Author Topic: SOS: Spouse all but refuses to work  (Read 16441 times)

lhamo

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Re: SOS: Spouse all but refuses to work
« Reply #50 on: February 20, 2016, 02:42:14 PM »
DBF25,

Sorry you are going through this.  My DH recently quit his job due to high levels of stress, and is struggling with the emotional fallout (he was depressed before quitting, doesn't seem to be getting better now that the job is over, though).  We're also having difficulties in our relationship which are exacerbated by the fact that I don't want to live in Beijing and he doesn't really want to move to Seattle (though he seems to have resigned himself to moving).  Thankfully, we have ample savings to live off of while we work through the transition, and other assets we can draw on longer term if absolutely necessary (he is 58 so can access retirement accounts penalty free if needed, and I have large amounts of contributions in Roth IRAs I can draw on in an emergency -- thank god for the Roth 403b option, which I invested in for 7.5 years....)

You mentioned in earlier threads that one of your challenges in finding better compensated work is your location.  I understand that your DH's family and his previous job are both there, and that you own a house there.  But at this point, I would strongly recommend that you do not let location be a factor in looking for your next job.  Especially if you really want to work in the non-profit sector.  You seem very capable and well-spoken.  I'm sure you could land an excellent non-profit position if you weren't constrained by geography.  The Foundation Center has a great jobs board (-http://philanthropynewsdigest.org/jobs)  - you can search by state if there are places you would prefer to live.  If you can find a good-paying job in another location, it might be the incentive for your DH to "shit or get off the pot."  And perhaps his employability level would increase in an area with a better economy.  If he chose to move with you.  And if he didn't, maybe that is a sign that you really don't need to be tied down by him.   

I guess that may seem harsh.  And perhaps I'm not the best person to be giving advice, given my own marital issues.  But I have found it to be unexpectedly empowering to be applying for jobs again, even though I had hoped I would be FIREd at this point.  I've enjoyed my time off work, and would like to stay job-free if possible.  But as long as these issues with my DH are unresolved, I feel the prudent thing is to be looking for a good job in my field so that I have the money I need to support myself and my kids for the next few years on my own if necessary.  I hope that  my DH will choose to stay with me/us, but I need to prepare myself for the fact that he might not, and have a financial plan for how to live on a single income if we do split up.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: SOS: Spouse all but refuses to work
« Reply #51 on: February 20, 2016, 07:08:39 PM »
DBF25,

Sorry you are going through this.  My DH recently quit his job due to high levels of stress, and is struggling with the emotional fallout (he was depressed before quitting, doesn't seem to be getting better now that the job is over, though).  We're also having difficulties in our relationship which are exacerbated by the fact that I don't want to live in Beijing and he doesn't really want to move to Seattle (though he seems to have resigned himself to moving).  Thankfully, we have ample savings to live off of while we work through the transition, and other assets we can draw on longer term if absolutely necessary (he is 58 so can access retirement accounts penalty free if needed, and I have large amounts of contributions in Roth IRAs I can draw on in an emergency -- thank god for the Roth 403b option, which I invested in for 7.5 years....)

You mentioned in earlier threads that one of your challenges in finding better compensated work is your location.  I understand that your DH's family and his previous job are both there, and that you own a house there.  But at this point, I would strongly recommend that you do not let location be a factor in looking for your next job.  Especially if you really want to work in the non-profit sector.  You seem very capable and well-spoken.  I'm sure you could land an excellent non-profit position if you weren't constrained by geography.  The Foundation Center has a great jobs board (-http://philanthropynewsdigest.org/jobs)  - you can search by state if there are places you would prefer to live.  If you can find a good-paying job in another location, it might be the incentive for your DH to "shit or get off the pot."  And perhaps his employability level would increase in an area with a better economy.  If he chose to move with you.  And if he didn't, maybe that is a sign that you really don't need to be tied down by him.   

I guess that may seem harsh.  And perhaps I'm not the best person to be giving advice, given my own marital issues.  But I have found it to be unexpectedly empowering to be applying for jobs again, even though I had hoped I would be FIREd at this point.  I've enjoyed my time off work, and would like to stay job-free if possible.  But as long as these issues with my DH are unresolved, I feel the prudent thing is to be looking for a good job in my field so that I have the money I need to support myself and my kids for the next few years on my own if necessary.  I hope that  my DH will choose to stay with me/us, but I need to prepare myself for the fact that he might not, and have a financial plan for how to live on a single income if we do split up.

You're very perceptive. I had a final interview on Friday for a job in the closest "real" city. If I'm offered the position, there would be at least a slight salary increase from my last job. (The recruiter said it paid 70k. I'd ask for 75k. I was previously making 65k with the "potential" for a 10% bonus which was never fully funded.) More importantly, the work environment seems much better than my last job. They work 40 hours a week (even though it's a salary position) and have some flexibility with their schedules. My last job expected truly unlimited hours including some 15 hour days, so 40 hours a week sounds awesome. There's also no travel requirement; whereas, the job I left expected 50%+ despite my expressly stated terms being "occasional" travel. I would have never pictured myself working for a big bank, but after interviewing with the hiring manager, I could potentially like working for this big bank.

I've already told him that if I accept this job (or any other job in that city) that I would be moving. I'm not willing to drive a "super commute" any longer than absolutely necessary. He doesn't love the idea of moving but seems to acknowledge that at this point I have the primary, and more location driven, career. I also believe that he'll have more (and better paying) options in a bigger market.

There would be two battles here. The first would be location with him having a strong preference for a more "country" setting and to stay in our current state. I'd prefer to buy as close as we can afford (in cash) to my job, and the closest option in our current state is a 40+ minute drive in perfect conditions. (If the commute wasn't dreadful, I prefer our current state and more space, too.)

The second battle will be renting out our current house. I do not want to sell our current home which we purchased during a local boom in the oil industry in 2012 and would almost certainly lose money on. I would much rather try renting out. My husband isn't sold on renting because he would need to do maintenance and repairs, which would be completely feasible since we're expecting to stay in the region and our families are both local to the house in question. We had this same point of contention with our (financially speaking, my) first house. He won that round, and the house sat empty until it was sold. I'm pushing a little harder to try renting it this time around.

Okay, enough about me, let's talk about you. Personally I would recommend trying to sell him on Seattle. It's a really cool city, and I would play up the ways in which it aligns with the things that matter to him. Sometimes you need to be more positive than you actually feel. ("This is going to be a great move for us. You can have a fresh start and do something that will make you happy. I think you'll really like Seattle. It has great ___, and you'll really enjoy...")

I think it's prudent to always have a plan to support yourself. The good news is you can afford to be picky and wait for a position that works for you. I know from other threads that you have considerable experience, so finding a position that fits should be very doable. Working the right job can even be enjoyable. It's definitely empowering to feel like you have your life under control regardless of what your husband chooses to do/not do.

lhamo

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Re: SOS: Spouse all but refuses to work
« Reply #52 on: February 20, 2016, 07:21:51 PM »
I shouldn't have to sell him on Seattle -- he lived here for years as a grad student (we met and married here) and he loved it then.  We still have friends and family here.  But he says he doesn't see himself living here again.  The real root of the problem is he wants to stay in China (for reasons he can't really articulate) and I don't (for reasons I can articulate quite well!).  But he agreed to let our son apply to a special program here, which he is now in and succeeding in, so he will be entering the UW as a freshman next year.  And DH has agreed that DD will also come back here for school next year. 

He's booking tickets for a visit in March/April as I write this, so hopefully the weather will cooperate and he will have an enjoyable stay. 

Hope things work out with your job interview!  And with the negotiations about renting the house if you end up moving.

gaja

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Re: SOS: Spouse all but refuses to work
« Reply #53 on: February 21, 2016, 03:57:49 AM »
Check out some books also, like The Upward Spiral.

I'd MUCH rather have my depressed love one agree to read a few books about it than agree to apply for a few jobs. Getting to the root of the problem, basically.

Thank you - great tip. My depressed loved one is downloading it as we speak.

My DH har been out of the workforce for about 4 years. If nothing major happens, he will probably get permanent diability due to anxiety and depression. It is not always easy, but like the OP's DH, my husband has always done at least his share of the household chores (or at least tried to). In the beginning, he would just sit in a chair, staring at nothing. Now he is doing more and more to get better, including medication, spending time outdoors, reading, and trying to find something he can be compassonate about (like music or art). It has not been easy for me to find the best balance between giving him room, and keeping him moving. And me pushing him to work before he got really ill, probably did not help the situation.

I'm not a worrier, I'm a planner. But I recognize many of the OP's thoughts. The way I solve my worries is that when I get a "what if" thought, I run it to the end and find the solution. A bit like what MMM describes in his post about stoisism. My thoughts would usually run somewhere along the lines of: "What if I also get unemployed? Then I can apply for these and those jobs. What if I don't get them? Then I could work freelance and earn so and so much a month. With our savings, we could live 30 years on my part time income and savings. What if I don't find a solution in the next 30 years? Then we would have to sell the house and buy an RV, live in the forest and hunt our own food." It usually gets rather ridiculous in the end, but I always end up feeling very relieved, because I know there will be a solution. We don't have separate economies, we joined everything when we moved in together as students. This, and our kids, makes it easier to say that for us as a family, it has it's positive sides to have a SAHD.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: SOS: Spouse all but refuses to work
« Reply #54 on: February 21, 2016, 07:52:26 AM »
Check out some books also, like The Upward Spiral.

I'd MUCH rather have my depressed love one agree to read a few books about it than agree to apply for a few jobs. Getting to the root of the problem, basically.

Thank you - great tip. My depressed loved one is downloading it as we speak.

My DH har been out of the workforce for about 4 years. If nothing major happens, he will probably get permanent diability due to anxiety and depression. It is not always easy, but like the OP's DH, my husband has always done at least his share of the household chores (or at least tried to). In the beginning, he would just sit in a chair, staring at nothing. Now he is doing more and more to get better, including medication, spending time outdoors, reading, and trying to find something he can be compassonate about (like music or art). It has not been easy for me to find the best balance between giving him room, and keeping him moving. And me pushing him to work before he got really ill, probably did not help the situation.

I'm not a worrier, I'm a planner. But I recognize many of the OP's thoughts. The way I solve my worries is that when I get a "what if" thought, I run it to the end and find the solution. A bit like what MMM describes in his post about stoisism. My thoughts would usually run somewhere along the lines of: "What if I also get unemployed? Then I can apply for these and those jobs. What if I don't get them? Then I could work freelance and earn so and so much a month. With our savings, we could live 30 years on my part time income and savings. What if I don't find a solution in the next 30 years? Then we would have to sell the house and buy an RV, live in the forest and hunt our own food." It usually gets rather ridiculous in the end, but I always end up feeling very relieved, because I know there will be a solution. We don't have separate economies, we joined everything when we moved in together as students. This, and our kids, makes it easier to say that for us as a family, it has it's positive sides to have a SAHD.

You are tremendously supportive and compassionate to accept your husband's situation as is. That's more than I consider myself to be capable of at this point in my life. I'm personally a striver, so while I understand my husband's challenges/limitations, I will always want to see forward momentum and progress.

Letting him (or most close family members, friends) handle tough situations independently is a challenge for me. My personality is very Type A, "get it done", so when I encounter someone who is struggling my instincts are to instruct, assist or do it for them, usually in that order. It's hard to say "not my circus, not my monkeys" when you're living adjacent to the circus in question. As my interventions seem to be unsuccessful and mostly unwanted, my husband's going to need to figure out an employment/financial plan in his own way.

arebelspy

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Re: SOS: Spouse all but refuses to work
« Reply #55 on: February 21, 2016, 08:52:33 AM »
You are tremendously supportive and compassionate to accept your husband's situation as is. That's more than I consider myself to be capable of at this point in my life. I'm personally a striver, so while I understand my husband's challenges/limitations, I will always want to see forward momentum and progress.

Letting him (or most close family members, friends) handle tough situations independently is a challenge for me. My personality is very Type A, "get it done", so when I encounter someone who is struggling my instincts are to instruct, assist or do it for them, usually in that order. It's hard to say "not my circus, not my monkeys" when you're living adjacent to the circus in question.

That's totally reasonable.

Quote
As my interventions seem to be unsuccessful and mostly unwanted, my husband's going to need to figure out an employment/financial plan in his own way.

That's probably the best way to handle it--support him in finding his own way.
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