Alternative to Divorce?

If all communication channels have been exhausted then I think you should get a divorce. Unless she decides to change, then you should get a divorce. Ideally, this is what would happen:

1) Divorce her and lose 50% of your assets.
2) Gain custody of the kids.

This is not as costly as people make it out to be. In fact, per capita, you have lost NO ASSETS if you don't use lawyers. In addition, if you re-marry someone who has similar assets as you then your total and per capita assets will be the same as when you were married to your now wife. Lastly, if you stay single you won't need as much assets as you would need with a dependent (your current wife).

The worst situation will be if you do not divorce your wife, FIRE, and then get hit with divorce papers in 10 years, which often happens in these cases. You want to be divorced and in control of your assets BEFORE you retire.

Finally, what is stopping you from moving closer to work?
Green Bay:confused: She lives south of Seattle and claims being 'back home in the PacNW' is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

If your own family doesn't listen - how are you going to give a stranger advice on marriage.

heh heh heh - oh yeah I forgot - I'm a bachelor. :cool:
I just called my wife, who is a stay at home mom, to tell her how thankful I am for her and all she does for us ( me and two kids, one of whom has now flown the coup), and how much I love her and appreciate her. I can't even comprehend life without her, even if I can also save 70% of takehome pay (no way to do that pre-tax) and even if she does not "w*rk" to support the finances.

HK you need to ibe grateful for what you've got. Get your head out of the sand and get it screwed back on straight!
I just called my wife, who is a stay at home mom, to tell her how thankful I am for her and all she does for us ( me and two kids, one of whom has now flown the coup), and how much I love her and appreciate her.

You are totally screwed. She will now assume you are doing your secretary. :p

Concerning two sides to every story. We had some very good friends, Tony and Nancy, who moved away. After a few years I talked with Nancy and found out that they had gotten divorced.

"Tony just didn't want to be married anymore," Nancy told me.

"Oh, that rotten guy, I'm going to call him and give him a piece of my mind!"

When I talked to Tony, I found out that they'd gotten a divorce because Nancy had had an affair.


We only get a snapshot of the top of the iceberg here in the forums, but it's still fun, and maybe even helpful, to discuss this stuff.

For the sake of completion, there's this option: Go on a spending spree. If you can't FIRE anyway, and a divorce is coming...

If a woman showed up on these boards, and told the exact same story ... we would be all over "what a bum he is, dump this lazy free-loading slob, talk to your barracuda of choice now!"
Well put.
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I agree that we should never pass any judgment until you hear both side of the arguments. Even then, we should not because of different values and views. Life would be simpler if we let go of our attachments or expectations and simply accept things as they are. As for HK, he needs to iron out the differences between him and his wife. As others have suggested, seeking help or counseling is a first step. With love and compassion, it is very plausible that they can resolve their differences.
I agree that we should never pass any judgment until you hear both side of the arguments. Even then, we should not because of different values and views. Life would be simpler if we let go of our attachments or expectations and simply accept things as they are. As for HK, he needs to iron out the differences between him and his wife. As others have suggested, seeking help or counseling is a first step. With love and compassion, it is very plausible that they can resolve their differences.

And with that being said, I will defer to the GREAT Willie Nelson and Ms. Dyan Cannon, "Two sides to every story".
YouTube - Willie Nelson and Dyan Cannon, Two sides to every story

Just listening to the GREAT Willie Nelson play the guitar in this song and seeing the GREAT SLIM PICKENS is worth the price of admission to heaven.

GOD BLESS:angel:
If all communication channels have been exhausted


OP, from your posts it doesn't sound like you love your wife.
Sounds like you love the idea of ER.
Sounds like you love the earning potential your wife represents.

You said you could barely get your wife to leave the kids for a date.
This kind of women will not easily leave her kids DAILY then to the care of a stranger for HOURS at a time.

Studies show that most trouble that kids get into occur mostly in the after school hours.

pp mention your wife divorcing you to take 'your' money.
my guess: Don't worry. Your wife loves her kids so much, she is not going to risk the potential damage to them by dragging them through a divorce, shuttling between parents, and single parent home.

Caveat: Really. Truly. Hopefully you do not make your resentment and downright despising of your wife as clear to her as you do here.
Because after the kids are grown, she then may very well divorce you.
OP - I'm sorry you are in so much pain.
A situation similar to yours contributed heavily to my parent's divorce. Regardless of your feelings for your wife, if you care at all about your kids, get couples counseling NOW, because I guarantee that your kids are in hell. Even if you and your spouse aren't screaming at each other yet, your kids feel the tension, believe me. If there's any way to make it up with your wife you owe it to yourself and your entire family to figure it out ASAP, and you are not communicating effectively yourselves so you need professional help.
Just like you, my job was killing me. I looked for a better job and didn't find it so I quit and took a year to relax with my DH (he quit too), accepting ER was put off for many years. Once health and sanity (well, I think I'm sane) was restored, the world was a better place. Without health, you have nothing.
Even with the time off we managed to ER.
You have options, but you have to take responsibility as an adult for working on your marriage and managing your work life.
I agree that we should never pass any judgment until you hear both side of the arguments.

Not so.

Person A presents his side of the story and we judge "Person A you are an idiot"

What is the concern about only hearing one side of the story? Do we anticipate that Person B will argue more persuasively "No, I am the idiot" instead? Maybe if we have more information we may be better able to understand the issues, but hearing the other side doesn't seem to be the problem here.
My point is not to judge period. Instead we need to listen to both sides in order to understand their perspectives before giving out any advices.
I chose FIRE about five years ago. In retrospect, it would have been better for me, my wife, and my kids if I had chosen the latter. Once I realized my mistake I tried sincerely and with a great deal of effort to fix it. Unfortunately, it was, to quote my now ex-wife, "Too little, too late."

SecondCor.. do you mean "the former" of your two choices would have been better? [1=w&k, 2=FIRE]... Either way, thanks for sharing.

T. Al.. couldn't find (quickly) who you were quoting..
If a woman showed up on these boards, and told the exact same story ... we would be all over "what a bum he is, dump this lazy free-loading slob, talk to your barracuda of choice now!"

a.) it's not clear how long and hard she REALLY works (we only have the cat-hair carpet and the OP's declaration of her not living up to her "performance" standards which, aside from the carpet and not getting a f*'ing job.. are not described).
b.) cleaning toilets and ironing shirts is not "the gravy train" some make it out to be. Once you've cleaned your share of toilets/carpets, it's not like you have the satisfaction of reaching new, unplumbed, toilet/carpet-cleanings depths/heights. No one asks you to author toilet/carpet-cleaning papers or conduct toilet/carpet-cleaning conferences in interesting foreign locales, all expenses paid.
c.) MY story IS "the exact same story".. or it COULD be, except it's different. My husband works when he can and when he feels it's worth it, based on the circumstances. His sacrifices and contributions, while not blinding or earth-shattering, I still appreciate greatly (the OP has ceased appreciating, apparently, many non-dollar-denominated family contributions). I still wouldn't trade my DH in for a "higher-performing model" (financially speaking). [Where performance counts, he's A-OK, btw :D]

Just listen to the mechanistic sound of this:
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). But instead she simply stays home most of the day and shuttles the kids around if they have a practice or something.
I cannot bear the thought of me continuing to bring home hundreds of dollars each day while she stays home
She is responsible for performing the household duties.

HE couldn't get through to HER:
I think a strong man would have been much less tolerant of the behavior.

HIS choice was for the high-stress/high-pay/quick-ER job..yet now he presents HIS WIFE with the series of ultimatums in order to keep HIM on track.. even though a job with a lower salary could give him a breather +ER, just not as quick.. or he could work part-time himself and still save a goodly amount (thanks, not only to his hard work, but to her implicit thrift/non-spendiness on behalf of 3/4 of the family).

SHE is spending more modestly than 99.9% of stay-at-home moms with theoretical access to that kind of dough.
HE needs to cool his jets.

The BRIGHT light is:
I have discussed with her the prospect of just quitting my job and living in squalor with her to equal things out (which she wasn’t totally opposed to)...

I glossed over this!:
I was thinking a divorce notice burning party, coupled with a trip to Las Vegas or New York where we could renew our vows and not involve the state this time.

Yeah, THAT's a pretext ANY woman would LOVE for a party/vacation!!

ok, I wrote all this and, reviewing it, had a flash of recognition.

Mr. HK1970.. may you be a person suffering from Asperger's syndrome?
My young nephew has this disorder (looking back, so do several college friends).. and has the same tendency to perseverate on arcane subjects (he is stuck on planetary moons for now; you are stuck on your super-ER finances and divorce calculations) in preference over other, more personal and subtle, life issues.

My nephew and old friends have the same tendency to a "utilitarian" perspective: "Mommy, I don't think I know how to use the cat." .."I just talked to XYZCorp's secretary, and she was completely broken." (i.e., "she didn't give me what I wanted when I called".)

Your first post on your wife mentioned that the one thing she was capable of was transporting your children to "practices or something".. it didn't sound like you knew or cared what.. maybe you do, but perhaps it is not in your nature to express it. You seem to describe her, not as a person.. but according to her functions, or marginal lack thereof.

This might even explain some of your wife's behavior, since I have read a lot of Asperger's message boards where posting spouses and other relatives seem to have a high frequency themselves of either Asperger's OR of OCD, ADD, and so on. It's possible you gravitated towards each other due to a subconscious sympathy based on your generally (proven) high capacity for achievement and intelligence.. yet persisting social different-ness?

Some signs of Asperger's can include perfectionism, and it most usually does comport trouble communicating and reading/interpreting other people's emotive states.

From my experience of my nephew, I can say that connection is difficult. He does see the world in 2 dimensions: "what's in it for me" and "what is Right and Wrong". He has VERY strong feelings as to what's Right and Wrong.. and they often cripple him, since he can't easily or fluidly modify his definitions based on context or circumstance. If a kid cut in line (even yesterday) he will abruptly punch that kid in the eye.. that kid is "wrong". If the teacher reprimands him, SHE is "wrong" and he will ORDER the principal, saying "you MUST replace or remove Mrs.X, because she is a bad teacher!". At age 5. You have to laugh and cry. I have a lot of stories.

Of course there is a whole spectrum of people who are afflicted with this to differing degrees, among whom many have perfectly fulfilling lives, loves, spouses, jobs, children, and the whole 9 yards. Yet an Asperger's sufferer (in my 5-cent Lucy vanPelt opinion) would consider -very easily!- a divorce-relinquishing party/vacation a completely normal, rational thing to be weighed and considered.. while most of us would recoil in horror.. It could be why the OP's kids play an invisible role in his description (not to say his feelings) of the situation.

They (Aspies, as they say) just don't understand "us" (the NTs.. the "neuro-typicals"), and we don't understand "them".

If anyone is interested, I found the site "Wrong Planet" to be a good introduction.. as many posters there are Aspies.
Wrong Planet - Asperger's and Autism Community
Some Aspies seem to be proud of being different, and think the world at large should operate differently to suit their needs. Others openly acknowledge desires and difficulties in learning (usually by rote) how to perform basic reciprocal social exchanges in order to get by, since everything for them is so literal and mechanistic.

If you, or both you and your wife, seek counseling it might be an aspect to raise or to keep in mind.

If, Mr. HK1970, you see absolutely nothing of yourself in any of this, I apologize. This condition has been on my mind lately. I hope I not to have offended you by reading too much into things.. and I sincerely wish you, your wife, and your children the best of luck in your life's journey.
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I am a little late to this thread but have read through the whole thread. A lot of interesting comments here. Some comments are from folks that have gone through a divorce and found a way to FIRE anyway. Me included.

I don't know where to begin. I won't rehash all the stuff that has already been said. Many folks have had some good input relative to the value of a stay at home mom. Having been a single working parent to a teenager I can attest to the value of having someone helping out. My divorce was due to many of the biggest was lack of support of financial goals (getting out and staying out of debt), educational savings, retirement goals, etc. I payed dearly in many ways because of the divorce.

My wife made 50% of what I did and since the marriage was long term (15 years) and we had two kids I got the lion's share of the debt liability (100%); lost 50% of my retirement account; one of my kids; paid alimony and child support, my family was split up, I lost time with my son and I lost my family. Every day was a struggle to make ends meet for a few years.

On the other hand, my kids grew up outside of a toxic marriage. My ex-wife and I had a chance to heal and to meet new partners in life. We parted ways and ended what started out as a loving marriage.

My point is that you lose far more than money in a divorce. From the sounds of your marriage you don't have it all that bad. I know many other folks who had it much worse than what you have tried to tell the board. Don't go into a divorce...even a paper one...until you have tried everything else. My ex-wife and I went through 12 months of marriage counseling before she filed for divorce. We even had the oldest child in counseling for several months. We tried until there was no more energy or love left to try any more.

OCD can be in many people in many forms. Not all forms of it are impossible to live with. My second wife had it and we both learned to live with it and to laugh about it from time to time. We were both perfectionist so you can imagine the interesting "dance" we did organizing things and doing everyday activities. We had 10 very good years together and would have most likely had many many more but things don't always go as you think they will.

Try to step back from your current position with your wife and start talking with her. Get professional help now...not when it is too late. Being a partner in a marriage does not mean you have to share the "work" 50/50. It means you share a life together and you share the raising of your kids. Being a good husband and a good father might mean waiting a couple more years to retire. Save less and enjoy your life a little more. Maybe that will help you back off a bit on your negative assessment of your wife's position of stay at home mom. There is far more to life than money.

Good luck.
.. may you be a person suffering from Asperger's syndrome?.......

You seem to describe her, not as a person.. but according to her functions, or marginal lack thereof.............

Some signs of Asperger's can include perfectionism, and it most usually does comport trouble communicating and reading/interpreting other people's emotive states.

.......Yet an Asperger's sufferer (in my 5-cent Lucy vanPelt opinion) would consider -very easily!- a divorce-relinquishing party/vacation a completely normal, rational thing to be weighed and considered.. while most of us would recoil in horror..........

..........If anyone is interested, I found the site "Wrong Planet" to be a good introduction.. as many posters there are Aspies.
Wrong Planet - Asperger's and Autism Community

....... Others openly acknowledge desires and difficulties in learning (usually by rote) how to perform basic reciprocal social exchanges in order to get by, since everything for them is so literal and mechanistic.

Fascinating!! Whether or not it applies at all to the OP, this is interesting knowledge.
Best selling men's author and activist Warren Farrell said it best ... "Women have three choices: 1) they can work full-time; 2) they can work part-time; or 3) they can stay at home. Men also have three choices: 1) they can work full-time; 2) they can work full-time; or 3) they can work full-time."

Your wife is a parasite. This is not about you. It is about the inability of your wife to live in an equal relationship. She is like a child. Your wife is taking advantage of you. Many women say they want equality, but their actions dictate otherwise. They want a man to take care of them, political correctness aside.

I sympathize with you. You are in a difficult situation. However, the courts will not treat you fairly. They will treat you as a walking wallet. The responses from most individuals in this forum is an indication of how you will be perceived. Your role in life is to provide "your little princess" with whatever she wants. As a man, your interests do not matter. If a woman posted that she was the breadwinner and her husband refused to work, everyone would call him a lazy bum (regardless of his emotional state). But this is a description of your wife.

If you divorce your wife, the financial impact on you will be significant. You are correct. "Best interests of the children" is a code word for "Best interests of the wife." You will have a legal obligation via child support to provide your wife with more money than both of you currently use to care for your children. However, your wife will have no legal obligation to spend these funds on the children. It will be her money, not the children's money. And you will be taxed on it. She will not. The children will be considered the property of your wife. You will be called a "visitor," not a parent. You will be placed in debtors prison if you do not or cannot provide your (ex)wife with the money the judge says she is due. However, your wife will not be placed in prison if she denies you parenting time with your children. Feminist groups have and continue to work at eliminating laws that give men equal parenting rights (e.g., presumption of joint custody).

Your "plan" is not a good option. Despite your dedication and desire for a marriage based on equality, unfortunately, your wife has the legal advantage. The best advice is for you is to reduce your employment and income. Wait until your children are out of school. Keep in mind that depending on the state, required payments to your wife can last until your children are 22. If you still feel like divorcing your wife, you can at that time, and it will minimize the impact on you and your children. Just because you love your wife does not mean that you should stay married to her. Your wife is in need of counseling, and you sound like a man who will support his wife if she seeks the help she needs. Marriage counseling is another good option. I get the sense that your wife is a good person. At this time, she simply doesn't want to make an equal contribution to your marriage.

Inferences made by others that your wife is making some sort of supreme sacrifice by staying at home are not logical. This is demonstrated by your wife's own actions. Your wife clearly believes that it is in her advantage to be at home as opposed to the workplace. Your wife is not making the sacrifice, you are. Your wife has choices, you do not. Your wife is choosing what's in her best interest. It is your employment and hard work that is allowing your wife to live her choice. Your wife is being selfish. You are not.

I'm speaking as someone who has never been divorced and doesn't have children (although I may adopt when I ER).

Responding to comments made by others ...

In 1985, Lenore Weitzman published "The Divorce Revolution." Weitzman reported that a woman's standard of living decreased by 73% and that a man's standard of living increased by 43% following a divorce. This result was the foundation for many draconian laws on divorce, child custody, and child support. It is where the term "deadbeat dad" came from. The media, government, and women's groups used Weitzman's results to their advantage. However, in 1996, after being forced to release her data by a freedom of information request, Weitzman admitted that her results were completely wrong. She claimed that a computer error resulted in faulty analysis of the data. Oops. My bad. But the damage was already done. Despite being countered by dozens of studies finding that divorced men end up on the short end of the stick, Weitzman's results, even though false, are still held as "common knowledge" and even have been reported as truth by posters here.

The 2006 report that the market value of stay at home moms is $134,121 is simply ludicrous (BTW, it's 3% higher for 2007). The tasks performed by parents, while loving, tend to be menial. They can be performed by essentially anyone. This is obvious since most people are or have been parents. Why would anyone work at or near minimum wage at McDonalds or Wal-Mart when instead they could earn $134,121 performing tasks that many of them already perform. Now, it world be a solution to so-called "welfare mothers." Why give someone a welfare check when instead they could double their income by simply spending a few hours a week in the workforce doing tasks that they already perform at home. If it's really the market value, the unemployed should have no difficulty finding such jobs that utilize their all so important skills that pay at a rate of $134,121/yr.

And what about men? Don't men count? Studies consistently show that the hours men (and employed women) spend working both inside and outside the home is greater than that spent by stay at home moms. This is for studies that include household chores typically performed by men (lawn work, auto repair, etc). The disparity is larger when the long commutes that men endure are included.

More so, taking the ridiculous approach, other traditional male roles such as protector (police officer), playing catch (coach), map reader (geospatial information systems expert), driver (transportation professional), fat assessor (doctor), and others, would be included. And lets not forget "sex worker," since these so-called studies often include this "task" when tallying up the market value of stay at home moms. I always thought sex was supposed to be mutual, but surveys like consider women to be prostitutes. And of course, the husband should be paid extra when performing more than one task at a time (he gets simultaneous pay as a chauffeur, police officer, GIS navigator, and auto mechanic when he's driving the family in the car). I'm sorry, the approach is simply stupid. A stay at home mom, or a stay at home dad, does not have a market value of $134,121. A stay at home parent may be priceless, but their market value is limited. They could not achieve this salary performing the same tasks in the workforce.

I realize this is a lengthly post. Although accurate, it will rub some people the wrong way. Feel free to call me all the names you want, but no, I'm not interested in getting into long arguments with people on the internet.
All I want to say is THANK YOU Shawn. I am glad I am not the only one who brings thoughtfulness, perspective, and rational thought to this community.

To further expand on a point that you made... The wife was given the option of switching roles with the husband for only a few years and this switch would be greatly beneficial to the husbands health. She refused, which indicates that she indeed does have the better deal. So much better, in fact, she is willing to sacrifice her husband to maintain it.

I truly do not understand how everyone can so easily minimize the feelings, needs, and health of the OP. Everyone keeps on talking about how HER perspective and views need to be understood, but no one is making an equal effort to empathize with the situation HE is facing.

I have to say, I do wish there were more people like Shawn and I in this world!
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.
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? :bat: 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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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).
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?
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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