box as a possible outcome to this situation. He never even opined in his post that his marriage was ever rocky.


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Old 12-05-2015, 11:37 AM   #32
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When you call your wife lazy, pampered and spoiled, I can't see how it's on great ground, but yes, we don't know.

I wonder how much more he'd have to work to match what she'd make. I thought about (but never really considered) doing easy part-time work in retirement but realized that one more year of professional employment would replace the need for a few part-time years. IF this is the case, I don't know how reasonable it is for him to expect her to work a few more years so he can retire one year early. But we have no information about their situation so I'm saying IF.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:37 AM   #33
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1) As others have said, it is likely 7% of what she makes will be thrown away toward SS. A spouse can get 50% of the SS payment of the other. So something like $1000 a month at FRA for putting in zero credits vs having to work a decade part time to even come close to exceeding that.

2) There will be expenses caused by her working (car, clothes, eating out) and more household chores will fall on you.

3) Why do you have to pay for college for your kids? If they studied and did well in high school, they should be eligible for assistance with tuition. There is likely a local college where they can do the first couple of years of the basics. Calculus I to III at Podunk state really isn't that much different than Calculus I to III at MIT. They can live at home those years and save a ton on housing. I am sure they will complain, but kids today complain when they don't get the correct color I-phone for their birthday. They will get over it.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:48 AM   #34
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I don't know your budget, but as an example, if you plan to spend $50K a year in retirement, and stay retired for 30 years you will need $1.5M in total retirement funding. If she got a job for $10K a year for 4 years is $40K, so that amount is not really going to have a huge impact at this stage of the game on your retirement plans.

Instead, if your wife doesn't want to work outside the home, but maybe learns the credit card games for an extra $2K a year, makes $1K doing some simple side things like focus groups or mTurk, and trims $2K from the budget by being thrifty (canning food, growing a vegetable garden, getting rid of cable, making the house more energy efficient, getting rid of the lawn or whatever), there's $5K a year in savings / extra income that could last 30 years, for a total of $150K.

Maybe you could start with the end goal in mind and talk about what kind of retirement do you both want, how much will you need to fund it, do you have enough now, and if not what changes can you both make to reach your goals? If you start with asking your wife what are her goals and dreams, and then work backward from there, you might get a better response.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:52 AM   #35
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We talk about it but not getting to a why ..
Do you seriously talk about it?

How can you expect a bunch of strangers who know nothing about your household to listen to just one side of the story, then wave a magic wand and let you get your way?

Even if we had far more detail about your household and its finances, we would still be going on just one side of the story.

My opinion, since you asked, is that you should spend the weekend talking it all out until both of you completely understand each other's viewpoint. Then the solution may present itself.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:58 AM   #36
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When you call your wife lazy, pampered and spoiled, I can't see how it's on great ground, but yes, we don't know.

I wonder how much more he'd have to work to match what she'd make. I thought about (but never really considered) doing easy part-time work in retirement but realized that one more year of professional employment would replace the need for a few part-time years. IF this is the case, I don't know how reasonable it is for him to expect her to work a few more years so he can retire one year early. But we have no information about their situation so I'm saying IF.

That is certainly true! However, I have posted things that made a situation look worse than it was and should have been rephrased. Maybe he forgot to mention the good things and the word choice causes us to think in that manner. Hopefully anyways...


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Old 12-05-2015, 11:59 AM   #37
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This thread follows a pattern of new members registering and describing a controversial situation as their first (and sometimes only) post. OP hasn't been back on the forum since posting last night. Too soon to tell, but quite possibly a troll.
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:00 PM   #38
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My DW SAHM had a brilliant 25 year career tending to the needs of our three kids. Sure, she enjoys the fruits of being retired before I get to, but she had a tougher career than I do.
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:16 PM   #39
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I am feeling some resentment by the fact that my DW is nearly 50 years old and has never really had to work for income,food, shelter etc


I grew up poor and worked my tail off from a young teenager. She did not have to really ever hold a job


now I want her to do more than be a SAHM for kids who don't need a full time SAHM any longer.



Am not asking her to earn to cover the whole family , just enough to cover her own carbon footprint so to speak, and I am doing the same.


There are times in marriage when one partner drives and the other drafts. I want her to take some initiative and drive, again if not for the family then at least for herself.


I find the "laziness" totally unattractive ... Unacceptable in fact. But I worry if she is depressed as the nest empties, menopause or ?


Resentful
Opinions ?

You asked for opinions, so here is mine. I am a 50 year old female.

The points above got my attention. Based on that I am guessing that you still working and not fully retired. Your kids don't need a SAHM so maybe you see your wife as a retired person. Perhaps you feel that it isn't fair that you have to work and she is getting to do whatever she wants. Maybe you wish it was you that was retired. I get the feeling that you might have a little jealousy and want to make her suffer because she's doing what you wish you could be doing...the retired life.

When I read the point about taking the initiative for the family or at least for herself, it sounds like you want to make her feel that she isn't doing anything for the family because the kids don't need a SAHM.

The point about worrying that she will become depressed...that was said after you said she was lazy and that was unacceptable to you. It makes me feel like you added the worrying part so that no one would think bad about you for being mad about her unacceptable behavior.

In a nutshell, TO ME, your post reads like someone that is jealous of their spouse being retired while they still have to work. I wonder if you would have felt the same way if her being a SAHM would have been a monetary contribution to you life together.

Like I said, I am only forming an opinion on the points above. I don't know the whole story.
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:37 PM   #40
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Should I be resentful ? Opinions ?
I don't know if you should be resentful or not since you don't really spell out your DW's contributions around the house.

We know a number of couples where the DW either stopped being a SAHM (kids left the house) or ended her working years outside the house while DH was still working.

In one case, it seems to make sense. DH has a high paying job and we never hear him moaning about going to work. He's in good health, gets 4 weeks of vacation and is building an attractive pension and other retiree benefits. At the same time, DW is a real eager beaver around the house. A real budget hawk who provides a nice home life on a minimal budget by doing the house and yard work, cooking from scratch, decorating, etc. Despite the fact the DW isn't formally employed, there is obviously teamwork going on with both pulling the plow even as they move into their 60's.

In another case, DH also has a good job and is building retirement benefits, but his health isn't good due to a bad back which causes him much grief. He's been on two medical leaves and had one surgery. They've been empty nesters for close to a decade. His DW worked part time off and on over the years but currently hasn't worked outside the home in a while. I was surprised that once the kids were gone, she stopped the part time work because she said it kept her from traveling and other endeavors. They live on acreage and she enjoys having horses and other farm animals. She pushes him (yes, with the bad back) to be the one who does most of the work with the animals. This includes caring for them while she spends many winter weeks in Florida with a sister. Huh?

In the first case, it all makes sense to me. In the second, I just feel sorry for my buddy who seems to be working (both at the job and at home) so someone else can have an ER lifestyle. In the second case, she's the dominant personality, by far, and dictates the way things will be.

I don't think any of us can have a real understanding of OP's situation based on the description he gave. You'd have to know the folks and their history on a personal basis. Therefore, while it's possible that OP should feel a bit resentful, I hardly know that for sure.
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