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Is this normal for a Permie? Re: marriage  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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So help me, I need some perspective. Some perspective from likeminded folk who won't tell me "Just move back into the city!"

Alright, here's my question/dilemma.

Been married 10 years. We both always loved the mountains and nature. 7 years ago, were given the opportunity to pursue a large piece of heaven (140 acres) with some of my family members. We weren't in a position to build or anything at that time, but we decided this is what we wanted- homesteading and sustainable living. Something I'd wanted since I was a little girl, reading My Side of the Mountain.

We moved from CO to WA where the property is, trying to figure out a plan. Unfortunately, my husband decided it was more important to pursue a band than to get a job, which was a consistent issue in our marriage and I then asked for a separation. So I got a job, supported our daughter singlehandedly, and told him that I still wanted to be with him but I would not accept being second priority over his musical ambitions, etc. I told him we could get back together if he got a stable job and held it down, etc.

So he did, and we reconciled 10 months later. I kept my job, put him through school for a 2 year degree so then he could support the family, so I could stay home with our children. So that's what we did, all the while I was still making plans and working on a way to get to the land.

Two years ago, we were able to relocate back into the area of our land. I left the decision up to him regarding where we would live, because our land is a 2 hour drive from his job but he wanted to stay close to the land. So we moved out here. Then, 6 months later, through an act of God I swear, (I posted about THAT situation here regarding some family reactions to our move - http://www.permies.com/t/38183/homestead/common-grid-pariah) we build our house on the land close enough to be liveable.

Compost bucket toilet, woodstove for heat, propane stove for cooking, no running water, etc. I was super excited. It was like finally we'd be embarking on this adventure together! No electricity, exposed insulation, but hey at least we'd be warm and safe and it's all downhill from there, right?

And THEN he got an opportunity for another band. We made an agreement - no more than 2 nights a week gone, and it can't interfere with family needs. He agreed... but has by far not held up that bargain.

Herein lies the problem. A year after we've moved in, I realized that my husband isn't really as all-in as he claimed this whole time. Looking back, it's been me who has been learning and pursuing skills, etc. He always told me that the way he functions is that he has to live in the moment and he always said that when we were living on the land, THEN he would be interested in learning skills and doing projects, etc.

Now - as a matter of perspective, he DID build the house. He took too much time off IMO for band stuff, and we didn't move in until November (we were in a travel trailer, it was quite cold by then!) but he DID build it.

He had an entire summer with seasoned firewood waiting to be bucked and split, but didn't do anything until october. So now we're buying firewood again. He spent so much money and time on his band I still don't have running water or electric wiring in my house... which would be OK with me if there was a legitimate reason for it, but "I gotta record an album" or "I got this awesome opportunity to play a show in Hollywood" just doesn't cut it for me. If it weren't for the money he spent on his band, I wouldn't still be bathing my kids in a rubbermaid tub or running extension cords from the generator to work at night (I have an online business).

So - we have a man who really does love mountain life, but isn't really interested in the work. His story now is "When I can quit my job, THEN I will be all into it." and at this point I'm like... yeah right. (our plan has been to build up my business so he can quit his job) The only time he does something is if I specifically tell him I want him to do X or in the case of the plumbing and electrical work I recently told him just to make it 100% clear that I wanted to have nothing to do with it and it was his responsibility to figure it out and get it done. But really - should I have to lay down every single thing? I don't want to be his mother!

I sat down and made a list of the things I'd have to replace if he wasn't around and... well, there wasn't much on the list. I make enough with my online business that I could easily within a few months scale it up to support myself and the kids. If he paid child support, I could do it now just what with the savings in money he would not be costing.

I did, about a month ago when I demanded counseling, tell him I'd like him to take over the toilet bucket emptying job, which he does, so if he wasn't around I'd have to do that too. ANd of course I'd have to buy firewood, but hey I'm already doing that, right? The only thing I could figure out that he's done around here that I couldn't do is the building of the house itself... and in truth, I could do that too (our kids are young, so that's my main obstacle).

The thing is this - it isn't even the BAND. It's the idea that he would commit to this offgrid/homsteading life with me and then leave me to it. He wants the benefits of it but not the work, and because he knows I'm a "git-r-dun" type he knows that things will get done. I don't think he intentionally takes advantage of me but subconsciously he really relies on me to hold down the fort so much. So, if I'm here doing this all alone, why is he in my life? I don't know. In september I told him that everything the band is costing me, down to a hugely disproportionate time of parenting (I'm basically a single mother most of the time) that it was killing my love and commitment for him. His answer? "I still don't know what to do."

I'm sorry, but the RIGHT answer there is to quit your stupid little hobbies and dreams of being a rock star (he's 35, mind you) and take care of your family. His band is really taking off locally and he really feels they have a chance of "making it." WHich, truth be told, is NOT what I signed up for when I married him - he wasn't even doing music then and the life of a rock star's wife is sooooo unappealing to me. I'd rather be married to a mechanic or farmer who was actually around, thank you very much.

HOWEVER - he does try, in his own way. He doesn't hit me, or abuse me verbally. Yes, there's quite a bit of neglect there, but it's hard for me to quantify because I'm not a passive person and so I just take care of myself. He's also a very good father to our girls when he's home, but he isn't around much between his job and band commitments.

A week ago, 4am, he fell asleep at the wheel coming home from a show 2 hours away and wrecked his car. I've been absolutely KILLING MYSELF in my business (Christmastime gives me about 10x my normal volume of orders) and I am hugely, insanely resentful and angry that the money I worked so hard to earn (keep in mind, I also have 98% of household and kid duties) is now going towards THIS instead of getting our plumbing and electrical done. All because he wants to be a rock star. He could have died very easily. **Now, keep in mind, if this had happened on his way home from work I would feel completely different about it.

..... so I've realized this is more of a vent fest. I'm just so confused in a lot of ways. Is this normal? SHould I just chalk it up to differences? I know a lot of spouses don't see eye to eye on the permie/homesteading thing but I feel so betrayed in a sense because he has insisted over the years (and still insists) that this is the life he wants, but now I am in charge. If I don't need him in my life... and I don't want him in my life anymore, what now? I made a vow. But then again, has he broken it because he makes his band a mistress? I don't know. The honest truth is, he creates more work for my life than he contributes.

Just please... don't tell me to move back into town and all my problems will be solved... lol
 
Posts: 567
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Sounds a lot like my dad, whom I grew up without. My mom left him when I was about two, so I don't even have any memories. I do have a lot of baggage relating to it.


She says what she wishes she had known is, everything always changes. When there's something in your life that you can't stand, meaning you just can't accept it if it's always going to be that way... it's NOT always going to be that way. Everything always changes.


Now. You've described your husband as a real dickhead, and for all we readers know, that might be completely true and the whole story. Maybe the rest of your life will be better without him. But then maybe it will be worse without him. Maybe your child(ren)'s lives will be better without him. Or maybe worse. My experience has been, having a mom and eventually a stepdad has been difficult, not something I'd want for anybody else.


Don't know what else to add. Except my priest's repeated advice to me, "Sometimes you have to decide whether you'd rather be right or happy."
 
steward
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My immediate reaction to this is that you already know what to do. I suspect that you're hoping to hear it from enough folks to help make that decision more easy to follow through with. You seem to have areally great head on your shoulders and you obviously have the drive to get shit done.

The questions I would ask myself are:

1. can I make the money work long term?
2. How does this impact the kids? Depending on how old they are, you may want to ask them how they feel about the situation. Even young kids will be somewhat capable of helping you understand how they make take a dramatic change in household arrangements. Then at least it's not a shot out of the blue when you have to tell them about whatever decision you make.
3. Can I expect him to hold up his responsibilities with the kids? From the sound of it, he might be a really good guy that the kids can't rely on to pick them up for "his time". Even more, without money or ambition (aside from the band) what kind of living situation will he likely be in and how will that impact the kids?
4. Is he that good of a musician to where he'll have a decent chance of making real money at it? Does he have an online presence in the music realm? What is the proportion of "practice nights" to "gig nights". How much actual practice gets done during practice night? Is the music getting better or is it just as crappy as it was some years ago? Are the local gigs paying enough to make them worth while or does it just cover gas, practice space, equipment and a few beers?
5. What's the best that happens if you keep him? Dump him?


I'm sure there's a lot more and I'm sure you've already done a lot of that questioning but that's what immediatly came to mind.
These are rough situations all around but I'm always inclined to do what's best for the future even if that means making shitty decisions at this moment. You seem more than capable of handing it either way.
Good luck
 
steward
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My DH is living his dream. I took some years out and lived mine. Now I am the lead on the ranch projects while he is commuting from the city on weekends so he can continue his chosen path. Our marriage doesn't always look like how people think it "should." Sometimes I wish for more of his time. Sometimes he wishes I wouldn't take on so much around here. We have to talk, a lot. And then roll with the punches because neither of us gets it perfect.

You say your guy isn't all-in like you on the homesteading front. It would be hard for a couple to be equal on that at all times. And maybe the idea appeals to him more than the reality--you can't know that until you try it. Or maybe he really does want to live without the regret of chasing the music as far as it will go. It's hard to communicate my deepest held desires when I fear they will be hurtful to the person I love most.

So I have no answers for you, you know what you know. Some questions that might help:
1) how much of it is about the checkbook? I mean objective dollar numbers and not broken agreements. Can you sort out the finances separately (band covers its own costs, etc)? Paying someone to cut firewood is a heck of a lot cheaper than duplicating households. Are you really fighting over $xx or is it what the money represents? Creative number crunching comes only after the realization that money can solve some problems. But not resentment, passive aggressiveness, flakiness or obstinate control issues, just to name a few.
2) How malleable is your idea of marriage? Can you be satisfied with a non-traditional negotiation?
3) What exactly is he really willing to commit to? And by that, I don't mean words, because you say he hasn't followed through. What can you count on? (Not just income, child-rearing, chores, marital companionship, etc.) Is it enough? What can he count on from you? Is it enough?
4) What is best for your children?

Blessings to you all. May you find a peaceful path out of your dilemma.
 
gardener
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It's good to talk about things and bounce your thoughts off of others, so kudos to you for reaching out. I know this can't be easy.

should I have to lay down every single thing? I don't want to be his mother!

Regarding this, I would say that I've met many people who do not like the responsibility and work of planning, deciding, researching and starting, there is a lot of stress in being the driving force - so they unconsciously/consciously leave it to their mate or others. I'm a single mom on land, and I can tell you while having to figure everything out and make it happen didn't bother me at all in the city it does bother me out here. The difference is so much has to do with construction and I have no background in this. So I empathize with your complainant of always being the person to 'make things happen'. That is a real drain on relationships, as well as one's personal energy.

I agree with separating the finances, cars, responsibilities - if he and the band can make it, great! And maybe some rock-monies can start supporting the homestead and family. If not, then maybe it's time for a lifestyle change. But let the burden of his choices land on his shoulders. When we have to pay for our choices, we tend to make better choices. You shouldn't be in the position of having to pressure him into choosing his family, he'll resent you for it. Letting go is sometimes the hardest thing to do.

Regardless of what he does- I would suggest you look into some on-site help, one or two other like minded individuals to help with getting the place going. They get land use and you get their labor, ideas, energy and like-minded companionship. Finding help will be a big hurdle but imagine the possibilities if only you had some help from others who put homesteading first. Start now and by spring you could have things moving forward in the right direction. Once you have things running you can offer internships for young people to come out and learn while they work. Look at how Paul has brought people to his land, maybe some version of this would work for your situation . . .

No matter what your husband chooses you really don't want to live this lifestyle on your own. So figuring out how you can find support is very important. After all you want time to be able to enjoy your life and children.

All the best,



 
gardener
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There is a lot here to digest and respond to, so forgive me if I miss a few points in responding. There are several things at play I think here. Any one of them by itself probably wouldn't be a big issue, but when they are combined, that is where the problems arise.

From what you have said, your husband is the seat-of-his-pants sort of artistic fellow. Don't plan or learn in advance, just jump into things and figure it out as you go. One goal dominates his attention and everything else is secondary. I often see this among artistic venues. Peter Pan thinking where you just do things and worry about the consequences after the fact. Deal only with what is right in front of you and everything else is in the future.

If he really does want that lifestyle, then I suspect several things are playing into why he does so little with it. His idea of what it means is probably very different from your own. When he envisions it, it is freedom from the dull day to day work and time to relax. He doesn't see working hard as a long term part. Hence, when you get into it he is suddenly diving hard into his passion. Another aspect is that being gone so much, he really isn't grasping just how much is happening. Spending so much time away, it is just a few days of inconvenience for him. For you, it is every single day without things being finished properly.

He is a grasshopper, you are an ant. He recognizes things need done, but feels like putting them off in favor of what he enjoys is fine. On some level, he probably realizes you are an ant sort and that when hard winters come (like the car or the firewood), that you are there to help balance out his behaviors. Procrastination is something may people deal with, but certain people really have a hard time motivating outside of their own primary interest set.

I know some amazing musicians. Great people, interesting folks and amazing performers. What I don't know are musicians who are supporting themselves. For every one band (and no one out of their twenties that isn't already famous is likely to be that one band in the rock category) who make it big, there are probably around 10,000 who scrape by enough to cover the cost of their gas, equipment, etc. Writing (my own passion) is the same way. Making it your sole focus is a huge temptation, but it isn't self-supporting for a long time. For some people, it never is. If the music isn't bringing in as much as his day job, then he is in the wrong for acting this way. I'm guessing that after all of the expenses involved and losses for the two of you (car not included), that he isn't even pulling waitress pay sans tips.

I do get it. I want very badly to do nothing but my writing, but the difference is that I recognize that no matter how good the reviews are or how many people I have reading, if I am not pulling in enough to cover the bills, then I still have to keep my day job. That split means my time is cut shorter and I have to make an extra effort to stay active with my wife and children. I have to go the extra mile on things and sometimes I have to push back the dates on things I intend to do. Sometimes I have to turn down good writing assignments because I recognize that they will take too much from me.

People do change over time, but it is slow. Time apart means they grow apart in my experience because their experiences and values begin to differ more and more greatly. Right now, he is too far into his passion and forgetting how much his family matters to him. He keeps thinking he can balance them somehow without having to give up any of what he is pouring into the music. Either he will figure it out or he wont. All you can do is make it clear what he is losing as he keeps making the choices he makes. It will be up to him to figure out how to get things into a healthy balance.

These are just my jumbled thoughts after reading your post. Hopefully some of them help.
 
Bethany Dutch
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You guys are awesome, thank you for taking the time to respond. And, um, D. Logan - you are one insightful person, you know that? Everything you said - completely spot-on.

I do want to clarify one thing. In my venting, I don't want to make it sound like he's a total douche because he isn't. He's actually a really nice, and solid guy in a lot of ways. Selfish, yes. It's just hard to me to expound on his good qualities when I am feeling so angry with him.

I think the key is this - after ten years of this, I don't have another ten years in me. Yes, things might change. But in the meantime, what happens to me? Do I become a shell of the person I am? I don't want that, but I see it down the road.

Truth is, if he doesn't have the same heart or drive as me for this lifestyle, that would be OK if he wasn't so insistent that he does want this. If he hadn't been right there, agreeing that this was what he wanted, telling me this is what he wanted, etc. If he'd been honest with himself and me. Yet, now we're here, having arrived at the goal, and it's become glaringly obvious that this has all been theory to him. Or, at least, he wants to do these things when he feels like it, but beyond that he needs to be pressured to act.

He knows I'm thinking about divorce. He knows he's on thin ice. I've stopped lying to myself about how I feel and as a consequence, to him as well. I've asked him over the last several months - given the amount of sheer work that this lifestyle entails, is this REALLY what he wants? And he is VERY insistent that yes, and acts quite offended that I would doubt his commitment. It's frustrating, because I do feel that there is a part (and no small part, at that) of him that wishes he had the independence to pursue his musical career.

But he won't admit it, I think, perhaps because he knows that it's wrong to choose a potential rock star career over your family, but I wish he'd just decide and get it over with, and forget trying to do what he thinks people want him to do because he's got two canoes with one foot in each one and it simply is not going to work. I would much, much prefer to do this on my own rather than have a lukewarm husband, whose actions are always contradictory to his words. Being married to him has made me very understanding of the Bible passage that talks about being either hot or cold, but not lukewarm.

I'm not normally a snooping wife but I admit I found myself looking through his facebook a while back - HOPING to find evidence of an affair so I could have an "out." I laughed at myself when I realized what I was doing, but the truth is... it's kind of sad.

Oh, and the band makes NO money. Sometimes they get money to help pay for gas, but he has in the past been spending hundreds every month on it. He has spent thousands of dollars on it in the last year and half. It is a complete and total leech. And yet here I am, I get to my mom's house to shower twice a week if I'm lucky. Bathe the girls once a week in a rubbermaid tub, which I have to heat the water on the stove for. You see the discrepancy there?

It's the discrepancy that really gets to me... and I just can't take 10 more years of this. He has told me that he feels it is unlikely the band would even really cover its own expenses for at least two more years unless they get signed... and we all know the odds of that.

Since I began re-establishing boundaries, we worked out that he feels he can manage on $125/month for practice rent and then show expenses (like if they have to travel). I think that's ridiculous, but that's as low as he feels he can go. I personally will be surprised if he keeps to that budget, but one of my boundaries was that he will open his own checking account and so the fun spending money will go into there, which will make it easier to keep him from spending over. And, for the first time in our marriage, I get an EQUAL amount to spend as I please in my own checking account - excessive amount, IMO, but I think he needs to understand that I am equal to him in terms of my needs even if I end up spending it all on the house/family.

Do they have the potential to make it? IMO, yes. He does have the talent and stage presence. They get requests to play shows all the time, never have to search them out. If he was in his early twenties and unmarried (or at least, perhaps without children) I would absolutely think it would be great for him to pursue that. But being 35, with a wife and three kids, living in an off grid home, having given them the expectation he would be there to homestead with them? No. But he looks at the rock stars that he looks up to, and tells me about how THEY homestead with THEIR families and it works for THEM. And I'm like... yeah they started AFTER they made it, and probably didn't have their kids until afterwards either.

I guess the truth is, I'm pretty sure I know what I want to do, but I'm not sure if it's the right thing or not, especially because of our kids. If I REALLY laid down the law and demanded that he quit the band, he would. But sheesh... can you imagine what hell that would be? Not only his resentment because I stifled his dream, but it isn't like anything would really be changing, he'd just seek some other outlet for the fame and recognition that he craves. I need a partner in life, not a reluctant teenager, and would rather be alone for the rest of my life rather than deal with this forever.
 
D. Logan
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But he looks at the rock stars that he looks up to, and tells me about how THEY homestead with THEIR families and it works for THEM.



I have added emphasis to help here. They aren't just rock bands, they are rock stars. A few hundred thousand to a million a year can do a lot to help make sure your homestead works out great while you are out on the road for 6 months or more at a time. You get to come home, play at being a farmer and then go out again. You can't have your goals in two directions.

Let's examine the facts for a moment and then I am going to make an unorthodox suggestion. There are things we know from what you have said: You love him. You think he is good for the kids. He loves you and doesn't want to leave you. He will stop if you tell him. This is something he is good at and passionate about, but not making any money off of. You are capable and more than willing to do things alone if need be. His contributions are mostly monetary at this stage, which you can make up for. You believe he could succeed at this under different circumstances.

I think that covers most of it. So, exploring things I come to certain conclusions.
1. You could get him to quit it entirely, but knowing the seat-of-your-pants artist type, he would probably hate only having his job outside of the home. (typical jobs are generally soul crushing for we artists)
2. You could let things continue as they are and it builds up to eventual anger and hatred of him to a point that you throw him out. (It isn't a lack of love in that case, but simply an inability to cope with the emotional stress)
3. Things continue this way for a while and you two grow apart and end up in a less messy divorce.
4. You find some sort of balancing point (really tough without a lot of work on everyone's part and very easy to slip out of as you have already found.)

And here is where I am going to suggest something crazy, but which might be an option not among the other four above. Take actions to improve his artistry as an actual career and work as though the two of you are dealing with a long distance marriage (much like those rock stars). You will have to up your earnings, just as it would be with a divorce or separation, but you'll get the benefits of having him still contribute something and still be around some to be good with the kids. He'll get to pursue his dream, but only on the condition that he is doing it smart. Right now he isn't if it is costing him money. At worst it should be pulling even if he is good enough to never have to do the hunting for gigs.

You sit down with him and lay it out. How often he is expected to be home (do you give him four days a week to go longer distances? Does he have to spend a week at a time every so often there, etc) and how much money from his day job needs to be going towards his children's basic needs. Make sure he understands that there is never a time when his children should get less attention and money than his hobby, so that isn't negotiable. After that, he is free to sink the other funds into hotels or whatever else are expenses associated with the band.

The catch is that he has to start being smart about it. Don't take crap gigs where he isn't going to at least pull even. Make sure the band has merchandise that they are selling frequently. Make sure they have CDs at every gig and have a place they can point to online for people to buy songs as downloads. He has to treat it like a business if he is really wanting to make this work. If he is good and he is smart, then pretty soon they will make enough that he doesn't have to do any day job. When that happens, suddenly a lot more of his time is freed up to come home and be with family. You'll not be any worse off than you would have been otherwise until then, but afterwards, the kids get to see a lot more of their father, he has his dream, you have your dream and with a little luck, your income stream will improve overall.

Take this all with a grain of salt though. While I know musicians, I am not one myself. As I said before, a large number of those I know just barely pay their bills and generally have to have day jobs anyway regardless of their talent. It is still a gamble, but it is at least an option that isn't one of the primary four I listed above.
 
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The funny thing about people and relationships is that most folks are operating from a hard-wired perspective that 'you should always try to stay together.'

In my personal and no so humble opinion, this is just wrong. When it comes to couples there are really just three categories:

Those who were meant to be together and can always make it with a *little* work.
Those who are going to have to work *just a little too hard* to stay together.
Those who need to cut bait and run.

The root of the matter is that there really is no compelling scientific evidence that people NEED a spouse in the first place. They are just another of many diversions we chase so we don't have to face our own solitary consciousness in the universe and pursue enlightenment.

It is the obsession with mating and "love" that prevents our real evolution as a species. Oh, the irony.

To be more practical, when you view your husband as a roommate and business partner, how does he stack up? What justifies any emotional weight in that equation? You put him through school and he built you a house. Fair enough! Call it even and get on with your life, because you obviously have the skills and he's just using you as a base to pursue some nonsense. My father was an artist, so I have seen this first hand and the only enlightened thing to do is not to tolerate it.

Lucky for you, you're the man in this equation but the courts will still treat you like a woman. If you have to give him 40 acres to make it feel right, or whatever, do what it takes. But, if I were you, I'd take the leap, because it sounds like you can get by on your own just fine.

Good luck!


 
pollinator
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I like D. Logan's summary in his first post. To me it looks like a personality mismatch, or maybe that is too strong a word. Using a bit of standardized psychology here (Myers-Briggs), I suspect you are an XXTJ while he is an ENFP. Free-spirits are an interesting sort for an ENTJ like myself who does a lot of planning and forecasting. I try to be a bit direct more than others, but I think your problem with this band thing is not going to end until he wants it to end. Not likely to happen unless a severe penalty from reality forces him to reevaluate his situation.....but hey, you know him better then I do!
 
pollinator
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Or should the question be - is this normal for a musician ?
In which case the answer is YES .
I am a musician and so is my partner and my daughter (. Both of them much better than I ) and I have a nephew and his partner who are professional we would all like better instruments more gigs and to be full time professional musicians . However all of us realised that Rock was not for us and we all play forms of Folk music .
Its not that we dont like rock or pop music nor that we could not play it or even write it . Its just we could see that its such a scam fraud expencive and soul less experiance for a lot of people who never make it big they- end up poorer, sadder and frustrated . A hundred years ago we would all of us been professional but recorded music ,radio TV the internet means that today there are les and less professional musicians , every town had a theater or two every theater had a small band . Yet we all want to play .............................
There is no money in traditional music as oppossed to their is negative amounts of money in rock music once you take into account paying for the PA , publicity sharing the money among the band transport making the album .etc etc .
So in short its not you its him .

David
 
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Try imaging how your options might look deep into the future.

1- you divorce him, and twenty years from now, your kids are grown and either resent you for dumping dear old Dad only because he wanted to live his dream and/or they resent him for leaving you guys to fend for yourselves while he selfishly pursued his dream.

2- you recognize and accept that he has a passion that he needs to pursue and you support and encourage him while insisting that he fund his own life. This dramatically changes the dynamic between the two of you and he feels so much more positive about your relationship that he feels more motivated to do more to support you and the kids. Twenty years from now, your kids are grown and they admire the two of you for each living your own individual dreams while supporting and encouraging each other. They'll be more proud of a father that tried to become a rockstar than one who became a mid-level manager in a box factory.
 
pollinator
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I am a musician, but also many other things. I play music with my friends and we enjoy the time together, then we return to our productive lives.

Life is about how much you can give, not how you can get by!

 
Bethany Dutch
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I love the perspective you all are giving me. I think my biggest thing is not even what I want, but what is best for the kids?

One one hand, is it really healthy for them to grow up with things as-is? We have three girls, ages 3, 6, and 8. While he does give them good one on one attention when he's around, he also isn't around as much. But what if we split up? One part of me thinks that they'd actually get better quality time with him, since he'd be focused on them during his visitation times but then part of me knows that it might not happen that way, so then what fathering they DO get right now, would be gone. But then the other part of me knows he'd move close to work which is 2 hours away and he's not exactly the most responsible person in the world, so who knows about that.

But then again, he could feel like he's done with the band next year and then become laser focused on us and the homestead.

I guess the truth is, there's no way to predict the future... as much as that sucks. Which means in my case, I don't know what the right thing to do is.

OH and for the record in case I came across wrong - he is employed full time outside of the house - he is a packaging designer for a box company, and much to his surprise he really does love his job and they think he walks on water. His job just happens to be 2 hours away. It pays the bills, and what money I take from my business (I try not to, I prefer to reinvest what I can) is what goes towards our spending money (his band money) and any house improvements. We have been working towards growing my business for the last couple years to where it can support us - it is almost there, and I think by next October he could feasibly quit. He is not currently involved with the business in any way except for caring for the little one while I work if I need to work on his day off.

But, I've also told him I'm not comfortable with him quitting his job until he's done with the band, so I don't know if that's going to happen.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the 140 acres is across our extended family - the way it is now my parents have 5, we have 20 and my brother has the rest. Which means we do live close by my parents and brother. There is a very real possibility that if we DID divorce, the courts could order us to sell the property and split the proceeds. I don't think either of us would really want that, but it could happen. It is worth about twice what we owe, if I'm right, but I have no idea really. I do know if we had to sell it, it would be sold to someone within our "circle" since my parents, brother and neighbors all have first right of refusal... and so if that did happen what's most likely is that someone would buy it or buy out his portion and then owner finance it back to me. Worst case scenario I could end up having to sell the home and no one could buy it and it would go to a stranger... in which case I'd buy some acreage off my brother and start over... ugh. I'm not sure if I'm at the point yet where that worst case scenario is preferable to keeping things as they are.

Would I be willing to accept a non traditional marriage? Not on your life. Well, we're already pretty non traditional... but basically living half separated and half marriage? So he can have the benefits of marriage without the work and to be able to go party and do the rock star thing? Which I guess is just how I'd see it... I'd rather not. I'd rather just cut the tie and be done with it. Maybe because while I'm sure I do still have the ability to love him emotionally, I haven't felt anything for him in several years really beyond times of mild affection and at best, contentment with my life a few times. The only reason I'm with him is because of our girls and because I made a commitment to do so. And, in all reality, it's mostly because of the kids. It's not just my life I'm playing with, you know what I mean?
 
David Livingston
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I would suggest you need to think for yourself too . Its important as are you .

David
 
Mike Sved
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Do I get any points for miraculously guessing 'box company'?
 
Posts: 123
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Hi, I don't post much here (although I've been lurking for a long time), but your thread caught my eye.

In my life away from permies I'm a Christian counselor ... you can take that for whatever you might think it's worth LOL. But I'll offer my intro freebie here for you.

People change when it becomes too uncomfortable to remain the same.

Your husband is doing what he's doing because it works for him. My guess is that even though you give him a piece of your mind (gently or not) when he spends too much time away, doesn't pull his weight, spends too much money, etc., nothing really HAPPENS. He smiles and nods at whatever you have to say and then goes right back to doing what he wants to do.

So the way I see it, you have two choices, with the understanding that this is what you've got right now ... your husband COULD change, but the odds are against it. The choice needs to be made based on how things are NOW, not on how you would like them to be. Whatever you choose, do it with your eyes wide open.

Choice one is to leave things as they are. Keep going on as you have been, with you doing the bulk of the work around the homestead, and your husband acting like a toddler most of the time and pretending to be a grown up once in awhile. The deal here is that you have to find a way to be happy in this situation, because again, you are making the choice with your eyes wide open. So you find ways to be content, to give your kids a good life, and to get your homestead to the place you want it to be. Assume that your husband will contribute very little to the process.

Choice two is to begin to impose consequences for failing to uphold his end of the bargain. I don't know what those consequences might look like ... just like with your kids, they have to be something he would care enough about that he would prefer to do what he's agreed to do. You set strong boundaries on what you will and will not accept, and you let him know what they are. You absolutely MUST enforce the consequence if he violates a boundary. Remember that he is doing this because it works. Your job, if you make this choice, is to make it not work anymore. Then one of two things will happen ... either he will change, or he will decide that he wants out of the relationship.

The thing about setting boundaries is that you have to accept the other person's choice. IOW, if you choose option two and he decides he wants out, you have to let him go. If you backpedal and do whatever you have to do to keep him in the marriage, things will get worse because he will know you don't really mean what you are saying.

As for your kids ... little boys are learning how to treat women by watching their dad. Little girls are learning how to be treated by watching their mom. If you choose not to change things, your children will most likely have a marriage very similar to yours, because it will feel "normal" to them. Something to consider when you're making your choice.

And now for some personal experience ... I had a marriage very much like yours. My ex wasn't in a band, but otherwise he pretty much followed the same pattern. I stayed because "God hates divorce" (ask me about that sometime) and because "kids need both parents." I stayed WAY too long. I wanted to believe that my kids were better off with any dad than with no dad, but the damage that has been done to them by having an emotionally absent father is profound. I wish I would have left years before I did. Again, that is my personal experience. Your mileage may vary.

So there you have it, as concisely as I can lay it out without an hour to talk. In the end, you cannot change your husband's behavior. All you can do is make your choice and walk it out.
 
master steward
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Bethany, first off I want to thank you for your post. My husband and I are much like you and your husband, but not as extreme (only 30 minutes from his work, not off grid, and my artistic, spontaneous husband pretty much burned all his dreams when we had our son). We've been facing similar, but less extreme issues, with me frustrated at him for not doing as much around the house, and him depressed because he doesn't get to "live." We read through your post together, and it really helped us as a place to start discussing and clearing the air. So, I'm going to respond to you, mostly as a way for me to process my own relationship .

I pretty much agree with Mike Sved, D. Logan, and Amedean Messan: you guys have different personalities, and therefore different ways of feeling contentment and success in life. If you're like me, you love putting down roots and building a home. You find a goal and work toward it for many years and are happy when you get it. You husband sounds like mine: his dreams change, his passions change, and though he loves his family and his home, he doesn't feel satisfaction unless he's striving for something new. He's an artist, and his desires change, and they can cloud his rational mind that knows he needs to care for his family. I can tell you what happens when he squishes his passions (or at least what happened to my husband); he thinks the world is all about ceasing to care and just slaving away. He'll work and slave away, but he'll be dead inside. It's very sad to see, and it breaks my heart.

You said in your first post that you didn't sign up to be a rock star's wife when you married him. No, but you did sign up to love and cherish him to death do you part, right? People change, and you married that change. And, most likely, he didn't sign up to be a homesteader, either, when you married him. He said he was all for it, though, when you discussed it. So did mine. And mine loves it. But I think that's a different part of him than the part that needs to "live" (he says we don't really "live" because we don't go and do new things, whereas I think a quite life is the epitome of living). And, he does try to support you by continuing to work many hours and doing what you hound him to do at home (if he's ADHD, like my husband, he won't remember to do it unless you hound him). I think he loves you and your family and your dream of homesteading (which really likely isn't his dream, though he's willing and excited to go along with it).

I'm rambling, sorry.


Mike Sved wrote:you recognize and accept that he has a passion that he needs to pursue and you support and encourage him while insisting that he fund his own life. This dramatically changes the dynamic between the two of you and he feels so much more positive about your relationship that he feels more motivated to do more to support you and the kids. Twenty years from now, your kids are grown and they admire the two of you for each living your own individual dreams while supporting and encouraging each other. They'll be more proud of a father that tried to become a rockstar than one who became a mid-level manager in a box factory.



D. Logan wrote: And here is where I am going to suggest something crazy, but which might be an option not among the other four above. Take actions to improve his artistry as an actual career and work as though the two of you are dealing with a long distance marriage (much like those rock stars). You will have to up your earnings, just as it would be with a divorce or separation, but you'll get the benefits of having him still contribute something and still be around some to be good with the kids. He'll get to pursue his dream, but only on the condition that he is doing it smart. Right now he isn't if it is costing him money. At worst it should be pulling even if he is good enough to never have to do the hunting for gigs.



I think the best option would be, as others have said, to give him boundaries, that still allow him to follow his dream. He already has $125 a month for his passion while you get the same (though your like me and just spend it on the homestead). Maybe give him a limit of hours for his band, with the requirement that for every hour he spends on the band, he spends one at home playing with the kids or working on projects (while still maintaining his job).

You both are under stress because you don't feel your needs are being met: yours for time and a functioning home, his for the ability to follow his passion. I think if you can find a way to meet those needs, you can make this marriage work. That will be a great inspiration for your children on how to work with others of differing personalities and passions, and it will also give them a father who loves them. I think you can make this work, and I think it is worthwhile and right to do so (I'm telling this to myself, as well). But, I'm not in your shoes, and you are.
 
Posts: 1801
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NOTICE: I know absolutely nothing about you guys and I am simply guessing out my .... so take everything with a HUGE grain of salt

He is awake for 16hrs a day
Commute = 4 (you mentioned that he works 2hrs away each way)
Work = 8 ( he most likely also works overtime)
Getting ready = 1
Band/Hobbies= 1
Tidy up/pretend to clean = 1
20 minutes with 3 kids each =1

All his 16 waking hours are gone without even factoring overtime work.

Now he does have the weekend off, in your head he should be splitting wood and planting apple trees mostly.
He spent the last year of weekend after work building a house and now want some selfish ME time.

There is a good chance that relatively to the father that he has he feels like is one of the better dad/husband.
Compared to the father that you had, husband that you wanted he is not that great.


I think that once you guys are establish, if he want to spend 6hrs per day at the music gig and then come home and hangout, you will be glad that he is out your hair for a bit. But right now you want to plant all 40 acres, build a house, preserve food for the winter, 1000 projects.

So my take away form it is to do things slower. Observe, make a smaller changes, dont take on too much all at once.

If all you life you wanted 3 kids dont have all 3 nine months apart. Otherwise it is too stressful.
Same with this.

Your dream is to build a "complete" homestead in "3" years then stay at the farm hanging out with nature. His dream is to do it in "7" years while having hanging out with his band.

His motivation to living an offgrid lifestyle is to have 6hrs a day hanging out with his band/people, 6 hours with you guys(family) and 6 hours observing the homestead.
Your motivation is to have 9hours with the kids and another 9 hours observing.

While you guys have the same homesteading goal, different reasons are motivating you guys. And you are also operating on different timescale.

So he is not a bad guy you are not a bad person. You simple want it done now and he things that doing it in 7years vs 3 is OK.

You also mentioned the kids. If you divorce him the odds of your daughter end up being divorced is alot more likely than the general population.
Is that a good or bad thing....thats up to you.


Make a budget of your time and money and try and find a good balance.
Do a year of both of you living under the same roof but "separated".
He pays his 1/2 of the rent/heat/etc and you pay your 1/2. You both cook your separate meals (this might be a bit extreme).
Like another commenter said think and treat him as a room mate. Who helps with babysitting, that pays with cash or labor. NOT as a clone that thinks and do as you do. If nothing changes you should at least not be resentful all the time and if things does improve in the future then you guys can be "soulmates" and not just room mates.
 
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Wow! So much wisdom offered and I think you are all awesome! I wish I had had this much help with my marriage. I never saw what hit me and then realized it was my husband. From my experience as a single Mom since my daughter was 2, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't as far as the effect on your girls. Shortly after I became pregnant, my husband decided that he would no longer work but lay on the sofa and drink his life away while I worked (even though it was a difficult pregnancy). When my daughter was 9 days old after being delivered by C-section, I received the first beating. I don't think anyone with a PASSION for drinking, music or homesteading or whatever can change. He never tried to visit our daughter, never sent birthday or Christmas gifts, never called or wrote and never paid one cent of support. He died when my daughter was 11 from alcoholism. My daughter is now almost 33 and has not forgiven me for not having a relationship with her father. (I wonder if it is something in the genes!) I did not make that choice even though I am glad her father did. Obviously, I really had to divorce. IMO the only thing you can do is decide based on yourself. The children could hold it against you either way. My parents were also divorced when I was 12 and I was glad that the arguing was over and never wished it otherwise.

If you decide to stay, I suggest/agree that you should separate your finances completely. You could (while staying married), make an agreement that he pay child support and all of his own expenses just as though he was divorced. If he wrecks his car, it is up to him to resolve it. Perhaps that will help him be realistic about his responsibility. You could even make it a legal separation with court ordered support if necessary(Paralegals can do paperwork and you can represent yourself for little cost). Remember, though, that not all good guys stay that way when they find they cant have cake and eat it too. Meanwhile, you can experience diy living single. You might consider hiring help for certain projects and perhaps a family member can babysit while you learn and do these projects for yourself as I did. Help is here on Permies and other websites and the library is also a good source. I see that you have the confidence to do the job. Best Wishes.

 
Jami McBride
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What does he say about how this all can work.... He was up for homesteading so he should have half the responsibility for finding solutions to this dilemma. It clearly sounds like your done, with the current situation at least. So what does he say when you tell him you can't go on like this? Is there any possibility of his taking 6mo to a year off of the band to complete the growing of the in-home biz and finishing of basic home comforts? He could work on promoting the band from home as his 'involvement' for now while getting the family to a better place. I know this isn't a perfect answer, and it will cause other issues for him and the band, but somethings got to give. After all you've been doing this how long now?

I'm sorry, but children (like us all) look at things from their perspective and how it impacts their life. So it's a big maybe to say that they will understand Dad's artistic needs and later on respect him for following his dream - personally I don't think so. Children have their own needs on their minds. Resentment and disconnect is what comes of divorce. We only each have one life to spend, and we cannot have everything we want when we want it. The children are here now, time to deal with that - happily.

Seems to me that there are two options: (1) he changes his involvement with the band, whatever that entails. Or (2) you all move back to the city/job and leave the homesteading until such a time that the band issue is resolved, one way or another. Your family needs a change, or it will break. Can the band wait.... Can homesteading wait.... the marriage and children should not wait - just my thoughts. I know this is not easy for any of you.
 
gardener
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I met a two fellows in their teens who make money on their music. It's on YouTube. All of their income is earned through add revenue. No travel expenses and posting is free. They only play live in the local area. Kids have done it.

I'm not a musician. If I were, my band would make money. I would not accept any other outcome.
 
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"I'm sorry, but the RIGHT answer there is to quit your stupid little hobbies and dreams of being a rock star (he's 35, mind you) and take care of your family."

Remember how your siblings treated you for pursuing your dream? In my opinion, that's how you're treating your husband for pursuing his dream. He has been supportive of your dream (he did build the house, after all), even if he hasn't been as supportive as you would like. There's no reason you should support his dream financially, since that would drain finances from your dream, but if he can support his dream financially, why not let him?

You guys don't have the same dream, but your dreams are reasonably complementary. There may be other good reasons to end the marriage, but separate dreams doesn't seem like one.
 
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Tryng to think of possibilities here.

10 hours of commuting a week is a lot. Can he get similar work closer to home? Can he get worse work near home, for the sake of music and family? This time could really ease things.

[On re-reading, I see that he's commuting 20 hours a week. Wow, that strikes me a great opportunity for both of you. That's a gold mine of time waiting to be tapped!]

Artist/musician versus Rock Star: Can making music/art be part of homestead life? Can he give up on the dream of 'making it' as a professional musician, and just make music at home with all of you family? Does he think that chasing the 'rock star' life fits him, with his dream of homesteading? Maybe he can accept being an artist and reject chasing starhood.

Good Luck,

 
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Only sane advice I know of & believe Me I have been down many a similar journey with folks in my life ( 58 yrs ) is the only person you can change is the one whom looks back at you in the mirror ! having realized that I was then able to adjust as to what I could live with or without :
 
Ferne Reid
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I want to throw in that it's not his passion for music that's the problem.

The problem is that he is married, but he is acting single. He is pursuing his dream at the expense of his wife and children. That's a character issue. If he gave up the music, then something else would take its place.

I'm getting the sense, from what Bethany has said so far, that she is more than willing to compromise. I'd be willing to bet money that she's not ready to divorce because of the band itself, but because of her husband's attitude. He is contributing nothing to the family except a paycheck, and most women don't get married because they want a man's money. They get married because they want his love, time, and attention.

I think it's totally possible to come to some sort of agreement that would support both dreams, IF he is willing to uphold his end of the bargain. From what I've gathered, that's been a problem.

So in the end, it's not the band and it's not the homestead. It's a man who seems to think that as long as he brings home a paycheck, he can do whatever he wants, no matter how the rest of his family feels about it. That won't work in any marriage.
 
Brian Cady
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Bethany, can he telecommute / work from home?
 
S Bengi
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To answer your original question.
Yes this is very normal permie or not. You have the in-law/parents that nags and say do it this way, luckily you dont seem to have to deal with his family doing it. You have the husband who hangs out with his buddy watching too much football/doing band or game practice. You have the husband that spends too much time at work. You have the husband that cant do anything at home, not even to pickup his own clothes.

What's a possible solution get some awesome hobbies. Build a support network that doesn't involve your family/hubby. Find a timeshare network for chores so that you can get some time off. Dont be afraid to throw money at the problem buying machines such as more cheap generators/gas, extension cords ($1k), washing machine ($1K), saw to cut the wood, TV/laptop to entertain the kids($1K) stove+gas/electric water heater for bath ($1k). You can probably spend $4,000 aka your tax return to buy all of those. This might mean that your online biz might take a year longer to get to that "perfect" point. But it will help you keep your sanity. But lets look at this differently, what is the actual problem?

So it seems that you guys are having a time/money problem.
You mentioned that you can just about pay all the bills by yourself. So if he is getting paid at least minimum wages and working 40+hrs/week. Then he can pay his 1/2 and still pay for someone/something to do the dirty work like laundry/wiring the house/chopping wood. So I dont thing the problem is really about money.

It seems that you just want to have some more time with him, maybe you should drop him off and pick him up, once a week and maybe do it more often after that. That will give you guys an extra 20hrs a week together. Plus if you are in town, you could get a YMCA membership and the kids get to hangout with other kids, books at the library, and other resources that is there. Just try not to make it a thing where he has to be out of the office at 5:01 if it closes at 5:00, every single day, work with his schedule.

It sounds like you have your family to hangout with even if they give you flack but he doesn't so his family is the boys in the band. Let him hangout with them a few times a week like you do.

He mentioned that he is willing to quit his job and spend 1/3 of his waking hours on the farm chopping wood, another 1/3 hanging out with the kids and you. and then the last 1/3 with his music. You told him no. Maybe if he works part time closer to home then he can split his time 4-way and things would be OK.

For some reason I think that you are getting alot of flack from your family and it is stressing you out. They are probably calling him immature and that is why you are suffering and you agree. You guys decided to do this homestead thing. You wanted to do it quickly, and get your family of your back, so that you can hangout with them, because they are pretty much your only support outside your hubby.

He wants to do it slowly so that he can keep sane, and he is getting flack from you, probably because you are under alot of stress, and he probably get some flack from your family too even if it is unspoken so he hangs out at work and at his band because they are his support. You dont like the idea that he get to hangout and get support, while you have to deal with the crying kids and your family.

The same way how you are "breaking" he is also breaking due to the extra stress of, homesteading, nagging family and biting off too much all at once not leaving enough downtime.
Your escape is to call it quits and pay all the bills yourself, his escape is to pay all the bills and lean on his support network aka work and the band. You resent the fact that he has a support network and you don't, except for your family who gives you flack.


It is possible that you are just looking for a reason to call it quits, some random girl calling him, him hanging out with his friends at the bar, watching too much football, spending too much time on facebook, being immature making music, etc. Hopefully that is not the reason.


 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
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S Bengi, I don't know if your words are what Bethany needed to hear, but I wanted to say that they are very relevant to my situation and are really helping me to be more realistic about what my husband has time to do, as well better understanding his internal motivations. You are pretty much spot-on about all the reasons for my frustration with my husband, and just how unnecessary that frustration needs to be most of the time. Reading your post (and the posts of some others) has really helped my husband and I. So, thank you!
 
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Most of what has been said here really seems to be pretty reasonable. Everyone sees the world through their personal prism, some of which are more cracked and obscured than others, which can lead to those people not seeing things that others do. Mostly people have had a pretty balanced perspective on what is always an emotional and difficult question.

I have a couple of perspectives to add. First, it is worth understanding that for most genuinely talented musicians, it is as much an addiction as anything else. They need to make music, whether anybody pays them to do it or they have to pay for the privilege, it is something that they need. The OP has said her husband is good (my wife asks if the band might be the problem?, i.e., they're not so good?). Seems to me that some recognition of the musician's compulsion to play needs to be in the mix.

The other perspective, I have a four hour round trip commute. In a good week where I don't get stuck working late and the traffic is good, my working week is only sixty hours long. I have been doing this for twenty years, plus. It leaves me with almost no energy to do anything around the house in the evenings. I try to get loads of stuff done on weekends, but there are a myriad of obstacles to doing that. Everyhing I want to do needs to get done on the weekends, including spending time with my wife. So everything takes much longer than it "ought to", if I had a few more hours in my week.

Put those two together - a compulsion to make music and a sixty hour work week, I am amazed at how hard he must have worked to get that house built and how dedicated he is to his family.

It is a challenging thing to make a marriage work. Both of you actually sound like you want to make yours work. Mutual respect, mutual understanding, mutual compromise, everyone gets some of what they need, nobody gets everything.
 
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I am inclined to explore the addictive part of the behavior. Some of it Peter mentioned above I don't know you husband but since he seems to neglect his family it's one of the signs that he may not be completely in charge of his actions.

There are two possibilities that are worth exploring.
1) Substance abuse. Was the accident you mentioned caused by being tired or maybe intoxicated?
2) Some sort of sex addiction. It seems that it's not something you didn't consider as a possibility even though not in the exact way - the suspicions of an affair.

Now if either one or both are the case it'd mean that your husband is ill ( alcoholism, drug or sex addiction have been regarded and treated as illnesses) and may not be capable to living up to you current expectation despite his best intentions and feelings towards you. It's not your fault, and you cannot fix it. And you're right you are not his mother.

Regardless if addiction here is a factor or not the best thing that you can do here as far as i can tell is focus on your own growth. Take care of yourself and what you need / want to.

I've known people whose supposes were hopeless alcoholics, sex addicts and what not but who were able to have fulfilling lives despite of their supposes problems once they decided they needed to make their lives worth living.

Sometimes their supposes would turn around and decide they need to grow to.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Voy Grabiec wrote:I am inclined to explore the addictive part of the behavior. Some of it Peter mentioned above I don't know you husband but since he seems to neglect his family it's one of the signs that he may not be completely in charge of his actions.

There are two possibilities that are worth exploring.
1) Substance abuse. Was the accident you mentioned caused by being tired or maybe intoxicated?
2) Some sort of sex addiction. It seems that it's not something you didn't consider as a possibility even though not in the exact way - the suspicions of an affair.

Now if either one or both are the case it'd mean that your husband is ill ( alcoholism, drug or sex addiction have been regarded and treated as illnesses) and may not be capable to living up to you current expectation despite his best intentions and feelings towards you. It's not your fault, and you cannot fix it. And you're right you are not his mother.

Regardless if addiction here is a factor or not the best thing that you can do here as far as i can tell is focus on your own growth. Take care of yourself and what you need / want to.

I've known people whose supposes were hopeless alcoholics, sex addicts and what not but who were able to have fulfilling lives despite of their supposes problems once they decided they needed to make their lives worth living.

Sometimes their supposes would turn around and decide they need to grow to.



It's interesting you say this. Yes - he had been drinking the night of the accident, but I don't think he was drunk.

He IS an addict, although not substances and I don't think a sex addiction.

One thing that he has said over and over is that his desire to be a rock star (or famous in any other extent) is that he feels he's special and he has a special gift and talent, and he wants to be recognized publicly by people for that. He seems to think this desire is normal, and was shocked when I told him I had no such desires and felt it was an unhealthy thing to strive for.

So what is he addicted to? The audience, the recognition, the cheering, the semi-fame he has in this area, the energy of being on stage and all these people rocking out to your music, etc.

He's said on more than one occasion it's all about the audience, not the music, and if there was no audience he would not be interested in playing. He's not the kind of musician that makes music for the sake of making music - he does it because he craves public attention and recognition, people telling him how wonderful and great of a musician he is, etc.

I can't compete with that, and I've often felt he's addicted, which is a big part of why he finds it so impossible to give it up even after I have clearly and flat out told him that the stresses that his band causes me are killing my love for him and I am considering divorce.

He also has a very difficult time with me being upset at him - like a huge part of his self esteem and ego is tied up in me thinking he is the greatest and best thing ever, so if I'm unhappy then he views it as a direct attack to his manhood, which is kind of an interesting position for him to be putting me in. I think it's all related.

And, it manifests in different ways - I think this is key. When we first met and married, it manifested through uber-involvement in our church. Everyone thought he was so solid and spiritual and blah blah blah. I didn't recognize it at the time, but now looking back I can see in our life how this craving of his manifests in different ways.

I think that's the biggest part of why I'm not interested in telling him to quit the band. Because it will just show up again wearing a different suit.

** I can't address everyone's responses individually but I wanted to say you guys are immensely helpful. Having a variety of opinions is great, especially when they all come from people in a similar lifestyle mindset as we are in.

Interesting last couple days. Two days ago he spent the morning on an angry rampage, breaking some things in the process (he does have temper tantrums and tends to break things, though he has never struck me or the children) and my oldest daughter ( 8 yrs old) told me in tears "I just don't like life with Dad." When I asked her why, she told me because he is just so angry and breaks things. That morning, all three of my girls came to me in tears at some point because of his behavior towards them. Even the dog, actually, came to cower by me, which she usually does when he goes on his rampages.

And then yesterday... oh my. Woodstove started smoking something fierce, and smoke was leaking out the pipe. After a couple hours of tantruming and beating on the pipe, he finally came to the conclusion a big piece of creosote had probably fallen off the side and gotten lodged and blocked the pipe.

You know the ironic thing? He had ALLLLL summer to clean the pipe. But was way too busy playing shows out of town most of the summer weekends. You know when he finally started talking about doing it? In October. And then it rained and my brother needed his tall ladder back, and so then the pipe never got brushed out. We even have a brush already - it would have taken what, an hour?

And then of course, we're burning halfway seasoned wood because in spite of him having ALL summer to cut some (we have several downed trees that are almost 2 years old, just waiting to be cut), he was too busy on his weekends with his band to do it.

We ended up spending the night at my parents' house because of a carbon monoxide concern.

He did, of course, apologize for not cleaning the pipe when he should have. But yeah, just more words. I've heard a lot of words in my life from this guy.

Some of you have mentioned that I already know what I want to do... and yes, you are right. I hate being a wife, hate being married, and if I wasn't sitting around waiting for him to do stuff I could get it done and not run into situations like what we've dealt with in the last couple weeks.

And it isn't even like I need him to be involved in my projects! Permie wise, I have tons of plans for this place, and they are MY projects, where I have no expectations on his part. I do, however, expect a husband to finish the stinkin house. And be here for the kids. And not throw temper tantrums and break things. And make some kind of effort to woo his wife once in a while. And not ignore his family's basic needs in favor of selfish pursuits.

This isn't just separate dreams. I would have no problem with him doing music or whatever, if he kept it in its place (which is to say, NOT his #1 priority). The truth is, a lot of the "concerns" from my siblings (you can read about that in the other thread) have roots in the things they have observed in my husband, even though IMO they are wrong to behave the way they did.

Anyway... right now my plan is just just grow my business to a more comfortable family-supporting level, and I've already told him I am not going to have any expectations for him anymore. I'll just continue to do everything myself. I don't know how many of you believe in God or karma or whatever - but these things that have cropped up recently - the car accident, the chimney pipe, and some other smaller things - I really think that's God trying to tell him he's going down the wrong path.

I don't think he'll listen, though. We will see. It may already be too late, I can hardly even stand to be in the same room with him at this point.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Amedean Messan wrote:I like D. Logan's summary in his first post. To me it looks like a personality mismatch, or maybe that is too strong a word. Using a bit of standardized psychology here (Myers-Briggs), I suspect you are an XXTJ while he is an ENFP. Free-spirits are an interesting sort for an ENTJ like myself who does a lot of planning and forecasting. I try to be a bit direct more than others, but I think your problem with this band thing is not going to end until he wants it to end. Not likely to happen unless a severe penalty from reality forces him to reevaluate his situation.....but hey, you know him better then I do!



Oh never thought about that! I just did an online test which said I am an INTJ, so pretty similar to you and yes on the planning and forecasting. I agree with you on the severe penalty from reality... sad thing is I don't even know if I have it in me to keep putting any more effort into things
 
Hans Harker
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Bethany Dutch wrote:
I really think that's God trying to tell him he's going down the wrong path.



I read somewhere that the negative consequences of one's addiction are proportional to their spirit's desire to overcome it. In other words the bigger the problem the greater potential for change.

I've said it once but I'll say it again because it's important: You didn't cause it and you can't fix it.

Someone said that freedom is being bound by what's binding and unbound by what's not. I hope it gives you some clarity.



Bethany Dutch wrote:
I don't think he'll listen, though..



The common misconception is that addictive behavior is pleasure seeking without regard for consequences. That is a part of it but not the driving force, more like a prerequisite. The main part of addiction is the 'part' of 'personality' that thrives on created pain. Well 'rooted' addiction can and often does surpass the conscious decision making process.

The paradox is that the negative consequences that feed the addiction also create potential motivation for raising the level of consciousness. Usually it's a long painful and distractive process though.
 
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He is behaving how you allow him to behave. Also, this is your thing, not his. I can understand that since it is 100% my thing, what I'm doing, and my DH has no interest in it. Of course, he never claimed to have an interest or expressed a desire to develop interest, so there is that. He just funds my hobbies.

Anyway, as a woman with kids and farming and such, also having been married 10 years, dump him. A man who would allow his kids to live without water and electricity IS NOT a man.
 
elle sagenev
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About the chimney thing, so you and your children COULD HAVE DIED

Now I must ask you, Bethany, why you stay. What is it about you that makes this worthwhile? And I'm not really judging. My husband is bipolar. 5 years he went without treatment. That's how long it took me to figure out why I was tolerating the crazy. Sure, my DH had major psychological issues but what was up with me staying and being a part of it? Once I looked inward, to what I was doing, everything changed. Of course my story has a happy ending as my DH did get treatment and is unrecognizable from the man he was 5 years ago. That is not going to happen in most cases. People don't normally change. But your life can change once you understand what you are doing, what you are allowing in your kids lives, and what your boundaries are. I'd get that book, "Boundaries" by Dr. Henry Townsend.

Bethany Dutch wrote:

Voy Grabiec wrote:I am inclined to explore the addictive part of the behavior. Some of it Peter mentioned above I don't know you husband but since he seems to neglect his family it's one of the signs that he may not be completely in charge of his actions.

There are two possibilities that are worth exploring.
1) Substance abuse. Was the accident you mentioned caused by being tired or maybe intoxicated?
2) Some sort of sex addiction. It seems that it's not something you didn't consider as a possibility even though not in the exact way - the suspicions of an affair.

Now if either one or both are the case it'd mean that your husband is ill ( alcoholism, drug or sex addiction have been regarded and treated as illnesses) and may not be capable to living up to you current expectation despite his best intentions and feelings towards you. It's not your fault, and you cannot fix it. And you're right you are not his mother.

Regardless if addiction here is a factor or not the best thing that you can do here as far as i can tell is focus on your own growth. Take care of yourself and what you need / want to.

I've known people whose supposes were hopeless alcoholics, sex addicts and what not but who were able to have fulfilling lives despite of their supposes problems once they decided they needed to make their lives worth living.

Sometimes their supposes would turn around and decide they need to grow to.



It's interesting you say this. Yes - he had been drinking the night of the accident, but I don't think he was drunk.

He IS an addict, although not substances and I don't think a sex addiction.

One thing that he has said over and over is that his desire to be a rock star (or famous in any other extent) is that he feels he's special and he has a special gift and talent, and he wants to be recognized publicly by people for that. He seems to think this desire is normal, and was shocked when I told him I had no such desires and felt it was an unhealthy thing to strive for.

So what is he addicted to? The audience, the recognition, the cheering, the semi-fame he has in this area, the energy of being on stage and all these people rocking out to your music, etc.

He's said on more than one occasion it's all about the audience, not the music, and if there was no audience he would not be interested in playing. He's not the kind of musician that makes music for the sake of making music - he does it because he craves public attention and recognition, people telling him how wonderful and great of a musician he is, etc.

I can't compete with that, and I've often felt he's addicted, which is a big part of why he finds it so impossible to give it up even after I have clearly and flat out told him that the stresses that his band causes me are killing my love for him and I am considering divorce.

He also has a very difficult time with me being upset at him - like a huge part of his self esteem and ego is tied up in me thinking he is the greatest and best thing ever, so if I'm unhappy then he views it as a direct attack to his manhood, which is kind of an interesting position for him to be putting me in. I think it's all related.

And, it manifests in different ways - I think this is key. When we first met and married, it manifested through uber-involvement in our church. Everyone thought he was so solid and spiritual and blah blah blah. I didn't recognize it at the time, but now looking back I can see in our life how this craving of his manifests in different ways.

I think that's the biggest part of why I'm not interested in telling him to quit the band. Because it will just show up again wearing a different suit.

** I can't address everyone's responses individually but I wanted to say you guys are immensely helpful. Having a variety of opinions is great, especially when they all come from people in a similar lifestyle mindset as we are in.

Interesting last couple days. Two days ago he spent the morning on an angry rampage, breaking some things in the process (he does have temper tantrums and tends to break things, though he has never struck me or the children) and my oldest daughter ( 8 yrs old) told me in tears "I just don't like life with Dad." When I asked her why, she told me because he is just so angry and breaks things. That morning, all three of my girls came to me in tears at some point because of his behavior towards them. Even the dog, actually, came to cower by me, which she usually does when he goes on his rampages.

And then yesterday... oh my. Woodstove started smoking something fierce, and smoke was leaking out the pipe. After a couple hours of tantruming and beating on the pipe, he finally came to the conclusion a big piece of creosote had probably fallen off the side and gotten lodged and blocked the pipe.

You know the ironic thing? He had ALLLLL summer to clean the pipe. But was way too busy playing shows out of town most of the summer weekends. You know when he finally started talking about doing it? In October. And then it rained and my brother needed his tall ladder back, and so then the pipe never got brushed out. We even have a brush already - it would have taken what, an hour?

And then of course, we're burning halfway seasoned wood because in spite of him having ALL summer to cut some (we have several downed trees that are almost 2 years old, just waiting to be cut), he was too busy on his weekends with his band to do it.

We ended up spending the night at my parents' house because of a carbon monoxide concern.

He did, of course, apologize for not cleaning the pipe when he should have. But yeah, just more words. I've heard a lot of words in my life from this guy.

Some of you have mentioned that I already know what I want to do... and yes, you are right. I hate being a wife, hate being married, and if I wasn't sitting around waiting for him to do stuff I could get it done and not run into situations like what we've dealt with in the last couple weeks.

And it isn't even like I need him to be involved in my projects! Permie wise, I have tons of plans for this place, and they are MY projects, where I have no expectations on his part. I do, however, expect a husband to finish the stinkin house. And be here for the kids. And not throw temper tantrums and break things. And make some kind of effort to woo his wife once in a while. And not ignore his family's basic needs in favor of selfish pursuits.

This isn't just separate dreams. I would have no problem with him doing music or whatever, if he kept it in its place (which is to say, NOT his #1 priority). The truth is, a lot of the "concerns" from my siblings (you can read about that in the other thread) have roots in the things they have observed in my husband, even though IMO they are wrong to behave the way they did.

Anyway... right now my plan is just just grow my business to a more comfortable family-supporting level, and I've already told him I am not going to have any expectations for him anymore. I'll just continue to do everything myself. I don't know how many of you believe in God or karma or whatever - but these things that have cropped up recently - the car accident, the chimney pipe, and some other smaller things - I really think that's God trying to tell him he's going down the wrong path.

I don't think he'll listen, though. We will see. It may already be too late, I can hardly even stand to be in the same room with him at this point.

 
Ferne Reid
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I would second the recommendation for Boundaries - I use that book a lot in my counseling practice. Ignore the scripture references, though ... most of them are seriously out of context.

I would ask your husband a few questions if he were participating in this discussion, but since I can't, I'll focus on you ... and you're the only person you can change anyway. I think Danielle's question is the big one ... why do you stay? I'd encourage you to take some time after the kids are in bed and start making a list of everything that is keeping you from asking your husband to move out.

I am a Christian, and I'm not supposed to get divorced.
I still love him.
It's better for the kids if we stay together.
I don't want to give up ... on him, on the marriage, on the dream.
I am afraid ... of being on my own ... of being a single mom ... of what my family/neighbors/church will say ... that God will be angry with me.
If I keep telling him how I feel, then maybe tomorrow he will change.
I'm not sure what I would do without the daily drama ... I have defined myself by my relationship with him.


Obviously all of those may not apply ... they are just things I have heard other women tell me. Some of them I told myself. The idea here is to search yourself ... be brutally honest. Dig out all of the reasons why you are still putting up with this, because only then can you deal with them. Are the reasons healthy, or could they be classified as codependent? Could you stay and find a way to be happy, or is he sucking the life out of you?

And then ... what needs to change? Are the things you need from him things he is actually willing to give? Not SAY he is willing, but actually willing to do. Words are meaningless without actions to back them up. What things are deal breakers, and what things are negotiable? What are you going to do if he doesn't keep his word?

This is all part of making your choice with your eyes wide open ... understanding why you are doing what you're doing, what would be beneficial to change, and what you can and can't control.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Okay Ferne and Danielle - challenge accepted I've been thinking and making notes on this most of the day and here's what I have come up with (oh and I DID read Boundaries back during our initial separation which helped quite a bit but I think I probably slacked off on the boundary keeping...)

  • I'm uncertain about the rest of winter without his extra hands - what if I overestimated my workload and underestimated his contribution? I think on this a lot - still don't come to different conclusions, but it is a fear.
  • I'm uncertain about my business because it is just barely at the point where it could support us and the first 6 months would be very tough and I don't know how we'd make it if he somehow got out of child support.
  • I feel like I'm not ready yet - need to make preparations, though I have pretty much decided what I'm going to do. Still getting used to the idea.
  • I don't know how to finally tell him in a way he'll understand. Probably impossible... I might write him a letter which might seem chicken but it's my best way of expressing myself. There is no way he will understand - in his eyes, he is doing everything I want him to do.
  • I want to make sure this is RIGHT, especially because of the girls. Are they better off in a single mother household (with male relatives close by, especially grandpa) and seeing Dad once or twice a month, or better off with Mom & a Dad who is irresponsible and sometimes violent?** more on this below.
  • I'm concerned he might get REALLY angry and vindictive - not in his character, I think he's more likely to get very angry and morose, but not vindictiven but given the fact that we live off grid, with no hot water heater and a composting bucket toilet I am concerned he could have CPS come take the kids.
  • While it is unlikely, what if I ended up losing my home? I think I'm 90% ready to accept this as a possibility but not 100% yet. But what if we have to move and I have to rent for a few more years until I can buy back my place or find another suitable one? What if the girls have to go to a regular school? Right now they are in this phenomenal tiny little mountain school and I just can't imagine switching them.
  • What if he decides to go full board with the band and quits his stable job so he can do the flexible thing, thus ending my source of child support? Would be okay after about 6 months I estimate, but until then it would be detrimental.
  • I am a Christian, and most Christians will/have told me that I don't have biblical cause for divorce, and that I should stick it out and continue to pray for change. It feels like prison to me but I can't disagree with their Theology... but this whole thing is making me rethink how I look at the Bible and how it pertains to our lives.
  • What if I'm just overreacting?
  • And yeah, I feel bad for him. He has so much of himself, his identity and just practical life wrapped up in me that to lose me will be a much more devastating effect on him (whereas for him to be removed from my life would most likely make it easier, since he creates more work than he contributes.)
  • 10 years is a big investment, and it feels hard to move on. I always thought we were well matched and I think in a lot of ways we are but not enough because of his lack of maturity and adult responsibility. I think, had he been able to grow up a little more, things would have turned out a lot differently for us. I was talking to someone about it and she mentioned that his lack of parenting when he was growing up (divorced parents, physically absent father, and hypochondriac childlike mother who slept her way through his childhood) may be why he seeks me to be that mother figure in his life - not that he would ever admit to wanting to be mothered, but it's one of my biggest gripes because I can't respect his need to be told what to do, but also just the stability that I provide is something he never had growing up. It's interesting. However, truth is he's 35 years old and at some point you can't sit around feeling sorry for someone, they need to be held accountable.


  • ** so yeah, on the violence thing. He doesn't smack us around or anything. He has a violent temper and tends to break things when he gets upset, and he gets upset about stupid little things. Two things that were pointed out to me this week:

    1. My mom pointed out that she has never seen him display this temper - so obviously he knows it is wrong because he doesn't show it outside the home. I realized... by golly, she's right. I think only once have I ever seen him get so angry as to break something when we were not in a private situation.

    2. I just spent the night at a B&B on Sunday - just me, a jacuzzi and a good book. It was wonderful and I really desperately needed that time to think and mull things over. I came home yesterday evening and this morning I made it a point to ask some specific questions to my oldest daughter who is 8. Should have also asked the 6YO but forgot, I may ask her tomorrow. Anyway - I asked her if she had fun while I was gone, and what was her favorite parts (watching Madagascar 4 times in a row) and her least favorite part (Dad was angry and yelling the whole time and threw all their toys into their room).

    I had a gut feeling about this one, and I was SUPER careful to not "lead" the conversation but she still said what I was hoping not to hear. And then I asked her a little more, we talked about what it is to feel "safe" with someone. I asked her if she feels safe with me when I'm the only parent home, she said she did except when it was night time and I have to go outside for whatever reason. I then asked her if she feels safe with Dad when I'm not there and she said "no, because he's always getting mad and throwing things at me."

    I asked her to clarify and she said he throws things like paper kind of at her, which I'm pretty sure (from what I've observed when I'm home) is that when he gets angry, he will sometimes throw things (particularly if he's mad that the kids have made a mess, because then he throws things while he cleans up) and accidentally hit her. I've never seen him intentionally try to hurt someone (except the dog maybe once or twice when she was in his way while he was in a mood). However, there has been collateral damage, aside from things getting broken there has been the occasional shove to get someone out of his way.

    And. Wow. Writing all this out and reading it is really... really eye opening. You know how you can slowly get used to something and not realize when it's gone too far? Yup. Lately he's been getting upset with me because he thinks I'm making him out to be some douchebag, especially the first day at the counseling office when I pretty much just verbally vomited out my feelings for 30 mins straight. ANd I KNOW KNOW KNOW that if he just read what I wrote, he would be so angry with me because it makes him look bad.

    But you know what? Everything I wrote above is just me observing the facts. If the facts make you look like an asshole, then maybe you should change your action.

    In any case, I'm about 98% sure I'm done, I just am not quite ready to tell him yet. I really kinda do want to wait until late winter or spring. But the truth is - I don't love him, not at all, and I can hardly stand to be in the same room with him. The thought of being free of him makes me feel, well, FREE.

    So to sum it up - why do I stay? Why didn't I leave for good before, in '07? I think because a part of me sees the potential in him and wants to believe he can/will make a change. I feel like as a Christian I am supposed to not get divorced unless there has been infidelity or abandonment - which I would really say his actions are - but I think I felt like it has taken me this long to really confront the fact that no, things are NOT going to change, will NOT get better.

    Yeah - I think it's mostly just that it has taken this long for me to realize that things won't change. I had to give it a shot - I had to give him a chance. Our kids deserved that, but he is choosing to stick his head in the sand and ignore my needs, assuming I'll just always be there.
     
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    Bethany Dutch wrote:

    Just please... don't tell me to move back into town and all my problems will be solved... lol

    I am thinking you married him, had kids with him. You need to stick with him. You have your dreams, he has his dreams. Make them the same. Build a studio at the homestead. Better yet make him build a studio at the homestead. While he is at it, he can finish the plumbing.
     
    elle sagenev
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    Right, well, what can I say. As I said, my husband IS bipolar. He can't even remember what he does when he's manic. Even still, he has never harmed me intentionally or not. Real men do not harm women and children no matter how they are feeling. They just do not.

    So I think you need to document this both with video and audio devices. I don't know about you but that man would not be alone with my children, ever. Supervised visitation is all he would get from me. I don't care if that means no child support. No child support is better than hurt children. YOu also need to realize that if he ever hurts them and leave marks, even unintentionally, your kids could be taken anyway.

    So if you want my real opinion here, screw your reasons for staying. You have kids who are afraid of the man they are living with. AFRAID. You are their mother. You do what you have to do to make them safe. Get on public assistance or whatever it takes. You make them safe.

    Bethany Dutch wrote:Okay Ferne and Danielle - challenge accepted I've been thinking and making notes on this most of the day and here's what I have come up with (oh and I DID read Boundaries back during our initial separation which helped quite a bit but I think I probably slacked off on the boundary keeping...)

  • I'm uncertain about the rest of winter without his extra hands - what if I overestimated my workload and underestimated his contribution? I think on this a lot - still don't come to different conclusions, but it is a fear.
  • I'm uncertain about my business because it is just barely at the point where it could support us and the first 6 months would be very tough and I don't know how we'd make it if he somehow got out of child support.
  • I feel like I'm not ready yet - need to make preparations, though I have pretty much decided what I'm going to do. Still getting used to the idea.
  • I don't know how to finally tell him in a way he'll understand. Probably impossible... I might write him a letter which might seem chicken but it's my best way of expressing myself. There is no way he will understand - in his eyes, he is doing everything I want him to do.
  • I want to make sure this is RIGHT, especially because of the girls. Are they better off in a single mother household (with male relatives close by, especially grandpa) and seeing Dad once or twice a month, or better off with Mom & a Dad who is irresponsible and sometimes violent?** more on this below.
  • I'm concerned he might get REALLY angry and vindictive - not in his character, I think he's more likely to get very angry and morose, but not vindictiven but given the fact that we live off grid, with no hot water heater and a composting bucket toilet I am concerned he could have CPS come take the kids.
  • While it is unlikely, what if I ended up losing my home? I think I'm 90% ready to accept this as a possibility but not 100% yet. But what if we have to move and I have to rent for a few more years until I can buy back my place or find another suitable one? What if the girls have to go to a regular school? Right now they are in this phenomenal tiny little mountain school and I just can't imagine switching them.
  • What if he decides to go full board with the band and quits his stable job so he can do the flexible thing, thus ending my source of child support? Would be okay after about 6 months I estimate, but until then it would be detrimental.
  • I am a Christian, and most Christians will/have told me that I don't have biblical cause for divorce, and that I should stick it out and continue to pray for change. It feels like prison to me but I can't disagree with their Theology... but this whole thing is making me rethink how I look at the Bible and how it pertains to our lives.
  • What if I'm just overreacting?
  • And yeah, I feel bad for him. He has so much of himself, his identity and just practical life wrapped up in me that to lose me will be a much more devastating effect on him (whereas for him to be removed from my life would most likely make it easier, since he creates more work than he contributes.)
  • 10 years is a big investment, and it feels hard to move on. I always thought we were well matched and I think in a lot of ways we are but not enough because of his lack of maturity and adult responsibility. I think, had he been able to grow up a little more, things would have turned out a lot differently for us. I was talking to someone about it and she mentioned that his lack of parenting when he was growing up (divorced parents, physically absent father, and hypochondriac childlike mother who slept her way through his childhood) may be why he seeks me to be that mother figure in his life - not that he would ever admit to wanting to be mothered, but it's one of my biggest gripes because I can't respect his need to be told what to do, but also just the stability that I provide is something he never had growing up. It's interesting. However, truth is he's 35 years old and at some point you can't sit around feeling sorry for someone, they need to be held accountable.


  • ** so yeah, on the violence thing. He doesn't smack us around or anything. He has a violent temper and tends to break things when he gets upset, and he gets upset about stupid little things. Two things that were pointed out to me this week:

    1. My mom pointed out that she has never seen him display this temper - so obviously he knows it is wrong because he doesn't show it outside the home. I realized... by golly, she's right. I think only once have I ever seen him get so angry as to break something when we were not in a private situation.

    2. I just spent the night at a B&B on Sunday - just me, a jacuzzi and a good book. It was wonderful and I really desperately needed that time to think and mull things over. I came home yesterday evening and this morning I made it a point to ask some specific questions to my oldest daughter who is 8. Should have also asked the 6YO but forgot, I may ask her tomorrow. Anyway - I asked her if she had fun while I was gone, and what was her favorite parts (watching Madagascar 4 times in a row) and her least favorite part (Dad was angry and yelling the whole time and threw all their toys into their room).

    I had a gut feeling about this one, and I was SUPER careful to not "lead" the conversation but she still said what I was hoping not to hear. And then I asked her a little more, we talked about what it is to feel "safe" with someone. I asked her if she feels safe with me when I'm the only parent home, she said she did except when it was night time and I have to go outside for whatever reason. I then asked her if she feels safe with Dad when I'm not there and she said "no, because he's always getting mad and throwing things at me."

    I asked her to clarify and she said he throws things like paper kind of at her, which I'm pretty sure (from what I've observed when I'm home) is that when he gets angry, he will sometimes throw things (particularly if he's mad that the kids have made a mess, because then he throws things while he cleans up) and accidentally hit her. I've never seen him intentionally try to hurt someone (except the dog maybe once or twice when she was in his way while he was in a mood). However, there has been collateral damage, aside from things getting broken there has been the occasional shove to get someone out of his way.

    And. Wow. Writing all this out and reading it is really... really eye opening. You know how you can slowly get used to something and not realize when it's gone too far? Yup. Lately he's been getting upset with me because he thinks I'm making him out to be some douchebag, especially the first day at the counseling office when I pretty much just verbally vomited out my feelings for 30 mins straight. ANd I KNOW KNOW KNOW that if he just read what I wrote, he would be so angry with me because it makes him look bad.

    But you know what? Everything I wrote above is just me observing the facts. If the facts make you look like an asshole, then maybe you should change your action.

    In any case, I'm about 98% sure I'm done, I just am not quite ready to tell him yet. I really kinda do want to wait until late winter or spring. But the truth is - I don't love him, not at all, and I can hardly stand to be in the same room with him. The thought of being free of him makes me feel, well, FREE.

    So to sum it up - why do I stay? Why didn't I leave for good before, in '07? I think because a part of me sees the potential in him and wants to believe he can/will make a change. I feel like as a Christian I am supposed to not get divorced unless there has been infidelity or abandonment - which I would really say his actions are - but I think I felt like it has taken me this long to really confront the fact that no, things are NOT going to change, will NOT get better.

    Yeah - I think it's mostly just that it has taken this long for me to realize that things won't change. I had to give it a shot - I had to give him a chance. Our kids deserved that, but he is choosing to stick his head in the sand and ignore my needs, assuming I'll just always be there.

     
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