Author Topic: Feeling stuck  (Read 11060 times)

Lucky Girl

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Feeling stuck
« on: April 20, 2016, 10:21:36 AM »
I am feeling very stuck in my current situation and could use some advice and perspective.

First off, to acknowledge that I understand I am in an exceptionally privileged position.  I am married with two kids, age 6 and 3.  We have enough resources that many on this board would already be RE, but live in a HCOL and are a bit spendy so can't actually cover our current expenses. 

Now for the issues:  I discovered MMM about a year ago, and have spend the last year understanding our assets and spending and have a very good handle on it.  I know that if we chose to move to a LCOL area and cut back in some simple ways (cell, cable, expensive coffee) we could both stop working forever based on the 4% rule.  We don't have quite enough to securely cover the college costs, which is important, but could probably either work for 2-3 more years, or commit to some PT work to add more to the college savings.  I also happen to really, really, really strongly dislike cold winters and being cooped up indoors from November-April, and would love to move to the southeast or southwest.

DH, however, has no interest.  He says I have "changed."  He wants to work for 15 more years and will not consider moving.  He is okay with me quitting my job, and fine with me traveling with the kids whenever they are on vacation.  It seems like he and I are no longer compatible with each other, and not really interested in the same things.  He wants the kids to play sports, and expects they won't want to travel, or be interested in hiking/kayaking/rock climbing when they are older.  We did all these things before we had kids, and I would love to take my kids on lots of adventures like this. 

I feel like no matter what, the next 15 years I will be trapped in a location I don't like much for most of the year and unable to make much change.  This makes me really resent DH and his inflexibility, which makes me feel even more like we have no connection.  Of course, I have two kids so the idea of divorce is really abhorrent, but I have started to think about it.  I feel overwhelmingly sad and trapped at times, and find it hard to even enjoy my kids.  I have felt this way for about two weeks, and know that if things don't change it will start to affect them negatively.

Any advice, perspective, or ideas to try would be most welcome. 
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 10:39:41 AM by Lucky Girl »

Daisyedwards800

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 10:35:07 AM »
First of all, absolutely everyone feels stuck sometimes in long term relationships and marriages.  It is just inevitable.  Marriage is actually periods of ups and downs, and sometimes you will be in agreement and sometimes you won't.  Even insurmountable things pass.  You have to just commit to staying together, and try to roll with the bad times.  Sometimes you get stuck in the mud, but the wheel always comes back around again. 

Secondly, I think what you can do is just prepare for early retirement as best you can and hope that your husband comes around in 2 or 3 or 4 years or one day.  He might lose clients or get a boss he doesn't like, and then he will be right on board with you.  Start getting used to spending less on your own, and try to steer your kids into less expensive sports, that they can play well into their adulthood instead of sports that require expensive gear and commitments.  If you and your husband did hikes and backpacking, you can still suggest doing those things on weekends when he is free, and join meetups in your own area.  Make him do his share of the child rearing so that you have time for hobbies you like (I know it's tough with kids).

Keep a positive attitude because if you were in tune once you will be again.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2016, 10:51:26 AM »
It's sort of accepted around this forum that people want to consume less and work less/not at all. The reality is there are many people who don't feel that way. They want to consume and/or work quite a lot - for a number of reasons.

Your husband may never come around or he may come around tomorrow there is no way for us to say.

What I would suggest is talking about these issues with him as much as possible - perhaps start counselling. Having issues and needing to work through them is a normal part of a relationship. Feeling trapped with an incompatible partner and lifestyle for 15yrs+ is not.

Get started on figuring this out. Hopefully you find a place where you both end up pretty happy. It's possible you don't. Either way I would want to resolve the matter sooner rather than later.

dougules

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2016, 11:00:53 AM »
Would he go to professional marriage counseling?  If you're resenting him, and he's being inflexible, it sounds like you need some outside help to bring the two of you back onto the same page.   Everybody here can give you advice, but we're not professionals, and we can't talk out all the important details with you. 

Does he want to work longer for the money or because he loves his job?  Either way if he truly doesn't mind you quitting, it sounds like you're not in a terrible position.  I feel you on the cold given that I  complain about winter in Alabama, but on the bright side you don't have that 4 months of non-stop heat and humidity.  As for the hiking/kayaking/rock climbing, you live in Mass not Nebraska, right?  You have the Appalachians and the ocean practically at your doorstep. 

I guess it's not really about the location but the relationship.  Is there something else going on between you and him that's not related to what you're telling us here?  Maybe it's something you don't want to tell strangers, but it's just something to think about.

zarfus

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2016, 11:11:20 AM »
I'm not necessarily saying you're wrong, but try looking at it from his perspective.

I assume you were both on board when you moved to your HCOL area and bought your house. There must have been something there that you both liked.

"I have felt this way for about two weeks, and know that if things don't change it will start to affect them negatively." And you're thinking about divorce?  This stuff takes time.  You have to remember he hasn't read this blog/forums for a year like you have, and they may be pretty radical ideas to him. 

"I also happen to really, really, really strongly dislike cold winters and being cooped up indoors from November-April"
Well, it's April! It's almost done, and soon the weather will be better.  Take advantage of it, and do things that will make you feel freed.

I dunno, I read your OP and I thought a lot of about myself.  For the longest time, I tried convincing my wife (who wsa very supportive) to move to a more walkable area, etc.  I felt stuck in our current home.  I felt like a pain in her ass every time I wanted to show her a house.  I felt obsessive.  I decided to take a step back, and give it at least another year or two before we do anything drastic.  I'm really glad I have, as I'm enjoying our time together more in our current house.

My suggestion, is to do those things with your kids like you mentioned.  Include your husband in your plans, and try to get him to help plan these "excursions".  It might be what you both need to rekindle some of the lost interest.  Good luck!

little_brown_dog

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2016, 11:17:53 AM »
I'm sorry you are having marital trouble. However, it is easy to forget that moving is a HUGE request. We on the FIRE forums tend to forget that. While to us it may seem selfish for a partner to “make” you stay in your current location, it is important to remember it is just as selfish to want a partner to pack up and move far away from their job, community, friends, and place where they thought their kids would grow up. Surely there must be some good at your current location or else you would not have chosen to live there for so long. Disliking winter is not necessarily a reason to uproot a family.

Is your husband reacting to the desire to move and completely change your life? If so, you should try to see where he is coming from. Sounds like he is fine with you doing what you want, but not uprooting the kids. Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

You say your husband is inflexible, but you seem to be quite inflexible yourself. The middle ground is what he proposed - you quit and get your early retirement without moving the family. Everyone gets a bit of what they want. But you are saying that's not good enough...
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 11:26:19 AM by little_brown_dog »

Kapiira

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2016, 11:28:00 AM »
It seems like making the large changes that you are interested in isn't going to work right now, but there's no reason you can't successfully incorporate elements of this life into your current situation.  There's no reason that your kids can't do sports AND spend time outdoors.  Take the kids (or maybe just the older one right now) to the climbing gym during the winter.  Head to warm weather for spring break.  If you can bring yourself to do it, invest in good cold weather clothes and get out for some snow activities close to home.  Cold might not be your preference, but right now it's what you've got.  Dressed properly, it can still be awesome for outdoor family activities.

My kids (5 and 8) play sports for one or two sessions a year and in the last year we have still managed to take them snow shoeing, backpacking in the Grand Canyon, on numerous day hikes, and on a vacation to Yellowstone.  And my husband takes them to the climbing gym a couple times a month.  It's not an either/or proposition.

mozar

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2016, 01:14:35 PM »
What bothers me the most is that he said you've "changed." That's a bizarre expectation that people stay exactly the same the entirety of their lives. And it sounds like you haven't changed anyway. You liked to do low cost activities before. It sounds like if anyone changed, its him. Maybe you're just returning to your baseline. I did dump my ex partner two weeks after I found MMM. But that was after years of unhappiness.

slappy

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2016, 01:24:25 PM »
I live in Southern NH, so I can definitely understand the cold weather thing. My husband is a SAHD and when we had a really cold streak a couple of months ago, he felt it was too cold to bring our toddler outside. After a few days of this, he really started to get cranky and a bit depressed.  Honestly, I leave the house for work every day and I was feeling the depression from being so cold all the time. I just couldn't get warm.  I wanted to visit my mom in FL, but he said we would just be that much more cold when we got back.  Ugh! Anyway, getting outside is important, even when it's freezing. Like others have said, dress in multiple layers and try to find an outdoor activity that you can do for the winter. Snowboarding/skiing is an option, but it can get expensive. Maybe crosscountry skiing or snowshoeing? The advantage of an outdoor sport during cold weather is that you will be warming yourself up through the workout it provides. I've gone snowboarding a few times and I'm always quite warm. 

On another note, my parents had a similar issue, among MANY others. My mother is from CA and my dad was born and raised in Northern NH. She ended up moving away because she felt so stuck here.  Needless to say, the marriage didn't last, although as I noted, there were MANY other issues.

Lucky Girl

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2016, 01:30:24 PM »
Thanks all for the feedback, both positive and negative. 

Daisyedwards800, you are absolutely right that I need to find a positive attitude.  I understand that this could be a temporary mood, as this happened once before in our marriage, and it did pass.  I am not sure how to get there but will be patient.

Retire-Canada, thanks for your advice.  I am not sure talking more about it will help in our situation.  He is not a talker.  It is one of the most frustrating things about him.  He tends to say nothing in response to my comments, or assume that I automatically know exactly what he is thinking.  I think zarfus may be giving me more actionable advice, to let it rest for a while and not be obsessive. 

little_brown_dog, you are providing valuable perspective.  When I read your post, I thought, yup, that is how my husband feels.  I moved multiple times growing up.  We still live less than 20 miles from where my husband grew up.  I have few friends and no family here.  He has both.  I think that is where part of my resentment comes in.  Of course he wants to stay.  And I was happy here for a long while when I had friends and family here, but all of those people have since moved away. 

Kapiira, thanks for your feedback. I do take the kids hiking right now, and I love it.  Every time I suggest it it's a battle.  The kids seem to like being outside, and my husband does even seem to enjoy it, but its like, oh, here goes the crazy lady again wanting to go for a hike, can't we just go to an amusement park instead?

I am not quite sure where this leaves me.  I guess I understand that I am being inflexible.  How do I be flexible, and does being flexible mean I just don't get to be happy?  How do I stop being obsessive?  I feel miserable and highly resentful, and I don't know how to let go of those feelings.  Counseling?

little_brown_dog

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2016, 01:42:50 PM »

I am not quite sure where this leaves me.  I guess I understand that I am being inflexible.  How do I be flexible, and does being flexible mean I just don't get to be happy?  How do I stop being obsessive?  I feel miserable and highly resentful, and I don't know how to let go of those feelings.  Counseling?

The good news is you used to be happy where you are, but it sounds like people leaving have made you feel more isolated socially. That is something you can remedy.
You like hiking but it's a battle - would it be possible to join a hiking or outdoorsy group in the area so you can meet some friends with similar interests? That way you get your fix, you meet new people, and it isn't 100% on your husband to go hiking all the time.

You should sit down with your thoughts and feelings (constructively) and try to objectively assess them. Don't ruminate...assess. When did you start feeling this way? What happened that triggered it? Are you really mad at your husband or just resentful that he seems happy and you are having a tough time? Do you seem more down in the winter and happier in the summer (seasonal affective disorder)? Why? Would moving actually fix things or would you still be forced to make new friends, find family activities, etc?
 If you like outdoorsy time, maybe schedule a nice long solo hike for yourself where you can think these things over.

norabird

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2016, 01:44:55 PM »
Definitely counseling is a good idea. You say you don't have many local friends; can you quit your job, join a hiking group (you can do it during the day if the kids are in school), and find a middle ground, where you have more of a social group and the freedom to indulge your interests without insisting the rest of the family change? I don't think you have the right to insist that the family move right away; try to make incremental changes to be happy without a total break from the existing situation. I think you are assuming a move would 'fix' some things that are more internal than they are external. You can't propose a 180 alteration and then think he's being inflexible. Let him come on board slowly and focus now on what you control. Maybe have some date nights too to reconnect.

TealBlue

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2016, 01:52:56 PM »
I am not sure whether or not this applies to you Lucky girl, but for me sometimes I start really obsessing over something and expect that my husband has put that same time and effort into it when he hasn't and I get unreasonably upset about that!  For example: Several months ago I started thinking about selling our home, taking the equity in it, buying a duplex or triplex, living in it for a year or so while renting the rest out, then buying another home.  I spent about a month with spreadsheets, looking at real estate postings online, envisioning what our finances would look like in 5 years with this plan, how we could remain in our current school district, etc, etc.  Well when I finally brought it up he simply said,"There's no way.  I love our house." I was pissed off for the next couple weeks because he simply said no to something that so obviously made sense to me but I finally realized that I had invested probably 20 hours of my time into this idea.  I gave him 2 minutes then asked for an answer.  I wonder if you are making this situation a huge deal because of the time you've invested into thinking about it or researching it and maybe he's just at the planting a seed stage? Just a thought :)

apricity

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2016, 02:04:25 PM »
I think you should quit your job!  Let him be the spendier/working one, and you can be the thriftier/retired one. If everyone's on board there shouldn't be resentment on either side.

Make peace with where you live (at least for now) and seek out friendships with people who like to do what you do. Take the kids along. Take DH along, but don't expect him to drop everything and change overnight. Don't expect him to change him at all. Just do what you like and leave the invitation open. Model the appeal of your lifestyle by being a walking advertisement. Just don't hit him over the head with it endlessly, that tends to backfire. Happy people, happy feelings can be very contagious. Telling others how to live / what to do / what to value is usually not received well.

Plan at least two trips per winter/early spring to a warmer climate. You wouldn't be working, and you're thrifty, so that should be no problem. Take the kids! Invite DH. Have fun whether or not he joins.  Some day he will try it.

Maybe he will come around in a few years. Maybe you'll come around. Maybe you'll find that you just needed to meet somewhere in the middle.

AZDude

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2016, 02:09:27 PM »
I completely understand the feelings of the OP. I used to live in SoCal, we both did, but due to finances and a baby and having family here, we moved back to my home state of Arizona. It was probably a year after we had moved back and I was missing that pacific breeze pretty bad, so I brought up the idea of moving back in a couple of years. The conversation did not go well. Tears, yelling... it was bad.

Its now been a while since we came back here to AZ, and when I talk about California, the conversation is non-confrontational. We talk about the pros/cons, about whether things would be the same, and what to do about all the obstacles that were the reason we came back. Chances are that we will not move until ER, if at all, but the idea no longer leaves us both angry or frustrated.

The issue of him not talking about it is more concerning than his actual feelings on the subject. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. Maybe try to reconnect first, and then talk about your unhappiness. He does not sound completely unreasonable, since he is OK with you quitting your job and vacationing with the kids(although that is strange).

Also remember, divorce might not get what you want(moving to a sunnier climate) since your kids might not want to leave their father and other family to move across the country. The court might not let you take the kids out of the state, either.

dougules

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2016, 02:54:28 PM »

mozar

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2016, 08:15:50 PM »
I recommend the book "Deal Breakers" by Bethany Marshall. It will help you think through some of your issues.

Noodle

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2016, 09:13:24 PM »
I'm sorry you are going through a hard time.

I think a worthwhile place to start would be with your doctor, just in case your brain chemistry is messing with you, and yes, a counselor. Your husband doesn't like to talk or ruminate over issues with you, so you need a safe place to do that. Keeping things inside your own head exaggerates them, and when you lay them out for someone the answers may be clearer. I have a friend who does that for me, and half the time I realize I don't even need advice, I just need someone to listen while I say my worries out loud and clear out the mental noise.

Then, I think that unless you really come to the conclusion that your marriage isn't viable, the way to go is the baby steps that are always advised here when one spouse wants to embrace MMM and the other is reluctant. Just start to live the life you want (of course, not in ways that are harmful to your family). Go out and get involved in activities that might start rebuilding the connections that were lost when your friends moved away. Put some of your family's surplus toward childcare for date nights or if your husband isn't up for watching the kids while you do your thing. Plan things you want to do with the kids and invite your husband, and let it be if he's not up for it. Go along cheerfully when it's his turn to pick the activity. Take time off from work and try out the "retired" life, since your husband already indicated it's OK with him.

He's probably right--you have changed. So has he. Most people will. With two kids and what sounds like a pretty good life, it seems like it would be worth it to see if the new yous can reconnect before you start getting drastic.

LAL

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2016, 09:40:50 PM »
Are we twins?  I was where you were a two years ago.  But then in 2014 after 2 kids and a lot of soul searching I had the conversation.  That was it.  I wasn't staying in a place I hated and I didn't want to live.  It's a really long story and lots of background but summary is that neither of us were from the area we were living.  But long story is we talked and we moved without a job in September 2015 and are happier ever since.

You really need to talk deeply about where you see yourselves in 1, 2, 5, 10, 15 years.  What do you want out of life?  What purpose does working provide?'

I PM you a more detailed answer
« Last Edit: April 22, 2016, 09:48:06 PM by LAL »

Lucky Girl

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2016, 06:34:07 AM »
Thanks, LAL, I sent back a PM. 

And thanks all, for the different perspectives.  Sometimes I seem to get stuck in my own head, and without someone to talk to I take things to an extreme. I think I am starting to look at things in a more balanced way now, and have made some plans and taken some steps to get to a better place. 

We did take a hike with the kids and that was great, even though they whined the whole way there about how they didn't want to go.  I also called an old friend and made a date to visit her for a weekend.  She will help me talk it out (probably while hiking!). 

DH and I have begun to talk, but we have a long way to go.  I think I see now that expecting him to move was unrealistic.  He will probably never move.  For the next several years I need to plan warm weather escapes during every school vacation, so I'll get to work on that.  Also, I will plan for my own FI, and maybe at some point he will let go of his fear, or realize that we have enough, and be able to quit sooner than he is currently thinking.  If not, the kids and I will travel without him.

One of the biggest issues to me, that I need to address with him, and have not yet, is that I hate the concept of being a SAHM.  Many of you mentioned that I should just quit and do what I want to do, but that's not realistic.  If I quit and he is still working that means I handle all the kid drop-offs and pick-ups.  I ferry the kids to all doctor and dentist appointments and after school activities, and I care for them on every holiday.  I cook, clean the house and run all the errands and do all the paperwork for the six hours while the kids are in school.  Maybe DH will chip in a little (he does a fair bit now since we both work) but undoubtedly he will do much less.  On the one hand I would say, he's working so that's only fair. But what about once we are FI?  Or the fact that the only reason we are not FI is because he wants to keep living and working in this HCOL area?

Perspectives from this forum have really helped me work through these issues so far, so I'd love more thoughts on all of the above!

norabird

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2016, 07:37:51 AM »
It sounds as if not working isn't exactly what you want, because the unpaid job isn't one you find rewarding enough. What about transferring to a new field? Is that something that would help you feel more content? I didn't get a sense in your earlier posts of how you feel about your current job--what does it mean to you and what would you like to be different, career-wise?

LAL

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2016, 10:09:21 AM »
You will be stuck doing everything as a SAHP.  It's because of the work. You'll be expected to do more housework, kid stuff, and paperwork because you have the time.  You'll do all pick ups and drop offs.  The travel for work, the early/late meetings, etc.  It naturally happens because your new job will be parent.  I do it so I can say that's what happens.

But maybe it's not either or.  Maybe it's time to figure out a different job/career.  Maybe legal advice at a free clinic three days a week.  Okay so maybe with childcare it's a job that won't pay and require you to pay.  Maybe it will require your DH working. But maybe that's the compromise.  What did you want to do with your JD?  I think if he wants to work and you don't want to stay at home, the answer isn't being a SAHP but finding something you like to do and doing it.  I've got more than a few friends who work and pay to work (ie make less than daycare) because they aren't meant to stay at home.  At the end of the day it still works and it might hurt mustachians to hear about people paying to work, but it does happen and it still is okay. 

Fishinshawn

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2016, 02:22:23 PM »
Thanks, LAL, I sent back a PM. 

And thanks all, for the different perspectives.  Sometimes I seem to get stuck in my own head, and without someone to talk to I take things to an extreme. I think I am starting to look at things in a more balanced way now, and have made some plans and taken some steps to get to a better place. 

We did take a hike with the kids and that was great, even though they whined the whole way there about how they didn't want to go.  I also called an old friend and made a date to visit her for a weekend.  She will help me talk it out (probably while hiking!). 

DH and I have begun to talk, but we have a long way to go.  I think I see now that expecting him to move was unrealistic.  He will probably never move.  For the next several years I need to plan warm weather escapes during every school vacation, so I'll get to work on that.  Also, I will plan for my own FI, and maybe at some point he will let go of his fear, or realize that we have enough, and be able to quit sooner than he is currently thinking.  If not, the kids and I will travel without him.

One of the biggest issues to me, that I need to address with him, and have not yet, is that I hate the concept of being a SAHM.  Many of you mentioned that I should just quit and do what I want to do, but that's not realistic.  If I quit and he is still working that means I handle all the kid drop-offs and pick-ups.  I ferry the kids to all doctor and dentist appointments and after school activities, and I care for them on every holiday.  I cook, clean the house and run all the errands and do all the paperwork for the six hours while the kids are in school.  Maybe DH will chip in a little (he does a fair bit now since we both work) but undoubtedly he will do much less.  On the one hand I would say, he's working so that's only fair. But what about once we are FI?  Or the fact that the only reason we are not FI is because he wants to keep living and working in this HCOL area?

Perspectives from this forum have really helped me work through these issues so far, so I'd love more thoughts on all of the above!

So what you expect to be able to retire and travel and do what you want, except you know the important things like take care of the house and children?  I thought you had a lot of valid points until that part of the conversation came up.

Lucky Girl

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2016, 07:56:04 AM »
Fishinshawn, I understand what you are saying.  Its not that I don't want to care for my kids and do what needs to be done.  I don't mind cleaning or cooking, and I love my kids. 

Here's the thing.  There is a HUGE difference between two parents equally sharing the load of housework and childcare, (either because they are both RE, or because they both work) and one parent doing all the housework and childcare because the other is working.  If you still need the salary of the single earner that's fine and I totally get why some people would just split the load, so that one works our of the house, and the other does all parenting/housework.  But what happens when it is one person's choice to work out of the house, even though the family is FI? 

The type of job is particularly key here, right?  If the person continuing to work has a pretty low-key, balanced job then its probably fine.  But that is not my situation.  DH has a very demanding, long hours job that is a long commute as well.  Out of the house from 8 am to 7 pm five days a week, plus working at home some nights and weekends.  How does one navigate this situation so that it is fair?  Spouse staying home should of course do some housework/childcare.  The situation that I often see is where SAHMs start hiring a nanny, house cleaner, and cook in this situation.  But that is highly non-mustachian stuff and totally not my style.   

So my question is, how does a mustachian with a working, SWAMI spouse navigate this minefield without becoming resentful?  Does this make sense?

norabird

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2016, 08:05:54 AM »
Why all this resentment? If you don't want to SAH, keep working and maybe transition to a job you might like better. You can't make your H quit his job (which apparently he enjoys) because you don't want to be the one doing all the daily home stuff if you stop working, though someone will need to do it and you won't have the budget to pay for help (or might you?). Right now you say you split things equally. Can't you just wait until the kids are older? You seem to have a dream of a life that has nothing to do with the realities of your actual life, which I find troubling. And if the budget can swing help, then that's maybe your answer--but you have to come to it jointly.

AZDude

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2016, 09:12:24 AM »
Fishinshawn, I understand what you are saying.  Its not that I don't want to care for my kids and do what needs to be done.  I don't mind cleaning or cooking, and I love my kids. 

Here's the thing.  There is a HUGE difference between two parents equally sharing the load of housework and childcare, (either because they are both RE, or because they both work) and one parent doing all the housework and childcare because the other is working.  If you still need the salary of the single earner that's fine and I totally get why some people would just split the load, so that one works our of the house, and the other does all parenting/housework.  But what happens when it is one person's choice to work out of the house, even though the family is FI? 

The type of job is particularly key here, right?  If the person continuing to work has a pretty low-key, balanced job then its probably fine.  But that is not my situation.  DH has a very demanding, long hours job that is a long commute as well.  Out of the house from 8 am to 7 pm five days a week, plus working at home some nights and weekends.  How does one navigate this situation so that it is fair?  Spouse staying home should of course do some housework/childcare.  The situation that I often see is where SAHMs start hiring a nanny, house cleaner, and cook in this situation.  But that is highly non-mustachian stuff and totally not my style.   

So my question is, how does a mustachian with a working, SWAMI spouse navigate this minefield without becoming resentful?  Does this make sense?

Do you hate the work, or do you just hate the idea of doing all of it yourself? Me... if my DW made enough money that I could stay home and take of our child and do the laundry/cleaning... I would be all over that in a heartbeat.


Lucky Girl

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2016, 09:37:12 AM »
I don't "hate" housework and childcare.  I love my kids.  I enjoy cooking.  I don't mind cleaning.  Its the desire to also have the time to enjoy the freedom of being FI.  If DH is SWAMI that's great.  Good for him.  But when that means I have to do ALL the other things, there isn't much time left to do the fun things.  Its hard to go on a 6 hour hike when there are kids to pick up and laundry and vacuuming to do, and dinner to cook.  But, I recognize that a 1 hour hike is possible. 

This is probably a negative way of thinking about it, but here's how I could see it playing out.  DH spends 11 hours a day doing what he wants (working+commute).  I spend 2 hours per day doing what I want (exercise & cooking) and the rest caring for all the chores, because he now does not think he should do any chores.  This does not seem equal or balanced.  So do I do only 3 hours of essential housework per day, and just accept a messy house and go do what I want for another 3-4 hours before picking up the kids?  Is this something we should negotiate in advance?  Has anyone had this type of conversation as a SAHS?

norabird

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2016, 09:44:56 AM »
Some of this frustration really seems to be about more than the fact that he would still be working. It's that you want to be able to routinely (daily??) do six hour hikes. Unfortunately, with two young kids, even if you both were staying home, this would be unlikely. And then, would the answer be for you to go for your long hike while your husband watches the kids? I think you're chafing under your responsibilities and wanting someone to blame for this. Maybe find a support group and a counselor and figure out a middle ground that will give you more satisfaction in your life.

FLBiker

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2016, 09:57:44 AM »
I feel very strange giving my opinion about something so important with someone I know virtually nothing about, but I guess that's what the internet is for. :)

Personally, I think the financial / moving / working / chore stuff is secondary.  People in a relationship need to be able to communicate openly and honestly with each other.  They need to be able to listen and to compromise.  The details of what that looks like can take many shapes and will likely change over time, but that process (communication and compromise) is essential.  All the rest is window dressing.

hunniebun

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2016, 10:03:59 AM »
As the working mother of a 7 and 3 year old, I understanding where you are coming from.  This season of life is full of challenges and it can be very overwhelming to feel the weight of all of crushing down with no end in sight.  But it is a season and things will change (some for the better, others not so much) - that is guaranteed.  When feeling overwhelmed and trapped I often have what I think of as 'escape fantasies' or 'if only" daydreams where convince myself that if only someone else would do something different, then I would be happy.   In this case, it seems like your 'if only' daydream is if only dh would get on board retire and move, then I would be happy. But this is not reality.  In our nice tidy thoughts this might be true, but the fact is that retiring (even with financial resources) can be stressful for some people, combine that with a move, the impact on your kids etc. and it might be a case of be careful what you wish for.  As for counseling, I think you might consider going on your own and focus on how you want your life to look and what you can do to increase your life sanctification where you are at today.    I also think you are mentally score keeping...this is easy to do and I am guilty of treating my marriage and kids like a back and forth (eg. I cooked, so you clean up...oh, I have to clean up too? Point for me.  I am putting the kids to bed? Point for me. I have to leave work early to pick up a sick kid? Bonus point for me because I had an important meeting that I am now missing...end of day - Me:324 points dh: 2 )   This kind of tallying is so tempting and self validating but does nothing to get me close to what I actually want - which a more equal partnership in the mundane tasks of housekeeping and parenting.  I wish I had some kind of solution, but it is an evolution...and just being aware that you are doing it,As for not wanting to out-source some of these tasks, it doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Maybe you can take some time to think about how you can make yourself happier now.   
My best advice is take a breath, don't do anything hasty and really do some soul searching on what it is you really want (a partner, to feel connected/supported/understood?) and how you can make that happen. 

apricity

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2016, 10:08:27 AM »
Your latest few posts in this thread threw me for a loop. I scrolled back up to check on the ages of your kids. OH! They are 3 and 6. Ok, head's up, I'm sure you know this but knowing it and living it are completely different. Your kids are very young. You're definitely "in the trenches" with childcare right now. By the time your youngest is about 8 I have a feeling things will get much easier. Obviously you'll still be interacting with them, helping with HW and ferrying them to activities, but you won't need to constantly watch over and be the main provider of entertainment, etc. they will likely be more interested in their friends/ solo activities and that gives parents a bit more breathing room that you just don't get with younger kids.

elaine amj

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2016, 11:04:42 AM »
Like others said, it does get easier as your children get older. The very demanding season with young children does pass. In another 3-5 years, you'll find a huge difference. I don't have any real words of wisdom. Perhaps look at the situation and consider the worst case if your DH doesn't change at all. You become a SAHM and DH expects you to do all the housecare and childcare. Your DH continues to work long hours + long commute. What is your life like? You care for the home and the kids. You ferry them around. You clean and cook daily. You do all those mundane jobs that is a part of family life. Perhaps you don't have time for the 6 hour hike every day. Perhaps it is just 1-2 hours on your regular day. Perhaps you sweep the kids (and hopefully DH) off on a weekend trip once a month and a longer vacation every 2-3 months. Perhaps you take a few days off 1x every 1-2 months to go on a longer day hike, travel solo or with like-minded friends (hire a babysitter/DH has to cope). No more reporting to work. No more dealing with work stresses. Is this a workable life? It may not be the life of your dreams right now...but is it an acceptable compromise?

You owe it to your young children, to your DH, and to yourself to do your hardest to find the best compromise that works for ALL of you. Because the alternative of leaving him over something like this could mean you are even more unlikely to live the life of your dreams. Like a PP said, juggling kids between 2 households is HARD.

Also, PLEASE make sure you take some time to nurture your relationship with your husband. I'm a huge believer in the power of touch. Touch often, even simply holding hands. It also somehow opens up the lines of communication and it connects you. You might find creative new solutions that work for all of you if you do your best to also see things from his perspective. I find the best marriages are when both parties spend a lot of effort to make the other happy.

AZDude

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2016, 01:52:02 PM »
I have a hard time believing anyone really enjoys working and commuting 11 hours a day and thinks of it as something he "wants" to do.

Lucky Girl

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2016, 02:47:12 PM »
I have a hard time believing anyone really enjoys working and commuting 11 hours a day and thinks of it as something he "wants" to do.

HA!  Yes, difficult to fathom, isn't it?  That is what he currently claims.  As I mentioned, we are really not that far from basic FI.  But that means cutting a few luxuries, and accepting a small measure of risk.  Risk is something he doesn't do.  He'd rather work than think that there is a small chance that he'd have to go back to work later at lower pay if the SHTF, I think.  He is in a high paying job, so the OMY thing would be very real.   I think there are also other things in play.  He is one of those people who thinks working is what you should do, and he believes he would be bored if he wasn't working.  His job has some "prestige" to it--high paying, management level, etc, so I think that gives him a sense of self importance which he values.  It also gives him a great sense of comfort to know he could cover any problem we would ever have by throwing money at it.

There is a real possibility that as he sees the stache grow, and as we cross the full FI threshold (with even the luxuries added in) that he will start to let go of some of the fear, and also that he may tire of the work.  Right now he has said he would consider retiring at 52, which is 13 years away, and would put us at around 5M in retirement assets (not counting the house), based on my conservative projections. 

That is a long time off and a lot can happen between now and then, as other posters have mentioned.  The kids will get older and easier to manage.  And we will do lots of fun things without him until he figures it out and quits.

lthenderson

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2016, 03:19:42 PM »
I know that if we chose to move to a LCOL area and cut back in some simple ways (cell, cable, expensive coffee) we could both stop working forever based on the 4% rule.

You do realize that the 4% rule is only for 30 years of retirement? For longer periods or retirement, you need to reduce your percentage or your odds of successfully having enough money are slim to none.  Your post sounds like you are young enough to have more than 30 years of life left.

Case

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2016, 03:25:37 PM »
Thanks, LAL, I sent back a PM. 

And thanks all, for the different perspectives.  Sometimes I seem to get stuck in my own head, and without someone to talk to I take things to an extreme. I think I am starting to look at things in a more balanced way now, and have made some plans and taken some steps to get to a better place. 

We did take a hike with the kids and that was great, even though they whined the whole way there about how they didn't want to go.  I also called an old friend and made a date to visit her for a weekend.  She will help me talk it out (probably while hiking!). 

DH and I have begun to talk, but we have a long way to go.  I think I see now that expecting him to move was unrealistic.  He will probably never move.  For the next several years I need to plan warm weather escapes during every school vacation, so I'll get to work on that.  Also, I will plan for my own FI, and maybe at some point he will let go of his fear, or realize that we have enough, and be able to quit sooner than he is currently thinking.  If not, the kids and I will travel without him.

One of the biggest issues to me, that I need to address with him, and have not yet, is that I hate the concept of being a SAHM.  Many of you mentioned that I should just quit and do what I want to do, but that's not realistic.  If I quit and he is still working that means I handle all the kid drop-offs and pick-ups.  I ferry the kids to all doctor and dentist appointments and after school activities, and I care for them on every holiday.  I cook, clean the house and run all the errands and do all the paperwork for the six hours while the kids are in school.  Maybe DH will chip in a little (he does a fair bit now since we both work) but undoubtedly he will do much less.  On the one hand I would say, he's working so that's only fair. But what about once we are FI?  Or the fact that the only reason we are not FI is because he wants to keep living and working in this HCOL area?

Perspectives from this forum have really helped me work through these issues so far, so I'd love more thoughts on all of the above!

I haven't read all of the responses here so take this for what it's worth:

Did you develop the desire to RE and get out of Boston recently or have you always wanted to (before marriage)?
Your husband may feel like you are pulling a 'bait and switch' on him if you were not Mustachian before and have now changed.  If your husband has always been this way and it is you that are changing, you might try to imagine how he feels about all of this.
He might feel that he has worked hard to get the lives that you guys have, and now you are threatening to de-rail.  Especially in relationship problems, it's very important to play the devil's advocate against your opinions.  I think it is unreasonable to expect your husband to move to a LCOL area in order to facilitate your early retirement, when you two possibly made a choice together to live where you currently are (or were there in the first place).

Would you rather live in a LCOL area, or a place with warmer weather, than live with your children?  Or have your children have divorced parents so that you can live elsewhere?  Having children in the mix complicates things.  They should be your number one priority, not your early retirement. 

The impression I have from your post is that expecting that your husband to move is unreasonable.  Just as expecting him to retire early with you is unreasonable.  These are generally things to be worked out before marriage, and especially before children.  If you can't be happy unless you are RE and living elswhere then so be it; give him an ultimatum.  But I think you should try to be more flexible yourself.

JLee

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2016, 04:12:28 PM »
I know that if we chose to move to a LCOL area and cut back in some simple ways (cell, cable, expensive coffee) we could both stop working forever based on the 4% rule.

You do realize that the 4% rule is only for 30 years of retirement? For longer periods or retirement, you need to reduce your percentage or your odds of successfully having enough money are slim to none.  Your post sounds like you are young enough to have more than 30 years of life left.

Or do side hustles to supplement your income, or monitor your stash so you are aware if you need to pick up a part time job to offset some down time in the market, etc.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2016, 04:31:23 PM »
Lucky Girl, it's easy to get all fired up with this MMM stuff and go a bit crazy!  I certainly did.  Maybe read the posts about converting your spouse to MMM.  I think you have a pretty good set up  - you can retire, travel and you have enough money to pay for help as needed.  There are lots of options between  A)working FT and B)retiring and having to do all the household chores! 

pk_aeryn

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Re: Feeling stuck
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2016, 07:02:44 PM »
Quote
think there are also other things in play.  He is one of those people who thinks working is what you should do, and he believes he would be bored if he wasn't working.


I suspect that perhaps he feels similarly to you, in that he doesn't want to spend all day with children and chores?