Author Topic: Location dilemma.  (Read 1020 times)

Islander

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Location dilemma.
« on: June 17, 2019, 03:06:36 AM »
Hello, I would just like some feedback on some changes coming up ahead in my life.

We use to live in a city where the benchmark price for an average home is over 1million. 4 years ago me and hubby got married, started a family, and relocated to a new city/town where we were able to actually acquire a home with rental a suite included for almost 1/3 of the price.

Currently my husband works part time and Iam a stay at home mother. We wouldn't consider ourselves wealthy but we are doing well considering all the everyday living expenses are getting paid such as bills, taxes, insurance.  I can say we are pretty comfortable financially, our biggest priority at the moment is raising our 2 young children.

The biggest problem is my husband is unhappy. He's always been a city guy and understandably misses his friends and family. He has had a tough time adjusting and fell into depression. So we've decided to move back!

He will be back to the 9-5 and we will be downsizing from a single detached family home with rental to a townhome. I support his decision as I can see how unhappy he has been but at the same time I am afraid of the changes ahead.

I am not exactly sure why I am sharing this but I guess what I am asking for is some help to better understand him and ways to be supportive. I feel like financially we are better where we currently are but obviously none of that really matters if you have a spouse that's unhappy.

We've had many arguments and Iam ready for him to take the lead. 4 years at our current location and I don't see things changing for the better, happiness wise.

I feel guilty that I am not able to help out more financially but together we have always agreed that I would stay home until both children are in school. As I mentioned, raising our children is out biggest priority.

Anyways, thanks for taking the time to read and accepting my complainyness. Any advice or insights would be greatly appreciated. I believe all I can do is be positive and supportive.

Has anyone else experienced moving to a lower cost area and later regretting it?  What were you able to gain experience wise from moving away and then moving back? Did it solve all problems?

reeshau

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2019, 05:51:17 AM »

The biggest problem is my husband is unhappy. He's always been a city guy and understandably misses his friends and family. He has had a tough time adjusting and fell into depression.


Is it just the house / location that will change?  Or are there other habits / expenses / time away that cause you to worry?  I could see a couple of things you could do to go back to HCOL the "right" way:  can you locate to minimize commuting and then get rid of one or all cars?  Would being near family help out with costs / entertainment?  (i.e. childcare)  And will your husband's salary in the city be proportionately higher, to cover the costs?

If it's more than one item, you might look at the "How to convert your SO..." thread:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/

Malkynn

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2019, 06:53:59 AM »
Absolutely nothing will solve all of your problems.

I would be extremely cautious about making this move without first seeking individual and couples counseling, and him making every effort to manage his depression, which can't possibly be caused solely by geography.

The move may have triggered his depression, and he may truly be the kind of person who is much happier living in the city. However, mentally healthy people don't fall into depression because they're living somewhere that isn't quite their style.

This means that there's an underlying mental health issue that needs to be addressed and there's a very very high chance that moving back will actually make it worse when it doesn't live up to his expectation and he isn't suddenly better, or if then the financial pressure and having to downsize then triggers his depression further, especially if he feels guilty about it.

rothwem

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2019, 09:09:54 AM »
Absolutely nothing will solve all of your problems.

I would be extremely cautious about making this move without first seeking individual and couples counseling, and him making every effort to manage his depression, which can't possibly be caused solely by geography.

The move may have triggered his depression, and he may truly be the kind of person who is much happier living in the city. However, mentally healthy people don't fall into depression because they're living somewhere that isn't quite their style.

This means that there's an underlying mental health issue that needs to be addressed and there's a very very high chance that moving back will actually make it worse when it doesn't live up to his expectation and he isn't suddenly better, or if then the financial pressure and having to downsize then triggers his depression further, especially if he feels guilty about it.

Enh, living somewhere that sucks can be a huge drag, and itís super super tough to make friends in a rural area if youíre not religious.  I used to live in a really rural NC town, and I was miserable. Moving back to the big city 100% cured my blues, even though it made my commute go from 3 miles to 45 miles.

LifeHappens

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2019, 09:28:19 AM »
My DH and I recently moved from a pretty LCOL area to a MCOL area and are MUCH happier here. Our former location was too rural, required to much driving to do basic life tasks and did not offer nearly as much stimulation as we both desire. Even our access to outdoor activities was restricted because the roads were not very safe for walking or biking.

Our new location is in the middle of a thriving metro area. We have access to far more activities than we could possibly take advantage of. Biking, running, urban hiking and swimming are very accessible and popular. We're both in better shape and getting out and about in active ways. Yes, it costs more. Yes, it is absolutely worth it.

affordablehousing

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2019, 12:46:25 PM »
Did just that, your spouse needs serious therapy. The move is just going to put a whole lot of new pressure on him and could likely make things way worse.

Malkynn

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2019, 01:54:08 PM »
Absolutely nothing will solve all of your problems.

I would be extremely cautious about making this move without first seeking individual and couples counseling, and him making every effort to manage his depression, which can't possibly be caused solely by geography.

The move may have triggered his depression, and he may truly be the kind of person who is much happier living in the city. However, mentally healthy people don't fall into depression because they're living somewhere that isn't quite their style.

This means that there's an underlying mental health issue that needs to be addressed and there's a very very high chance that moving back will actually make it worse when it doesn't live up to his expectation and he isn't suddenly better, or if then the financial pressure and having to downsize then triggers his depression further, especially if he feels guilty about it.

Enh, living somewhere that sucks can be a huge drag, and itís super super tough to make friends in a rural area if youíre not religious.  I used to live in a really rural NC town, and I was miserable. Moving back to the big city 100% cured my blues, even though it made my commute go from 3 miles to 45 miles.

Yes, obviously lifestyle has a huge impact on happiness, but still wouldn't normally trigger a full on depression, which is a pretty serious mental health condition that requires medical attention.

No disrespect. I don't know you, and if you did experience depression and were able to resolve it by moving, then that is amazing. I just wouldn't expect that to be the norm.

Also, I'm not saying that OP doesn't need to ultimately move. In fact, you are absolutely right that moving may be critical in managing her DH's depression.

I just don't think they should move before clinically addressing his depression because it could make it a thousand times worse if not overseen by a qualified medical professional.

Major change can be catastrophic for untreated depression patients. That could even feasibly be what happened in the first place.

OP: personally, I don't even have depression, but I do have a therapist due to a history of trauma, and I don't make any major decisions without first working through them in therapy. It's a really critical part of decision making for people with mental health issues, and should never be skipped.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 01:56:48 PM by Malkynn »

use2betrix

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 05:44:58 PM »
Absolutely nothing will solve all of your problems.

I would be extremely cautious about making this move without first seeking individual and couples counseling, and him making every effort to manage his depression, which can't possibly be caused solely by geography.

The move may have triggered his depression, and he may truly be the kind of person who is much happier living in the city. However, mentally healthy people don't fall into depression because they're living somewhere that isn't quite their style.

This means that there's an underlying mental health issue that needs to be addressed and there's a very very high chance that moving back will actually make it worse when it doesn't live up to his expectation and he isn't suddenly better, or if then the financial pressure and having to downsize then triggers his depression further, especially if he feels guilty about it.

Enh, living somewhere that sucks can be a huge drag, and itís super super tough to make friends in a rural area if youíre not religious.  I used to live in a really rural NC town, and I was miserable. Moving back to the big city 100% cured my blues, even though it made my commute go from 3 miles to 45 miles.

Yes, obviously lifestyle has a huge impact on happiness, but still wouldn't normally trigger a full on depression, which is a pretty serious mental health condition that requires medical attention.

No disrespect. I don't know you, and if you did experience depression and were able to resolve it by moving, then that is amazing. I just wouldn't expect that to be the norm.

Also, I'm not saying that OP doesn't need to ultimately move. In fact, you are absolutely right that moving may be critical in managing her DH's depression.

I just don't think they should move before clinically addressing his depression because it could make it a thousand times worse if not overseen by a qualified medical professional.

Major change can be catastrophic for untreated depression patients. That could even feasibly be what happened in the first place.

OP: personally, I don't even have depression, but I do have a therapist due to a history of trauma, and I don't make any major decisions without first working through them in therapy. It's a really critical part of decision making for people with mental health issues, and should never be skipped.

I donít know if the OP truly meant the formally, medically diagnosed form of depression. She may have been using the term somewhat loosely as a descriptive term to describe his form of unhappiness..

Personally, I have lived in some major shithole parts of the country in my life and can personally vouche for how unhappy they make you. I hate the south but often live here because I make so much more money (I am right now, because $300k vs $150k goes a long ways towards FIRE).

I spent 1 year in the middle of nowhere bumfuck Alabama living in a 5th wheel. We were 45 minutes to the nearest grocery store. While it wasnít life ending, it seriously sucked compared to the even somewhat mediocre places I have lived...

Islander

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2019, 05:03:24 AM »
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the responses.

Malkynn, Yes there are underlying issues but he hasnt been examined by a professional.

If I give a thumbs up for the move at least I can say "hey, I didn't hold you back from what you really wanted." I think some people are not really ready to look within or not equipped enough with the tools to deal with self problems. Sometimes being extremely busy is a way to avoid looking at oneself. Perhaps that may be why some people struggle with retirement, I am not to sure.

I guess I am working on my own issues and part of it is letting go and the need to control. You can't really tell someone they have to seek help if they don't see it as they have a problem in the first place.

Being supportive and hoping for the best is all I can really do. If my spouse is the one working longer hours to make up the difference to live in a HCOL place. I shouldn't have a problem, right?

Moving to a LCOL area has it's many benefits but I think the biggest con would be not having that daily interaction with family/friends. Not a big deal for me but very crippling for my spouse. I guess time will tell. Perhaps, I should see my counsellor one last time before the move.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 05:15:16 AM by Islander »

Malkynn

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2019, 06:10:22 AM »
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the responses.

Malkynn, Yes there are underlying issues but he hasnt been examined by a professional.

If I give a thumbs up for the move at least I can say "hey, I didn't hold you back from what you really wanted." I think some people are not really ready to look within or not equipped enough with the tools to deal with self problems. Sometimes being extremely busy is a way to avoid looking at oneself. Perhaps that may be why some people struggle with retirement, I am not to sure.

I guess I am working on my own issues and part of it is letting go and the need to control. You can't really tell someone they have to seek help if they don't see it as they have a problem in the first place.

Being supportive and hoping for the best is all I can really do. If my spouse is the one working longer hours to make up the difference to live in a HCOL place. I shouldn't have a problem, right?

Moving to a LCOL area has it's many benefits but I think the biggest con would be not having that daily interaction with family/friends. Not a big deal for me but very crippling for my spouse. I guess time will tell. Perhaps, I should see my counsellor one last time before the move.

I would caution that kind of thinking. Sometimes being supportive means pushing someone to take responsibility for their own mental health.

No you can't make him take it seriously, but you can express how seriously you take it, how you are genuinely concerned, and how your needs of feeling secure are as important as his needs to be near family and friends.

And no, his willingness to work more doesn't absolve him from having to account for your needs. Working more means more pressure on you, it means more risk to his untreated mental health, it has a tangible impact on your partnership, so you should get just as much say.

I think speaking with your counselor and coming up with strategies for making yourself heard while providing support is a great idea.

Again, moving back to his supports may indeed be the very best thing for him, and he may be intuiting that. However, it's also a huge risk, which should be discussed.

You can say yes and support the move 100% if that's what you want, and still express concern.

chemistk

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2019, 06:17:45 AM »
I took the liberty of reading through some of your previous posts, and I have a couple suggestions:

- If you haven't really considered it yet, I'd strongly r recommend opening yourselves to couples' counseling. Not because things are bad now but because things could get bad so fast. You have a strong family and you both seem to love your kids, which is excellent. However - you mention your husband has previous issues with gambling. You two also seem to have a strained relationship with your in-laws (who you will be moving back to) in terms of financial support expectations. You personally love the outdoors and nature and want to have your kids experience the outdoors, yet your husband is very much a homebody who doesn't necessarily appreciate being outside the same way you do.

So, I say you may want to explore couples' counseling because your expectations and his expectations don't seem to be aligned. It's clear that past 'arguments' haven't helped re-center you two, as you're now on your way back to the city. I think you two need to be on the same page, or at least acutely aware of each other's wants and needs.

- Going off a few of those themes, set some boundaries. Don't completely give up your ability to have your kids outdoors, make sure to let your husband know that is supremely important to you. Same goes with the other themes (in-laws, etc.).

- Maybe you've already done this, but consider the bond you and your husband have with your friends and family. If in 4 years, neither friends nor family has really come out to stay with you, how important are you guys to them? I suspect there is an unequal relationship there with you two getting the short end of the stick.


Best of luck!

Islander

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2019, 04:52:27 AM »
Chemists, You hit he nail on the head with the many points you've made.

We're about 4 weeks in to the new changes. My SO has been working/living in the city while I have been staying behind with the kids until the house sells.

My SO seemed to be happier after the 2 week stretch of being apart but I noticed this time after 1 week apart he isn't very happy. They first time he left when he came back he was so happy to see us and the second time he didn't even hug the kids or me. He kept walking as if he didn't want to aknowledge us, his reasoning was that he was very tired. His energy level always seems to be of concern. The ride home this time was full of complaints, he was is such a different mood from the previous pick up.  He was actually only gone for 4 days but his complaints were stress of selling the house, his work commute due to traffic, tiredness from work and having to commute back to see us. Iam also assuming the excitment of the new job is gone and reality sets in of the 9-5 and commuting in traffic. He actually forgot that it was my birthday the other day, the day went by without a happy birthday until I basically told him... mind you I dropped many subtle hints leading up to the day. He did apoligize and felt very bad and said he would make it up to me. I never expect anything extravagant for special occasions anyways, just a little aknowledgement is what I have come to expect.

Iam not to sure where I am going with this. I think his unhappiness could also come from my resistance to the move which I have expressed. I have mentioned that we could live serperately... He could work/live in the city like he very much desires and we can make arrangents every weekend/holiday to be together as a family. I mentioned that I would have no problem brining in the kids every second weekend and every long weekend to be with him. It could be the best of both worlds.  I just feel like our expections and goals are not aligned to be together. It's very hard on the children. Even though this time apart has been challenging, I feel like I am able to distance myself from his problems. Iam able to focus on myself a little bit better. Iam I selfish for this? I guess the distance will give us a clearer picture of where everything stands. I could adjust to living back in the city but I just see so much more value of being where we are. Mainly the environment in raising the kids. Iam sure the city is great but traffic is a major concern and the cost of housing. Having to take a mortgage and gutting our savings makes me very unhappy as well.

I had booked a counselling session previously but then I cancelled. Ian just not sure what the right approach is, sometimes I am happy and sometimes I am depressed. I feel silly going into counselling when Iam happy but when I feel sad I wish I have never cancelled my counselling appointment.



I took the liberty of reading through some of your previous posts, and I have a couple suggestions:

- If you haven't really considered it yet, I'd strongly r recommend opening yourselves to couples' counseling. Not because things are bad now but because things could get bad so fast. You have a strong family and you both seem to love your kids, which is excellent. However - you mention your husband has previous issues with gambling. You two also seem to have a strained relationship with your in-laws (who you will be moving back to) in terms of financial support expectations. You personally love the outdoors and nature and want to have your kids experience the outdoors, yet your husband is very much a homebody who doesn't necessarily appreciate being outside the same way you do.

So, I say you may want to explore couples' counseling because your expectations and his expectations don't seem to be aligned. It's clear that past 'arguments' haven't helped re-center you two, as you're now on your way back to the city. I think you two need to be on the same page, or at least acutely aware of each other's wants and needs.

- Going off a few of those themes, set some boundaries. Don't completely give up your ability to have your kids outdoors, make sure to let your husband know that is supremely important to you. Same goes with the other themes (in-laws, etc.).

- Maybe you've already done this, but consider the bond you and your husband have with your friends and family. If in 4 years, neither friends nor family has really come out to stay with you, how important are you guys to them? I suspect there is an unequal relationship there with you two getting the short end of the stick.


Best of luck!
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 05:23:04 AM by Islander »

chemistk

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Re: Location dilemma.
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2019, 05:46:56 AM »
Okay, you two need to go to counseling together, ASAP. Don't let yourself believe that just because you're (temporarily) in a happy place that you shouldn't go, you really need a professional to help bring clarity to what it is you two want. If your husband is closed to the idea of couples' counseling, then at the bare minimum YOU need to go, and ideally he should go on his own as well.

Based on what you've detailed, it's extremely apparent that your husband is not willing to consider anyone's needs other than his own. Only when his needs are met does he seem to be attentive to others. Don't let yourself believe that this is normal behavior in a relationship (or even how a father should be acting around his children) - this is essentially emotional manipulation, which could easily turn into emotional abuse (and it may already have given your prior arguments).

Your husband is throwing a pity party for himself because his world isn't perfect, completely ignoring every single one of your wants and needs. Worse, if you believe the commute through the city is dragging him down already, then things are only going to get worse and I would bet that he is going to really start edging toward those gambling tendencies. It's almost as if he really doesn't know what he wants and he's just had an easy scapegoat in the distance from the city for the last few years.

Finally - and this is really why at the very least you need to seek out an individual counselor - the entirety of your arrangement sounds like that of a couple that's already divorced. I don't mean to sour your mood or plant a bad seed but re-read your post from an observer's perspective. You two are each happier in your respective locations, your husband has nearly forgotten about a number of important things, and you're proposing (essentially) a visitation arrangement.