Author Topic: Commute / Relationship Advice  (Read 2250 times)

BeachStash

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Commute / Relationship Advice
« on: November 16, 2017, 02:39:10 PM »
Long story short (well, not that short). Thanks for reading!

I married my wife 6 months ago after 3.5 years together. When we started dating, I lived and worked in Houston. She is from a suburb about 40 minutes away without traffic (up to 1.5 hours with traffic).  I moved in with her 2 years ago when my lease was up with the intention of trying out the commute since she owned a house out there, her mortgage was cheap (less than my rent), and we live very close to her parents, sibling and high school friends. I really enjoy living out there on the weekends but I absolutely hate the commute of 2+ hours every day on top of 9-11 hours at the office. My job is a typical corporate job which I like, pays well and has good career potential. She works in sales and has a very flexible schedule, where she can work from home 1-2 days a week and then runs her route to visit her accounts which are close to home.

A few months in, surprise, surprise, the drive sucks. I made it very clear that I hated commuting and that we would need to figure out a different arrangement. She has always been reluctant to move away but said that she understood the situation and that we would figure it out. Before we got married I again made it clear that we would need to move closer to work and she reluctantly said that we would. Well, now 6 months later she pretty much flat out refuses to move or consider other options. She refuses to entertain the idea of moving to Houston for several reasons: crime, traffic, not a great place to raise kids, being away from her family, and having to go back to renting. We would have to rent for a while until we can come up with a down payment for a home as prices are a lot higher in Houston. I donít necessarily agree with these concerns but I get where sheís coming from.

 I look for jobs in our suburb every day but there are extremely few jobs in my line of work. In two years, only one somewhat-related position has come open, I interviewed and didnít get it. Other than that, she has axed all the solutions I have proposed. Iím ok with agreeing to stay put until we save up for the down payment (probably a year Ė year and a half). Iím ok with looking for jobs in different suburbs which would address the crime/raising kids issue somewhat. Iím ok with moving halfway closer to the office. She can also change her route and the sales area she covers to have a route in Houston. Iíd even be ok if she quits her job and we rely on my income if thatís what it takes. I make ~2x what she makes and have a lot more career potential given my industry.

Itís taking a toll on our relationship. I feel lied to and Iím resentful about having to commute while she works from home part of the week. I am afraid she will be resentful if we move away from her family. Iím exhausted / grumpy by the time I get home and just have time to have dinner and sleep. This kills any QT together during the week. Not to mention, if we did have kids in the near future, I absolutely donít want to be 1 hour away from my pregnant wife every day or have to commute at 5:30am after being up with the baby all night.

Any ideas or suggestions on how else I can address this situation? Any other solutions possible? Am I being selfish for wanting to move? How can I help convince her that renting is ok for some situations? For the record, I love Houston and would not have problems raising kids here.

ixtap

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2017, 02:49:51 PM »
Have you looked into a studio near work that you stay at a few nights a week?

Do you have any control over your schedule to avoid traffic?

Could you work at home a day or two a week?

All of my other solutions involve time travel.

katscratch

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2017, 02:52:19 PM »
I have several coworkers that rent a studio or long-term hotel rooms in the city for that reason.

RidetheRain

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2017, 03:03:49 PM »
I feel like this is only half of the story. You say that she has vetoed your ideas. Why? Was there something about them that she didn't like?

My take would be that you should live near the things you do the most. If you commute to work 5 days a week and visit family 2 then you should live near work. This goes for any weekend-only activities.

Lady SA

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2017, 04:18:32 PM »
I can understand you feel lied to. What a sucky and unfair situation you are in. I'm sorry.

I'm sitting here boggled that she's refusing to compromise or negotiate with you to make things more tolerable for you. From what you describe, your request is entirely reasonable. Did something change between then and now? Before she was agreeable, and now she refuses. Did you request something different? Is her work situation different? Does she feel more/less secure in her current city/job?

This is my reasonable second thought (I had a much pettier first thought, more on that below). I think you need to bring this up, but don't talk. LISTEN to her. Listen and ask her questions. Try to get to the bottom of *really* why there is suddenly this resistance. Is she selfish, or is she just worried? Does she not care about quality time with you? Does she not fully understand how stressful the current situation is for you? Is she worried that relationships with her friends and family will change? Just talk it out, and leave your emotions at the door. You are going in to learn, not defend yourself or argue with her or try to get her to change. Once you actually understand the things going on beneath the surface, you can deal with it. But you cant effectively do anything, if what you're fighting is invisible or you are not aware of it.

my petty first thought is that you need to play hardball too--you had agreed before marriage to work out a new place to live and now she won't even consider it, that's a dick move and I'm a terrible person, but she can't have her cake and eat it too. Probably not the best marriage advice out there, but taking your account at face value, she is being unreasonable unless there's significant information you/we don't know about. I'm NOT talking divorce, of course. I am saying that the current situation is intolerable, and since she has temporarily abdicated her seat at the compromise table, I'd put together a list of acceptable options FOR YOU. You can only control yourself, so what can YOU do to make this situation less hideous, and give yourself a timeframe to enact a change, with or without her.

Something like: In 1 year from now:
--make significant schedule changes to current job to avoid heavy traffic times (fewer hours? offset working hours? telecommuting?) Consequence: less career opportunity, look bad to your boss, etc?
--Find a job in current city within 6 months. (if this doesn't happen by x date, one of the other two choices will be chosen). Consequence: less career opportunity, less salary.
--Both Beachstache and wife move to location halfway between job and family. Consequences: more difficult to spend time with loved ones, but more quality time together with reduced commute and less-stressed husband.
--BeachStache lives in Houston in a small flat during weekdays. Consequence: wife doesn't get the pleasure of your company 70% of the time because she values a house location over a more reasonable commute.

That's all I can really think of, you can add more if there are some. But then I would present this list to her and make her choose. "Since we can't agree, these options are what I am ok with. I would like you to work with me to choose one. If you don't choose, that's fine, but one of these is going to happen one year from now regardless."
It might help wake her up from thinking if she just keeps putting you off, this will all go away and she doesn't have to be uncomfortable. No. Force her to be uncomfortable and make a decision and clearly see the consequences of that decision.

fwiw, I am married and have been for 4 years. I would never dream of forcing my husband into a long stressful commute (I know how much he loathes it) and if he expressed the desire to move, I would absolutely hear him out. Or for any other situation which he found intolerable, I would move heaven and earth to rectify the situation if I can. And if I was being unreasonable and refusing to discuss something, I would expect him to make reasonable arrangements for himself to alleviate his problem, and vice versa. And I would be giving up the right to be pissed at whatever decision he made because I refused to participate in decision making. But I hope I would also be mature enough to air any true concerns that are underneath my reluctance so we can work them out instead of flat out refusing to discuss. I hope that makes sense.

EDIT: For your fears of her resenting you and you growing to resent her, I really suggest taking some time to look for a good marital counselor and working out this issue with a neutral third party and prevent bad feelings from festering. "Where do we live" is a really big, emotional question to grapple with, one of the big ones up there with "should we have kids" and "how do we handle finances as a couple". The counselor will be worth their weight in gold and it's their job to help couples learn to handle these big disagreements in a healthy, supportive way. Especially with your mental health suffering (exhausted/grumpy all the time). Both of you deserve a solution that takes into account both your needs, and a counselor will be the best resource to help you do that.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 04:31:25 PM by Lady SA »

sokoloff

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2017, 05:45:29 PM »
I look for jobs in our suburb every day but there are extremely few jobs in my line of work. In two years, only one somewhat-related position has come open, I interviewed and didnít get it. Other than that, she has axed all the solutions I have proposed. Iím ok with agreeing to stay put until we save up for the down payment (probably a year Ė year and a half). Iím ok with looking for jobs in different suburbs which would address the crime/raising kids issue somewhat. Iím ok with moving halfway closer to the office. She can also change her route and the sales area she covers to have a route in Houston. Iíd even be ok if she quits her job and we rely on my income if thatís what it takes. I make ~2x what she makes and have a lot more career potential given my industry.

Any ideas or suggestions on how else I can address this situation? Any other solutions possible? Am I being selfish for wanting to move? How can I help convince her that renting is ok for some situations? For the record, I love Houston and would not have problems raising kids here.
The first two underlined statements seem a bit incongruous to me. If you have great career prospects given your industry, are they all in Houston?

Reference the last underlined question:
1. I like the idea of a local crash pad to use a couple nights a week. Have colleagues that do something very similar and turn the commute into a weekly or couple times a week thing.

2. I know I'm going to get pilloried on this board for suggesting it, but how close is your job and "her" house to one of the reliever airports around Houston? If it's close, have you thought about flying to work? Guy diagonally across the way from me flies to work most nice weather days from the Cape to north of Boston. On bad weather days or when his airplane is in maintenance, he has a small crash pad up by work and he makes the drive weekly. (His drive would be about 2h15m off-peak and 3h30m during rush hour; the flight is about 90 miles and 40 minutes. He's probably in it about $75 per additional round trip, of course after buying the airplane and paying all the training and fixed costs.) TX is a great state for general aviation, though much of Houston proper isn't well served by convenient general aviation airports because of how built up it is. Even if it doesn't save you much time, I can pretty well guarantee you'll be in a better mood after a nice flight to/from work.

To be fair, you did ask for "any possible". ;)

Cwadda

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2017, 06:47:45 PM »
Here's a list of ideas I thought of after reading your post.

1. Talk to your wife
2. Go to counseling/therapy with your wife.  I'm not sure why there's such a negative stigma around this.  I go to therapy and consider myself fine, it just makes me even better.  Here is exactly the discussion you need to have:
Quote
I feel lied to and Iím resentful about having to commute while she works from home part of the week. I am afraid she will be resentful if we move away from her family. Iím exhausted / grumpy by the time I get home and just have time to have dinner and sleep. This kills any QT together during the week. Not to mention, if we did have kids in the near future, I absolutely donít want to be 1 hour away from my pregnant wife every day or have to commute at 5:30am after being up with the baby all night.
Boom.
3. Find someone to carpool with to save on time, money, and catching some Z's during the ride
4. Move to another suburb closer to Houston, but not IN Houston (halfway point between where you are now and the city).
5. Find remote work, even if it means taking a pay cut.
6. Find a job in Houston that allows you to work from home more often than traveling into the city.

BeachStash

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2017, 07:09:26 PM »
Thank you all for the thoughtful responses and ideas. It  helps to get a 3rd partyís POV. Which just adds to the reasons we should consider talking to a therapist.

I definitely need to get to the bottom of whatís going on. I think a huge part of it is that she has a hard time dealing with change in general, and a move would be a pretty big deal. She has lived her whole life within a 2 mile radius whereas I have been jumping from state to state all my adult life.

I like the list approach by Lady SA. Hopefully we can come to an agreement before then. As much as I would hate to spend part of the week away from her, getting a hotel or studio may be the best bet, assuming costs are reasonable. Would love the option of flying to work ;).

I look for jobs in our suburb every day but there are extremely few jobs in my line of work. In two years, only one somewhat-related position has come open, I interviewed and didnít get it. Other than that, she has axed all the solutions I have proposed. Iím ok with agreeing to stay put until we save up for the down payment (probably a year Ė year and a half). Iím ok with looking for jobs in different suburbs which would address the crime/raising kids issue somewhat. Iím ok with moving halfway closer to the office. She can also change her route and the sales area she covers to have a route in Houston. Iíd even be ok if she quits her job and we rely on my income if thatís what it takes. I make ~2x what she makes and have a lot more career potential given my industry.

Any ideas or suggestions on how else I can address this situation? Any other solutions possible? Am I being selfish for wanting to move? How can I help convince her that renting is ok for some situations? For the record, I love Houston and would not have problems raising kids here.
The first two underlined statements seem a bit incongruous to me. If you have great career prospects given your industry, are they all in Houston?

Reference the last underlined question:
1. I like the idea of a local crash pad to use a couple nights a week. Have colleagues that do something very similar and turn the commute into a weekly or couple times a week thing.

2. I know I'm going to get pilloried on this board for suggesting it, but how close is your job and "her" house to one of the reliever airports around Houston? If it's close, have you thought about flying to work? Guy diagonally across the way from me flies to work most nice weather days from the Cape to north of Boston. On bad weather days or when his airplane is in maintenance, he has a small crash pad up by work and he makes the drive weekly. (His drive would be about 2h15m off-peak and 3h30m during rush hour; the flight is about 90 miles and 40 minutes. He's probably in it about $75 per additional round trip, of course after buying the airplane and paying all the training and fixed costs.) TX is a great state for general aviation, though much of Houston proper isn't well served by convenient general aviation airports because of how built up it is. Even if it doesn't save you much time, I can pretty well guarantee you'll be in a better mood after a nice flight to/from work.

To be fair, you did ask for "any possible". ;)


I should have phrased that better. Iím in corporate finance and all those jobs are mostly in Houston, with a few out in the suburbs, just not in the one we live in. There are a lot of job openings right now. Iím actually interviewing for a new one on Monday with the hope that they will offer more flexibility. This poorly stated comment just meant to say that even if we relied on just one income, while it may suck for a bit, after a while Iím in a good position to get raises/promotions to put us back on track.

GoConfidently

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2017, 08:17:56 PM »
Do you have any married friends that live in the city that you could spend some weekend time with as a couple? Maybe seeing people who are happily living in the city will make her realize that Houston isnít a big bad city. Or get into the habit of going to do weekend things that will endear her to different neighborhoods - do brunch and antique stores in the heights, or nice dinner and a show at the Alley, or go running in Eleanor Tinsley park and then head to a great coffee shop, or see a show at the Menil and take a quiet walk through the neighborhoods. There are a lot of areas that feel like suburbs - quiet, tree lined streets with families. If sheís never explored those areas, sheís making an emotional decision based on fear. Make her fall in love with an area that would be good for your commute.

Noodle

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2017, 09:24:17 PM »
Right now isn't the greatest time to move into Houston anyway. A lot of the housing is full of temporary residents whose houses are currently being repaired after flooding. Which means you have some time to think and talk and do some exploring before the housing opens back up in another six months or so. I have also heard that there will be some good housing buys as houses that didn't flood near ones that did will also drop in price.

I really like the suggestion to spend some time looking around the city together--the touristy stuff but also the neighborhoods where you will mostly find locals. With the holidays coming up, there will be fun Christmas activities to do. If you are religious, maybe try out some different congregations. (There is nothing friendlier than Houston church/temple people...all you have to do is mention that you're thinking of moving and you will have more restaurant/gym/rental suggestions than you can shake a hymnal at).  When I was offered a job here, I was very reluctant until local friends spent a day driving me around and showing me neighborhoods they thought I would like. Up until then, I was mostly familiar with Houston as I saw it from the highway...ie, strip malls and development neighborhoods. There are a lot of pretty neighborhoods where you would have no idea you are in the fourth biggest city in the United States. Plus, if you can make some friends down here, she may loosen her grip on some of her ideas about Houston. There are dangerous parts of town, but there are other neighborhoods that are as safe as the suburbs. There are good schools and I know plenty of happy, healthy kids being raised inside the Loop.

If you do move, would renting her house be an option, or would you have to sell to make your budget work? You gave the suburbs a couple of years and decided you didn't like it...it would be fair to do the city for a year or two and evaluate. (But give it at least a year before you open it up for discussion, especially for someone who has never lived anywhere else.)

marble_faun

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2017, 10:39:13 PM »
I had a beastly commute a few years back.  I took the approach of renting a place near work while maintaining my primary home with my husband.

I ended up in a basement room within a family's house, in an area where there wasn't much to do. My life during those weekdays felt very drab and lonely.

It was okay for a little while, but I wouldn't want to live like that forever.  (In my case, I got to stop after one year, as my schedule changed so I only had to commute in a couple times per week.)

If we had had a baby, it would have been even more difficult to be apart.


The nice thing about the weekday residence is that you can just make it happen, right now, without having to uproot your wife.  But ultimately you might find that this is a stop-gap. You could be having the same conversation with her again, a year or two from now.

The best long-term solution might be to either move halfway between work and your current home, OR to find a work-from-home arrangement.   

You are losing ~500 of life-hours per year to this commute.  It is not sustainable.

Hopefully y'all can find a compromise! Good luck!

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2017, 11:52:53 PM »
I feel like this is only half of the story. You say that she has vetoed your ideas. Why? Was there something about them that she didn't like?

My take would be that you should live near the things you do the most. If you commute to work 5 days a week and visit family 2 then you should live near work. This goes for any weekend-only activities.

If they are seriously considering having children and the family are the type to provide a lot of free childcare and support then this should considered into the number of things a week. How frequently does your wife visit her family at the moment?

The families I know who are this close knit provide huge support to new parents (like visiting several times a day, coming over for twenty minutes so that the parent can shower), and can be an alternative to day care if/when both parents return to work. If they think in a "small community" way, the family are unlikely to travel to you on a regular basis. Families vary hugely, but this might be one of the things your wife is thinking about and maybe you could ask about.

My gut feel is that she thinks that moving away from her family will significantly and negatively affect the relationship with her family. I think that for her, by asking to move further away you are asking her to sever ties with her friends and family, and choose you over all of them. This is a much bigger thing than just being resistant to move house.

I don't think that moving half way is a particularly useful solution (if my read on the family situation is right). My in-laws basically think that anything outside of their village is "away". We have lived a 60, 180, and 330 minute drive away from them, and they've treated all of these exactly the same. If we don't live "near", we live "far away". There would be no point in us moving a 30 minute drive away and expecting them to visit us any more frequently - it's still outside of their comfort bubble. YMMV.

Therapy. Stat. Good luck.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2017, 07:34:37 AM »
I think a huge part of it is that she has a hard time dealing with change in general, and a move would be a pretty big deal. She has lived her whole life within a 2 mile radius whereas I have been jumping from state to state all my adult life.

This + plus new baby on the way (assuming first baby)  = no way in hell she wants to move away from her family.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2017, 08:46:52 AM »
+1000 to the marriage counselor, I did that early in my marriage and we learned how to talk without resentment and it helped a ton with our little issues.
How long is your actual commute? I bike in, and if I drove it would be 20 minutes, if I bike it is 40-45 minutes by the time I change and freshen up. The bus is 50 minutes in the AM and  1 hour 20 minutes home. I think it takes an hour to get anywhere far and that is tolerable but over an hour becomes dramatically worse. After listening intently to your wife, maybe she will be able to listen to you .

I do feel if you are having children and the parents are willing to help with the baby, that is a huge boost to your finaces, and you could consider a pay cut to commute closer. I HATE to take a pay cut myself but when I did for less hours worked it was the smartest thing I could have done. My sanitiy was so worth 14K a year ( after taxes).
Good luck

With This Herring

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2017, 09:42:17 AM »
Long story short (well, not that short). Thanks for reading!

I married my wife 6 months ago after 3.5 years together. When we started dating, I lived and worked in Houston. She is from a suburb about 40 minutes away without traffic (up to 1.5 hours with traffic).  I moved in with her 2 years ago when my lease was up with the intention of trying out the commute since she owned a house out there, her mortgage was cheap (less than my rent), and we live very close to her parents, sibling and high school friends. I really enjoy living out there on the weekends but I absolutely hate the commute of 2+ hours every day on top of 9-11 hours at the office. My job is a typical corporate job which I like, pays well and has good career potential. She works in sales and has a very flexible schedule, where she can work from home 1-2 days a week and then runs her route to visit her accounts which are close to home.

A few months in, surprise, surprise, the drive sucks. I made it very clear that I hated commuting and that we would need to figure out a different arrangement. She has always been reluctant to move away but said that she understood the situation and that we would figure it out. Before we got married I again made it clear that we would need to move closer to work and she reluctantly said that we would. Well, now 6 months later she pretty much flat out refuses to move or consider other options. She refuses to entertain the idea of moving to Houston for several reasons: crime, traffic, not a great place to raise kids, being away from her family, and having to go back to renting. We would have to rent for a while until we can come up with a down payment for a home as prices are a lot higher in Houston. I donít necessarily agree with these concerns but I get where sheís coming from.

*snip*

Any ideas or suggestions on how else I can address this situation? Any other solutions possible? Am I being selfish for wanting to move? How can I help convince her that renting is ok for some situations? For the record, I love Houston and would not have problems raising kids here.

What were the exact words that were used when you discussed this before marriage?  Your first statement "I made it very clear that I hated commuting and that we would need to figure out a different arrangement," reads to me that "so something needs to change," not "So therefore we will move to Houston."

Before you, everything she loved was in this one area and her job is based there.  You are added to the mix, and now the one big, glaring issue is that you have a long commute.  So the "something" that should change (from the outside) looks like your job that is causing this long commute.  Did she mean to deceive you?  I doubt it.  You thought "So of course we will move to Houston, the city that I love, to be near my job," and she thought "So of course we will stay in Suburb, with family and friends and tranquility and low crime and my job, and it will just require that one job changes."

Don't get me wrong.  Your point of view is entirely reasonable.  But so is hers.

If she is not a city person, I don't think she will magically become a city person when introduced to fun-city-things.
For some perspective:  I am not a city person.  I like occasional fun-city-things, but I currently live in a slightly-more-dense town and it grates like crazy.  I HATE it here.  I'm not even in an apartment complex, just renting an apartment in a house, and I HATE how dense the housing is here.  My gosh, I can see into my neighbors' windows!  I HATE the constant sirens.  I hate the crowded parking situation and parking off-sides for snow removal.  I hate the random loudness when there is any community event.  And this isn't even a real city!

For fixes, what are your chances for a job that is mostly telecommuting?  What about applying for jobs that are in the opposite direction of Houston so you are never fighting traffic?  What about stepping up networking in her area and/or talking to recruiters, in case more jobs are coming up but just get snapped up before you see them?

And until home and work are closer together, however that may happen, would taking the train help?

marielle

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2017, 10:00:09 AM »
Posting to follow/offer condolences. I'm in a similar situation, where we've been in a relationship for almost five years but have never lived together. Our jobs are roughly 75 minutes apart, but everything in between is the middle of nowhere. We might be able to live where I'm 30 minutes away and he's an hour, but that's ridiculous IMO. It would probably end up like your situation and neither of us would be happy.

At this point we've accepted that both of us would have to get new jobs but he wants to stay at his job for at least a year and really likes the new role he just got at his company. We're recent grads, so he wants to wait another year so that he has three years experience and I have two years. I don't particularly want to live in this state anymore and there aren't really any engineering jobs where he works. Part of me wants to go ahead and apply to jobs out of state because I don't want to live in the south or in a rural area anymore, but that seems selfish. It's been pretty difficult to make friends here and weekdays are very lonely.

Fitzy1

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Re: Commute / Relationship Advice
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2017, 10:16:45 AM »
Wow those hours sound rough. Even worse with the commute figured in.

As someone who was raised in the country, and has since moved around/lived in all different types of living situations (short of homelessness), I can definitely appreciate Herring's point of view. I too like city things, but maybe only once every few months. After living in cities for several years and hating it - sounds, dirtiness, having to re-arrange parking with upstairs neighbors depending on who had to leave first in the morning due to a one lane driveway) I was able to settle in the suburbs. Not nearly the peace and quiet of the country, but my house is seven minutes walking door-to-door from where my wife works.

Someone above me mentioned renting a studio; I would couple that idea with suggesting your wife also work out of the studio on the days she would otherwise work from home. It would cut down on the nights you have to spend apart.

If it's a job change -  I would recommend finding a recruiter or several who work on commission. They're incentivized to find you a position that fits the criteria you present.

Some folks are wired to work hours like that on top of a commute - I know I'm not one of them. Something has to give and I hope it's not your marriage.