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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Spondulix on January 02, 2015, 02:49:51 PM

Title: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 02, 2015, 02:49:51 PM
Long thread, but big problem. I was just reading this old thread:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/'trailing-spouses'-how-to-not-feel-guilty-about-underemployment/
I'm on the flip side of this, where I'm earning almost 4x what my spouse makes. It really bothers me. Maybe I'm wrong and it's a matter of perspective, but I feel really taken advantage of, and I'm not sure what to do to change it.

Short story: I've worked like my hair was on fire for 10 years, being freelance or having side businesses for most of it. DH has been freelance for 5 years. He makes poor business choices, which I know he wouldn't do if it weren't for my income (he admits to it). A lot of his decisions are in the name of "career pursuit", but it's a dying career path. I think he sees it but is in denial. It's starting to feel like the uncle in Napoleon Dynamite who played football in high school, and still dreams about the pro-football career he should have had.

The details [edited:] We both had minimum wage jobs out of college 10-12 years ago (standard for the field). 7 years ago, I quit a full-time job for freelance because I landed a huge client. We agreed that I'd use my off-days cooking, errands, etc. I never felt guilty for being the low earner cause I knew at some point, we'd be in the opposite situation. A couple years later, DH decided to quit his job and go freelance. The first year his total income was around $10k. The following year I think it jumped to $20k (he was "really trying"). This year he's going to hit $45k - but with over $20k in business spending.  "The talk" about his business earnings comes up every year around this time.

We had the same agreement about him doing housework in the off-days, but usually that turns into him taking a week or two off (sometimes with paid work waiting) to take on house projects (it's that poor planning again - good intentions, but bad implementation). We've talked many, many times about alternatives (part-time job, full time job, pursuing more clients, school, etc) - even if it's just temporary to build up his business as a side gig. He says that most gigs are below his standards (which they are) even if they pay well.

As you can probably guess, I want to face punch him every time we talk about it. It sort of feels like I'm parenting a teenager who's spending all his money on a hobby. Ultimately, I don't think he has the right personality and self-discipline to build up a sustainable business (and there's nothing wrong with that - it's not right for everyone). He probably would do better in a structured environment of a job and workplace, but I don't know how to encourage that. That's the killer in all of this is that a lot revolves around this dream that he's going to get the job that he went to college for (those creative side gigs that pay $3-10/hr). I've seen this year that his identity is really tied up in that, and it's just never panned out.

What we've done:

Any suggestions? I really think he's going to have to see the reality of this on his own in order to move forward. I just don't know how to help (or if I can help) along that process.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: GizmoTX on January 02, 2015, 03:22:54 PM
What career is this?
Do you both have goals for the family & agree on them?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Cassie on January 02, 2015, 03:23:31 PM
I would try to get him to go back to therapy so you guys can discuss it there in a safe place.  It sounds like it will be cheaper in the long run then a divorce.  These types of things tend to build up into a lot of resentment.   Good luck:))
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 02, 2015, 03:43:37 PM
Out of curiosity, would you be happier if he were tending to the home (i.e., cleaning/making dinner/doing repairs) every day and taking the side gigs as a hobby?  Ie, how much do you *need* him to have a higher income vs. *need* him to take up the slack at home if he's not going to have that higher income?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: sheepstache on January 02, 2015, 03:46:50 PM
It sounds like you're just as frustrated by the behaviors leading to the financial situation as you are about the finances. I hear you on that.

Is the issue that he's not paying half of the joint expenses? Or can he manage that but not to save any money / pursue FI?  If the first, have you talked directly about your frustration about that? What about downsizing your lifestyle so that he can afford 50% of the costs? Maybe he would prefer that, if you would be open to it. This would also be a time to discuss that you would be happy with your higher earning power if he were doing more of the housework (the balance issue makes it sound like that's not working out right now).

At some point though, you may have to be satisfied that you're adding more concrete value than he is. For all that we support the stay-at-home spouse here and recognize that their contributions matter, if you're earning $100k and he's earning $20k, he can't do $80k worth of housework (imagine if that hypothetical income doubled, he can't start doing $180k worth of housework). Might be worth your going to a therapist on your own to sort out what's not working and what would work for you.

Do you two have a shared goal or are you the only pursuing FI or....?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Elderwood17 on January 02, 2015, 03:51:01 PM
I have earned over 90% of the household income since we were married, and 100% most years.  We have never had an issue with it  The amount of income one or the other person makes isnt the issue but being on the same page with it and feeling like a true partnership exists.  It strikes me there is more of a relationship problem versus a strictly money problem (although money is the focal point and lighten rod for the problems), so I encourage you to get counseling and focus on that.  Sounds like he needs to grow up in a lot of areas and if he does the job/career parts will grow up too.

Good luck to you guys and hope it works out well!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: swick on January 02, 2015, 03:56:58 PM
Out of curiosity, would you be happier if he were tending to the home (i.e., cleaning/making dinner/doing repairs) every day and taking the side gigs as a hobby?  Ie, how much do you *need* him to have a higher income vs. *need* him to take up the slack at home if he's not going to have that higher income?

This is a really good point to consider.

Another one, if you are in similar businesses, would it work for you to team up and work together? You probably both have strengths and weaknesses that the other would off set, and if you took more the "management and business development" side of things, he could work on some of the more "creative" side and free up some of your time on the tasks that you need to do that are "necessary" but not necessarily the highest income generating.

It is possible from your post (although I don't know what field he is in) that your hubby has more of the "artist, creative" brain and less of the logical, analytical business side. This is pretty common among artists  and creative types (I have coached and worked with a lot) So much of what seems obvious to you, planning ahead, time management, business sense might be a struggle for him or he might not know how to do it (even though he feels he does, or should know) or has a different learning style. Creativity and artistry are assets and liabilities - you have to work to figure out how they will work for you. It sounds like a lot of your frustrations/communication issues and such are a result of different learning/working/communication styles.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Miss Prim on January 02, 2015, 04:28:47 PM
Most of my working years I made more than my husband.  It never really bothered me when we
were both on full-time because we were basically working the same number of hours.  When he took a buyout from his job of 20 years (major downsizing, he could have stayed but kids were young and we didn't know what shift he would be on or if he would have to work 12 hour days), I had been working part-time and went back to full-time.

 He never did find another job making as much money and went through a few jobs that didn't pan out, until he started his own office cleaning business.  Now he makes more per hour than me, but works less hours.  It was a big cause of resentment with me until we were in a position that I could work part-time again.  He has always done a lot of cooking and as much child raising as I did, so he wasn't lazy, he just liked working a few hours a day!  Drove me nuts until I finally had to change my thinking as we were fine with our saving and spending levels and on track for retirement.  Luckily we are both very thrifty! 

Maybe you wouldn't resent it so much if he did most of the housework and cooking.  It would give you more free time outside of work.

Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 02, 2015, 05:35:46 PM
Do you both have goals for the family & agree on them?
Yes, and no. I'm in a place where I'm transitioning from work being priority to family (and we're talking baby). He says he's on board with that, but there's a conflict that it's going to interfere with his career aspirations. I have no problem staying in my job (I'm the one providing insurance anyhow), and I'd love it if he wanted to be an at-home parent. But I think the way he sees us having kids is that we would pay for daycare so he could be at home and take these $10/hr gigs.

Out of curiosity, would you be happier if he were tending to the home (i.e., cleaning/making dinner/doing repairs) every day and taking the side gigs as a hobby?  Ie, how much do you *need* him to have a higher income vs. *need* him to take up the slack at home if he's not going to have that higher income?
Absolutely, 100%. I just want him to own up to the fact that he's got a part time job and an expensive hobby. But that's more denial... no one wants to be told that's what their career is (especially a 37 year old who's been in the work force for 15 years). If he wants to pursue it, fine, but that would take owning up to the fact that I am taking care of him financially. That's where this is getting touchy as a relationship - I think in his mind he really thinks he's meeting me in the middle, contributing to chores where he's not financially. The reality of it is that I'm spending more than that on mortgage and utilities than he is netting this year.

To Sheepstache's point - I'm not expecting him to do $80k worth of work, cause that's just unreasonable. But, if he's only earning 25% of our net income by choice (by refusing to consider a higher paying job or a part-time job), then maybe he should be responsible for 75% of everything else. That's part of my concern here - am I forcing enough accountability for him to realize that his hair should be on fire a little right now?

Is the issue that he's not paying half of the joint expenses? Or can he manage that but not to save any money / pursue FI?  If the first, have you talked directly about your frustration about that? What about downsizing your lifestyle so that he can afford 50% of the costs?
 Maybe he would prefer that, if you would be open to it. This would also be a time to discuss that you would be happy with your higher earning power if he were doing more of the housework (the balance issue makes it sound like that's not working out right now).

Do you two have a shared goal or are you the only pursuing FI or....?
I have no problem being the breadwinner, and it wouldn't bother me if he didn't pay half if he was doing more to make up for it (Funny thing is today he's out doing a ton of errands while I'm at work, which is super awesome, but not the norm). He lives like he has that $70k full-time job, and that's one part that's driving me crazy. For example, I'm the high earner and bringing peanut butter sandwiches for lunch (cause I'm all about FI), and he's going out to eat almost every day! I'll ask for help with housework, and he won't get it done because he has to do computer stuff or unpaid research for some new gadget or whatever that he wants to get for work. He has offered to give me more to pay for bills every month, which I might just take him up on. I'm just getting tired of being the spending police.

I have earned over 90% of the household income since we were married, and 100% most years.  We have never had an issue with it  The amount of income one or the other person makes isnt the issue but being on the same page with it and feeling like a true partnership exists.  It strikes me there is more of a relationship problem versus a strictly money problem (although money is the focal point and lighten rod for the problems), so I encourage you to get counseling and focus on that.  Sounds like he needs to grow up in a lot of areas and if he does the job/career parts will grow up too.

Good luck to you guys and hope it works out well!
Thank you! I think you nailed it on the head - for many years, we were both very career driven, so we both were on the same page. Now, I'm moving more towards family and he's still geared towards career path (which usually the breadwinner spouse is the one who stays career-driven). He still wants to spend $2k on a gadget or piece of gear, and I'm looking at that money as a nice vacation.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Cassie on January 02, 2015, 05:51:16 PM
It would be best to get this all sorted out before having a baby. Otherwise you will end up doing all the work & resenting it. Paying for daycare is stupid & expensive when he could be doing it since he is not earning much. 
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: MikeBear on January 02, 2015, 05:57:31 PM
Leave this thread open on your pc, where he can see it and read it.

That should wake him up.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 02, 2015, 06:17:52 PM
This is a really good point to consider.

Another one, if you are in similar businesses, would it work for you to team up and work together? You probably both have strengths and weaknesses that the other would off set, and if you took more the "management and business development" side of things, he could work on some of the more "creative" side and free up some of your time on the tasks that you need to do that are "necessary" but not necessarily the highest income generating.
I know what you mean about the relationship types where one is creative and the other is more practical (we're in the entertainment industry in LA, so know a lot of those types of couples :) We're both fairly equally logical/creative (maybe too equal, sometimes). I think he finds something very personally fulfilling in those creative gigs that he doesn't get in any other way. I get it - my day job is with a corporation, so to balance, I try to spend my free time doing creative stuff. The difference is that I don't need to validate my creativity through my work, and I don't need to get paid for it (which I used to... that's one of those bad beliefs I picked up from getting an arts degree). He seems to think if he can achieve this gig he wants, work will be fun, creative and fulfilling. So what happens when it's not?

I've tried to pinpoint what it is that he finds fulfilling in those gigs- he says it's solving problems. I told him I know plenty of jobs he could get (and get paid well) to solve problems. There's something more to it that he can't identify.

We've talked many times about joining up as business owners, but honestly, I'm looking for more life-work separation. Plus, the type of work we do is generally sole-proprietor; I use the word "business", but very often we are hired as contractors into jobs where we really should be employees. Outside of accounting, finance, etc, there really is very little I can do because I can't interface with his clients (and vice versa). But, if an opportunity came up to start a business outside the industry I would certainly explore it. I'm ready for a new challenge, and he's full of ideas.

It would be best to get this all sorted out before having a baby. Otherwise you will end up doing all the work & resenting it. Paying for daycare is stupid & expensive when he could be doing it since he is not earning much. 
I completely agree!! That's part of why I'm trying to push forward this whole conversation (or figuring out how to push it forward faster). I don't want to be having a baby at 38 or 39.

Leave this thread open on your pc, where he can see it and read it.

That should wake him up.
lol... that is not a bad idea.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: MikeBear on January 02, 2015, 06:29:44 PM
IF you do it, and I did really mean it, DON'T be the first one to bring up anything about it afterwards, unless of course he never mentions it after a week or so.

Let him internalize it all by his lonesome. It's a whole different dynamic versus you just telling him, as you have already done. If he see's it bothers you enough to ask advice from people you don't even know, it might wake him up as I said.

I'm a firm believer in the "3 strikes and you're OUT" theory of life management... I'm also now 56 years old, married 33 years, worked my butt off since I was 18, and I CAN'T understand men that are like your husband, IF he's capable of doing better.

If seeing the thread doesn't cause him to understand and make changes for the better, then you know where you stand on his priority list.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Hey It's Me on January 02, 2015, 06:32:26 PM

Leave this thread open on your pc, where he can see it and read it.

That should wake him up.
lol... that is not a bad idea.

Totally agree. That type of thing is more likely to hurt him and build resentment than if she took a less passive aggressive route. OP: this is a relationship question, not a financial one. It seems like there is quite a bit of animosity in the relationship over money and money management. I'd urge you to revisit therapy - it's cheaper/better than either a stressful relationship or a divorce in the long run.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: MikeBear on January 02, 2015, 06:34:28 PM

Leave this thread open on your pc, where he can see it and read it.

That should wake him up.
lol... that is not a bad idea.

Totally agree. That type of thing is more likely to hurt him and build resentment than if she took a less passive aggressive route. OP: this is a relationship question, not a financial one. It seems like there is quite a bit of animosity in the relationship over money and money management. I'd urge you to revisit therapy - it's cheaper/better than either a stressful relationship or a divorce in the long run.

She's already done the "less passive aggressive route" and it's gotten her nowhere. Time for shock therapy.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 02, 2015, 07:23:35 PM
Spondulix, this all is very interesting to me.  It reminds me a bit of my husband.  NOT the side gig problem, because he has a full-time job that pays quite well, but that he sees his job as his career as something he loves doing, and when he asks me what I want to do when the kids are all in school (I'm a SAHM right now), I say "whatever pays the most and isn't immoral" and he doesn't take me seriously.  I'm not even joking!  As far as I'm concerned, I'll do whatever pays the most and allows me to pick the kids up after school and stay home during the summer.  But he doesn't get it because he doesn't see his job that way.  He's talked about changing jobs to something that pays less, and I just feel like "WHAT?????" but he sees his job as something he should love doing not as a means to maximizing income.   He certainly cares about where the money goes and that we're saving for retirement, but sometimes I don't understand him.

I think you need to have a real heart-to-heart regarding all of this.  For me, my husband has asked me to go back to work to pay for a house--we passed up houses that we could afford in 2010 and are now completely priced out of the market.  I hold a lot of resentment regarding this because I feel that what he did was impractical and probably will cost us about $200-300K in the long run.  We have had in the last couple of years a lot of small discussions regarding splitting the chores, and he agreed to pick up half of the chores and half of the sick-leave for taking care of kids, but recently he told me if the kids were sick for a long time, he'd just hire someone to care for them.  As far as I'm concerned, he renigged on what he was agreeing to, and it upsets me.  I know in truth, that the best situation is for him to focus primarily on working and me to focus primarily on home/child issues so that our household functions best.  I see his offer to take half the chores and half the child care as jeopardizing the financial security of our household because the more he's free to focus on deadlines, the more secure his job is.

I think you need to sit down with him and tell him that you're happy to support the family if he's willing to be a stay-at-home dad, but the current arrangement where he's passing up high paying jobs to do what he loves is not practical.  If he wants to do it as a hobby or in his spare time, great, but he's got to be a stay-at-home dad, because you guys won't have the luxury of operating on "I want" mode, but "I have to" mode.  If he wants to be the breadwinner, that's fine too, but as the breadwinner, he MUST take the highest paying job always regardless of what he wants to do. 
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Chrissy on January 02, 2015, 07:56:14 PM
This is about maturity.  In the time you've been together, you've gained maturity.  He hasn't.  He won't earn more money, won't do the housework, won't raise the baby.  Sounds like you do the financial planning, too.  When you try to get him to do more housework, he takes the time from his best clients, destroying the thing you're after to spite you.  Anyway, that's how it reads to me.


If he wants to pursue it, fine, but that would take owning up to the fact that I am taking care of him financially. That's where this is getting touchy as a relationship - I think in his mind he really thinks he's meeting me in the middle, contributing to chores where he's not financially. 


So his identity is tied to his "career" but not to the fact that he's living off his wife?  I'm sure "in his mind" he IS meeting you halfway... until you bring up that he's not, and then you're the horrible wife.


That's part of my concern here - am I forcing enough accountability for him to realize that his hair should be on fire a little right now?

You're not his mom, and forcing accountability is not your job.  Get the two of you back to counseling.  If he doesn't want to go, take additional measures.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: mozar on January 02, 2015, 08:39:42 PM
I think you need to back off and think about whether your needs are being met in life. It is likely that he thinks that he is doing more than he is. I recommend reading the 7 principles of marriage by john gottman. He is an adult and telling him how to live his life will lead to resentment for both of you.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: DCJrMustachian on January 02, 2015, 10:31:04 PM
If you are earning 40k, and he is earning 25k, that should be plenty of money for you both to live life on your own terms that are fulfilling and frugal.  If you guys can't make it and be happy on $65k, time to look at your spending.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 02, 2015, 10:55:39 PM
I'm a firm believer in the "3 strikes and you're OUT" theory of life management... I'm also now 56 years old, married 33 years, worked my butt off since I was 18, and I CAN'T understand men that are like your husband, IF he's capable of doing better.
That's the thing - I don't understand people (men or women) who think that it's ok when they are capable of doing better, either. That's part of why I'm so baffled by this... And maybe where I'm going wrong in my expectations. I just never would have expected when we got married that we'd be having these kinds of conversations about effort and money because we were always on the same page about our financial and career goals. We purchased our house based on the numbers that we could live on one of our salaries, if needed - and now that doesn't even seem to matter. Regardless of me shifting priorities, I really expected he'd still be pushing harder than he actually is, but it's more like he's settling for mediocre results.

Maybe that's part of my reaction here is because I would never take a handout from anyone without being really appreciative of what I'm getting, and probably feeling like I need to do something in return. I know he's sad at times about his career not going how he wanted it to, but that's no excuse to ignore (or forget) my support - financial or other.

Spondulix, this all is very interesting to me.  It reminds me a bit of my husband.  NOT the side gig problem, because he has a full-time job that pays quite well, but that he sees his job as his career as something he loves doing, and when he asks me what I want to do when the kids are all in school (I'm a SAHM right now), I say "whatever pays the most and isn't immoral" and he doesn't take me seriously.  I'm not even joking!  As far as I'm concerned, I'll do whatever pays the most and allows me to pick the kids up after school and stay home during the summer.  But he doesn't get it because he doesn't see his job that way.  He's talked about changing jobs to something that pays less, and I just feel like "WHAT?????" but he sees his job as something he should love doing not as a means to maximizing income.   He certainly cares about where the money goes and that we're saving for retirement, but sometimes I don't understand him.


I think you need to sit down with him and tell him that you're happy to support the family if he's willing to be a stay-at-home dad, but the current arrangement where he's passing up high paying jobs to do what he loves is not practical.  If he wants to do it as a hobby or in his spare time, great, but he's got to be a stay-at-home dad, because you guys won't have the luxury of operating on "I want" mode, but "I have to" mode.  If he wants to be the breadwinner, that's fine too, but as the breadwinner, he MUST take the highest paying job always regardless of what he wants to do. 
Thanks for sharing your story, Terri. I've read about an expectation change in relationships in the past 25 years and I wonder if the same thing is happening in our job expectations. 100 years ago, we needed a spouse for survival. After insurance came along, we married for companionship. This generation is looking for self-actualization - that a relationship will fulfill us being able to discover who we are, what we want in life, etc. I see the same thing in career pursuit, where some people are looking for fulfillment through the job (even if it means a less stable environment, no benefits, etc) over a secure job that might be considered boring. I spent the first 8 years of my career seeking fulfillment, for sure. My mom had a medical emergency and I quickly realized that there was more to life than my career. I feel lucky have realized that in my 30s, and not in my 50s or 60s, cause that was the path I was on.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: danny9m on January 03, 2015, 05:14:13 AM
How could your husband be doing this when this is should be you slacking?  Btw making 40 k with expenses of 20 is is making 20k.  You have it good, my wife doesn't work at all.  I'm implementing the mustahian ways but she thinks the gravey train will run forever and the train is not going to want to be slaving on commission forever.   


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: DeltaBond on January 03, 2015, 05:21:37 AM
There IS a difference between a spouse being leaned on financially and just having a higher income.  You're posting here because you're upset that things are out of balance.  When you're leaned on, you start feeling like a parent or a roommate and it can really suck the relationship out of the marriage.

Leaving this thread up on the PC is passive aggressive and I'll never encourage that.  Were you both going to therapy or just him?  I'm sorry if I missed that in your post there.  I keep seeing threads on here where one spouse is really not on board with the financial goals of a marriage, which is extremely important.  This is more than just a money issue, and I wish you luck!!!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: DeltaBond on January 03, 2015, 05:52:33 AM
Your husband has got it way too easy...

While you're worrying about life, finances, family and all of that, he's following the grade school mentality of "What do you want to be when you grow up?". By that I mean he knows that his income is pretty much not needed and therefor he can pick and choose what he wants to work on in order to feel "happy and fulfilled". That's a load of crap and would drive me crazy if my wife ever did that.

He needs to work his ass off to make as much money possible, just like you, and on his free time find the work that will fulfill him. I mean, right now he's living the life that all of us here are looking for. Like seriously think about it, he's FIRE. He doesn't have to worry about money. He takes weeks off work. He picks and chooses what kind of work he wants to do and YOU carry all the weight of the relationship.

He needs a good wake up call...
If you talk to him, don't hold back, you are being used - plain and simple - and he KNOWS it.

One last thing, if he responds with "Well I need to work on something that makes me happy", tell him that's what weekens are for and Monday - Friday, he works on whatever make the BOTH of you, the most money possible in order for the BOTH of you to be able to live the life he's currently living.

You took my post, and worded it about a thousand times better.  I'm glad I'm not the only one here who views this type of situation like this.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: DeltaBond on January 03, 2015, 06:08:30 AM
Make those chocolate strawberries at home!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Zamboni on January 03, 2015, 07:38:36 AM
^  :-)  That's a good idea!

I agree that he is living an unearned life as a FIRE person, and you are the source of his mustache.

OP, I have an aunt and uncle who have lived your life.  She has always worked full time, really really hard, and he has always puttered around with failing creative business ventures.  Yes, he is a somewhat entertaining person to be around because of his creative stories, but he doesn't help with the cooking or cleaning or even any of the heavy lifting.  In my opinion (and I even felt this way as a child) he is just lazy for not really attempting to pull his own weight.  She did not have your high earnings, so they struggle year after year, but he was still unmoved.  They are retirement age now, and it is painfully obvious that she resents the hell out of him.  I only see them every year or two, and each time it seems even worse than the last.  So, do something now to address this in a real way; please don't just let it fester.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Peony on January 03, 2015, 08:08:05 AM
Deal with this before you have a kid. After that, you will be well and truly trapped and maybe even paying alimony if things don't work out.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: begood on January 03, 2015, 08:25:38 AM
Deal with this before you have a kid. After that, you will be well and truly trapped and maybe even paying alimony if things don't work out.

+1

It sounds like he doesn't want to be a stay-at-home dad. It sounds like he doesn't want any curtailment on how he spends his time, and nothing curtails time like staying home with a kid. I agree that you would probably end up with a kid in daycare and a husband at home working on his projects, and you'd be not only bringing home the bacon, but frying it up, and then washing the bacon grease out of all your clothes. And taking care of the baby/spending free time with the kid because you'd feel guilty for leaving him or her in daycare all day instead of home with a parent.

I've been a "trailing spouse" my whole married life. My husband worked for a multinational corp that moved us a bunch. Sometimes I made money, sometimes I didn't, but I didn't spend money to make money, and I kept the household running smoothly. It sounds like all the life responsibilities are falling on you and your husband is... what? Doing whatever the hell he wants? That's not fair.

If it were a one-time thing, shrug it off. But it sounds like a pattern. A pattern that bringing a child into will not improve.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: pbkmaine on January 03, 2015, 08:30:57 AM
 Tell him that counseling is cheaper than divorce.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Noodle on January 03, 2015, 08:51:52 AM
First of all, I am so sorry. This must be a tough position to be in.

Secondly, I think this is primarily a problem of how you feel about your marriage and secondarily a financial one. It sounds like you are very upset about the situation, and that there is a lot of contempt in the tone of of how you write about your husband and relationship. (That's not to say that it's unearned, or that your husband is innocent of the same behavior!) But since John Gottman's marriage research shows that contempt is very highly correlated with divorce, it's really concerning if you want this marriage to last for the long term. There's another thread going right now with a similar husband (details a little different)...wife is the primary wage-earner and currently pregnant, husband is a very low earner with unsuccessful freelance business and no success job-hunting. Husband has been heavily criticized by posters for not stepping up earlier and more intensely to find paid work. The difference is that in this case, the wife thinks he's A-OK and that his contributions to the marriage feel fully equal to her.

Really, you've got just a few choices here. You can state your feelings clearly about the situation and your needs (may need a therapist's help to do it) and see if he changes. It's probably not going to be a 180, so how much change would satisfy you? Or you can change your feelings on the subject, a la the wife above. There are plenty of marriages where there is a big income disparity but the high-earner  sees the value the low earner brings to the relationship in other ways. Or you can choose not to be in the relationship if you don't think he does bring you value. But I don't think specific tactics are going to make much progress until you get the big picture figured out for yourself.

Good luck. We will be wishing you well.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 03, 2015, 08:54:24 AM
Honestly, I think he really needs an 8-5pm regular job.  The work is for M-F and weekends are for the hobby suggestion is a great way to separate out the needs from the wants, but he still needs the self-control to do it.  The best way to do it is to go back to work in an office environment where he has no choice about what to work on.

The behavior he's showing indicates no pressure on him, and his interests are priorities are completely jumbled.  To work from home, you have to be 2x better at managing your time than you do at work because you have to separate out the home jobs from the work jobs from the hobbies.  I've had these problems myself.  I've seen students have these problems--our house never got cleaner than one when person had a lab due after spring break.  It's a lot of avoidance of things you don't want to do, and sometimes you have to be separated from the things you do want to do to do them.

Ask him, though, whether he wants to be a stay-at-home dad.  What's his thoughts on that?  That may just set him completely adrift, or he may feel relief at being able to be set free from the work he doesn't want to do.  Some guys love the idea, and some guys would hate it.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: 2ndTimer on January 03, 2015, 09:14:24 AM
Something to think about.  Some people are just not meant to be parents for whatever reason.  If he is not able to take the responsibility, do you want him in the mix?  Time to figure that out before you are trying to have a baby at 39.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: lifejoy on January 03, 2015, 09:33:46 AM
Hi, I'm the OP from the question you linked too. Time has passed, and these are things that have worked for us lately:

DH is a doctor. He will always make more money than me, even if I make GOOD money. I went through a small period of time thinking, "why should I work at a job I hate? For money we will be FINE!". Last year I worked at a job I hated and made good money but I was depressed all the time. Is your husband happy usually? Could you handle it if he brought in more money but was depressed? It's not fun to be around someone that is feeling so low.

Anyways, I found that making less money made it hard for me to feel the cost of things. I needed a budget. Our budget gives each of us $200/month of fun money. Fancy haircuts, lunches out, new shoes - all of it comes out of my fun money. This has helped me control my spending, and there is no judgement if my DH buys his lunch every day, that's his fun money! Would your husband be open to a budget?

When I got a new, un-fun job, we brought the fun money up to $200/month each. It used to be $125/each. Bringing in more money = more fun money. Perhaps that could be a motivation for him?

Remember that if you're a team, that means success for either of you is success for BOTH of you. Could his dream job actually become a reality? Is this like a no chance in hell thing, or a if he works hard enough it could happen thing? Maybe find a way to make it happen?

Anyways, good luck! And props to you for achieving such a high income :D
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Sid Hoffman on January 03, 2015, 10:04:18 AM
Leave this thread open on your pc, where he can see it and read it.

That should wake him up.

Do you want to get divorced?  Because that's how you get divorced.  Passive-aggressive attacks on your spouse never end well.

Source: Have been divorced from a woman who regularly waged passive-aggressive attacks on me.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: crispy on January 03, 2015, 10:23:47 AM
Hi, I'm the OP from the question you linked too. Time has passed, and these are things that have worked for us lately:

DH is a doctor. He will always make more money than me, even if I make GOOD money. I went through a small period of time thinking, "why should I work at a job I hate? For money we will be FINE!". Last year I worked at a job I hated and made good money but I was depressed all the time. Is your husband happy usually? Could you handle it if he brought in more money but was depressed? It's not fun to be around someone that is feeling so low.

Anyways, I found that making less money made it hard for me to feel the cost of things. I needed a budget. Our budget gives each of us $200/month of fun money. Fancy haircuts, lunches out, new shoes - all of it comes out of my fun money. This has helped me control my spending, and there is no judgement if my DH buys his lunch every day, that's his fun money! Would your husband be open to a budget?

When I got a new, un-fun job, we brought the fun money up to $200/month each. It used to be $125/each. Bringing in more money = more fun money. Perhaps that could be a motivation for him?

Remember that if you're a team, that means success for either of you is success for BOTH of you. Could his dream job actually become a reality? Is this like a no chance in hell thing, or a if he works hard enough it could happen thing? Maybe find a way to make it happen?

Anyways, good luck! And props to you for achieving such a high income :D

It sounds like the OP is trading her happiness for his happiness and that is not a fair situation.  She is making all the compromises, all the money, and all the sacrifices while he is out having fun and seeking fulfillment.  He needs to grow-up because there is an imbalance.

I supposed I would be a trailing spouse also since I quit my job to be a SAHM when my oldest was born and now only work part-time now that they are in school.  The difference is that my husband and I chose this path together, and we have a balance that works for us.  That means I do the meal planning and cooking, take the children to school, clean the house, pay the bills and manage our money, etc. 

OP, I would encourage you to seek marriage counseling.  This situation is not really about money, but more about your husband's unwillingness to grow-up which leaves you shouldering everything. 
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Peony on January 03, 2015, 10:48:23 AM
I could be completely off-base, but one question that pops into my mind is whether husband isn't being passive-aggressive himself, punishing OP for being more successful than he is in the field they both work in. Sorta like, 'I may not be able to make it professionally, but I AM powerful -- watch me pull you down personally/emotionally/financially, Miss High-Earner.' If that is the unspoken or unconscious dynamic, I sympathize with the OP, because that would be devastating. Still, it's reasonable and right to protect yourself and the children you hope to have.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Pigeon on January 03, 2015, 10:59:01 AM
Your husband has got it way too easy...

While you're worrying about life, finances, family and all of that, he's following the grade school mentality of "What do you want to be when you grow up?". By that I mean he knows that his income is pretty much not needed and therefor he can pick and choose what he wants to work on in order to feel "happy and fulfilled". That's a load of crap and would drive me crazy if my wife ever did that.

He needs to work his ass off to make as much money possible, just like you, and on his free time find the work that will fulfill him. I mean, right now he's living the life that all of us here are looking for. Like seriously think about it, he's FIRE. He doesn't have to worry about money. He takes weeks off work. He picks and chooses what kind of work he wants to do and YOU carry all the weight of the relationship.

He needs a good wake up call...
If you talk to him, don't hold back, you are being used - plain and simple - and he KNOWS it.

One last thing, if he responds with "Well I need to work on something that makes me happy", tell him that's what weekens are for and Monday - Friday, he works on whatever makes the BOTH of you the most money possible in order for the BOTH of you to be able to live the life he's currently living.

I don't exactly think he has an obligation to earn the absolute most money he can earn, but he needs to do a hell of a lot more than he is doing. I don't think people should stay for years in jobs they loathe but pay a lot, but neither do I think a healthy adult should be able to blow off real work because it isn't creative enough. Your husband seems to think he is a special snowflake.

I agree with the poster who said he should look for a full time job working for a company. He isn't self disciplined enough to work for himself.

There is no way I would put up with his irresponsibility.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: lizzzi on January 03, 2015, 11:27:53 AM
It's astonishing how much the OP's story sounds like my DD and s-i-l. I mean, the OP's husband and my s-i-l sound like clones of each other. DD tried everything, but has given up and filed for divorce in Sept. 2014.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Zarya on January 03, 2015, 11:58:21 AM
I agree that if the situation is as described, the marriage is actually already teetering on the brink. Without serious commitment to work on it from both partners I don't foresee a happy future. (I realize the bio clock is ticking, but please postpone the child issue until things get worked out!)

As to the suggestion to go into business together, I also have a word of caution regarding that. I've been married 24 years to someone very compatible with me (and we're co-parenting three kids pretty harmoniously, too), but one thing that has put significant strain on our marriage is going into (a freelance consulting-type) business together, which we did 8 years ago with a third business partner. It has forced us to deal with each others' weaknesses both as spouses and as coworkers, which can really make you feel fed up sometimes with little things you'd be willing to ignore otherwise. It also makes the balance of power extremely explicit, which can be tough. (It doesn't feel like warm and fuzzy teamwork when there's a deadline and one person's working harder than the other!) I certainly don't think that going into business together would solve this couple's problems.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: dandeliongirl75 on January 03, 2015, 12:19:46 PM
This seems somewhat familiar to me. I had been earning (though much less than the OP) and my husband went back to school - initially for 2 years....he had saved money for school and was going to live off of that but somehow I ended up paying for most things. It was not as bad as the OP and there was an end in sight - though school kept dragging out.....when he finished he would have a much higher paying job and we would both be more comfortable.

I put all my savings / 401k contributions on hold during this time....now....3 months before he finished school, he left me as "there was something missing from our relationship"...so I am left with a house I bought (fortunately that I can afford on my salary) but would not have if I was going to be alone...and several years of not saving while he went to school...and he is going off to start his high paying career......

we are still friends, I try hard not to be resentful, it was my choice to support him....but.....

My point being, if you are feeling taken advantage of (and I would certainly say your husband is taking advantage of you from my perspective) it needs to be fixed through therapy at the very least....and if he won't address it the long term future of the relationship needs to be considered though that is very hard to do. I sympathize with you but you need to look after yourself somewhat.
(sorry, I hope I do not come off as just bitter - I am mostly not...I just get mad when I see similar things happening to other people)

Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 03, 2015, 01:13:47 PM
You guys, I think the point isn't the money inequality, but that OP wants to have kids, and she doesn't want to be holding both the full time job, the full time parenting, and the full time cleaning.  She doesn't mind him being a stay-at-home dad, but she wants him to either be that, or be the full-time wage-earner so that she can be home with the kids.  Daycare isn't going to cut it for her (and I understand that--that's why I'm home).  She doesn't sound like she cares which way SAHM or SAHD it is as long as she's not all of the roles.

So the question is how to push things one direction of the other.  How does she get him to be a full-time full-wage earner so she can stay home with the kids or get him to be the full-time dad?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Cassie on January 03, 2015, 01:19:37 PM
I totally agree Terri but I don't think she can push him either way.  He has to want to make changes.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: lhamo on January 03, 2015, 01:38:44 PM
The fact that he isn't willing to continue therapy when it seemed to be having a positive impact is a huge red flag for me.  What is his reasoning?

Agree with those that suggest you should postpone adding kids to this mix until you have things worked out between you and are on the same page in terms of life/career goals, division of responsibility (which should be leveled considerably before kids come into the mix to establish a better long term pattern), management of finances, etc.

It also sounds like you both would benefit from getting better at "difficult conversations."  The book by that title is awesome -- I've just started reading it, and am getting a lot out of it.

Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 03, 2015, 03:25:37 PM
It also sounds like you both would benefit from getting better at "difficult conversations."  The book by that title is awesome -- I've just started reading it, and am getting a lot out of it.

Thanks for the tip on this.  Looks like a book I could use as well.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: feelingroovy on January 03, 2015, 04:02:21 PM
I have a different perspective.  There are many similarities here to my marriage.  Really, I feel your pain.

From my experience, I would say that it's not that he's immature, irresponsible, or being passive-aggressive.  He just has different goals and values than you have.  And, I would guess, a different personality.

My husband and I are also similar in logical/creative, but I am much more practical and he is a dreamer.  He's now in his early 50s and has never had a job for more than about 5 years.  He has started numerous freelance businesses, none of which have ever made more than $20-30k.  He actually has programming skills and has in that time had well-paid jobs here and there, but he HATES it.  He's just too much of a free spirit.  He too has quit jobs spontaneously (when we had a newborn) and started businesses without thinking them through.

To make a long story short (I could go on for hours, and have), I have over the years alternated between being very resentful and realizing that this is just WHO HE IS.  He was already in his mid-30s when I met him and he was still living with 3 housemates, eating canned food (doesn't cook), and loving spending hours writing philosophy in coffee shops.  I knew this about him when I married him.  I had no idea how it would play out as we got older, bought a house, had kids, but even so, it's what I signed up for.

We've been together 20 years, and though I can certainly come up with things to complain about him, I still love him dearly.  He's an amazing father and he reminds me to focus on the joys in life, not just the practical side. 

Wanting to do work you love could be naive, but it's not a bad goal.  FI isn't the only reasonable goal (though it's mine too).  It's not like he wants to sit on the couch and drink cheap beer and watch soaps all day.

What I've had to do is realize that my needs/goals are not better or more important than his needs/goals.  I have had to remember that his behavior is not about enjoying the fruits of my labor out of laziness--he's just working toward different goals and has different needs.  I need the security of saving for the future; he doesn't.  Would he like it?  Sure, but he doesn't need it.  He needs to have opportunities for self-expression.  Would I like that?  Sure, but it's not a need.  (fwiw, I don't quite get it either.  But it's not wrong or irresponsible).

Have you told him you want him to spend less or earn more?  I assume if you were FI all this wouldn't be an issue.  What saving level do you have to be at to get there?

Do you tell him you feel resentful? Have you brought up the day care/SAH issue over and over again?  Can you try to find a win-win solution?  For example, would it work if he were willing to be a SAHD 3 days a week, get a babysitter for 2 days a week for him to do only the projects he loves, and only if he makes sure they cover the daycare cost.  I think if you went into it as "How can we meet everyone's needs," you'll both be happier. 

Are there changes you can also both make that will help you meet your needs?  Would a play money budget or a certain savings rate make you feel like you're making enough progress?  Could you do something radical like move to a lower cost of living area to reach FI faster so you could be the SAHM? 

I think you can bring up all these things as "how can we make a our lives work with a baby" and not "you are a mooch." :)


Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: MMMdude on January 03, 2015, 04:49:27 PM
Hmm, I'm going to have to disagree with the majority on here and it's funny because some could say we are in the same boat in our relationship.  I pull in 140K per year and girlfriend probably about 30K net on her photography business that she has been building the last few years.   Big difference I suppose is that I see how hard she works on the business.  She spends at least 40 hours per week on shoots, editing, updating social media, etc  - which is the number of hours per week I work.  In the next few years she should be pulling in 50k or higher although $ is nowhere near her primary motivator and I respect her for that.

There were times I was upset about this arrangement and my thought process was - she is basically at FIRE now and she would not have been able to achieve that without me.  But that is a very selfish view.  So what, she is doing what she loves and plans on doing it another thirty years.  I am glad she is achieving her dream and I'm glad that I enabled her to do so.

The only thing I could see OP being upset about is that it doesn't seem nearly a 50/50 arrangement in this case.  It's not clear how many hours per week he is "working".  If you are busting your ass 60 hours per week and he is working 10 and contributing nothing to the household in terms of chores then yea i'd be pissed too.

Regarding me becoming semi-retired she totally supports that obviously and the goal for us is that she could get into destination weddings whereby your travel is paid for and I would tag along as an assistant.  She has no interest in retiring early since she loves what she is doing and sees herself doing it into her sixties - the lady she shares a studio with is that age and is still working even though she has no need to
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: mm1970 on January 03, 2015, 04:58:31 PM
I guess I don't really see it  much differently than a husband with a SAHW.

I think the problem is that you are working your butt off, and he's not.  And he's enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Well?  What about it?

I'm kind of confused.  Sounds like he has FU money, thanks to you.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Lynski on January 03, 2015, 05:37:01 PM
Ten years ago, I interned for a guy that ran his own one-man video production company. His wife held down a steady job, while he dealt with the ups and downs of running his own business. He started up a number of other small side businesses that never quite took off in order to stay afloat. In between shooting videos for local commercials, tradeshows and non-profits, he actually wrote, produced and directed a successful web series. Three months ago, he closed the doors on his freelance business and took a regular 9-5 job - not even in the same industry.

He hasn't stopped raving about how awesome it is to have a steady paycheck, and now he can devote all of his free time to his web series. He's no longer wasting his time doing unfulfilling creative work and dealing with clients to pay the bills, instead he can focus on the creative (though unpaid) type of work he loves. He went into the video industry because he loved making videos, but doing it as a job is entirely different. He says he wishes he'd gone back to a 9-5 job years ago.

Don't really know what my takeaway from that was other than encouraging your husband to take a look at what he truly values about his work, and if he could find some other way to pull his weight while still being able to make time for those fun, creative projects that don't pay anything.

Pull his weight toward what, though? I think sitting down and discussing your shared goals would be beneficial. Does your husband feel like what he contributes matters? You're bringing in the majority of the income and taking care of the household responsibilities. Maybe he feels like it doesn't matter what he contributes, and what little he does is fine because you've got everything else covered. I agree with the above poster about framing it around "how can we make our lives work with a baby."
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 03, 2015, 05:49:52 PM
Wow I wasn't expecting so many new responses. A lot of great things to address, but first I'll tell you all about our talk...

He has come to terms with the fact that he's likely never going to get his dream job. He wants to continue taking those gigs, but with the idea that they are his hobby/use of free time and not putting those gigs ahead of his regular clients (or time with me, for that matter). It was a huge relief to hear he's finally at that point, cause this is something I've heard him talk about since the day we met.

I was pretty straight up that I feel taken advantage of and I don't feel like he's doing his fair share. He said he felt like he worked really hard last year, has been contributing his share, but doesn't look at his earnings beyond the month he's in. In his mind, as long as he's got money in his business accounts (including a savings buffer) and doesn't overspend, he's doing well. To that, I presented the math: if he was really working 40 hours a week at $35/hr, he would have earned close to $60k, not $40k. That means he spent 1/3 of his "working hours" last year not doing billable work (or not working at all). I suggested the option of working less hours and doing more house work, and he said that would be "unfulfilling and boring."  He feels guilty and obviously wants to work harder this year.

I guess it just baffles me. Is it wrong to think that it shouldn't be my responsibility to have to stay on top of these things?? Here's where I think this issue is very similar to other Mustashians who have a SO who isn't on-board (in their lifestyle/spending habits - relationship aside). When it comes to our finances, his attitude is very often "just tell me what to do and I'll do it." Same thing here - it's like he's expecting me to tell him that he's not earning enough, and that's his gauge of whether he's on track. It's tough because ignorance isn't exactly the types of issue I want to leave a relationship over, but at the same time, I can't continue living this way.  If I could teach how to plan ahead, I certainly would (and he'd probably be open to that), but I just have no idea how to do that.

FeelinGroovy is totally right in her response that he's not actively taking advantage because I have a job - he's just absolutely clueless when it comes to time-management, self-management and planning ahead (a horrible combination for someone working alone from home). The analogy that he's basically living FIRE right now is totally right! That pretty much sums up where my resentment comes from. That's the difference between a SAH parent and my situation - a stay at home parent isn't neglecting their kids to go have lunch with their friends or watch a movie in the other room. The earning spouse knows that the SAH spouse has responsibilities while they are home, regardless of whether you feel like it or not. One thing I told DH is that most people in this world don't have a choice what they do for work, let alone earn enough to be able to take a day or week off cause they don't feel like working.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: swick on January 03, 2015, 06:01:14 PM
If I could teach how to plan ahead, I certainly would (and he'd probably be open to that), but I just have no idea how to do that.

FeelinGroovy is totally right in her response that he's not actively taking advantage because I have a job - he's just absolutely clueless when it comes to time-management, self-management and planning ahead

There are a ton of resources out there for learning these things. Check some books out from the library. the 80/20 Rule books would be a simple place to start. Creative Live sometimes has free classes on these topics too.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Zamboni on January 03, 2015, 06:49:04 PM
Quote
"just tell me what to do and I'll do it."

While this might sound like he's malleable and wants to do well, I think it's just a cop out for him taking responsibility for himself.  You are not his mother or his boss.  He is a grown man and needs to figure out what to do and then do it without you nagging him over everything every step of the way.

My experience with this kind of statement is obviously not positive.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: GizmoTX on January 03, 2015, 07:03:44 PM
Quote
"just tell me what to do and I'll do it."

While this might sound like he's malleable and wants to do well, I think it's just a cop out for him taking responsibility for himself.  You are not his mother or his boss.  He is a grown man and needs to figure out what to do and then do it without you nagging him over everything every step of the way.

My experience with this kind of statement is obviously not positive.

Exactly. It conveniently switches any responsibility back on you. "Hey, you didn't tell me to do _____."

Better to agree on measurable goals & deadlines, & let him worry about how he's going to make them happen.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 03, 2015, 07:06:53 PM
I could be completely off-base, but one question that pops into my mind is whether husband isn't being passive-aggressive himself, punishing OP for being more successful than he is in the field they both work in. Sorta like, 'I may not be able to make it professionally, but I AM powerful -- watch me pull you down personally/emotionally/financially, Miss High-Earner.' If that is the unspoken or unconscious dynamic, I sympathize with the OP, because that would be devastating. Still, it's reasonable and right to protect yourself and the children you hope to have.
I've wondered the same thing, at times. He says he doesn't care what I do or how much I make as long as I'm happy. But the thing is, that isn't true - just as is isnt true for me. I've suggested moving out of state to lower expenses, and he has no interest. I'd be happy quitting my job and volunteering, but I know he doesn't want to move back into an apartment. So, it seems no different for me to say, "you want to work 3 days a week and eat out every day? You have to pay for that yourself - in addition to all of your house/family responsibilities."

I don't exactly think he has an obligation to earn the absolute most money he can earn, but he needs to do a hell of a lot more than he is doing. I don't think people should stay for years in jobs they loathe but pay a lot, but neither do I think a healthy adult should be able to blow off real work because it isn't creative enough. Your husband seems to think he is a special snowflake.
"Special snowflake" - I'm going to use that one. It reminds me of this, which is part of what's going on here, I'm sure:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wait-but-why/generation-y-unhappy_b_3930620.html

My point being, if you are feeling taken advantage of (and I would certainly say your husband is taking advantage of you from my perspective) it needs to be fixed through therapy at the very least....and if he won't address it the long term future of the relationship needs to be considered though that is very hard to do. I sympathize with you but you need to look after yourself somewhat.
(sorry, I hope I do not come off as just bitter - I am mostly not...I just get mad when I see similar things happening to other people)
It doesn't sound bitter at all - actually, I feel like it's reinforcing that I need to take more action here (therapy, as well as asserting my needs more in the finance issue). We did couples therapy a year ago and it was going great (he even saw the therapist on his own to work through some issues, including time management). The therapist even told me privately he was being more proactive and working harder than the majority of couples she works with. So I know he can do this things if he has the tools to be able to manage. I've done therapy on my own for a couple years (not really to deal with issues, but because I enjoy the introspection and the growth I gain from it).

MMMDude - you're totally right about the balance of effort. I'm starting to see more clearly that the issue here time/personal management and priorities. I've seen him take days off during the week (cause he'd rather do a house project, or go have lunch with a colleague) only to say he can't spend time with me on the weekend cause he has to catch up on work. I get that there's unpaid time that goes into being freelance (maintaining relationships, accounting, etc) but with no time management, it's affecting his clients and his business as much as his relationship with me.

I guess I don't really see it  much differently than a husband with a SAHW.

I think the problem is that you are working your butt off, and he's not.  And he's enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Well?  What about it?

I'm kind of confused.  Sounds like he has FU money, thanks to you.
To be clear you're talking about a SAHW and not a stay at home parent, right? I have zero interest in him being a SAHH and I be his sugar mama, and I wouldn't let him do the same for me unless he could do it, also. If anyone is going to get a handout from my earnings, it should be US together. Plus, it should be a decision that we would make together. But the fact is that it's not - he quit his job without giving US the opportunity to financially plan for it, and I had to take up extra work to make sure we had enough money to pay our bills and keep our house.  When I found myself out of work for about 4 months in 2013, I had planned for that by having a healthy emergency fund.

Right now my job is the easiest one I've been in ever! There was a thread recently about how little people work - I was one of the posters there about how I work about 3 hours a day on average.  My job is really easy and the hours are great, and I'm very lucky - but I worked incredibly hard to get to that point. When I hear about my husband's business, he talked for years about how he wasn't getting any closer to his dream job - but his effort has been pretty half-assed, to be perfectly honest. He's done very little to seek out new clients. I have no sympathy or patience anymore - It's like a single friend who complains a lot about how they are single, but is taking little to no initiative to meet people or go on dates. You  try to help by sending invitations to speed dating, trying to set them up with someone (who they aren't interested in going out with), help them start an account on a dating site that they don't ever check or update... There comes a point where you say, wtf is really going on here?

So that's part of why I'm like, this has gone on long enough. The discussion isn't about his needs or my needs anymore, but is this something that we can do together? It's a really good point what a couple people have said about "can we make this work around a family?" Right now I don't know he answer to that.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 03, 2015, 07:21:46 PM
There are a ton of resources out there for learning these things. Check some books out from the library. the 80/20 Rule books would be a simple place to start. Creative Live sometimes has free classes on these topics too.
That is extremely helpful - if you think of any other good books, please send! (He loves audio books, and will listen to just about anything I recommend)

My experience with this kind of statement is obviously not positive.
Lol, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 03, 2015, 07:49:37 PM
MMMDude - you're totally right about the balance of effort. I'm starting to see more clearly that the issue here time/personal management and priorities. I've seen him take days off during the week (cause he'd rather do a house project, or go have lunch with a colleague) only to say he can't spend time with me on the weekend cause he has to catch up on work. I get that there's unpaid time that goes into being freelance (maintaining relationships, accounting, etc) but with no time management, it's affecting his clients and his business as much as his relationship with me.

SPondulix, honestly, I think my husband thinks of me the way you think of your DH.  And in fairness, he puts in more solid work hours, and my hours are all over the place--I'm on call for the kids at any point, and on the forums now waiting for the dinner to cook.

The catchup thing is real guilt.  It's a sign of bad time-management.  I have bad time-management in spades, so I've done the same.  Everything is deadline driven, my todo lists are all over the place, and that is what happens when you don't plan ahead and consider the consequences of saying "yes" to things midweek because you don't have a schedule at all.  I'd start there with him.  He'll feel a heck of a lot better about himself, too. 

One of the things that I found was that having Sunday as a day of rest forced me to think about when other things would be done.  Same thing goes for having a week work/weekend play schedule.  Working at home is really tough--you said that--from a time management perspective because home and work get so intermixed.  It's hard to separate out what should be 8-5 from what should be the rest of the time.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 03, 2015, 08:08:03 PM
Spondulix, how does your DH feel about having kids?  Just wondering.....  Is this a goal he shares?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 03, 2015, 08:11:19 PM
There are a ton of resources out there for learning these things. Check some books out from the library. the 80/20 Rule books would be a simple place to start. Creative Live sometimes has free classes on these topics too.

If anyone has time management resource suggestions, I would love them.  Anything but Fly Lady.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on January 03, 2015, 08:19:36 PM
So, he makes $25k/yr after expenses? And you get some use of his business equipment? So what's a more reasonable number...say $30k/yr? There's large portions of the US where $30k/yr would be considered so-so for a couple, and rather good for one-half of a couple.

What are HIS goals? Is he meeting those goals? Ok, so YOU'RE making lots of money, and covering a lot of the bills. YOU want to retire early. Does he? Do both of you want the house you're paying for? The meals out you're paying for? What would happen if he got to pick the expenses, would those expenses be reasonable for a couple making a combined $50k-$60k a year? If so...what exactly is the issue? If not, then I'd focus on that. "Hey hubby, since we BOTH want this house which costs us $2,000/mo, and want to spend $200/mo on phones, and $1,000/mo in car payments, etc....well, I don't feel it's fair for me. It would really help if we reduced spending, you increased your earnings, or both!"

Also, for every minute you think "my life sucks because my partner has it better than I do!", devote a minute to thinking "my life is so awesome!" Please don't be the type of person who's only happy if everyone else around you is less happy than you are (it's easy to be that person, because it's standard human behavior). If you have a job you love, are saving buttloads of money for retirement, and have a supporting husband...life's pretty awesome! Yeah, he might have it a bit more awesome than you, but that doesn't take away from your awesomeness.

Also...to the responses about how childish he is for wanting you to give him direction in his life. Maybe he's perfectly happy with how things are and sees no need to change. Obviously YOU see a need for him to change. Instead of resisting (which, again, is the general human response) he wants to please you, and is open for suggestion. Of course, maybe he's all talk and no action, you'd obviously know that better than I do. All I know, is if my wife was really pissed that I wasn't doing something (say, buying roses) and didn't tell me, I'd just be upset because she seems upset. If she told me "hey, I'd like you to show me how you love me" and I said "sure, what would you like me to do to express my love" it's not because I don't love her. Rather, it's because I did not know there was an issue and/or did not know how to solve it. If she knows the problem AND the solution, that's extremely helpful.

Just a note, I know some of this has been addressed already. Was basing my post mainly on the initial info given.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 03, 2015, 09:19:26 PM
...he would have earned close to $60k, not $40k.

To be clear, he only earned $20k, which is part of the problem. A lot of self-employed people (me included) like to hope/imagine/assume that costs will go down, and like to view the larger number as the "real" one. But if we're inattentive and experimental, the costs will probably run about the same from year to year.

I feel for you!

The whole "just tell me what to do" piece, too... My last partner used to say exactly that, about most aspects of our lives. It turned my stomach, was very yucky for me. I don't want to tell a 40+ year old "what to do", especially when it's basic adult stuff, like implementing a bedtime for a 4 year old earlier than midnight. I balked at that, this "leaning on" as another poster put it. In my case, he wasn't leaning on me for money, but for life instruction and it felt burdensome. I felt like I was parenting more people than just my kid. We went to a counsellor, who was also concerned that my partner demanded that if I wanted him at an appointment (including his kid's birthday party), that I remind him of it the day, the hour, and the minutes before.

Now, he was a VERY hard physical worker, and skilled. But also very haphazard much of the time, dreamy, coming and going from work at will, getting into trouble for that then merely finding new strategies to wander off and not get caught, lol. He had previously run his own business, for a stretch with success and then...not. While we were together, and at my prompting, he was assessed and diagnosed with ADHD. And then absolutely refused to do any of the treatments -medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, other therapies, life skills classes- to address these pieces. Eventually, I had to accept that he was very committed to doing things the way he was doing them, and that the overall picture was extremely unlikely to change. I had to accept that despite what I believed to be a good heart in him, conversations with him were not actually going to be fruitful, our life together would probably not ever be collaborative, and he would be AWOL regularly. Amazingly, I didn't leave on any of those bases, lol! I did feel he was "worth" these challenges. But I do feel for you, and I agree with you and the others that the imbalance needs to be addressed. For what it's worth, I'm one of those dreamy, haphazard entrepreneurs, too (and it shows in my income levels) but I'm aware of my oddities and put a LOT of effort and systems in place to ensure no one is having to pick up the slack for me.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: lifejoy on January 03, 2015, 09:59:21 PM
A thought experiment that helps me is: what would I be doing with my career if I didn't have DH and his higher earnings? That was eye-opening, and helped me to proceed in a way that will help me earn more... Even if it sucks in the short term. But it feels good to be doing my best and to pull my own weight.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: backyardfeast on January 03, 2015, 11:02:52 PM
Just wanted to add perhaps a different perspective on the whole, "DH wants me to tell him what to do, which feels like parenting to me" thing.  Don't know if you're familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality types, but this aspect (and potentially much of the dynamic you're describing) is a classic J vs P personality clash.  If you're not familiar with that system, it might be helpful for both of you to understand where the other is coming from.

But I wanted to share the story of a close friend of mine, who re-married late in life and after just a few years with her wonderful husband, was struggling with similar issues.  She is a classic type-A personality.  She's not had an easy life, has had to work hard for all of it, and is a planner, super-organized, see-the-consequences ahead of time, never put off until tomorrow, etc kind of person (Myers-Briggs J).  Her new DH worked part-time for years, goes with the flow, spontaneously changes plans all the time, doesn't seem to follow through, muddles along, never seems to realize there will be consequences, etc. Classic "P".

So anyway, my friend started to feel like she was the one doing all the heavy lifting, all the thinking ahead, all the goal setting, all the pushing.  It was driving her crazy.  There's been lots of good advice here already around the conversations about "growing up" etc.  And some of that applied, and they did go to therapy, which was helpful.  But in their case, he is also almost 60.  So to some degree, that ship had sailed!

What finally brought her a great deal of peace was realizing that instead of resenting the fact that she was doing all the leading, she could in fact see it as a positive that her DH was totally willing to be led by her.  Truthfully, she is GOOD at, and enjoys, leading, being organized, thinking through, etc.  At one level, it was a gift to have a partner who was completely happy to have her be in charge, trusted her decisions, and was willing to support and roll with them.  At the same time, as he was actually quite befuddled by what structure, planning, etc *actually meant*, it was a huge gift to him for her to provide hime with some structure (Ps often want and need structure and have no idea how to provide it to themselves).  In other words, part of their conflict was her perception that partnership meant both people had to contribute equally in the same way, rather than each person doing what they are good at, in harmony together.  Of course, this also hinges on her appreciating what he brings to the relationship in other aspects of their life, and that she learns from him too. 

I know that this might not totally apply in your case, but it was a real recognition for me that all of us in these generations are muddling through the major gender role changes of the last 40 years.  At one time, all of this would have been moot: of course one person would be in charge (the man) and the other would follow (the woman) (of course in real life this was always way more complicated!).  I think it's worth considering that, gender aside, there's nothing wrong with this *type* of partnership, if it isn't oppressive.  Being on the same page with your goals is obviously key, too.

Anyhoo--hope that's helpful!  Good luck to you.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 03, 2015, 11:28:05 PM
backyardfeast, that was an awesome contribution! That sounds so right on, the J and the P and how different people contribute different things. I know I really enjoy flowy people, and have loved learning from them how to let some things go, enjoy what comes, etc. (Interestingly, I was just like that myself before, yes, severe hardship trained me to plan.)

OP: Is some of what comes up for you is that you'd love to be able to kick back like DH does? I know I struggle with normal functioning, and often wish I were in a position to daydream 24/7. (Actually, I'm mostly there now. I guess I'm all set again.) A spouse providing for all of one's needs does that, but what happens when the spouse wants a break? Yeah.

If my last partner had actually followed through on the stuff he wanted to be directed around, that totally would have worked. So, I guess it's the "just tell me what to do [and then I won't actually do it]" combo that stinks. I'm very organized, planny, yadda yadda and several people ask me for direction in small things. I give my thoughts, and notice that some people really consider these in deciding what to do, and other people dismiss them before their thought process has even really begun. Therein lies the difference for me. But it was only your post that clarified this for me, so now I know more going forward! Thanks :)

p.s. I was conversing with a guy the other day as we were lining up a date. At one point, I realized that he was relying on me to narrow down the details more than I already had, and I just opted out fast as can be. It was like I was allergic now. I thought, "Oh goodness, I can't do all that again!!"
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Hey It's Me on January 04, 2015, 12:23:50 AM
Aside from the obvious relationship stuff (which I don't feel qualified in giving you advice about,) you can actually take advantage of his side business and low earnings to net you some pretty hefty tax benefits.

Since his income is coming from a home business, he can take advantage of a host of deductions, as well as taking advantage of special retirement accounts to defer his income. You can use all further expenses/deductions/credits in excess of his income to offset some of your taxes, assuming you are filing jointly (which you should definitely be doing.)

Just some quick an easy math:

He makes a net income from his business of $20,000. Even using traditional retirement vehicles (IRA and 401k), he can deduct this number to zero taxable income each year.

Further, you two can deduct expenses for the home office (I believe $1500/yr), travel expenses, business meals, travel, etc. Fantastic!

On top of that, because you'll be filing jointly, you can take advantage of his deduction and personal exemptions as well, reducing your taxable income by $20,600 in 2015. That's on top of all the other deductions and credits you can take advantage of because of your husband's side business.

Bright side inserted.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: firelight on January 04, 2015, 02:07:22 AM
We have a similar situation. I earn more than husband and he is happy earning enough to keep himself happy. I knew it coming into marriage. So our rule from the start has been to use his salary for our living expenses. Basically live within his salary.... that has showed him how much is really needed to keep up our lifestyle and has made me less resentful since my salary is not "needed" and is more "good to have". I still work super hard, take care of finances and in most cases tell my husband what to do in case of finances. But I know that I'm doing it to pad our accounts and that he is not taking advantage of it. And he knows he can't quit spontaneously because we would be down to zero living income in that case. Further once baby came it has been easier for me to transition to sahm.

Is there a way for you to live on his income? Assume uve become a sahm and bank your salary. That might make him more hesitant to take low paying jobs.

Second, how important is it that your husband be happy with his choices? I've found that if I push my husband to chase money,  he gets very cranky and that affects our lives. I prefer him making enough for us to live comfortably and be happy than for him to earn big bucks and be miserable and make my life miserable too.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 04, 2015, 02:09:56 AM
Spondulix, how does your DH feel about having kids?  Just wondering.....  Is this a goal he shares?
Yes, I made sure we were on the same page about that long before we got married. Although, talking about kids and the reality of having kids are different things. We're both seeing that it's not going to work with things how they are now (just from watching our friends have kids and make that transition). Me being a planner, I'm trying to think ahead and anticipate issues (I don't want to be a 60 year old with a high schooler) and he doesn't want to deal until it happens. But, that's a classic example of J vs P! (That is a great way of looking at it, backyardfeast!)

So, he makes $25k/yr after expenses? And you get some use of his business equipment? So what's a more reasonable number...say $30k/yr? There's large portions of the US where $30k/yr would be considered so-so for a couple, and rather good for one-half of a couple.

What are HIS goals? Is he meeting those goals? Ok, so YOU'RE making lots of money, and covering a lot of the bills. YOU want to retire early. Does he? Do both of you want the house you're paying for? The meals out you're paying for? What would happen if he got to pick the expenses, would those expenses be reasonable for a couple making a combined $50k-$60k a year? If so...what exactly is the
After tax is likely under $25k. I do recognize that in a lot of the country that's liveable, but I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country (and he is unwilling to move - I've brought it up as an option). I think he's happy with where he's at and how things are going - no goals for the future, just living life day to day. It never used it be that way - he had some drive in the companies he worked for, negotiated for higher income, wanted to own a house and save for down payment. Once we got the house and quit his job he turned into a housecat, and that's when things started changing.

Thinking about it more, my frustration is really about him not being able to cover our monthly expenses, whether something happened to me, or if I wanted to take time off (like maternity leave). I'd have to look at my budget again, but I think we could cover the necessities on $3-4k a month - but that would mean 0 business spending (and him basically working while I'm on maternity leave).  What if we wanted to do it together? I would have to plan for it and save for it myself... It gets pretty lonely having to plan for your future together alone. Now, I'm the first to admit that there were many years where I was probably looking out for my career above everything. I think I even missed his 30th birthday party because I had to work. So in some respects, he might be looking at it that he's doing what he needs to do because that's what I did (and his dad was pretty MIA growing up because of work priorities).

In terms of his goals - I can barely get an answer from him about what his goals for this year are, let alone ten years from now. He gets very agitated talking about the future, and that is very frustrating for me - not only on a personal level, but it makes it incredibly hard to plan for anything. There are practical and financial reasons that I'm asking (and I'm not even asking for solutions, but just his opinion)... for example, are we happy enough to stay in our house for five years, or could we move? That impacts the types of upgrades we do to the house, where I put our extra cash, etc. He freaks out if I even bring it up.

Now, I get the whole "look at the bright side of your situation", and he certainly has his strengths and contributions that are my weaknesses... but when you can't get a spouse on board to even have basic conversations about the future, it gets really old. In his defense, if I were 7 months pregnant, I know he would say, "do we have enough in savings? Do I need to do anything?" So I know he is cognizant and thinking. His hair is on fire long after the fire has already been put out (and maybe that's a good analogy for my life...) More often than not, it comes across as too little effort too late. When I try to bring future things up when it's important to me, it's like pulling teeth.

Really, I wouldn't care about him making $20k if he wasn't saying things like "we need a new roof ASAP" (12k), let's redo our piping in the house (3-4k) or "I really want to move to this nicer area across town" (bigger mortgage, need to save for down payment). If he were looking for ways to cut costs and spending so that our money could go further, sure, I'd probably be more forgiving. But the fact is that he's not changing his spending habits til I point it out. The $20k in business expenses doesn't even include the other $5-10k that was spent on house projects he took on.

I know I'm probably turning all complainy-pants and this is turning into a bit of a therapy session, but I really do appreciate the perspectives and knowing that it's not just me (and my therapist) trying to come up with solutions. Scrubbyfish - I totally relate to your post, and you're right that it's tough when you see the person is worth the trouble. It's just a matter that he's settled and is totally fine where he's at, and I'm not getting what I need. I asked what he'd do if I moved out, and he said get a job cause he couldn't pay for everything...
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: happy on January 04, 2015, 03:31:05 AM
Quote
I asked what he'd do if I moved out, and he said get a job cause he couldn't pay for everything...

I try not to buy into these threads, but Spondilux, I see red flags all over the place. Open disclosure: my two long-term relationships were some sort of variations of this story, so I might be projecting. Neither ended well.

1. counselling/therapy
2. separate finances….you work your butt off to go FI, he can puddle around forever if he wants.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: former player on January 04, 2015, 04:00:20 AM
...
 He gets very agitated talking about the future
...
when you can't get a spouse on board to even have basic conversations about the future,
...
When I try to bring future things up when it's important to me, it's like pulling teeth.
...
 It's just a matter that he's settled and is totally fine where he's at
...

If your husband were really "settled" and "totally fine where he's at" he wouldn't be actively agitated about the future and avoiding talking about it - he would be saying *I love our life and want to carry on as we are - with/without babies".  He's not saying that, and he's not really saying what he does want, either.  So what is he really thinking about the future?  And why isn't it something he wants to share with his wife?  Obviously there was a time when he was thinking of the future: that's what getting married is all about.  But what is he thinking now, and why isn't he sharing it with you?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: DeltaBond on January 04, 2015, 06:08:20 AM
Quote
"just tell me what to do and I'll do it."

While this might sound like he's malleable and wants to do well, I think it's just a cop out for him taking responsibility for himself.  You are not his mother or his boss.  He is a grown man and needs to figure out what to do and then do it without you nagging him over everything every step of the way.

My experience with this kind of statement is obviously not positive.

Exactly. It conveniently switches any responsibility back on you. "Hey, you didn't tell me to do _____."

Better to agree on measurable goals & deadlines, & let him worry about how he's going to make them happen.

I'm gonna agree with these two people here, that this is a "blow someone off" statement.  My current husband and I dealt with that one, and it did not work.  I explained that I was not his parent and refused to continue living with someone who considered me their caretaker.  In our case, we love each other and I no longer have to tell him to help with things.

Your spouse feels that helping at home with chores is "unfulfilling and boring"?!?  Yep, yet another red flag.  So even if you two ever make it to retirement, you will have all of the household chores on your shoulders and again he'll be having fun.

It sounds like you still want to make this work.  If you could look at a video of your lives together 20 years from now, what do you think it would look like?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: mozar on January 04, 2015, 07:25:26 AM
Have you told him how urgent this is? And not just a passive aggressive "what would you do if I moved out" but more of a "this relationship means a lot to me but its not meeting my needs any more, for example I need to talk about the future"?

Maybe he is unhappy and is subtlety trying to sabotage the relationship? This is basically my last relationship. I thought that if I asked for less and less maybe I would get something. They were constantly asking me to spend money but never was interested in contributing. My ex would become agitated about talking about the future and I slowly realized it was because they didn't see me in their future. I feel less lonely now than I did during our three year relationship.

The break up was pretty easy because my ex met none of my needs whatsoever, but I understand you are wanting to keep trying. I really think you should read John Gottmans Principles of Marriage ASAP. We can go in circles here forever but you need more help than what an online forum can offer.
And getting pregnant is not going to help anything.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: cdngenie on January 04, 2015, 07:54:21 AM
You're situation is very similar to mine, although DH is a SAHD with a side gig that pulls in just under $20k. I'm bringing in roughly 10x that. I knew coming in that there would always be a large differential in our income and absolutely agreed to (and still favour) the SAHD situation, but our kids are now both in school and for the last couple years I've become really increasingly agitated that (a) he has no plan post kids being in school, (b) he's doesn't see a problem in not having a plan.
I think our conflict arises primarily from the fact that I'm the frugal one in our relationship,(so I tend to resent his big purchases but I also get frustrated with being put in the position of denying 'permission' for big purchases... I don't want to be his mom and it feels like he should understand the impact of bigger purchases on the  financial goals we supposedly set together) and that I do feel the pressure of being the sole income in the family while working in a very cyclical industry, particularly given that my efforts to reduce our family spending to minimize the impact of a potential downsizing/job loss aren't really supported. My financial contributions allow our family to have a situation where we have more flexibility with our time... I 'use' my flexibility for income earning purposes (business trips, client dinners) and the quid pro quo is that he gets more time for personal interests. :/

I've read this thread with great interest and i've got some more books on my to read list, but frankly even the fact that I'm the one researching how to fix this, again, is irritating to me at this point. Sorry for the monologue / therapy session.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: mm1970 on January 04, 2015, 08:53:05 AM
Quote
Is it wrong to think that it shouldn't be my responsibility to have to stay on top of these things?? Here's where I think this issue is very similar to other Mustashians who have a SO who isn't on-board (in their lifestyle/spending habits - relationship aside). When it comes to our finances, his attitude is very often "just tell me what to do and I'll do it." Same thing here - it's like he's expecting me to tell him that he's not earning enough, and that's his gauge of whether he's on track. It's tough because ignorance isn't exactly the types of issue I want to leave a relationship over, but at the same time, I can't continue living this way.  If I could teach how to plan ahead, I certainly would (and he'd probably be open to that), but I just have no idea how to do that.

This is very telling. I don't know if I can tell you that it's okay or it's not.  It bothers you, that's for sure.

I'm not sure how much people can "learn" the skills you want them to have.  I have the skills, so it's hard to know if it's a teachable thing.  His way is "just tell me", but maybe there are habits he can learn.  Make him a list of what he needs to do, and maybe if he "practices" he can learn it?

I dunno.

So, how do people survive if they don't have someone to help them?  I have a friend who sounds similar.  He's not a planner at all, kind of drifts along.  His wife is very structured though and very good at planning.  (But they've only been married 2-3 years).  He survived by the fact that his parents had a lot of money and he has a trust fund (though not a huge one, I gather, they still have a mortgage).
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Lia-Aimee on January 04, 2015, 09:07:13 AM
I agree with FeelinGroovy on this one. I once was in a relationship with someone like that, too - good guy, very different perspective on finances and careers, and much less frugal. In my case, it was a deal breaker (we weren't married, so it was easier for me to walk away.) Good luck, I feel your pain and hope it works out for you.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 09:35:15 AM
Make him a list of what he needs to do, and maybe if he "practices" he can learn it?

This reminds me of a positive experience I read of this. Life coach Cheryl Richardson said she'd get all overwhelmed, yadda yadda, and frustrated that her hubby wasn't stepping up. He said, "Just tell me what to do and I'll do it!" He asked, specifically, for a written list. So, when she feels overwhelmed, she writes a list of things she wants done and leaves it out for him. When she wakes up, everything is done (or there's a note next to a given item saying why it wasn't). This works for them.

I wouldn't want that, because I still think it's obvious that dirty dishes need cleaning or that a parent "should" show up for the child's birthday party, and with the cake, if that's what we'd planned together. Definitely I, for one, need to be with a person that can observe, follow through on agreements already made, etc, and not have to be poked at every step of the way. My son has an executive functioning disability, yet I'll be mortified if he grows up leaning on a partner to poke him or to provide for his own spendy ways. I hope I'm teaching him how to be responsible even with his disability.

A friend of mine saved up heaps... She was single into her 40s, super frugal, worked hard. Then she married. The guy is very disorganized, chaotic, and can't hold a job. She doesn't really mind any of that, but he is also extremely spendy. When he decided "they" should donate to charity the money she'd set aside for her dream vacation, she finally spoke up. Good for her! I'm worried for her. Not only is he spending down all her savings, and leaving her exhausted besides, she'd be on the hook for spousal support if she left him now (not that she wants to).
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on January 04, 2015, 01:51:37 PM
Before I start, do note I'm not trying to take sides (heck, I haven't even heard one side, so I'm out half the information!). Just trying to get you to think about things that maybe you haven't thought about yet.

After tax is likely under $25k. I do recognize that in a lot of the country that's liveable, but I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country (and he is unwilling to move - I've brought it up as an option). I think he's happy with where he's at and how things are going - no goals for the future, just living life day to day. It never used it be that way - he had some drive in the companies he worked for, negotiated for higher income, wanted to own a house and save for down payment. Once we got the house and quit his job he turned into a housecat, and that's when things started changing.

Have you brought up radical changes, or easier ones? I.e., are you suggesting to move across the street to save $50k on the mortgage, or are you proposing to move across the country to ONLY have a $50k mortgage? Whichever you've tried...have you tried the other? Maybe he doesn't see the sense in going through all the stress of a move just to save $XX a month...or maybe he doesn't want to move across the country and leave family/friends/clients behind. Did you ask WHY he doesn't want to move?

Thinking about it more, my frustration is really about him not being able to cover our monthly expenses, whether something happened to me, or if I wanted to take time off (like maternity leave). I'd have to look at my budget again, but I think we could cover the necessities on $3-4k a month - but that would mean 0 business spending (and him basically working while I'm on maternity leave).  What if we wanted to do it together? I would have to plan for it and save for it myself... It gets pretty lonely having to plan for your future together alone. Now, I'm the first to admit that there were many years where I was probably looking out for my career above everything. I think I even missed his 30th birthday party because I had to work. So in some respects, he might be looking at it that he's doing what he needs to do because that's what I did (and his dad was pretty MIA growing up because of work priorities).

If you're on maternity leave, how will you cover YOUR portion of living expenses? If you've already saved enough that you can cover your half with the 4% rule...that can be turned into a good lesson for him. Could also be turned into a bad one. If you can't cover your portion...you realize that you started the relationship one way (making lots of money) and now want to change (by making zero money as a SAHM). Yes, priorities change...who says your reasons are more valid than his? Even if yours ARE more valid...how does he view it?

In terms of his goals - I can barely get an answer from him about what his goals for this year are, let alone ten years from now. He gets very agitated talking about the future, and that is very frustrating for me - not only on a personal level, but it makes it incredibly hard to plan for anything. There are practical and financial reasons that I'm asking (and I'm not even asking for solutions, but just his opinion)... for example, are we happy enough to stay in our house for five years, or could we move? That impacts the types of upgrades we do to the house, where I put our extra cash, etc. He freaks out if I even bring it up.

Two easy answers for this.

#1. Anytime you start a conversation like this, it ends poorly, so he's trying to avoid it at all costs. I do this very thing, though I've gotten better over time. Seriously, if you "ask" him questions in a confronting tone, and you get upset at his truthful answers...his options are to lie and/or avoid the discussion at all costs. Now, you can't change who HE is, but you can work on yourself...find a book that discusses how to have a discussion without blaming the other party (I can search my Kindle if you need advice, I don't know any titles off the top of my head).

#2. He simply doesn't plan for the future. Lots of personality types don't. I forget which ones plan sooo far into the future, but I know INTJ is one. Maybe it's the NT part, because I think INTPs do and maybe ENTJs do as well. MOST people, when thinking about the future, are thinking weeks or months, MAYBE a full year if they're stretching it. When INTJs think short-term, they're thinking a mere five years into the future; long-term they're thinking 10, 15, even 30+ years out. It's completely possible and NORMAL that he can't think THAT far ahead. In that case, you can tell him a very brief synopsis of what you want long-term ("I want to be FI so I can work or not because that's what I want, and so I can make our children a high priority in my life.") and tell him what he can do to help that ("You can help find ways for us to reduce expenses and maximize income.").

Now, I get the whole "look at the bright side of your situation", and he certainly has his strengths and contributions that are my weaknesses... but when you can't get a spouse on board to even have basic conversations about the future, it gets really old. In his defense, if I were 7 months pregnant, I know he would say, "do we have enough in savings? Do I need to do anything?" So I know he is cognizant and thinking. His hair is on fire long after the fire has already been put out (and maybe that's a good analogy for my life...) More often than not, it comes across as too little effort too late. When I try to bring future things up when it's important to me, it's like pulling teeth.

See above. He may be one of the normal people who have trouble looking that far into the future.

Really, I wouldn't care about him making $20k if he wasn't saying things like "we need a new roof ASAP" (12k), let's redo our piping in the house (3-4k) or "I really want to move to this nicer area across town" (bigger mortgage, need to save for down payment). If he were looking for ways to cut costs and spending so that our money could go further, sure, I'd probably be more forgiving. But the fact is that he's not changing his spending habits til I point it out. The $20k in business expenses doesn't even include the other $5-10k that was spent on house projects he took on.

To be fair, the $5k-$10k in house expenses really shouldn't be counted as a business expense, unless it was solely to help his business (i.e., having fiber run to the house to increase internet speeds and recabling the whole house would count as a business expense; fixing the roof and doing painting should not).

The roof...does it need to be fixed ASAP? Is he offering to do some/all the labor? If so, are you calculating his labor savings towards his contribution to the family? I mean, if he's making $25k after taxes and saving you guys $10k in labor, can he look at it as contributing $35k to the family? If not, why not?

Another thing I'd like to address. He shouldn't be expected to contribute 50% across the board. You're obviously good at long-term planning and probably financial planning, perhaps you'll contribute 90% in those categories. He's good at household repairs and contributes 90% there. That said, there's SUPPOSED to be an imbalance. If you think everything is completely fair, guess what? It's not. We automatically think we do more than we do. If you think you're doing somewhere between 60-70% of all the work (depending on your bias...which DOES exist), then you're near a true 50%, good job!

To everyone saying you should dump him, or there's serious issues...that may be the case, but from what's posted I don't see it. I see an imbalance in earnings and someone who says he'll do what his partner asks of him (again, I don't know if he'll put those words into action). Basically, I see a relationship with similar dynamics as an INTJ paired with a "normal" person. This normal average guy might be willing to help you meet your goals, even if he doesn't share them himself.

Of course, he could be "one of us" and simply doesn't know what to do with his life. Maybe he's seen half of the light (quitting and doing his own thing) and needs help seeing the other side (financial independence). Doesn't quite sound like that's the case, but again, I'm only hearing one side.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 02:12:21 PM
Hi NumberJohnny5. I agree with the vast majority of what you said. I disagree, though, with this:

Seriously, if you "ask" him questions in a confronting tone, and you get upset at his truthful answers...his options are to lie and/or avoid the discussion at all costs.

He has a third option, which is to experience his discomfort and respond maturely regardless of that discomfort. Certainly, we want to be kind and gentle with our partners, but in most relationships there will be items of conflict deep enough that one, the other, or both experience discomfort addressing it or having it addressed.

This said, we can do nothing to "make" our partner choose that third option instead of the first two. But I think it's reasonable and fair to expect a partner to do so. I wholeheartedly agree that we can learn to speak in non-blaming ways, gently, considerately of the other, etc, but ultimately, short of verbal violence, how one of us speaks cannot be a reason for the other to lie or avoid, and some people will experience anxiety regardless of how gently a matter is brought up. i.e., The anxiety is not always about how the other is speaking, but can be due to a deep fear of differences, or resistance to communication, or cognitive confusion, etc, which a partner cannot resolve by speaking differently.

Gauging by your post, I'm pretty confident you know all that, but I felt the need to speak to this piece for the general topic.

Basically, I see a relationship with similar dynamics as an INTJ paired with a "normal" person.

Made me laugh :)    I'm probably INTJ or something close, so that's probably my own normal, but what MB type do you see as more "normal"? Are there some MB Types that are far more common than this one, is that what you're saying?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on January 04, 2015, 03:43:08 PM
He has a third option, which is to experience his discomfort and respond maturely regardless of that discomfort. Certainly, we want to be kind and gentle with our partners, but in most relationships there will be items of conflict deep enough that one, the other, or both experience discomfort addressing it or having it addressed.

Maybe. Maybe not. IF I were a therapist (I'm not), and IF you were my clients (you're not), and IF I observed the way you two interact (I haven't), I might be able to provide more useful insight. All I can do is say "hey, have you thought about this?"

Maybe he's not "mature" in that particular area. Or perhaps he's mature enough to realize his own limitations. Personally, I can handle a certain amount of stress/conflict. Past that point, I become a not nice person. I'm the quiet one that if pushed into a corner, will eventually scream even louder than you and say some pretty not-nice things. I also realize that some people need to vent at me and let me know how I'm wrong, so I try to not hide from all conflict.

That said...is there a point to the arguments...erm...discussions? I.e., does HE see a benefit to them? Since they keep happening, I'm guessing he doesn't. He may see absolutely no reason to have yet another "discussion" that has no tangible benefit and only leaves both of you upset. If you just need to vent, then let him know that. Don't assign blame...in fact take some of the blame. Point out that you realize it's not 100% rational for you to be feeling this way, but you do want to express your feelings, because the relationship is important to you. Tell him you feel scared about the future, and you are at an impasse...does he have any ideas that might help you feel better? Whatever idea he has, do NOT immediately deconstruct it and point out all its flaws (even if you've already thought of that very idea and already came to the logical conclusion that it can't work). Tell him thanks for the idea(s) and that he's given you something to think about. Wait a week or so and then discuss those ideas. Not only does he think he's helping, but you're showing him "progress" with these constant discussions. It's not the same thing over and over, the conversation is changing and the two of you are working together.

The anxiety is not always about how the other is speaking, but can be due to a deep fear of differences, or resistance to communication, or cognitive confusion, etc, which a partner cannot resolve by speaking differently.

Are you sure that's the case here? I.e., have you studied ways to have effective discussions, and practiced them? If not, I urge you to do so. It may not make sense to you, but saying "You're not pulling your weight, I need you to work more so I can take off time with a new baby." is NOT the same as "I'd like to talk with you about some things that have been on my mind lately.... I really want a baby, and I want our child to be raised by one if his/her parents; I don't want 100% of one of our incomes to go toward paying someone else to raise our baby.... I don't know what the best course of action is, and I could really use some help working through my feelings."

Basically, I see a relationship with similar dynamics as an INTJ paired with a "normal" person.

Made me laugh :)    I'm probably INTJ or something close, so that's probably my own normal, but what MB type do you see as more "normal"? Are there some MB Types that are far more common than this one, is that what you're saying?

INTJ is one of the rarest types. Of course, with 16 different types, they're all going to be a bit rare, right? I don't remember what the most common types are, but one thing I DO remember (and feel free to look it up, in case I'm wrong) is that most people do NOT plan far in to the future like the INTs do (another note, I'm definitely INT, and a bit wishy-washy on the J/P, so it's possible I confuse the two at times).

Quick quiz. You're studying how to succeed at interviews, and are working on the question "Where do you see yourself in five years?" MOST people need help with that question because they have absolutely no idea, but they need to look like they're "responsible" and "have a plan for the future." I'm guessing you'd need help with that question because "retiring and not having to put up with this bullshit", while it may be accurate, might not come across as the nicest of answers.

Here's some homework. Read http://thomaslauer.com/start/How_to_handle_an_INTJ . For purposes of this thread, focus on #4, #6, the last sentence in #10 (author has a footnote about that one), #12, and #19. Now...we are of course talking about your possible personality type, not your husband's. What I'm trying to point out are possible conflicts you may have when dealing with him. You expect him (and the world at large) to work a certain way. He may not work that way (and in fact most of the world does not).
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 04:12:48 PM
NumberJohnny5, thanks for all that! Great discussion. I'm not the OP, and I think you meant much of your post for her (as I'm not in any of her situation at all), but I'm still going to ponder it all myself, and look at the links, etc, in case I ever want to be in a relationship with someone like Spondulix's dear hubby, or my own last beloved partner, again :)
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 04, 2015, 04:25:08 PM
That link is great... And for the most part fits him exactly... But after reading it I thought, this is a list of how to handle a person like this. I've learned through experience that living with an INTJ is very much about following their rules and communication quirks. So, where's the flip side?

What kind of things do an INTJ person need to learn to have a relationship where they aren't total a**holes as partners? It might be me projecting, but I see a lot of selfishness in that list - INTJs inherently don't sound like team players. They sound like people who voice their own thoughts and concerns, don't care with other people think, and who have a lot of difficulty being empathetic, especially if they don't see their own truth in what the other person says.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Rezdent on January 04, 2015, 05:06:31 PM
Spondulix
I highly recommend getting the book and accompanying CDs called "Crucial Conversations".

The authors define a crucial conversation as one where:
1. The stakes are high
2. The emotions are high
3. Opinions differ.
Sounds like your situation to me.

The information in that book plus lots of practice have helped me in all areas of life.  It totally changed how I communicate. My hubby, my children, my coworkers have all benefitted from my learned abilities to have those difficult conversations with safety, respect and trust.  My life has improved too; I know that sounds hokey but it is true.

Without knowing the particulars of your situation I would guess that safety has eroded in your relationship, possibly because the stakes are so high for both of you.   If there's no safety then your partner will not be able to express their opinions and efforts to make the conversation happen will just frustrate you more.  If you feel like he's avoiding the conversation then your safety may have eroded as well.
You may also want counseling for yourself but the book can get you started in the right direction to rebuild safety and open up the conversations.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 05:13:47 PM
Spondulix, wait... Are you saying your DH is the INTJ in your coupleship? I thought it would be you (long term planning, straight-up communication, etc).
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: iris lily on January 04, 2015, 05:21:28 PM
It would be best to get this all sorted out before having a baby. Otherwise you will end up doing all the work & resenting it. Paying for daycare is stupid & expensive when he could be doing it since he is not earning much.

This, so much this.

I earn 2 - 4 times what DH earns depending on the year, but he does lots of work around the house, he is brilliant at fixing things and keeping them running, and he is in charge of our finances. Also, with his business, while  it doesn't earn much, he works many hours and he has a great reputation around our community.  He is free for running errands during the day with enough notice.All of those non-tangibles contribute to our quality of life and to our bottom line financial picture.

Also, with his small business he is extremely organized, focused, and on top of paperwork. At tax time it comes out how much he actually nets.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on January 04, 2015, 05:42:37 PM
Spondulix, wait... Are you saying your DH is the INTJ in your coupleship? I thought it would be you (long term planning, straight-up communication, etc).

That's what I thought too. Though I can relate to her partner, so who knows? I'm going by assumptions.

Speaking of which, I've gotten myself really confused. I remembered the OP's name, or at least the fact that it started with an S. I will endeavor to remember at least the first TWO letters of a poster's name.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on January 04, 2015, 06:23:35 PM
What kind of things do an INTJ person need to learn to have a relationship where they aren't total a**holes as partners? It might be me projecting, but I see a lot of selfishness in that list - INTJs inherently don't sound like team players. They sound like people who voice their own thoughts and concerns, don't care with other people think, and who have a lot of difficulty being empathetic, especially if they don't see their own truth in what the other person says.

The easiest way to deal with an INTJ is to adapt to him/her, of course :)

While it may seem difficult to convince an INTJ to change his/her mind, it's actually pretty easy. Well, assuming you're right and have the facts to back it up (thinking about it, that's harder than it sounds).

The part I wrote about him seeing no point in arguing still stands. A feeling person won't want to argue for no reason because, well, feelings. A thinking/rational person won't want to argue for no reason because it's not rational.

You may also have to realize that while INTJs can come off as assholes, for the most part they don't mean to. In fact, them trying to be NICE can be seen as being an asshole. In the link I posted see #4, and #19. They can be brutally honest because they care about you. They'll also tear apart your ideas not because they dislike you; rather it's because the idea is important to them (probably because the idea itself has merit, though it's possible the idea has NO merit but is still important because it was YOUR idea).

As an INTJ/P, I find I have to work a LOT at the whole relationship thing. I kinda envy Sheldon and Amy's relationship agreement (for those who brag about their non-media consumption, they're characters in a show called The Big Bang Theory). Everything would be so much easier if there were clear expectations on both sides. But all attempts to forge such a document with my wife have been futile.

Again, try to spend equal time thinking about how great your INTJ's qualities are. If you need someone to be brutally honest with you, you know where to turn. If you have a great idea, they'll either show you the flaws you missed and/or help you make it even more awesome. They are INTENSELY loyal. Etc.

Also, see what YOU can do to work around any perceived shortcomings. An example, don't ask your INTJ if your pants make your butt look big...there's a good chance he'll respond "No dear...it's not the pants that make your butt look big...." Instead, ask "Do I look good in this?" in which case you'll get the desired response (unless you don't look good...but odds are he thinks you look good regardless, so you'll just be frustrated that he's "no help"). Don't get upset if you notice your anniversary and birthday listed on his google calendar (in fact, you might want to make sure they ARE listed). I'd forget my own birthday if google didn't remind me. Don't assume every viewpoint your INTJ has is actually his own; as mentioned in #2 of the link, you need to actually ask what his viewpoint is; we're great at playing devil's advocate.

We can also be pretty damned literal. This is neither good nor bad, it's simply good information to have. If you say "I don't feel like helping you with X", you need to realize you didn't say you would NOT help with X, simply that you did not feel like it. Also, if he says "tell me what you want me to do, and I'll try" it means, literally, that he wants you to tell him what you want and he will put forth effort to accomplish that.

All that said, my main point is that I think at least part of the issue here is communication. Pretend you are both speaking completely different languages. If just one of you learns a bit of the other's language, communication will be improved ten-fold. You can either beat him over the head with a stick, demanding that he learn your language (from his perspective he sees someone yelling at him in a foreign language, beating him with a stick) or you can learn how to speak his language (at least now he'll understand why you're hitting him repeatedly with said stick).
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 04, 2015, 07:10:35 PM
I know that this might not totally apply in your case, but it was a real recognition for me that all of us in these generations are muddling through the major gender role changes of the last 40 years.  At one time, all of this would have been moot: of course one person would be in charge (the man) and the other would follow (the woman) (of course in real life this was always way more complicated!).  I think it's worth considering that, gender aside, there's nothing wrong with this *type* of partnership, if it isn't oppressive.  Being on the same page with your goals is obviously key, too.

Anyhoo--hope that's helpful!  Good luck to you.

I really enjoyed reading your post. 

Your last paragraph reminds me of a quote from Big Fat Greek Wedding (not a fan of the movie, but I liked the quote).... "The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants." 

You're very right that the gender roles have been thrown into confusion, and none of us quite knows what the rules are anymore.  If we're all operating under different assumptions as to what the rules are, we're going to get upset when the other person doesn't follow the rules.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Allie on January 04, 2015, 07:23:29 PM
This is another one where I read th eoriginal post, thought "omg, that poor woman being taken advantage of..." But by the end am thinking the opposite thing.

I'm the trailing spouse, SAHM, lunching with friends, Bon-bon eater in my marriage.  Even if I really put my nose to the grindstone, I couldn't make the kind of money my husband has the potential to make.  Part of that is because he naturally has a meticulous attention to detail and a charisma and a leadership style that is amazing...part is that he is specialized in a very particular subset of his chosen profession.  He is in the process of working like a dog to set himself to work a few hrs or months a year to make quite a bit.

Honestly, if he came to me in a couple years after he started working shorter hours making enough to support both of us and complained that I wasn't busting ass to make more money or toiling around the house my head would explode. 

Maybe I misread your posts, but did you really write in to complain about your spouse, who supported you in the past, because he wasn't working hard enough at a job he didn't enjoy to make 35/hr or clean up the house in his spare time when you take home 140k working 15 hours a week? 

That can't be right.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: MrsK on January 04, 2015, 07:43:58 PM
I think it is very hard to be happy in a marriage partnership if you don't respect your partner.  Respect can mean many different things.  For me, I need my DH to work as hard and earn as much as me.  It doesn't have to make sense to other people, but I have learned this about myself.  I have an ex-husband who earned very little and was not very handy around the house.  He was VERY attractive--which may be why he never learned how to do anything useful.  I began to resent him and in the end could find nothing sexual or appealing about him.

I desired a true partner and as a high earner who is also frugal, handy and hard working, I needed to find someone like this to share my life with.  I think you need to ask yourself--am I better with this person than I am by myself? Does he improve your life in any way? 

Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 04, 2015, 07:48:56 PM
You know, if you're making $140K working 3 hours a day, you're doing great.  I think you can have your cake and eat it too.  Have a kid, enjoy being home with him/her, and have your husband watch the kid for that 3 hours.  Just tell him what to do :)
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: olivia on January 04, 2015, 07:55:28 PM
Even if the OP is actually only working 3 hours a day, that doesn't exempt her husband from working hard.  Working hard could entail doing housework, cooking, making money, etc.  But I would be (rightfully) resentful as hell if I busted my ass while my spouse fucked around being artsy because they were "too good" for a 9-5.

I don't have the answer to your question, but I would not be okay in your situation, and I don't know too many people who would be.  We all want to dick around and just do things we love (isn't that why we're on MMM?), but you have to actually put in the work to get to that point.  The OP's husband is letting her do all the work and riding her coattails.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: crispy on January 04, 2015, 08:03:14 PM
Just because she is only doing 15 hours of actual work doesn't mean she isn't required to be at her job  40 or more hours.  I used to have a job where I called myself a building weight - I just needed to be there to make sure the place didn't blow up and to be there on the rare occasions when it did.  It doesn't sound like she has loads of free time.

There is a lot more at play here than the money situation, and I do think that marriage counseling is what is really needed.  Many of us here are in relationships where one partner makes a lot more or less than the other and few are posting that they are filled with resentment because of this situation.  There are more factors at play here. 
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: backyardfeast on January 04, 2015, 08:08:55 PM
Thanks for the compliments, TerriM and Scrubbyfish, (*blushing*) and OP, I'm glad that sending you down the MBTI (MyersBriggsType Indicator) rabbit hole might be helpful.

Just to clarify, it is indeed the J that is the planner/organizer, ie, you, and your DH, based on your descriptions so far, would most likely be an SFP (I don't know about introvert/extrovert), which is a classic "creative" type.

If you read the description of the INTJ carefully and thought, "this is him to a T!", then there may be quite a different dynamic going on.  As you and Johnny5 have been discussing, the INTJ is a very distinctive personality--if I'm not mistaken Jacob at ERE would be a good example.  They are usually very smart, systems people/engineers/tinkerers, extremely independent, and focused on ideas/abstractions over people or feelings.  An INTJ would not see themselves as selfish; they are right or taking particular actions because, logically, it is simply the right thing to do.  Personally, I think you would be having very different conflicts with your DH if you were both Js, and he an INTJ.  But of course, we're only getting a small picture of him and of your relationship together.

As a case study, my Mom is an INTJ.  She was the boss in our family, that's for sure!  But her long, mostly very happy relationship with my INFP father (another classic creative type) was successful because they understood that they balanced each other out.  My sister and I used to joke that without her, my father would have been the poor poet in the attic apartment, smoking and never going anywhere. :)  With her as a partner, he became a highly functional adult whose warm and loving personality was essential to we kids turning out ok.  But we all spent a lot of our childhoods talking about her and trying to understand her and her decisions.  She was this huge power centre in the family, and, as an adult, I respect her and her parenting decisions completely.  But she didn't have a lot of warm, fuzzy patience for children! :)  If our behaviour wasn't logical, she couldn't figure us out, lol.

That said, she insists that she and my father were complete partners when it came to their marriage and family.  He was totally happy to be the SAHD and play with us, and was completely trustworthy in his taking responsibility for us (picking us up on time, etc).  He shared the housework and learned to cook.  And we all simply had to adapt to the INTJ standards!  But in return, we all gained from her: structure, routine, huge loyalty, lifeskills, and of course, her income to support us.

Sorry if I'm going on about my family! Hope bringing the types to life is helpful for you and anyone else interested. :)
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: iwasjustwondering on January 04, 2015, 08:35:06 PM
You guys, I think the point isn't the money inequality, but that OP wants to have kids, and she doesn't want to be holding both the full time job, the full time parenting, and the full time cleaning.  She doesn't mind him being a stay-at-home dad, but she wants him to either be that, or be the full-time wage-earner so that she can be home with the kids.  Daycare isn't going to cut it for her (and I understand that--that's why I'm home).  She doesn't sound like she cares which way SAHM or SAHD it is as long as she's not all of the roles.

So the question is how to push things one direction of the other.  How does she get him to be a full-time full-wage earner so she can stay home with the kids or get him to be the full-time dad?

If he's as disorganized and illogical as OP says, then he should NOT be a SAHD.  Honestly, would the kid even be safe alone all day with him?  It sounds mean, but this man does not sound like someone I would leave a baby with.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Pigeon on January 04, 2015, 08:37:30 PM
Even if the OP is actually only working 3 hours a day, that doesn't exempt her husband from working hard.  Working hard could entail doing housework, cooking, making money, etc.  But I would be (rightfully) resentful as hell if I busted my ass while my spouse fucked around being artsy because they were "too good" for a 9-5.

I don't have the answer to your question, but I would not be okay in your situation, and I don't know too many people who would be.  We all want to dick around and just do things we love (isn't that why we're on MMM?), but you have to actually put in the work to get to that point.  The OP's husband is letting her do all the work and riding her coattails.
This is where I am, too. I will also admit that I would not support an able bodied person to be a SAHP, either.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 08:41:15 PM
If he's as disorganized and illogical as OP says, then he should NOT be a SAHD.  Honestly, would the kid even be safe alone all day with him?  It sounds mean, but this man does not sound like someone I would leave a baby with.

Offhand I'm not remembering any details from upthread that cause me any alarm in this area, but I can say that this did become a serious matter in the relationship I had with the ex who reminds me of what Spondulix is describing. I believe that most flighty, seat-of-the-pants, spontaneous, creative people can absolutely be fabulous, safe parents -their brain kicks in around child safety- but in my experience, some cannot. It's a serious matter to consider.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Hey It's Me on January 04, 2015, 09:15:58 PM
The more I read this, Spondulix, the more I'm getting frustrated with you. Here's something I've learned about relationships: a private relationship is a happy relationship. It's fine to come to an online forum to ask for advice, but you've honestly done nothing but !@#$%^&* on your husband this whole thread.

No one on this forum knows his side of the story; all we have is how dissatisfied you are. You want financial advice: your husband and you are making a fortune combined - $165k gross + all the tax benefits of him being self-employed. Get your spending under control and enjoy the smooth ride to financial independence. This isn't a financial question though, it's a relational one.

You're obviously dissatisfied in your relationship, so you have two options: either have a conversation and honestly air your dissatisfaction, or leave him. Neither of those options require you to further !@#$%^&* on this man's life on the internet.

/thread.

Edit: Re-reading this, I was a bit harsh. My apologies.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: RapmasterD on January 04, 2015, 09:20:47 PM
What is "reality?" Please ask an Israeli what that is, then a Palestinean. What a BS term.

Here is my admittedly highly subjective "reality."

If I had a spouse that posted this crap about me on a public form, I'd be out the door ASAP, even if I had to sleep on a heat grate and suck down ketchup packets from the local Burger King.

If I had a spouse who even jokingly referred to face punching me...ditto. Yes, I'm intimately familar with that term on the MMM Forum in its relation to use on STRANGERS. But my REALITY is there are limits in its use, including in relation to a spouse you married for better or worse, for richer or poorer.

You've got to give to get. And I'm not talking about material bullshit. You're clearly not showing respect. What would you expect in return?

Bottom Line: You attract your equivalent. Look in the mirror.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: TerriM on January 04, 2015, 09:24:24 PM
If he's as disorganized and illogical as OP says, then he should NOT be a SAHD.  Honestly, would the kid even be safe alone all day with him?  It sounds mean, but this man does not sound like someone I would leave a baby with.

I think the kid will be fine.  I'm pretty disorganized too, but when a kid cries, you respond.   If he doesn't respond to a crying/screaming kid, *then* you have a problem.

That said, he may not find that fulfilling either.

I think the big question here is still whether or not he wants kids.  If he wants to have kids, he'll be more willing to step up to the plate.  If he's *avoiding* having a family, he's not going to try to fix the situation and will even try not to to avoid the responsibility of being a dad.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Hey It's Me on January 04, 2015, 09:30:12 PM
If I had a spouse that posted this crap about me on a public form, I'd be out the door ASAP, even if I had to sleep on a heat grate and suck down ketchup packets from the local Burger King.

You're clearly not showing respect.

+1

And we have people on this threat discussing whether her husband (who we really know nothing about) would be able to take care of their hypothetical kids. Ugh.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: olivia on January 04, 2015, 09:30:41 PM
Not sure why some posters are shitting all over the OP.  This is a forum for FI, and this topic comes up repeatedly, from this side as well as the other side (being the trailing spouse).  How is this out of bounds?  She didn't say her husband was a piece of shit, she said he likes to pursue artsy jobs that don't pay well because they're fulfilling.  Calm the fuck down. 

It's also probably not a coincidence that when men post about their spendy wives (ladiez amirite?!!!) they don't get told to show some respect. 
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 09:33:27 PM
This is another one where I read th eoriginal post, thought "omg, that poor woman being taken advantage of..." But by the end am thinking the opposite thing.

I'm the trailing spouse, SAHM, lunching with friends, Bon-bon eater in my marriage.  Even if I really put my nose to the grindstone, I couldn't make the kind of money my husband has the potential to make.  Part of that is because he naturally has a meticulous attention to detail and a charisma and a leadership style that is amazing...part is that he is specialized in a very particular subset of his chosen profession.  He is in the process of working like a dog to set himself to work a few hrs or months a year to make quite a bit.

Honestly, if he came to me in a couple years after he started working shorter hours making enough to support both of us and complained that I wasn't busting ass to make more money or toiling around the house my head would explode. 

Maybe I misread your posts, but did you really write in to complain about your spouse, who supported you in the past, because he wasn't working hard enough at a job he didn't enjoy to make 35/hr or clean up the house in his spare time when you take home 140k working 15 hours a week? 

That can't be right.

I think it's different than your situation, Allie. Spondulix isn't upset that she's the breadwinner (she has said as much). She's upset that he won't talk about the challenges, won't take turns pitching solutions, won't collaborate on change, won't plan together for their future, is unwilling to consistently contribute to housework, wants to maintain their precise lifestyle (won't move somewhere cheaper), and then pitches for house upgrades of $3000-$12000/pop. And, it may have been said that he's not keen on doing the bulk of the parenting. (I might have one or more of these items wrong, but I welcome any corrections to my effort at paraphrasing/recap.)

I only know you a teeny bit, but my impression of you is very different than all of that. You're a mom, for starters! Further, you're actively working on reducing your personal and family spending. And that's just what I'm remembering about you off-hand.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: randommadness on January 04, 2015, 09:35:54 PM
Not sure why some posters are shitting all over the OP.  This is a forum for FI, and this topic comes up repeatedly, from this side as well as the other side (being the trailing spouse).  How is this out of bounds?  She didn't say her husband was a piece of shit, she said he likes to pursue artsy jobs that don't pay well because they're fulfilling.  Calm the fuck down. 

It's also probably not a coincidence that when men post about their spendy wives (ladiez amirite?!!!) they don't get told to show some respect.

This. Leave the OP alone. This IS keeping it private. What, do you want her to talk about it with her husbands friends? Her coworkers? She hasn't even stated what profession they are in (that I saw) to keep it even more private.

Also I want to second that from reading she does maybe 3 hours of work, but is required to be there 40. So chill on that too.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: RapmasterD on January 04, 2015, 09:50:25 PM
Not sure why some posters are shitting all over the OP.  This is a forum for FI, and this topic comes up repeatedly, from this side as well as the other side (being the trailing spouse).  How is this out of bounds?  She didn't say her husband was a piece of shit, she said he likes to pursue artsy jobs that don't pay well because they're fulfilling.  Calm the fuck down. 

It's also probably not a coincidence that when men post about their spendy wives (ladiez amirite?!!!) they don't get told to show some respect.

IMHO, this has very little to do with FI. It has everything to do with showing your spouse respect and not being backhanded on a public forum. Money is just a tool. It's just a how. It's just a reflection. It is not the WHAT. It is the HOW.

As for your male/female remark, right back at you -- calm the fuck down.

And with that I'm done with this. This whole thread makes me want to hurl. I love marriage. I love my wife. Buy bye.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 09:58:29 PM
And we have people on this threat discussing whether her husband (who we really know nothing about) would be able to take care of their hypothetical kids. Ugh.

moe_rants, I don't know you yet, so I'm not sure how much time you've been around the forum and I wanted to share my perspective of the forum in general and these types of discussions when they come up.

We know we don't know the hubby. We know we're only hearing one person's perspective. We know that none of us have any idea how a given person may parent. We know, too, that the OP is talking about one aspect of one relationship in her life. And most of us have been in enough relationships to totally recognize and understand that frustration in one area does not equal disrespect, hatred, a desire to leave necessarily, etc.

Once in a while on the forums, people will actually say, "Leave this person," but I don't think anyone has said that in this thread. I hear people listening to the OP, and to her frustrations that she feels a need to express. I hear people empathizing where the words resonate, sharing their own subjective and objective experiences where they seem to match, expressing care, and presenting points to consider and encouragement toward additional/new approaches.

Sometimes people bring to this forum bigger questions, scarier questions, like the ones the OP is dealing with right now. That's okay. A lot of us are willing to have the conversation that a post-er needs to find clarity.

Additionally, some of us have learned the very, very hard way that things factor in to FI, family stability/happiness, etc, that we didn't realize, anticipate, or consider. It's pretty devastating to see the effects of those, so we speak up to encourage awareness and proactivity.

None of us are going to "need" the OP to leave her dear hubby, not have children with him, stay with him, whatever. Heck, I have people weighing in on my relationships and I find the intelligent, thoughtful perspectives very helpful. I don't get confused about them -I know that any one person is sharing their thoughts to someone they only know a little bit (me) about someone they don't know at all (a partner). I can keep that in mind, and know that I'm responsible for the decisions I eventually make.

A lot of us join these conversations from a place of trusting that an OP is intelligent, aware that we know very little, and will assess their own situation on its own merits and on the OP's eventual experience. Sometimes, the forum is a sounding board. And the sounding board process can help heaps in a person's journey.

I hear your concern about a person being criticized publicly. If the OP were sharing their names and/or photos, I would feel the same way, for sure. But short of that, I think a sounding board is okay.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on January 04, 2015, 10:03:03 PM
Not sure why some posters are shitting all over the OP.  This is a forum for FI, and this topic comes up repeatedly, from this side as well as the other side (being the trailing spouse).  How is this out of bounds?  She didn't say her husband was a piece of shit, she said he likes to pursue artsy jobs that don't pay well because they're fulfilling.  Calm the fuck down. 

It's also probably not a coincidence that when men post about their spendy wives (ladiez amirite?!!!) they don't get told to show some respect.

To be fair, I think both sides have been shit (shat?) on in this thread. The reason I jumped in was because everyone was crapping all over the husband, when we had no idea how much blame he really deserved. It wasn't until later that a few posted about how awful the OP was (which, again, I don't think there's nearly enough information to flame either side).

I remember reading at least one thread (maybe more) where people were telling a guy to loosen up when his wife didn't immediately jump on board the MMM bandwagon. Yeah, this particular wife was a bit (a lot) spendy, but the guy was throwing this on her all at once, and just before/after they had a baby (timing was WAY off). There were some outliers, the usual "dump her, she's a mindless consumer zombie" and the opposite "you're such a douche, she should leave you" (or something to that effect). Most were "dude, she didn't sign up for an ultra-frugal lifestyle" and "your timing was waaaaaaay off, try again in a few months/year."

I'm not saying there isn't a general tone to the forum. Just saying, both men and women have been called out on their foolish behavior.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Hey It's Me on January 04, 2015, 10:18:36 PM
And we have people on this threat discussing whether her husband (who we really know nothing about) would be able to take care of their hypothetical kids. Ugh.

moe_rants, I don't know you yet, so I'm not sure how much time you've been around the forum and I wanted to share my perspective of the forum in general and these types of discussions when they come up.

We know we don't know the hubby. We know we're only hearing one person's perspective. We know that none of us have any idea how a given person may parent. We know, too, that the OP is talking about one aspect of one relationship in her life. And most of us have been in enough relationships to totally recognize and understand that frustration in one area does not equal disrespect, hatred, a desire to leave necessarily, etc.

Once in a while on the forums, people will actually say, "Leave this person," but I don't think anyone has said that in this thread. I hear people listening to the OP, and to her frustrations that she feels a need to express. I hear people empathizing where the words resonate, sharing their own subjective and objective experiences where they seem to match, expressing care, and presenting points to consider and encouragement toward additional/new approaches.

Sometimes people bring to this forum bigger questions, scarier questions, like the ones the OP is dealing with right now. That's okay. A lot of us are willing to have the conversation that a post-er needs to find clarity.

Additionally, some of us have learned the very, very hard way that things factor in to FI, family stability/happiness, etc, that we didn't realize, anticipate, or consider. It's pretty devastating to see the effects of those, so we speak up to encourage awareness and proactivity.

None of us are going to "need" the OP to leave her dear hubby, not have children with him, stay with him, whatever. Heck, I have people weighing in on my relationships and I find the intelligent, thoughtful perspectives very helpful. I don't get confused about them -I know that any one person is sharing their thoughts to someone they only know a little bit (me) about someone they don't know at all (a partner). I can keep that in mind, and know that I'm responsible for the decisions I eventually make.

A lot of us join these conversations from a place of trusting that an OP is intelligent, aware that we know very little, and will assess their own situation on its own merits and on the OP's eventual experience. Sometimes, the forum is a sounding board. And the sounding board process can help heaps in a person's journey.

I hear your concern about a person being criticized publicly. If the OP were sharing their names and/or photos, I would feel the same way, for sure. But short of that, I think a sounding board is okay.

That's fair, and very well put; I was a bit heated up myself and my comment may have been less than constructive. I'm going to sit back and try to learn from this conversation, because I have a feeling I may be facing something similar at some point in my life.

Spondulix, I wish you luck in your situation.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Faraday on January 04, 2015, 10:21:35 PM
When I found Moustachianism, it answered questions that had been nagging me, badly, for many decades. I was a near-instant convert and began life changes to right my budget. My wife had no such revelation, even as I told her about it and tried to "enlist" her to back me in this new approach. My own scenario was very similar to what the OP has described: I was the main breadwinner, subsidizing many pursuits of my spouse that ended up going nowhere. She had some job endeavors in which she actually lost money.

This got so bad at one point that I thought I was going to have to abandon our shared bank accounts. But I didn't even have to do that, once I got her to stop spending money we had in the savings account.

It bugged the crap out of me until I finally realized a few things:

First, I had to SELL my wife on Moustachianism as a way to approach and achieve what WE want. And to do that, know what I did? I started talking to her about what SHE wanted - what HER goals were. And what I realized is that many of the things draining our money were things I/We had done in the past that we thought were important. They were not things SHE HAD DONE.

We defined her most important goal and we attacked it and went for it and achieved it. All the while, I worked on achieving the things I wanted as I began to un-do all the things we THOUGHT were important uses of our money, but in fact were only crap. She gave me no argument or pushback on getting rid of those things.

Ya know what happened? I was the one who needed to get a little bit smarter, not her. And as I did, I realized that the only way I could achieve true moustachianism was in accepting HER goals right alongside MINE. When I did that, she became my solid ally and it made our marriage STRONGER every time we stripped away crap we were wasting money on, and every time we achieved a new financial goal - we both could feel the burden lifting from our backs, and that was a powerful thing.

Today, my wife is still not "moustachian" in the classic sense, but she sure is ON MY SIDE and aligned with what I'm trying to do, now that she's seen and experienced the power of these principles to focus and achieve one of HER goals. She will never, ever look at this forum or participate in these discussions, but now that we've achieved one of her major goals (and are working on the next one now) she's happy to let me drive the boat on things like getting rid of cellphones, getting rid of cable TV, getting rid of unsecured debt, refinancing the house and increasing savings contributions. (you know...the important, powerful things...) Likewise, now I discuss ANY purchase over $100 with her beforehand and we come to mutual agreement. It's saved my ass a number of times from buying something I thought was "essential" but realized we didn't need.

Those of us who "find moustachianism" are already seeking the revelation, the right path. Those of us who don't "find" it may not be seeking that revelation. My wife is one of those people. But you  know what - she doesn't really "need" revelation in any form. She trusts her gut and operates on that data, and that's who she is.

However, once she experienced the power of the MMM principles to achieve her own goals, she became my ally. She lets me worry about the revelation but she supports me in the doing. It was a real win when I realized I was the one who needed to be a little smarter!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 10:34:46 PM
That's fair, and very well put...

Thanks, moe_rants :)   

I'm going to sit back and try to learn from this conversation, because I have a feeling I may be facing something similar at some point in my life.

Even though I'm probably going to keep talking in it, that's my overall schtick, too. I have learned so much about relationshippy stuff -the implications on FI and otherwise- on this forum, so I keep taking it in, taking notes for my own growth, definitely for my own benefit right now and hopefully for the benefit of a future partner, too. I really like all the smart, thoughtful people here!

mefla: WOW. That was totally inspirational. YUM.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Allie on January 04, 2015, 11:13:53 PM


This is another one where I read th eoriginal post, thought "omg, that poor woman being taken advantage of..." But by the end am thinking the opposite thing.

I'm the trailing spouse, SAHM, lunching with friends, Bon-bon eater in my marriage.  Even if I really put my nose to the grindstone, I couldn't make the kind of money my husband has the potential to make.  Part of that is because he naturally has a meticulous attention to detail and a charisma and a leadership style that is amazing...part is that he is specialized in a very particular subset of his chosen profession.  He is in the process of working like a dog to set himself to work a few hrs or months a year to make quite a bit.

Honestly, if he came to me in a couple years after he started working shorter hours making enough to support both of us and complained that I wasn't busting ass to make more money or toiling around the house my head would explode. 

Maybe I misread your posts, but did you really write in to complain about your spouse, who supported you in the past, because he wasn't working hard enough at a job he didn't enjoy to make 35/hr or clean up the house in his spare time when you take home 140k working 15 hours a week? 

That can't be right.

I think it's different than your situation, Allie. Spondulix isn't upset that she's the breadwinner (she has said as much). She's upset that he won't talk about the challenges, won't take turns pitching solutions, won't collaborate on change, won't plan together for their future, is unwilling to consistently contribute to housework, wants to maintain their precise lifestyle (won't move somewhere cheaper), and then pitches for house upgrades of $3000-$12000/pop. And, it may have been said that he's not keen on doing the bulk of the parenting. (I might have one or more of these items wrong, but I welcome any corrections to my effort at paraphrasing/recap.)

I only know you a teeny bit, but my impression of you is very different than all of that. You're a mom, for starters! Further, you're actively working on reducing your personal and family spending. And that's just what I'm remembering about you off-hand.

Sorry for the long quote, my stupid computer won't let me edit it down. 

What I read was that at this time they don't share goals and he wasn't engaging in tasks that she values.  This doesn't mean he isn't working hard or willing to compromise.  He researches and purchases through his earnings equipment she uses.  He maintains a home office that is presumably more than just a chair and computer that she utilizes.  He does do some home improvement tasks, although not on her timeline.  He maintains connections and contacts with colleagues in their industry.  He spends his time and creative energy on his business, but isn't highly compensated. 

It doesn't sound like he is sitting around doing nothing.  She just doesn't value his activities and he doesn't value her goals. 

If I were their therapist, I would have them explore this.  Believing that a partner doesn't value the work you do can be a motivation killer.  I would also have them establish some concrete activities to better align their needs and wants to reduce the festering resentment, such as:

-  set goals for their future (which can include him having a low paying artsy career) that they will plan for and create a roadmap towards...not just her goals, but his as well.
-  establish a budget for spending in line with their goals
-  have weekly or monthly check in meetings to evaluate progress
-  maybe they could both sit down to discuss upcoming freelance projects together and discuss the pros and cons of each one.  If they are in the same industry, this may be a really great way to ensure their (his and her) time is spent in ways that will move them toward their shared goals and possibly offer insight and suggestions.
-  find ways to ask for things from each other in a manner that isn't confrontational.  For example, my husband and I have linked our lists together on our computers.  He can add "milk" to my grocery list or "please iron blue shirt" to my to dos and I can put stuff on his.  It doesn't feel as naggy that way.  If he wants her to tell him what to do it is likely because he struggles with organization and she could help him in this way or because they don't have great communication.

She can't just say she wants him to give up his dream because it's not lucrative and adopt her plans.  She should be working to ensure he meets his goals and he should be working to ensure she meets hers. 



Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: resy on January 04, 2015, 11:21:06 PM
Thanks for your post, I also have a spouse who doesn't seem to grow up and am reading through all the responses.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Goldielocks on January 04, 2015, 11:37:32 PM
You guys, I think the point isn't the money inequality, but that OP wants to have kids, and she doesn't want to be holding both the full time job, the full time parenting, and the full time cleaning.  She doesn't mind him being a stay-at-home dad, but she wants him to either be that, or be the full-time wage-earner so that she can be home with the kids.  Daycare isn't going to cut it for her (and I understand that--that's why I'm home).  She doesn't sound like she cares which way SAHM or SAHD it is as long as she's not all of the roles.

So the question is how to push things one direction of the other.  How does she get him to be a full-time full-wage earner so she can stay home with the kids or get him to be the full-time dad?

If he's as disorganized and illogical as OP says, then he should NOT be a SAHD.  Honestly, would the kid even be safe alone all day with him?  It sounds mean, but this man does not sound like someone I would leave a baby with.

I had to respond, yes disorganized people do make wonderful parents.

Yes, dinner may be at 8 pm randomly on a a school night, swim lessons missed due to forgotten times,  and in our case, my DD hair was never brushed before school and she picked out her own clothes ( rumpled ones to boot).  But disorganized people do tend to be highly present to kids and immediate needs.  Creative types don't rely on TV as babysitters while they clean house, and they expose a lot of skills and new ideas to kids.
He is also more patient with crying babies...

I do not always agree with my DH parenting style or choices, but he is a wonderful,  if different, parent for our kids.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 04, 2015, 11:39:07 PM
What I read was that at this time they don't share goals and he wasn't engaging in tasks that she values.  This doesn't mean he isn't working hard or willing to compromise.  He researches and purchases through his earnings equipment she uses.  He maintains a home office that is presumably more than just a chair and computer that she utilizes.  He does do some home improvement tasks, although not on her timeline.  He maintains connections and contacts with colleagues in their industry.  He spends his time and creative energy on his business, but isn't highly compensated. 

It doesn't sound like he is sitting around doing nothing.  She just doesn't value his activities and he doesn't value her goals. 

If I were their therapist, I would have them explore this.  Believing that a partner doesn't value the work you do can be a motivation killer.  I would also have them establish some concrete activities to better align their needs and wants to reduce the festering resentment, such as:
-  set goals for their future (which can include him having a low paying artsy career) that they will plan for and create a roadmap towards...not just her goals, but his as well.
-  establish a budget for spending in line with their goals
-  have weekly or monthly check in meetings to evaluate progress
-  maybe they could both sit down to discuss upcoming freelance projects together and discuss the pros and cons of each one.  If they are in the same industry, this may be a really great way to ensure their (his and her) time is spent in ways that will move them toward their shared goals and possibly offer insight and suggestions.
-  find ways to ask for things from each other in a manner that isn't confrontational.  For example, my husband and I have linked our lists together on our computers.  He can add "milk" to my grocery list or "please iron blue shirt" to my to dos and I can put stuff on his.  It doesn't feel as naggy that way.  If he wants her to tell him what to do it is likely because he struggles with organization and she could help him in this way or because they don't have great communication.

She can't just say she wants him to give up his dream because it's not lucrative and adopt her plans.  She should be working to ensure he meets his goals and he should be working to ensure she meets hers.

I agree with all of the above. I didn't read that OP thought her hubby was sitting around doing nothing, or that she wanted him to give up his goals for hers, though. I had the impression that she recognizes him working on his business, as well as on some larger home projects, and that the stresses were other things.

Your action list sounds excellent to me. I'd be very interested to hear in a few months if OP's hubby was willingly engaging in those types of collaborative actions.

Also: Having electronically linked to do lists would basically be my dream relationship, ha! I've never heard of that. Yum!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Goldielocks on January 05, 2015, 12:30:25 AM
OP. You are not alone in your situation, and venting here is far better than with your friends or in real life.  I have a friend whose DH situation is similar to mine, (and yours) but DH does even less chores ( shevhired a nanny and a housekeeper while he was SAH), and yet is very happy with her marriage.

I have been going through this too, to various degrees with my DH.

When I was pushing DH for more, a few years ago, he actually said " I will work if I have to", when he knew how soul sucking work was for me at that time...  His reality of our situation was so different from mine...

Unlike old fashioned roles, one parent as SAH with all the home chores, while the other works; this equal split of workload and effort rarely happens when genders are reversed.  Instead one person becomes responsible for all, with the other pitching in as they can. 

This means a highly imbalanced relationship, off and on, for the rest of your life.

You need to ask yourself deeply if you are okay with that possibility?  It took me about three years myself to realize that my answer was 'yes'.  Years that are more equal in effort are a bonus, but I am willing to be in my relationship regardless.

People do divorce over these things.  You need to self reflect what you really need or want.  There are many ways to invest energy in a relationship, and everyone of us wants it to be somewhat equal, a partnership, not just about money, but where are you if that is not the case?

I do suggest you step up to yourself and figure out if this is okay with you, or a deal breaker, before kids.  After, there are only bad and worse choices if you decide no.

In my experience, there are great years and years like you describe... And even worse..( e.g. my DH had a year as semi invalid) AND It is indeed possible to have great marriage years ahead still without his really changing much.

For my situation, what helped: ( tactical)
, I had to say no to funding any future businesses or self employment.  I can't do the $15k per year and no time for me anymore...  I only agreed to school ( now at four years for a two year degree, argh) and traditional employment or nothing..We set up equal spending allowances which help a ton when he does not ignore them, but at least is a clearly defined conversation.   

And I realized that I do not mind working hard, harder than he does, if I get verbal appreciation and acknowledgement for it.  So simple.  So hard to do.


He makes my life richer in so many ways... Just not financially or relating to chores, but is of great value to me, when I open my eyes to be grateful for it.

Learning to accept was not easy at first, but makes all the difference.


PS on a positive note, it is highly likely that your spouse will be a sah parent, given current incomes, if he is able/ capable.  Would that make the difference?
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Kris on January 05, 2015, 09:03:48 AM
So, I've read most of his thread's comments, though not all, and there are two points I've not really seen come through: 

1) Your husband keeps saying "just tell me what to do, and I'll do it," but in fact his actions show that he doesn't, and won't.  You tell him he needs to do more housework, and he refuses.  You say you need to move to a cheaper area, and he refuses.  You tell him he needs to take on more gigs that pay well, and he says that would be unfullfilling.  He is lying to you with this line.  It's a deflector shield, to keep the conversation from ever moving to a resolution for change.

2)  if you have a child with this man, things will get worse instead of better.  There is no way in hell he is going to do even 50% of the work of raising this child.  You will do the vast majority of it, and he will put the kid in excpensive day care for most of the reast.  And, your child will grow up with one absolutely shit role model parent.  Don't underestimate the power of that in shaping a child.  Not to mention that the added stress/tension will likely make your relationship with your DH worse, meaning that either your child will grow up in a household with two parents who are fighting a large part of the time, or with parents who are divorced and a dad that he/she probably will hardly ever see because he isn't a responsible enough parent to make the effort to see/parent his child without someone forcing him to.

You are a planner.  Someone who can look at a situation now and imagine what it will lead to in the future.  Think carefully about where this is likely to go, and think twice about the life you are creating for a potential child.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 05, 2015, 06:09:05 PM
I'm the trailing spouse, SAHM, lunching with friends, Bon-bon eater in my marriage.  Even if I really put my nose to the grindstone, I couldn't make the kind of money my husband has the potential to make.  Part of that is because he naturally has a meticulous attention to detail and a charisma and a leadership style that is amazing...part is that he is specialized in a very particular subset of his chosen profession.  He is in the process of working like a dog to set himself to work a few hrs or months a year to make quite a bit.

Honestly, if he came to me in a couple years after he started working shorter hours making enough to support both of us and complained that I wasn't busting ass to make more money or toiling around the house my head would explode. 

Maybe I misread your posts, but did you really write in to complain about your spouse, who supported you in the past, because he wasn't working hard enough at a job he didn't enjoy to make 35/hr or clean up the house in his spare time when you take home 140k working 15 hours a week? 

That can't be right.
From your relationship, sure, I would look like the real jerk. But the dynamic between DH and I is probably not the same as you and your spouse. For years, DH looked at my successes as competition. For every conversation we had where I shared a success, there was a counter conversation about him saying, "why don't I have the things that you have?" Very often, the moments where I should have been happy about what I was doing, I was instead having to console him and be supportive while he for felt sorry for himself.

This is something we addressed in therapy, and while he is much better about sharing when he is proud of me, it's still one of those issues where it takes time for the good to make up for the bad.

Second point - what do you spend your time doing? Is there an expectation between you and your spouse that you do particular duties? Sure, I'm working about 15 hours a week on my work, but a lot of the rest of that time is spent on paid side projects, and taking care of things like bills, taxes, research (if we need to buy something), financial education (which is how I got here and getting finances in order). I go to work, do work and home duties, come home and spend my free time cooking and cleaning... He works from home and gets to spend his free evenings watching movies and going out with friends. Then, he says he doesn't have time for me on the weekends because he has work to do.

So yea, reading your post I can see why he might think I'm being demanding or difficult. But I completely agree with what some others have pointed out on here that if things don't change now, I'm going to be the breadwinner, responsible for half of our household duties, and raising a child. The balance of power is unequal. I've seen so much worse - and he's not a bad guy. He has full enthusiasm to contribute his share, which I know plenty of couples who struggle and can't even get to that point... So it's just figuring out a way to implement it without me being responsible for being a manager.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Lanthiriel on January 05, 2015, 08:12:52 PM
For my situation, what helped: ( tactical)
I had to say no to funding any future businesses or self employment.  I can't do the $15k per year and no time for me anymore...  I only agreed to school ( now at four years for a two year degree, argh) and traditional employment or nothing..We set up equal spending allowances which help a ton when he does not ignore them, but at least is a clearly defined conversation.   

And I realized that I do not mind working hard, harder than he does, if I get verbal appreciation and acknowledgement for it.  So simple.  So hard to do.


He makes my life richer in so many ways... Just not financially or relating to chores, but is of great value to me, when I open my eyes to be grateful for it.

Learning to accept was not easy at first, but makes all the difference.

Goldielocks, I just wanted to put it out there that I've been in your shoes and spent seven years putting my husband through school for a Bachelors. He was supposed to graduate in 2012 and failed a class--twice--at the very end, delaying his already delayed graduation by yet another year. I fell apart and hauled him into counseling. Many, many weeks of therapy led me to the same conclusion. I love my husband and what he brings to our relationship. I need his laissez faire attitude in other aspects of my life to stop from dying of a heart attack before age 30. Instead of being angry, I turned my attention to setting him up for success in any way possible. We work in the same industry, so I started throwing his name out to contacts, forcing him to meet people, and talking up his applications. I moved us 2500 miles to a better job market just to improve his prospects. And, in the end, it worked. He outearned me in 2014, which just eight months ago seemed like a pipe dream. I realize it doesn't work out that way for everyone, but the huge turning point for me was finally seeing him as a whole person, the good with the bad. My husband works hard and is very smart, he just doesn't seem to live in the same world as everyone else. So once I was able to start bridging some gaps for him socially and just through positive encouragement, instead of being as negative as I had been, things started to fall in place.

Spondulix, you've gotten a lot of good advice, so I'm not sure I have too much else to add. I know that one thing that really helps my somewhat unfocused husband is to define clear expectations. We have a weekly chore chart--seriously--that defines what each of us are responsible for each week by what day. I also manage all of our money, but he gets a separate account with an allowance, and I never ask what he spends that money on. When he was looking for full-time employment, I set an expectation for how many jobs I expected him to apply for. When he needs to make a doctors appointment or rotate his tires or, just today, call to follow up on his 401k rollover, I have to remind him, in writing, to do these things and the absolute latest time they can be done by. Yes, it's like parenting. Yes, I know that if we ever decide to have kids, the vast majority of the parenting will fall on me. But at the end of the day, I come home to a sweet, appreciative, intellectually engaging person. If it's possible, I think what you need to do is, as dispassionately as possible, take stock of your situation. How bad is it really? What is the real root of the problem? Is it the money that's bothering you or the lack of household participation or ...? Because some problems in a marriage can be solved and some can't. I would figure out what's just annoying and what's an actual deal breaker and go to some therapy, with our without him, to set goals and timelines. Best of luck to you!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: expatartist on January 05, 2015, 08:46:22 PM
OP, thanks for posting this. You have started a great discussion which makes me feel a bit less alone in my situation. Part of why I decided not to have kids is because my DH shares some traits with yours. When the kids discussion would come up, DH was keen but would say, "just write down the kinds of tasks I would need to do" if he were a dad. Even before getting pregnant the onus was on me to organize our lives and figure out how we'd do things, when he wasn't willing to keep a long-term, full-time job, or become a SAHD.

Conversely, he gives me the freedom I need to pursue other aspects of my life which remain paramount because we are child-free. We still struggle with some things, but have resolved most by keeping mostly separate finances, and eventually I will buy him out of our rental properties because our management styles are so different.

Ours is not the kind of partnership many envision for their marriages - financially separate and child-free - but it is a way for us to remain very happy overall together.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 05, 2015, 09:11:24 PM
To address a few points that came up -

I actually didn't feel s**t on by any of the "harsh" responses. I wouldn't have said any of what I did if I wasn't prepared to hear that side. Honestly, hearing those opinions (along with everyone else's) gives me food for thought and another way to think of my own perspective, and I sincerely appreciate it (and learned from it.)

The part that stings are the responses that say "how on earth could you speak about your spouse that way to a group of strangers." Let's look at the bigger picture: There are so many people struggling in silence - not even marital issues, but family, financial, personal, etc. To the people who come on MMM and share their massive debt stories - could they share that unguarded with their friends or parents? No way. As many as 1 in 10 adults in the US could have depression - who are those people in your life? These aren't exactly BBQ topics. You don't bring these things up when you're hanging out with other couples together. No one wants to admit that their marriage has serious issues or that their spouse isn't doing their part, and it's embarrassing to admit or talk about openly.

I'm merely suggesting that if you look around, there are probably other people in your life who are struggling just as much (if not more) and have NO ONE to talk to. I'm lucky to at least have a small network, my spouse (in the ways that he can) and a therapist.  That's not to say you have to play therapist to your co-workers, but even just asking a co-worker to lunch or asking a friend if everything is ok at home might have a much bigger impact than you could realize.

Someone condoned me for saying I want to face punch my husband every time this business conversation comes up - We use the term "face punch" to talk about people EVERY DAY.  It's a figure of speech about how we want people to see the reality of what they are doing and how it's affecting the people around them. I don't think there's something wrong with me for using that term just because it's my SO, and anyone who gets their panties in a bunch about that probably should not be on this forum.

I didn't come here looking for sympathy in any way (although the encouragement has been greatly appreciated). I'm looking for ideas to help solve a problem. Sure, I'll admit that I am offloading some of my frustration, but I have NO ONE I can talk to in my life about my actual financial situation. I can't go to my accountant and say, "what can I do to get my husband to take a real job?" I can't call my mom and say, "how do I get DH to maintain his own business?" I came here because THIS is the resource that made the most sense to me for those answers. I am allowing you guys into my private life and it's going to be attached to my name on this forum for as long as I'm around. I've thought through the ramifications of every word I've posted; but I am more than willing to take a couple face punches if I can even get one idea out of this thread that can help move things in the right direction. I've gotten about eight (and more motivation to work towards a solution), which to me is a huge success.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on January 05, 2015, 09:28:50 PM
I see it got heated... thanks to everyone for taking the time to post/discuss, and I really have taken a lot from this whole thread.

NumberJohnny5 - I really hope you don't think I'm awful. I haven't responded much directly, but I've actually taken a great deal from your posts, and I am seeing a LOT more about my husband's perspective from your posts. I find empathy through understanding, and you've helped me find new understanding.

mefla - this is exactly the type of answer I was looking for. Extremely helpful perspective. Thank you!!

allie "She just doesn't value his activities and he doesn't value her goals." Nailed it on the head. Are you a therapist?! Your suggestions are going to be my guide moving forward...

scrubbyfish - I really appreciate your perspective too, as I think you really understand where I'm coming from. Thank you for taking the time to post!!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: RapmasterD on January 05, 2015, 09:44:54 PM
Someone condoned me for saying I want to face punch my husband every time this business conversation comes up - We use the term "face punch" to talk about people EVERY DAY.  It's a figure of speech about how we want people to see the reality of what they are doing and how it's affecting the people around them. I don't think there's something wrong with me for using that term just because it's my SO, and anyone who gets their panties in a bunch about that probably should not be on this forum.

You raise some interesting perspectives overall, but obviously this one...is not your call. Best of luck to you and your spouse.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Allie on January 05, 2015, 11:14:02 PM
As it just so happens I was!  Now I am way overpaid to sit around telling other therapists what I think will help their clients (when I am not playing at the park or eating PB&J with my kids).  Seriously, if not for the nature of the problems they are addressing it is a great gig.  I like telling people what I think of their problems so much, I sit around and do it in the evening, for free!!!  :)

Anyhoo.  Reading your posts it is easy to see how your situation sparked jealousy on his end, which breeds resentment like no other, and resentment back on yours.  It's a vicious cycle.  If you haven't already, you can also try to really look at the situation from his perspective.  Consider how he would write a post about you.  Maybe not to MMM, but another similar group of strangers.  Write it out.  No, it should not start with my wife is the most amazing woman ever.  Be honest.  What would he complain about, what would he want to change, what would he be asking for etc. 

If you decide you want to salvage this relationship, you need to find a way to move past some of the past hurt.  I think, ultimately, you both want the same thing.   A life where you can spend your time engaging in work you love and time as a family. 


Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: resy on January 06, 2015, 01:29:45 PM
Thank you for having created this thread,  op. I am struggleling with my marriage and feel depressed about it. Every day I feel a little bit more resentful and spend less and less time with him. He is great in certain ways but I feel he has a lot of growing up to do, even though he is a tad older I have had a much harder time in my 20s than he did and its making a difference I think.
I appreciate everything, from your wording to your attitude as I get SO emotional and I cant form a coherent post regarding it.
Thanks to everyone that responded, from the looks of it you helped the op as well as a couple others, myself included.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on April 14, 2015, 02:53:00 AM
I almost don't want to resurrect this thread from the dead, but there were quite a few people who reached out to me in January who were in the same boat. Hopefully this will help if anyone is still there.

When I started this thread, I felt completely stuck. I'm happy to say that 3 months later, we're working towards new financial goals (together). It's a huge relief to be on the same page. I think that we went through something that seems to be a common issue for couples new to MMM: I quickly changed my financial goals and spending habits and thought DH would evolve with me, and he just didn't understand what was going on and saw no reason to change. Thanks to this thread, I realized that I needed to change the conversation because my resentment was getting us nowhere fast. Once we started talking more openly about it, I learned that talking about our financial situation was like rubbing salt in a wound that I didn't know was there. My enthusiasm about money was just escalating his stress over the business.

One thing that really helped was just integrating finance talk into normal life (so it wasn't like "sit down we need to talk" every time). When we would talk about our day, I might share something interesting I read on the forum, or something I learned about finance or business, and eventually I even talked about this thread and some of the things people suggested. What was great (and what I love about him) is that once he realized FIRE was something I really wanted to do, he started looking for resources I might like, too - finance documentaries on Netflix (that we could watch together), news articles or links, etc. He's been learning about it even if it was intended for my benefit!

One great resource he found was the show, "The Profit." It might seem cheesy, but it clicked - I knew it when he asked me to help him prepare an income statement (6 months ago he couldn't have told you his YTD earnings!) I see now there's a lot of business things he just didn't understand, and coming from me it just brought up that anxiety that the business was doing poorly. It's made such a big difference to be able to talk openly. Before, I was resentful of him spending money on an assistant, but when he asked me to help crunch the numbers, it turned out that the assistant was making him a decent profit on the hours.

We've also talked a lot about the balance between creative fulfillment and running a business, and the reality of what's going on in our field (DIY technology has destroyed the need for professionals, basically). These haven't been easy conversations (and some are on-going), but the key is that we're talking about them. As for me, I realized that I just want security - if I lose my job, get injured, or just want to take some time off, I want to know that I can trust him to financially take care of us. I really don't care what he's doing for work (or how much he's earning) as long as he can do that for us. He's totally on-board with that, and that was one of the catalysts to get him to save more and spend less.

I don't regret at all posting on here - it probably would have taken months (or years) in a tough situation to get to the same conclusions that I did in about 3 days on this thread (thanks to you all). I think this pretty much sums it up:

Today, my wife is still not "moustachian" in the classic sense, but she sure is ON MY SIDE and aligned with what I'm trying to do, now that she's seen and experienced the power of these principles to focus and achieve one of HER goals. She will never, ever look at this forum or participate in these discussions, but now that we've achieved one of her major goals (and are working on the next one now) she's happy to let me drive the boat on things like getting rid of cellphones, getting rid of cable TV, getting rid of unsecured debt, refinancing the house and increasing savings contributions. (you know...the important, powerful things...)

Those of us who "find moustachianism" are already seeking the revelation, the right path. Those of us who don't "find" it may not be seeking that revelation. My wife is one of those people. But you  know what - she doesn't really "need" revelation in any form. She trusts her gut and operates on that data, and that's who she is.

However, once she experienced the power of the MMM principles to achieve her own goals, she became my ally. She lets me worry about the revelation but she supports me in the doing. It was a real win when I realized I was the one who needed to be a little smarter!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on April 14, 2015, 05:51:58 AM
Always glad to see a happy "ending", though of course it's more of a "beginning" for you.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: scrubbyfish on April 14, 2015, 07:04:16 AM
Wonderful, Spondulix!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is really excellent!!!!

And thank you SO MUCH for posting the update!!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Spondulix on April 14, 2015, 01:37:09 PM
Always glad to see a happy "ending", though of course it's more of a "beginning" for you.
Definitely - it felt like we a transition from an old phase of life (one that worked fine for us for years) to one that's more suited to our goals and where we're going now.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Cassie on April 14, 2015, 03:51:16 PM
Wonderful!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: mozar on April 14, 2015, 07:10:01 PM
I remember your post.  l love updates!
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: Zx on April 14, 2015, 07:25:18 PM


One thing that really helped was just integrating finance talk into normal life (so it wasn't like "sit down we need to talk" every time). When we would talk about our day, I might share something interesting I read on the forum, or something I learned about finance or business, and eventually I even talked about this thread and some of the things people suggested. What was great (and what I love about him) is that once he realized FIRE was something I really wanted to do, he started looking for resources I might like, too - finance documentaries on Netflix (that we could watch together), news articles or links, etc. He's been learning about it even if it was intended for my benefit!

One great resource he found was the show, "The Profit." It might seem cheesy, but it clicked - I knew it when he asked me to help him prepare an income statement (6 months ago he couldn't have told you his YTD earnings!) I see now there's a lot of business things he just didn't understand, and coming from me it just brought up that anxiety that the business was doing poorly. It's made such a big difference to be able to talk openly. Before, I was resentful of him spending money on an assistant, but when he asked me to help crunch the numbers, it turned out that the assistant was making him a decent profit on the hours.




There are finance documentaries on Netflix???? BRB...
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: happy on April 15, 2015, 02:47:11 AM
Great update, thank you. The issue of spouses not buying into MMM seems to come up reasonably often, so I think its great to hear the outcome and how you achieved it. Good for others to read/learn from.
Title: Re: How to get spouse to see reality? Fighting for a "career" that doesn't exist
Post by: sbdebeste on April 15, 2015, 09:34:45 AM
never saw this thread originally - extremely happy to see it (with all its trials and tribulations) to the end. thank you and congratulations!