Author Topic: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband  (Read 8463 times)

queenjadis

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Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« on: April 19, 2014, 12:06:43 PM »
I started reading MMM in June '13.  I haven't gone full Mustachian, but as someone who already shied away from debt, this blog hit home to me.  I started changing my habits slowly, knowing my husband is fully indebted (literally) to the system, and likes it that way.  I haven't limited him, financially, but my changing habits/outlook have helped to drive a wedge.  He got angry that I stopped buying luxuries, insisting we weren't poor and that I shouldn't live out of fear.  When I explained why my habits were changing and how that fit into what I wanted from life, it was not well-received.  He truly wants to work hard (and until the end), play hard, and doesn't mind debt because he thinks savers are misers, and that money is everywhere.  We are in completely different philosophical spaces about what we want from life and where we're headed, and there seems to be no compromise or light bulb moment. 
Has anyone else hit this wall, and what did you do?

SweetLife

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 12:13:02 PM »
Have not had this problem ... but wanted to stop by and wish you the best of luck!!! Like any other kind of change some people take awile to get on board (and some never will) but keep on keeping on :)


Zikoris

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2014, 12:54:47 PM »
I haven't been in this situation, but if you just continue to live the lifestyle and be happy, it will probably have some effect over the long run. Demonstrating through your daily actions that you can live a mustachian lifestyle and be incredibly happy makes a powerful argument against consumerism that doesn't require you to say a word.

jpo

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2014, 12:55:16 PM »
Separate finances, you retire early, he doesn't. Pretty sure Jacob from ERE did this.

darkadams00

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 01:10:21 PM »
Drastic changes of any sort can be a shock to what each spouse assumes to be a stable marriage--finances, diet, schedules, kids, medical diagnoses--just to name a few. The "radical" or "convert" that challenges the established equilibrium faces this battle frequently. Quiet, unannounced changes that are clearly on your side of the financial fence should not be an issue, but some spouses can't stay on their side of the fence. As soon as they see a change over your side, they want to put in their two cents. If your choices become vocal or if your attempts to discuss this with your spouse are unfruitful, then you'll have to deal with it as best you can. Hopefully, even if he never makes a single change in his behavior, he will at least learn to give you some space to change yours.

Good luck!

carloco

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 02:46:00 PM »
 I am going through the same issue right now.  I am looking into splitting our finances for this reason.  After many years together I don't know where to start.   It would be a lot easier of we both were on the same page.

Vilx-

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2014, 02:54:53 PM »
I think you might find some relevant ideas in the latest article at Raptitude. It's about Internet discussions, but the same principles apply.

Basically, I think the first thing you have to do is to abandon the "right/wrong", "me/you" attitude. You're not adversaries. You're both allies in this grand game of life. What you need to start with is to sit down and talk about what you want from life and what your goals are. And then work up from there, figuring out the best cooperative strategies to achieve them.

Zikoris

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 03:37:37 PM »
I would definitely make sure you have some separate accounts if you're really drastically far apart on financial issues. It can also really help drive home the benefits of the lifestyle when your partner sees your balance growing significantly month my month.

Metta

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2014, 03:51:24 PM »
He truly wants to work hard (and until the end), play hard, and doesn't mind debt because he thinks savers are misers, and that money is everywhere.  We are in completely different philosophical spaces about what we want from life and where we're headed, and there seems to be no compromise or light bulb moment. 
Has anyone else hit this wall, and what did you do?

This was me and my husband many years ago. (Though my husband was the frugal person and I was the person quoting "Money is like fertilizer, it does no good unless you spread it around".) What we did was made a list of things that were passionately importance to each of us. Then my husband redefined his frugality/saving/investing habit for me as "This is what I want to spend money on -- financial security."

I didn't understand that and thought it was a sly way of controlling our spending. It took many passionate conversations before I was able to hear that he absolutely needed a certain level of financial security to be happy. He was able to put a dollar figure on it, which was a comfort to me. Even though I thought it was a lot of money, it wasn't some endless plan to deny happiness.

I think that when free-spenders hear about frugality and budgets, it comes with a psychic burden of judgement and, often, cruelty from the past. We must recognize the other person's damaged portions and insecurities and help them heal (or at least avoid adding to their pain).

My husband felt true pain in economic uncertainty and that has shaped our lives in ways that often required some painful compromises from me and it continues to mean that some things will never be available to me because they come with too many uncertainties for his comfort (long periods traveling amongst them).

On the other side, the budget we shaped for ourselves gives him the financial security he desperately needs for his sanity but we still fund things that matter to me. These days fewer things matter to me and I've come to understand the idea of money as freedom. I never could have understood that years ago, partially because I never saw myself as unfree.

There is a middle path that can be pursued when both people talk honestly about what would make them happy and come prepared to compromise. Hopefully when pursued with compassion, both people grow as a result.

hedge

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2014, 06:37:10 PM »
I wonder though if this is a smokescreen. What does he really want out of life? How is that working out for him? Does he really like stuff as much as he thought he would? Somehow I doubt he's managed to really break all the rules.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2014, 06:59:50 PM »
If your finances are currently combined and you are both joint earners, trying a "mad money" allowance each month may help as a prelude to actually separating finances.

My DW is less on-board than I am, but the ability to work for herself instead of HAVING to have a steady paycheck really appeals to her. She doesn't quite get that even very small spending changes have a big impact when multiplied over time, but she's getting there.

Wish you the best, but plenty of couples around here seem to make it work with separate finances and/or drastically different attitudes. They key is being open, communicating, and respecting each other.

If, on the other hand, you feel like you can't trust your husband, that requires some deep reflection.

socaso

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2014, 07:11:50 PM »
Going on the assumption that everything else in your relationship works well I would suggest that you sit your spouse down and tell him that your frugality is not a criticism of him or his beliefs but a new expression of the way you have always felt about money. Then perhaps you could refer him to a few key MMM articles that sum up some of your feelings about saving vs. spending and ask him to read them just to understand where you are coming from. Perhaps he'll even read the whole blog! Even if he doesn't want to change perhaps it will ease the tension for him to realize that there are many people who feel the way you do.

CarDude

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2014, 08:53:16 PM »
Talk talk talk till you work it out.

RealCanadianSavings

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2014, 09:09:07 PM »
I started changing my habits slowly, knowing my husband is fully indebted (literally) to the system, and likes it that way.  I haven't limited him, financially, but my changing habits/outlook have helped to drive a wedge.  He got angry that I stopped buying luxuries, insisting we weren't poor and that I shouldn't live out of fear.  When I explained why my habits were changing and how that fit into what I wanted from life, it was not well-received.  He truly wants to work hard (and until the end), play hard, and doesn't mind debt because he thinks savers are misers, and that money is everywhere.

If it is truly stressing your marriage, then I'd bring a third party in. If he is indebted then go talk to a credit councilor. It can't hurt to talk about what your retirement will look like (at some point he really won't be able to work). You could visit a fee only financial advisor who can give him some advice on managing money. 

As long as he's on track to retire at a reasonable age and covering the important expenses, then I think you should split your finances and start tracking your progress to FI. Maybe once he sees what opportunities might be available through FI, he might start changing his ways.

Jamesqf

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2014, 09:56:44 PM »
He got angry that I stopped buying luxuries, insisting we weren't poor and that I shouldn't live out of fear.

But they aren't luxuries if you don't want them :-)

I can understand the work/play thing (to a degree: I prefer a moderate degree of work that I choose).  But 'play hard' does not have to mean spending a bunch of money.  In fact, it's often quite the opposite.  Who's playing harder, the guy who spends multiple thousands on a bunch of gas-powered toys that he sits on, or the one who spends little or nothing on hiking shoes & mountain bike tires?

Anyway, I agree with most people here: spend what you like, put the rest in a separate account.  That way, if things go belly up, you have a fallback.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2014, 10:03:41 PM »
Drastic changes of any sort can be a shock to what each spouse assumes to be a stable marriage--finances, diet, schedules, kids, medical diagnoses--just to name a few. The "radical" or "convert" that challenges the established equilibrium faces this battle frequently. Quiet, unannounced changes that are clearly on your side of the financial fence should not be an issue, but some spouses can't stay on their side of the fence. As soon as they see a change over your side, they want to put in their two cents. If your choices become vocal or if your attempts to discuss this with your spouse are unfruitful, then you'll have to deal with it as best you can. Hopefully, even if he never makes a single change in his behavior, he will at least learn to give you some space to change yours.

Good luck!

+1. Well said darkadams00

I'm in the same situation as queenjadis, except on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being mustachian and 10 being complainypants superconsumer, I'd put my wife at about a 4-5 (I think I'd be a 2). Based on your description, I'd put your husband at more like an 8-9. I wish you all the best, but your situation sounds much more dire than mine. It doesn't sound like he will ever be on board with what you want financially and you might just have to come to terms with that.

I'm not great at getting my point accross in discussions (I'd be a terrible courtroom lawyer), so having conversations about our differences ultimately end up more as heated debates, and don't prove to be a good use of our time. I've accomplished far, far more by living a mostly mustachian life. I've lost weight and am generally healthier, my attitude is much more optimistic, my small daily changes have increased our net worth slowly, I live in the moment more, and I'm just generally happier than I've ever been. It's obvious to someone who sees you everyday when your life is changing for the better. I believe this will eventually begin to effect change in my wife's attitude towards what I'm really trying to do. If not, I'm working on coming to terms with that myself.

Ultimately if FIRE is what you truly want, it's easier with 2 spouses doing their share to get there and this might not be feasable for the 2 of you. If you're in this more just to better your life, well then you've already done that and it hardly matters what your husband thinks about it. You decide your attitude and your reaction to everything in life, and if your husband does not agree with what you're doing, you chose how to react to that. You know what you want, so go get it. If he's more important to you than FIRE, find a compromise.

happy

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2014, 10:33:14 PM »
Has anyone else hit this wall, and what did you do?

Ended up divorced, but finances were not the reason for the divorce. In retrospect though not being married to a spendthrift was a bonus.

Even though this was pre-MMM days, I think I had some sort of limit switch whereby if we went into the red I stopped spending. What happened though , was that I cut back and he still spent. The more I cut back the more he had to spend. There was always a justification and if I ever whittled those away "Well honey, credit is cheap, may as well use it".  It got to the point where I had no personal spend at all, and very little on work clothes etc (as a professional this is an issue), and people at work were noticing. It took a few years before I figured out what was happening because I had always idealistically (naively?) believed in joint finances and that everything was "ours".

I mention this because, as others have said, you need to figure out why you are doing this and what outcome you are hoping for. No point in spending less if it jeopardises your ability to earn and your spouse just spends more.

On the other hand you are changing the unspoken rules/values of the marriage, so its not fair to expect too much too soon. Talking, modelling, joint goal setting, personal sanity money to spend no questions asked. If thats not working separate finances.

JT

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2014, 04:19:20 AM »
Happy, I think what you said is spot on.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2014, 05:11:52 AM »
Happy, how did we end up married to the same guy?

happy

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2014, 06:47:04 AM »
Happy, I think what you said is spot on.

Thankyou:). Nice to see you are still here and posting JT, how's it going?

happy

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2014, 06:51:33 AM »
Happy, how did we end up married to the same guy?

Not sure, his second wife was 15 years younger and blonde. But doesn't live in Canada.

R@63, are you still married to him? If so how have you worked things out?

queenjadis

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2014, 07:24:20 AM »
@ Hedge and Happy: your replies are on-track for the issues we're facing.  However, the replies only seem to add to the "life" questions I've been asking him. And, @ Hedge: Smokescreen is correct - he is not happy nor does he know what will make him happy.

Unfortunately, the practical suggestions in this thread don't seem to be working as a compromise for us: I'm the Spock, and he's the Jim.     

wing117

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2014, 08:12:44 AM »
My situation is a little different but I wanted to give my thoughts on this matter - I'm not married but fully vested in my SO for the last 9 years (marriage will come, we're in no hurry). Although we keep our finances separate, I am fully supporting her right now as she goes back to school full time. We are living on about 22K/yr for the two of us, which isn't a lot, but I do have to ensure a splurge now and then to keep things happy. New jeans, some throw pillows, going to see a couple movies during the summer releases... Little things I'd rather not do, or would rather do without that she 'needs'.

I think the thing to realize is that spending money is an addicting act. There's an endorphin release and a high when people spend their money and buy things; get things. Think of the euphoric high you got as a child when you walked into a room for of Christmas presents. Now scale that up to getting presents whenever you want (ie. luxuries you buy).

The difference I see between her and I is that she's on board with the IDEA of MMM, but she's still fighting with the addiction plus, since she isn't growing her own savings currently, it's hard to see the rewards herself.  For you, it sounds like he's not even on board with the idea MMM, which is even tougher. I sold my SO on MMM by showing her a.) the financial security it'll bring compared to what a lot of baby boomers are going through right now and b.) showing how it maps to her dreams that she cannot achieve currently - working any job she wants, traveling aboard for extended periods of time and having our home wherever we choose, rather than where ever the job forces us to be.

An example of the addiction:
We were at the mall the other day to replace a pair of jeans and you could visibly see her trying to hold back from going shopping. That cute dress, this store is having a sale, maybe I could just browse the purses at Fossil, look at those shoes! It was a battle to keep her on the straight an narrow for our goal - a pair of jeans only. I ended up buying her a cheap shirt that was on sale as well to keep release some of the anxiety.

Its difficult some days but remember a relationship is about compromises and helping each other.

But seriously, my first compromise would be getting separate accounts. :)

RetiredAt63

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Re: Help: My adopted MMM ways are driving away my husband
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2014, 10:43:51 AM »
@Happy - Does he have a twin in Canada?  ;-)

We are separated, the financial issues were just the tip of the iceberg.  As we got closer to retirement (regular retirement) it became clearer and clearer that what we each wanted out of "the rest of our lives" didn't match at all.  Even though my finances are still up in the air (no point posting them, that is due to the financial settlement still not being done, talk about divorce as WMFD) I am doing better on my own, in every way, than I was in the marriage.  As with you, not being married to a spendthrift is a bonus, my frugal ways and inexpensive hobbies make me happy instead of getting me disapproval.

I won't say I wish I had never married him, as I would never want our daughter to not have been born.  But I wish I had tackled the financial picture head on years ago, instead of being the "good wife" and making peace too often.  Part of his issues was that the people we hung out with made more money than we did, and he was into "keeping up with the Jones".  Not really doable, which meant he was constantly dissatisfied.  He also had to make a permanent huge career choice right after high school, and he was always unhappy about that choice.

Happy, how did we end up married to the same guy?

Not sure, his second wife was 15 years younger and blonde. But doesn't live in Canada.

R@63, are you still married to him? If so how have you worked things out?