Author Topic: In need of advice  (Read 2100 times)

emd1

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In need of advice
« on: November 04, 2017, 11:02:30 AM »
Hello all,

I’ve been a casual MMM reader for a few years and just recently joined the site as a member. I’m in need of some advice, so I’m hoping a few of you will be kind enough to read this and weigh in. I’ll try to organize this in somewhat of a logical fashion, although at this point I just feel like word-vomiting all over the page.

Background: I’m a late-20’s female living on the East Coast of the US. I’m recently married with 2 step-kids, and I do not want kids of my own. At the beginning of this year I started what I thought was my dream  job in the public sector. It comes with a “fancy” title (which I personally couldn’t care less about), a car, and a $100K+ salary after 5 years. I should be thrilled about this, shouldn’t I?

Well, I’m not. Quite the opposite, actually; I’m overwhelmingly miserable. I live about 20 miles from work, and my average daily round-trip commute is 2 hours. We are expected to work 10 hours a day, although I can sometimes get away with 9. I’m up at 6am to leave by 7:30 and don’t get home until 7-7:30pm. I feel like I have no time for anything anymore. By the time I get home I don’t feel like cooking a meal, and my husband won’t cook, so we end up eating out.  Weekends are spent catching up on work around the house. I have lost interest in exercise, so my physical health is suffering. I’m drinking more to try and “relax”. To top it off, I don’t really enjoy the work in general, as I feel it’s overly regulated and most of my time is spent doing tedious, bureaucratic BS.

When I express my dissatisfaction to people, they scoff at me. “You worked so hard to get here” and “Other people would kill for your job” are two of the most common responses I get. I also hear a lot of “You have to work hard and pay your dues now and things will get better”. When I look around at work, however, I see people with 10+ years in still working the same number of hours as me, if not more. That’s not my idea of “things will get better”.  I don’t want to waste my life on a job, even if I’m young.

On the home front, things aren’t a great deal better. My husband has little interest in being frugal and living the MMM lifestyle. Every time I’ve approached him about it, we end up arguing. He makes ~$83K a year and pays a decent amount in child support each month. He’s always taking his kids to restaurants, sports events, and other activities that cost money. I disagree with the general way in which he’s raising them, but my objections fall on deaf ears. We live in a house that’s honestly too big for our needs, but it was relatively less expensive than the other homes in our area. My husband cannot move too far because of work and custody stipulations. I’d love to pay off my remaining $8K in student loans left over from a master’s degree and really start saving money, but keeping up with my husband’s lifestyle is preventing me from doing so. I’d also love to downsize our home, but our options are limited due to the conditions I stated above. I’m not materialistic and don’t chase luxury like a lot of my peers do. I’d be content with a small home and some free time so I could expand upon my hobbies of woodworking, gardening, etc.

I’d love it if a few people could give me some perspective. I feel quite alone in all of this and don’t really know what to do. It would be great to hear some words of wisdom from like-minded people. Thanks for reading!

ixtap

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 11:44:19 AM »
Mostly, you sound depressed and will soon, if not already, feel like you have trapped yourself in what was supposed to be an ideal life (dream job, new husband, etc.). The first thing you should do is add the exercise back in. It will do way more to help you relax than the alcohol. If, after a few weeks of a new exercise program you aren't feeling better, seek professional help.

Family: It sounds like you got married and immediately tried to change your husband and his family's habits. You really don't get much of a say in how the kids are raised, at least not until you have built a relationship with them. You don't get to impose your financial values on them, either. What is it that you do enjoy about your family life? What do you do with your step children?

Job: In my experience, $100k+ jobs with good perks require lots of hours. Do you have any flexibility in those hours so that you can avoid traffic? Are you actually working all those hours or is there some putting in your time, while you actually look at cat pictures or have 1.5 hour lunches with your colleagues? Can any of the paperwork be done from home? My general advice is to give it two years; one to get a hang of the ropes and one to make it yours. Obviously, if it is affecting your health or you have an abusive supervisor, this needs to be adjusted.

The intersection between the two:
-Meals: Use some of that weekend chore time to prep food. Even if you get a frozen lasagna instead of going out, you will save both time and money. Eating out is actually very time consuming, so then you don't have time to catch up on chores...
-Weekend chores: Dedicate 15-30 minutes a day during the week to doing the chores, rather than letting it pile up. Just focus on one thing that can be done in the allotted time. Through clothes in the washer in the morning, in the dryer when someone gets home and fold after dinner. Better yet, one folds while the other prepares dinner.




pk_aeryn

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2017, 01:33:55 PM »
I don't want to blame your husband without knowing more details, but he doesn't sound like a suppprtive partner.  How long have you been together total?  What does he take on for chores around the household?  Why won't he help you cook?

My boyfriend lives 5 minutes from his work and is at work a total of 10 hours (9 working + lunch).  I leave for work at 8, work from 9:30 to 6:30, and home about 7:45- so I FEEL you on the commute time.  But since my boyfriend is home an hour or two earlier than I am in the evening, he cooks dinner and then I cleanup after.  I honestly couldn't do my commute and do dinner too - so I think convincing your husband that to have equality in time spent on work, he NEEDS to learn to cook even basic dinners like a crockpot chili or sheet pan suppers.  They are both very hard to mess up and take virtually no effort babysitting the stove once they're going. 

Also seconding the weekend food prep, but he should be helping you with that too if he's not doing something else equally helpful around the house.

Otherwise, is there any location you can move to that puts him on the edge of where he's allowed to live but gives you a better commute and smaller house to maintain?

maizeman

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2017, 04:27:47 PM »
When I express my dissatisfaction to people, they scoff at me. “You worked so hard to get here” and “Other people would kill for your job” are two of the most common responses I get.

I get a lot of this when I talk about the long hours and stress in my job too (although I don't get a car). Just remind yourself that if you can find a job that is a better trade off between time/stress and salary, and leave this one, you'll make the day of one of those other people who would apparently kill for your job, so that's nothing to feel guilty about.

Do you and your husband have separate finances? Given that he's paying child support and raising kids that you have little role in the rearing of, yours might be a situation where separate finances make sense because it'll give you a feeling of more control over your own finances and savings and make it easier to let it go when his own spending is less-than-mustachian.

Kwill

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2017, 04:44:47 PM »
It might be good to post a case study for detailed help.

In this situation, assuming that your overall financial situation is healthy, I would be tempted to look for a little studio apartment within walking or biking distance of work if possible. That way you could take a couple days a week at least to enjoy the evening and sleep in a bit, and maybe you could go there during lunch. It'd sort of be wasting money since you wouldn't live there full time, but it might help your overall health to have some downtime. Your husband could join you there on days he didn't have the children.

Edit: I reread and saw that there are student loans left and some financial concerns. Definitely do a case study. You can't control your husband's spending, but there are probably things you can do that would be positive.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 04:48:17 PM by Kwill »

BlueHouse

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2017, 06:04:53 PM »
When you have the kids, could you do a joint cooking activity (crockpot or sheet pan as mentioned above)?  When kids cook, they have more interest in eating what they've cooked.  And kids really just want attention.  If that attention is in the kitchen, that counts.  Use that time to get to know them, ask questions about what they're thinking about different things, etc.  If that's possible, it could also help convince husband that eating at home has more benefits.

Laura33

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2017, 08:54:53 PM »
I’m up at 6am to leave by 7:30 and don’t get home until 7-7:30pm. I feel like I have no time for anything anymore. By the time I get home I don’t feel like cooking a meal, and my husband won’t cook, so we end up eating out.  Weekends are spent catching up on work around the house. I have lost interest in exercise, so my physical health is suffering. I’m drinking more to try and “relax”. To top it off, I don’t really enjoy the work in general, as I feel it’s overly regulated and most of my time is spent doing tedious, bureaucratic BS.

When I express my dissatisfaction to people, they scoff at me. “You worked so hard to get here” and “Other people would kill for your job” are two of the most common responses I get. I also hear a lot of “You have to work hard and pay your dues now and things will get better”. When I look around at work, however, I see people with 10+ years in still working the same number of hours as me, if not more. That’s not my idea of “things will get better”. 

. . . .

He’s always taking his kids to restaurants, sports events, and other activities that cost money. I disagree with the general way in which he’s raising them, but my objections fall on deaf ears. We live in a house that’s honestly too big for our needs, but it was relatively less expensive than the other homes in our area. My husband cannot move too far because of work and custody stipulations. I’d love to pay off my remaining $8K in student loans left over from a master’s degree and really start saving money, but keeping up with my husband’s lifestyle is preventing me from doing so.

1.  "Other people" are not you.  Doesn't matter whether it's someone else's dream job if it's your nightmare.  Start looking for a better fit, ASAP.

2.  OTOH, you don't get to tell your husband how to parent his kids.  Sorry.  You also don't get to tell him how to spend his money.  You can try to bring him around over time (see the 50 steps to convert your spouse), but he is a grown-ass man who gets to decide how to spend his money, just as you can decide how to spend yours.  So either agree on a joint budget with some "play" money for both of you, or just keep your finances separate.

3.  Yes, your grown-ass spouse should shoulder his share of the household chores -- you are eminently reasonable to want that.  The problem is that you don't get to decide how he does that.  E.g., the obligation is to get food on the table; you'd prefer to meal plan and shop and cook, he'd prefer to get pizza.  Which goes back to point 2, above: you can expect him to get food on the table, but then you don't get to criticize how he does that.  Unfortunately, the spouse who cares more about having things done a certain way also has to take on the bulk of the work to make that happen.  In your case, that is clearly too much of a burden given your job demands and commute.  Which goes back to point 1, above.  FWIW, the only thing that works for me is to spend Sunday afternoon cooking and doing prep work, so I have easy things ready to go during the workweek.  Also, low standards help, especially when work is bad.  :-)

That said, if you are doing all the cooking, he damn well better be doing all the dishes and his fair share of the cleaning to boot.

I know I don't sound super sympathetic, and I actually am; my own DH is far more spendy than I am (and would be more than happy to order pizza or Chinese for dinner all the time), so I know exactly how frustrating it is to put in all the work and then have him blow everything you just spent a week saving on takeout.  I am just trying to be extremely direct to save you all of the angst of trying to change him:  you can't.  Really.  Not ever.  This is who he is.  So either figure some workaround that manages to give you enough of what you need, or re-think whether the good things he offers are worth the extra years of work you're going to need to cover the higher expenses you're going to be living with.

austin944

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2017, 10:41:07 PM »
Is marriage counseling a possibility with your husband?  Or maybe start with counseling just by yourself, and then try to add your husband later?  I don't think it will solve every difference in the expectations between the two of you, but maybe if you have some of the major issues resolved to your satisfaction, then the minor ones will seem more tolerable, and maybe the job situation will also become less stressful.  People who have a supportive home environment tend to tolerate job stress much better.

Also I agree with the other poster who recommended exercise -- it is a significant stress reducer.

Maybe you want to solve these problems on your own, and are not quite ready to go to the counseling step, and that's something I would prefer also when I face these kinds of problems.  I don't want to admit that I am unable to solve a problem and would rather avoid professionals telling me what to do.  But, I am not really sure it's like that.  Maybe just talking about it with somebody who listens in a non-judgmental manner can be a good first step.  Who wants to hear that they're wrong in how they feel about something so important to them?  Nobody does!  And that's OK.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 10:49:21 PM by austin944 »

marion10

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 10:52:37 PM »
I am going to second the counseling. How long had your husband been divorced when you married him? It sounds like you have vastly different expectations.

koshtra

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 10:58:43 PM »
I got one piece of advice: take all solutions predicated on your husband making major changes off the table, and look at what you've got left.

And get some friends who will say something besides "look how good you have it!" when you're feeling crappy about your life. Who needs that?

I always get the horrors when I find out a friend has landed their dream job. Somehow it almost always ends up looking like this. Maybe the whole "dream job" thing is already a trap, I dunno.

Hugs, you. Listen to Laura: she's the smartest person here, which is saying a lot :-)

BTDretire

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 06:28:04 AM »
You will never get ahead until you, toss the husband, the two kids, the big house, move closer to your job and have to to take care of yourself.
 The job, may or may not last but if you create an aditional 1-1/2 a day by living closer to work and eliminate your taking care of everyone and not having any say, the job will seem easier.
 Maybe a little harsh, but that's what I read into your post.

Helvegen

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Re: In need of advice
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2017, 07:39:28 AM »
You will never get ahead until you, toss the husband, the two kids, the big house, move closer to your job and have to to take care of yourself.
 The job, may or may not last but if you create an aditional 1-1/2 a day by living closer to work and eliminate your taking care of everyone and not having any say, the job will seem easier.
 Maybe a little harsh, but that's what I read into your post.

Pretty much.