Author Topic: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city  (Read 2679 times)

MrTurtle

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How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« on: June 12, 2020, 11:25:25 AM »
I currently live in the mass of strip malls and urban sprawl surrounding Orlando.  After lots of discussion with my wife, I accepted a job offer in Huntsville, Alabama.  She seemed alright with it at the time, especially since she could keep her job too.  Anyway, after I accepted the offer, she has been telling me nonstop how she doesn't want to go to Huntsville, and how Alabama is the poorest, shittiest state in the nation, and generally making me feel like crap for taking the job (instead of staying unemployed).  I know this is an unfair generalization, especially for Huntsville in particular, but this is how she feels about it.

I really think this is a great opportunity for both of us so I don't want to back out of it.  Do any Mustachians with good people skills know how to calm her down, and even get her excited about it?  Some background information:

  • She has never seen Huntsville, aside from Google Maps
  • She is not impressed by the beautiful nature and state parks surrounding Huntsville
  • She also doesn't seem impressed that we will be making more money in a lower COL area
  • Her main concerns are that it is a poor city and the generic "there's nothing to do there"
  • I have some contacts with people who live in Huntsville and love it. 
  • I want to take a trip there, to show it to her first, but it's critical that it goes well and she finds nothing to complain about.

ixtap

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2020, 11:31:24 AM »
Because Florida rates so much better?

What does she think Huntsville will be missing that Orlando has, besides Disney?

Does she have a social network that she will be leaving behind? And that has perhaps been feeding her this negativity?

Change is scary. Address those fears, rather than trying to talk her into it.

Scotland2016

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2020, 11:52:43 AM »
I hate change and what you described is my knee-jerk reaction to any change even if it was my idea. It's just what I do and then I get over it. If this sounds like your wife, gently bring up other situations where she reacted this way and then it turned out to be a good thing.

terran

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2020, 11:59:23 AM »
Does she like nature? Is she FIRE minded (such that more money and lower COL would matter)? Make sure you're telling her about things she cares about. That can also include how much you're looking forward to this job and how good you think it will be for you (presumably she cares about you). Would these connections you know be willing to jump on a video call with you and your wife? Seeing real people that "look" like you (just in terms of liking similar things, having similar lifestyles , etc) describing what they like about living there could help he see herself there.

jamesbond007

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2020, 01:28:33 PM »
Selling your wife would be illegal. Isn't it?

solon

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2020, 01:41:42 PM »
And selling her so you can move to a better city seems like a jerk move...

MrTurtle

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2020, 01:45:48 PM »
Does she like nature? Is she FIRE minded (such that more money and lower COL would matter)?

Even though she is even more frugal than I am (she once mocked my decision to buy a $4 used bread machine because you can just knead dough with your hands) she is not interested in the idea of FIRE.  So...in theory, no. In practice, yes. 

She doesn't actively seek out chances to be in nature, but when she comes along with me she likes it.  One of the things she'll miss about Florida is the manatees that live in the springs in winter.

I hate change and what you described is my knee-jerk reaction to any change even if it was my idea. It's just what I do and then I get over it. If this sounds like your wife, gently bring up other situations where she reacted this way and then it turned out to be a good thing.

I think it's more like this.  Her protests seem to be more based in emotions than facts.  Showing objectively why Huntsville is better than Orlando is easy, but that doesn't make her any less worried about starting a new life in an unfamiliar city, in a state that the internet told her is the 2nd worst state in America.  I like the idea of video calling the people I know in Huntsville.

MrTurtle

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2020, 01:49:38 PM »
Selling your wife would be illegal. Isn't it?

Okay, how do I sell a new city to my wife?  I hear cities are worth billions so I'd be able to retire much earlier.

Shade00

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2020, 02:15:04 PM »
If all you know is giant urban sprawl like Orlando, Huntsville will be a shock. It's ok. It's definitely cheaper, but there's a lot less to do. Middle Tennessee, where I live, is beautiful. You're about 100 miles south of Nashville, which is booming. There are a ton of outdoor activities in Middle Tennessee in addition to the ordinary entertainment stuff, which will eventually come back to life.

terrifictim

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2020, 02:15:31 PM »
I had a similar discussion with my wife - I had the opportunity to move out there and it would have been a significant improvement for our financial situation but it would have meant moving away from her family and we eventually decided against it.

+1 on getting her to see it. I also had a really negative view of Huntsville initially and even since my first trip out there back in 2012 it's changed significantly. I was pleasantly surprised by the craft beer situation, amount of good cheap food, reasonable driving to Nashville, and that downtown has been revitalized. I feel like Huntsville was more of a "College Town" kind of feel - where there's a marked contrast between being in the city and outside of it. The airport situation is definitely a downgrade compared to Orlando - but on the whole it's booming (traffic is definitely not great as they've grown faster than the infrastructure can support).

Ultimately, figuring out if there's something behind this, or if it's just fear of the unknown is your best bet.

GreenSheep

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2020, 02:37:58 PM »
I would think about the types of things your wife likes to do and the types of people she enjoys spending time with. Think about how she spends her time in Florida and see if you can find ways for her to replicate that in Alabama -- Meetup groups, favorite restaurants, activities, places she shops (whether for fun or just for groceries, etc.), volunteer organizations, etc. Make it very specific to her, not just generic "things people like."

Maybe there's something you can do for her that would help ease the transition -- something fairly big that she's been wanting, whether it's a nicer car, a pet, a trip, etc. It would be nice if you could tie it in with the new location so that it seems more like a "hey, this comes conveniently along with our new home" rather than a bribe. Like, "We'll have a big backyard, so now we can get a dog," or "We'll live closer to X airport so we can get cheaper direct flights to see your family more often in Y."

But also yes, as others have mentioned, it would be helpful to find out whether this is just fear of change/the unknown versus a true hatred of the new place. Also, remind her that this doesn't necessarily have to be forever. I wouldn't turn it into a "We'll only stay 3 years" type of bargain, but like many changes in life, you can always change again if you decide that's best.

stoaX

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2020, 02:53:10 PM »
On page 6 of the mustachian relocation guide, in the "ask a mustachian" section, is a description of Huntsville AL. Perhaps you will find something there that helps in your efforts.

Best of luck!

MudPuppy

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2020, 03:20:14 PM »
I actually like Huntsville! It’s a nice day trip from where I live and would be on a shortlist for me if I ever wanted to leave my current state.

And tell her that all the education and poverty  stuff is generally in Mississippi

FINate

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2020, 03:22:02 PM »
Relocating is a huge decision. Don't sell her on it!

Believe me, after almost 20 years of marriage I've learned the hard way: high pressure sales tactics almost always backfire. The last thing you want is to get there and then she's (rightfully I should add) unhappy because she didn't want to relocate yet felt pressured into it.

She has veto power in this decision. Sorry, that's part of the give-and-take of married life and putting your spouse before yourself.

What you should do is visit Huntsville with her. Stay in a nice hotel or VRBO in a nice part of the city. Visit the museum, shop, eat out, see what the city has to offer. Meet up for drinks/dinner with your friends already there. But make it very clear that the choice is hers, and it's truly a real choice. Don't demand an answer during the trip, give it a little time and don't apply pressure. You have to be willing to accept and be okay with "no" as the answer, so make your preference know but hold onto it with an open hand.

deborah

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2020, 03:30:39 PM »
I once met a relocation person at work. They were bringing in lots of people from overseas, and were working to make the families happy. They produced maps with all the amenities that family used located on it. They had lists of clubs... Perhaps you and your family could work together to find all the things in your new location that make somewhere home to you, and plan on visiting your new amenities when you visit.

dougules

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2020, 03:46:22 PM »
What are the things she's afraid of leaving behind in Orlando?  Also, how well does she deal with change?

I'm from Huntsville, and I have to admit it has its pluses and its minuses.  "there's nothing to do there" can kind of be true sometimes, but it really depends on what you like doing.  It's definitely not poor, though.  Whether or not she would like it really depends on what she wants out of a place to live. 

What kind of things would impress her?  I might be able to give some suggestions. 

Selling your wife would be illegal. Isn't it?

Okay, how do I sell a new city to my wife?  I hear cities are worth billions so I'd be able to retire much earlier.

Huntsville is a cheap city in Alabama, so I think it would only go for a few million. 

YttriumNitrate

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2020, 03:52:04 PM »
Selling your wife would be illegal. Isn't it?

Apparently, it was legal until about 100 years ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZ8wzG0J6NY

dougules

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2020, 03:55:56 PM »
Also, what are the things that would turn her off to a town?

Cranky

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2020, 03:56:45 PM »
Perhaps she would have liked a nicer part of Orlando.

Schaefer Light

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2020, 05:44:54 PM »
A quick Google search shows that the COL in Huntsville is 17% less than Orlando and the average income in Huntsville is 20% higher.  I call that a win-win.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2020, 06:00:03 PM »
I spent about 6 months living in Huntsville, and spent another 8 months or so spending anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks at a time there.  I'm certainly no expert on Huntsville, but I did explore a bit while I was there.  As other people have suggested, please post a list of things she is interested in; we might be able to find parts of town or activities that she might enjoy.
Some general comments:
To me, HSV felt very different than other parts of Alabama.  It has a lot of high-tech work and there are a lot of people who moved there from other parts of the country for that work.  Not that there's anything wrong with other parts of Alabama, but just because HSV is in AL doesn't mean it's just someplace in Alabama. 
There are so many different parts of town, and they all feel very different.  I spent a decent amount of time at "Below the Radar" and other brewpubs in that area.  If she likes craft beer then a beer tour might be a good way for her to see the town.  The Providence Main area has a lot of newish, good restaurants right next to a greenway.  If I remember correctly Madison has a bit more of a suburban, family feel to it.  The Monte Sano area has a lot of nice, older homes on a "mountain".  That's probably where I'd look if I were moving there although I don't know if it would be too expensive.

Are you planning to purchase a house?  If so, I'd take @FINate 's recommendations and add in a meeting with a real estate agent to view properties.  I don't know the Orlando market, but I suspect that you will get a LOT more house in Huntsville than you would in Orlando. 
Not totally related, but my favorite place near Huntsville (maybe a half hour drive?) was Cathedral Caverns State Park.  That wouldn't sell me on moving there, but if you do move you should definitely check it out. 

WalkaboutStache

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2020, 07:10:17 PM »
This could be really hard.  The market for second hand wives seems to have taken a hit around the 60's and never really fully recovered, so you may have a hard time selling her on.  I believe most people do trades, but the transaction costs are incredibly high.  Lawyer fees alone can eat much of that value.

Is there any way you can fund the move without selling her on?  That may make things financially easier, and both of you might end up much happier.

The only other caveat is not to overplay your hand.  For all you know, she may have plans to sell YOU on...

GreenSheep

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2020, 08:10:53 AM »
To me, HSV felt very different than other parts of Alabama.

If your wife knows anything about medical things, don't refer to Huntsville as HSV. I don't think that will put her in the right mindset. :-)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes_simplex_virus

Laserjet3051

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2020, 10:10:09 AM »
Turtle:

I went through EXACTLY what you are going through very recently, as in, this month. At some point I stopped trying to convince my wife, it was too much work and quite frankly, she needed to make up her own mind for herself. So I just resigned the move and new job to being a test of the marriage. I'm not even sure we have passed the test, despite all of us now being in the new location, my wife still has engineered an escape hatch. Meaning, she is only here "temporarily" and plans to go back to the city of origin, couch surfing, until such time she is "ready" for the permanent move.

Yesterday was her first day in the new location (3200 miles away from "home). It was a shock for her and I tried to show her the wonderful beauty and features of the area. She was "partly" sold. Today I will show her the filthy grit and excessive poverty. I also engineered it so the move for her would be during the bright green warm summer and not the bleak deeply buried in snow winter; that seems to be working. It will be a difficult mental transition for her but I already made the decision to take the job and I personally (w/o the family) already moved. So her decision is to either join the family in the new spot, in the new house, make the mental transition and accept the new life,  or abandon the family, including 2 daughters and either stay in the old state on her own or move who knows where by herself. This test is still playing out but my $$ is on her joining us. Now that she is physically here (albeit on a supposedly "temporary" basis) she is less fearful and is truly experiencing the glorious beauty around us.

GOOD LUCK!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 10:13:20 AM by Laserjet3051 »

iluvzbeach

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2020, 11:13:10 AM »
I don’t know if this will help your situation but I was once faced with a decision whether to move from a coastal area I loved to a state in the south that I was very unsure of. I was really struggling with the decision until these simple words popped into my brain: “What’s the worst that could happen?” My next thought was “I’d hate it,” followed by “And then I’d move back.” Made it real easy for me once I realized it didn’t have to be a forever move.

In the end, I loved it. It allowed me huge personal growth and an amazing boost to my financial situation. Met and married my DH and we’ve since moved to what probably is our forever place in the PNW.

Best wishes on your decision.

MrTurtle

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2020, 04:58:33 PM »
Thanks for the responses, everyone!  Especially Laserjet.  That is a great story and far more extreme than my situation.  I appreciate the encouragement.  I start the new job remotely on Monday.  They are sending me a laptop through FedEx and I can move to Huntsville "whenever I'm ready," in their own words.  What a perfect time to relocate for a better job.  I wouldn't have dreamed of asking a company to do that for me 1 year ago.

As for my wife, just giving her time to think has helped tremendously.  Also, we are planning a trip in 2 weeks or so, to look around Huntsville, meet some of my new coworkers and maybe scope out some apartments.  She still tells me "In 6 months, I will say I told you so" but she's giving Huntsville an honest chance so I consider that a risk worth taking. 

Steeze

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2020, 06:28:06 PM »
+1 for manatees- used to live down the street from blue springs.

Also, no idea what I would do if I lived in that area again. The only thing I really enjoy down there is cruising the St. John’s or heading over to New Smyrna.

Huntsville might be cool for a while. City seems to be coming back to life so it might not be a bad place to invest if you end up liking it there.

Also if you don’t like it - move back in a year - nothing to lose.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 06:35:13 PM by Steeze »

ysette9

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2020, 07:49:04 PM »
We just moved to another state. While it was a joint idea and decision my husband has had numerous rounds of wondering whether it is the right thing to do. I keep selling it as “an adventure year”. We need to stay at least a year so we aren’t on the hook to pay back relocation, but after that we are still free to do anything we like. It is much less scary to think of it in these terms than in terms of relocating forever and ever.

Cranky

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2020, 08:28:39 AM »
Here's the thing - "better city" is pretty subjective. What you value in a city may not be what your partner values in a city.

Specific example - my family moved from Orlando to Denver when I was in high school. IMO, Denver was superior in every way even in those days. My mother hated every second she spent in Denver. She loved the life she had in Orlando - she loved her job, she had many, many friends and activities. She hated cold weather.

My parents moved for my dad's job, and it made my mother miserable for years. It came pretty close to ending my parents' marriage.

So, I think you have to be prepared to really, really listen to your wife's concerns and talk about what would make this work for her. You also need to be open to the possibility that maybe it won't work for her.

KateFIRE

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2020, 12:39:49 PM »
We are in a similar situation. My husband wants to move and I am scared as hell about it! For some reason I see my whole future flashing before my eyes with this move. I see my kids (who are 6 and under) going to college in the new, less populated, state and I have this fear that they won’t be as metropolitan or successful. I know this is crazy because it’s a long time until college! I guess I just feel most comfortable with my kids growing up the way that I did because I have evidence from high school friends and myself that our current city gives children opportunities. Maybe your wife is worried about leaving a metropolitan area?

We are still planning on moving this summer and I will try to have faith. We visited the new city and stayed in the nicest hotel. We also found a real estate agent who was a similar age and also a mom to young kids. Talking to someone similar to me eased my fears! I found her by looking at listings on Zillow and scoping out the listing agents picture to find a woman that looked to be a similar age. We visited the new city for a 2 day weekend. The first day was being a tourist in the downtown. Stayed at the nicest downtown hotel. Second day we met the realtor and saw homes. It was nice to have the first day without the moving pressure!

Take your wife to Huntsville and wine and dine her!

The_Big_H

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2020, 10:33:43 PM »
I don't know anything about Huntsville, I do know about Orlando.  While I get not wanting to live in what is 90% suburban wasteland city, there are pockets of good, here, maybe consider relocation within town:

The following are reasonably walkable/bikable/mustachian lifestyle supporting, particularly if your job is downtown based.
- College Park (particularly along Edgewater Dr)
- Winter Park (particularly between Park Ave and winter park village, but it is expensive, old money)
- Baldwin Park (featured on strongtowns: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/5/31/baldwin-park-a-test-for-new-urbanism)
- Thorton Park (the winner IMO, you absolutely could live car-free there)
- Ivanhoe Village (hipster)
- Audubon Park (a lot cheaper)
- Delaney Park / Lake Underhill

I am sure there are more, but these I firsthand know are doable (I have ridden bikes in ALL of these areas).

You might also look into where the sun-rail stops are if you have multiple job locations between you and your wife and try to plan around using that to commute... much better than the hell that is I-4, I work with so many people who waste away their lives on that road... I'd rather bicycle in a torrential downpour)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 10:45:58 PM by The_Big_H »

Laura33

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2020, 06:53:24 AM »
I hate change and what you described is my knee-jerk reaction to any change even if it was my idea. It's just what I do and then I get over it. If this sounds like your wife, gently bring up other situations where she reacted this way and then it turned out to be a good thing.

I think it's more like this.  Her protests seem to be more based in emotions than facts.  Showing objectively why Huntsville is better than Orlando is easy, but that doesn't make her any less worried about starting a new life in an unfamiliar city, in a state that the internet told her is the 2nd worst state in America. 

You've nailed it here.  This is an emotional response, not a logical one, so responding with logic will not persuade her.  In fact, it will make things worse, because it comes across as you being dismissive of her very reasonable fears.  It's a big thing to move and leave what you know and are comfortable with.  It's an even bigger thing to move to a place you're really unsure about, because someone else wants to and you're required to go along.  Even when you know it's the right thing to do and the only logical choice.

What she needs right now from you is support.  She needs to know that you understand how hard this is for her.  That you appreciate the sacrifice she is making for the good of the family.  And that if it doesn't work and she's not happy there, you will both look for jobs in other cities and move again when you can.  And yeah, you're going to have to be patient and repeat that over and over until you're sick of it, because she's going to struggle with this periodically until she finds her new place and her new people.

FWIW, I was her when my DH's company shut down, and we left the home that we had built to move to a city I didn't want to live in.  But it was our only choice, so I did it.  He was happy as a clam -- he had lived there previously and loved it.  I was miserable.  Never settled in, never felt at home, never found my people (probably some undiagnosed post-partum going on there, too).  I finally told him that I just needed to know that we were going to move -- I knew it couldn't be right then, because he had no other job options, but I needed to know that when the market turned around, he'd be willing to look for a job somewhere else where I could be happy.  He immediately said yes, with that sort of befuddled tone that says "how in the world could you have even thought otherwise?"  And that made everything better.  Seriously.  Just knowing that he had my back, and that we wouldn't stop looking until we found a place we both could be happy, got me through the next two years until we were able to make that happen. 

FLBiker

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2020, 08:52:17 AM »
I totally agree with the advice NOT to sell her.  Talking to her about pro's and con's is fine, but the idea of trying to set up a visit where "it's critical that it goes well and she finds nothing to complain about" is a recipe for failure.  I also don't really understand how you got to this point -- you say she "seemed" all right with it before you accepted the position.  Did you not have a clear conversation about exactly what you were planning before you accepted a position in another city?   In short, my advice is clear, open communication -- tell her how you feel, what you want, and listen to the same from her.  Make a decision together, compromising as needed.  You don't need to sell her on anything or create some artificially perfect experience on a visit.

Jack0Life

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2020, 11:18:27 PM »
Where exactly do you guys live in Orlando that your wife doesn't want to  leave ?

MayDay

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Re: How do I sell my wife on moving to a better city
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2020, 05:55:42 AM »
I will ditto to stop with the logical arguments. It's going to backfire.

I stead reassure her that you know change is hard and she's right that she might not like it, but all you are asking is that she give it a chance for two years and you'll job hunt after two years (or whatever) if she is miserable.

The more excited and rah rah you are, the more she is going to think she'll be stuck in this hell hole forever.  The more you treat it as a hard but potentially fun adventure with an end date if it doesn't go well, the less she'll feel backed into a corner.