I know there are others who feel/have felt like this

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eastcoastmama

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Sep 18, 2006
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VA
Minor rant, sorry.

Hi all, I'm new here and only posted a couple of times. I've been lurking, reading and taking it all in. I've gotten alot of great info but theres something I havent seen written anywhere that I just can't get past. I know some of you have gone thru this, and maybe know of a website/forum/blog that deals with this issue.

In a nutshell, my husband works 60-80 hours a week trying to pay for "stuff". He wants to keep up with "The Joneses". He's exhausted and ready to crack, but he wont stop, and still when he gets a split second on a Sunday afternoon I hear him bragging to friends about getting more stuff! I'm tired of bills, I'm tired of upkeep. I'm tired of working to have things that we don't enjoy. We hardly see him anymore.

I'm almost 40 and ready to run away from home. I have talked with him about taking vacations (even in town so he can stay working) and getting a camper. He's all for it. Hell it's more stuff to brag about to his friends. The thing is, within the next couple years my dogs will be gone and my kids will have moved. I desperately want to sell the house, get a class A and take a load off. I'm so over material stuff.

Can anyone point me to a site/sites where others have gone thru this? I want to convince myself I'm not crazy. I have almost everything I could ever want, but I'm sooo unhappy. I found a site yesterday that said: You don't own stuff, it owns you. It was like someone out there knew how I felt.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I'm sympathetic, Momma, but until your husband get's over his one-upsmanship, buying an RV simply opens up many more opportunities for overwork.  Getting the RV itself (the biggest & best), and adding the innumerable toys and gadgets that make Rvs just like home, will have him working 120 hours/week.  You don't need help from an RVing web site - your hubby needs a counseling from a professional. Or at least he needs to admit to what he is doing - the first step towards a change in lifestyle.

I got out of the rat race at age 49 and others here have similar stories, either retiring or just "downsizing".  But it starts with deciding it's time for a change.  You have bviously done so, but until he realizies that as well, nothing will happen.
 

Steve CDN

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eastcoastmama,

Sorry to hear about the difficulty you seem to be having.

You don't need help from an RVing web site - your hubby needs a counseling from a professional. Or at least he needs to admit to what he is doing - the first step towards a change in lifestyle

Gary's point is right on the mark, and you might like to have a look at Psychlinks  a psychology information and support forum in which I happen to be involved.

In particular have a look at this thread? as well as? this thread? which may provide some insights.

What is your husband's feeling about consulting a mental health counselor to discuss his obsession with shopping?

Please let us know the progress you make.
 

Kenneth

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Nov 21, 2005
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438
eastcoastmama,

Your not going crazy  :eek:! My dear wife and I were in the same situation until we came to the realization that all that STUFF WAS for the kids  ??? ??? ???!!! After they moved out we closed up most of the bedrooms started piling boxes in and on top of the boat and then one day it hit us , WE'RE FREE NOW and don't need all the toys anymore :eek:! What a relief that is !!! ;D :D

We are currently disposing of all that junk now ,giving the KIDS all of it ,what they don't want THEY can throw away. House goes up for sale before the end of the year. Currently narrowing down our search for a new motorcoach, and hopefully we can start our new life enjoying our grandchildren instead of keeping up with the Joneses (not you Tom) ;D ;D ;D ;D ;)

My suggestion to you, is to take baby steps with your husband, start pointing out all the things that you have and what it really means to you/him, and most importantly DO YOU REALLY NEED IT  :-\ or even want it anymore?

 

Smoky

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wherever we are parked
I know exactly how you feel ECmama!  That was me just 2 years ago.  I was just so overwhelmed with all the stuff that accumulated.  We sold our house and real estate, paid off all debt including a cash full payment for the Class A, and now travel inexpensively considering all the bills we used to pay.  It was like coming up from drowning in a lake and breathing pure fresh air.

The only problem is both parties of the marriage have to feel this way.  And the truth is my wife does not feel as strongly about this as I do.  But she at least came from a point of flat refusal about 10 years ago, to willingness to try it.  And so far she is having fun.  She worries she will burn out at some point, and she has left "tethers" to grab ahold of... meaning 3 different storage locations around the country.  But she also discovered she sees more of her family and old friends that have moved all over the USA and she loves that. 

AND she is making tons of new, and in some cases, even better friends.

How to get your hubby to see the light?  Dunno.  One thing that helped my wife see the light was first buying an inexpensive used trailer and actually getting her out to campgrounds and meeting people.  She found we are not all weirdos (except me of course) and that the quality of life is so free and easy.  I pray every day she does not "burn out" as she fears.
 

keywester

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Aug 30, 2006
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key west fl
EC,
I WAS your husband. More stuff, cooler than the rest, more work, just charge it. Then, Hurricane Wilma came. I had almost six feet of water...not water but sal****er/feces/oil/paint/smell/greasy hateful bile that broke down the walls of my home and took about everything it touched. Not looking for pity--at least I wasn't huddled with my wife on the roof like the poor people in the Gulf storms--but it was nature's way of telling me what's important. I lost all my cars (10), motorcycles, toys, lawn mowers, anything that you could put value on. Take a look around the room you're in right now and snap a visual line 5 feet up the wall, and remove all of it, including the walls. Anyway, a year later I'm still waiting for insurance money but the lesson is that I've really learned what I can be happy without. My beautiful 40' DP is gone--I did replace that because we have quality time in it and it's good for our marriage, but there is a HUGE amount of stuff I learned to not replace, and not miss. I'm not sure how you can accomplish this, maybe a vacation somewhere poor or a volunteer trip to help others....but I really got swept up in that you describe and got a big wakeup. I reset my desires, my bills are 1/4 what they were, and I'm just as happy owning what I HAVE to have and a FEW luxuries. I'm 46 and the money I don't spend now is going to go a long way in 30 years. Just my 2 cents.....
 

eastcoastmama

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Sep 18, 2006
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VA
Thank you soo much for the replies. It really helps to know that I'm not alone and that someday my husband may snap out of his material world. This morning he woke up and didnt want to go to work, again. I threw the idea out there about him stepping down the ladder at work, which I know he wants to do. He said he couldnt, cause of all the bills. Maybe someday he will get sick of saying that. For now I'm thinking about starting a blog just to have a way to put my feelings down. I don't have anyone to talk to, partly because I live deep in the woods (like I said he needed lots of property) and I work from home. My 16 year old son has said for a year that he just wants to live in a tent. He said he doesnt want to end up like his Dad. I thought he was crazy but here I am wishing for a humble little trailer to hook on the back of our truck.

I guess the best thing to do is inch him towards some camping trips. Let him get it in his blood again. We use to go alot and he absolutely loved it. He's even draped a tarp over his Harley and slept under it before, back when life was simple.

Kenneth, I tried asking him if he really needed or wanted his Vette that sat in the side yard for 3 months. He had to weedwhack around the tires, it was bad. Next thing I know he's driving it around town twice a week just for the hell of it. Atleast he's driving it some now. Custom pool table we got for the gameroom 3 years ago, used once for a party, and maybe 5 times other than that just out of boredom on a cold day. Swimming pool he bought Memorial Day weekend, swam a few times and now it's green as a swamp. Will stay that way till May next year. Hot Tub used couple times a year but stays heated 365, acres of property that we can't just mow, have to keep renting equipment for yardwork. I miss my old yard. $100 mower from Walmart cut the whole yard in 45 minutes. He wont get rid of anything.. I think he likes the chaos.

Keywester, sorry to hear about your loss. We were hit by Isabel 3 years ago and saw/experienced some devastation but not like you describe. I think your idea about going somewhere poor is a great idea. Right now it seems like everyone we know has stuff and we have to have it too. I cringe when he meets someone and they have something we don't have.. he runs out and finds a way to buy one. Maybe some of you guys should come stay at our place for a few days?!?!

Smoky, I keep reading about how it's the men who want to get up and go, but it's the opposite here. If I was single I'd be on the road right now!!

Thanks for the links, and thanks for not rippin me up over my rant. You guys have been a real help. I feel better, and now have some ideas in my head about how to reach my goal.

 

Steve CDN

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Eastcoastmama,

We are rarely alone in facing a situation, and talking about it not only helps to vent but also to learn how others have learned to deal with the same situation.

It took a great deal of courage on your part to ask the question, and as you can see you are not alone.? There are lots of resources available to assist you and your husband so feel free to make use of the suggestions and resources made here.

Glad you joined the RV Forum online community.? You are among friends here...and friends help friends ;)
 

eastcoastmama

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Joined
Sep 18, 2006
Posts
9
Location
VA
Steve said:
eastcoastmama,

What is your husband's feeling about consulting a mental health counselor to discuss his obsession with shopping?

Please let us know the progress you make.

Sorry, didn't reply to this earlier. My husband doesn't think he has a problem. He just thinks.. he works hard and he wants "something to show for it".
His motto: He who dies with the most toys wins.

I think I may look for a book about the joys of downsizing after the kids move out. Wonder if I left it in the bathroom maybe he would read it and find it interesting. He use to be the type that would be happy with a humble little cabin in the woods. Wish that man was back. He said this morning he didnt want to be the boss anymore, just wanted to be a laborer and have his day end at 4, and have his weekends free. I wish he would.. I would LOVE to walk away from this mortgage.
 

DougJ

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Mar 7, 2005
Posts
549
I just wonder, EastCoastMamma, if your husband realises the trap he's in, but can neither admit his predicament nor see a way out.

He didn't want to go to work--is that a sign that he's exhausted, if not overwhelmed?  Can't step down the ladder at work because he has bills to pay--is that him saying he doesn't know how to get out from under the debt load? 

Some people under stress act in ways that increase their stress, or find some substitute behaviour like eating, or shopping, may be even accumulating stuff.

I wonder if it would help you discover a path to a solution by having a conversation with a debt counsellor, at least so that you have some practical suggestions to make to your husband on how to get out from under a debt load when next he seems to be having a "weak" moment.

As other responders have done, I too wish you and your husband well.

Ciao,

Doug


 

woodartist

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Wandering the Old West
There are many posts on full timing that you can find by doing a forum search. My 2 cents. Well, I think the attitude has to from within. Sometimes age makes one realize we are not here forever, others a life crisis, and others like me a medical scare. I used to work like a dog and now I work with the dogs ;) Luckily my wife and I came to the same conclusions and went full time in 97. Oddly, we have no bills and have more money than when we were in the work force. It took us about a year of fulltiming before we really understood what we were doing. Kept trying to force a schedule on ourselves, when we didn't need one :) Now we can't imagine what our lives were like...kind of far in the distance. Also find without  job stress the happier we are....I do run a business, but selected something I enjoy and that can be run on the road.

To amplify one point, it is harder for a marriage when fulltiming. Confined living mandates a lot of co-operation. I mention this because sometimes it is overlooked.

Regardless, I wish you well and maybe you'll get on the road :)
 

Shayne

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Instead or just you on this forum  you need to get him active on it,  Maybe that will help change his mind and attitude.
 

fredethomas

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O. K. I'll add my two cents worth, too!  Have you used the stroke approach??  Because your husband sounds like a prime prospect for one.  Overworked and stressed out.  Ask him when the big one comes how you should dispense his toys.  Would he like to you to sell them on E-Bay, give away to friends and relatives, or just plain through them out.  Be clear on the point that you are not interested in any of them, and not willing to keep paying for them when he is incapacitated.  You might also tell him you'll use the profits, if any, from the sale to pay for his doctors and nurses, since those are the ones who will really make out.  Although your love for him will probably keep you by his side during his convalescence, it will be you who will certainly carry the brunt of the load.  Cruel?  Perhaps!  But sometimes speaking of dreadful happenings needs to be done to make a point.  Perhaps he will then have a chance to think all this over.  The cemeteries are full of guys who wanted it all, and then ended up not being able to enjoy any of it.  -- Daisy
 

Gasser

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Ada, Oklahoma
Boy, this kind of topic really hits close to home for me.? A lot of human nature going on here.? You start off young, driven to succeed in school, work hard and have a good sense of delay of gratification.? you finally make it and can afford "Things"? You see other people "Mr. Jones" next door, and he has done the same thing, worked hard and has "things"? Mr Jones has no idea how well you have done in school or even at your job so subconsciously you feel obligated to show him by keeping up with them.? Its that basic competitive nature.? Some get past it some don't.? Some take it to pathological extremes to the point of bankruptcy.

I am just as guilty here.? I bet a lot of people on this forum have been there at some time in their life.? I am working very hard right now to restructure my thinking to controll this behavior.? As a Physician, long hours are a fact of life.? Long hours brings money and spending helps relieve stress but in the long run just adds to it.? Its a viscous cycle.? My new goal is to continue to work hard, long hours, bring money but down size.? I am still young in my career at 37 so not ready to slow down too much quite yet.? I plan to pay off, get out of debt and then I am a slave to nothing.? I work because i love my job and not because I am a slave to things.? I no longer feel I need to prove I am as good a Physician or business man as my neighbor by accumulating all the land, toys etc...? I am a happier person for it. I can practice my craft, love what I do and not feel that pressure.? ?Now will I sell everything, No but having a logical budget, long term goals and realistic limits are necessary and for me, I needed outside help to bring all this into perspective.? I don't need a bigger house, 4 cars, boat, etc...? Pick what makes you most happy in your life, get it down to basics and enjoy it.? Nothing wrong with having things but when the things controll your life or your life is only about having the things then you have a sickness just like Alcohol or drugs.? A little drink from time to time, fine but if the drinking disrupts your life then you have a problem and you need help.

I learned, time and family is more valuable than money and toys .? He just needs to find this out for himself and I hope it is not too late.

Jeff
 

chaajoad

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Poulsbo WA
What a terrific thread. ECM, your posts are so well-written and honest - I read every word.

I can relate a bit to your husband. I'm not as bad but I sure see myself in him. The more "stuff" we get - no matter how wealthy or broke we are - the more they take over our limited time.

Being extremely new to the whole RV thing, the very tiniest glimmer of a thought is forming:
in the right rig, full-timing might make a lot of sense. It would be hard to give up our acreage, my big shed full of tools and power gear, hundreds of books & DVDs, etc. But I know that once it was over, my wife and I would both feel freer.

Who knows what will happen with any of us? But the thought is there. And I'm sending out positive vibes to you, ECM - you are a good person.
 

eastcoastmama

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VA
Shayne, I would love to get him active on this forum but the truth is he has so little time left that when he gets a second to get on his computer it's to look at what interests him, not anyone else. I can't really blame him, because last year he went through the whole Corvette excitement and started talking about building another garage and getting one for me too. I'm just not a Corvette girl so I couldnt get into it.

Daisy, the stroke approach is brilliant! I may have to run that by him and see what kind of response I get. He says it himself every once in a while, that he's either gonna have a stroke or that he's going to end up in a wheelchair and not be able to do his job. He smokes and drinks almost every day, and his face is red as a beet because of his blood pressure. Every few weeks he comes home limping and stays that way for a few days. Rarely does he visit the chiropractor though, because he would have to take off from work. Yesterday he came home when it was still light out and we were in the driveway together. He was cleaning out his work truck for servicing today, and I watched him and just wondered what would happen to us if something happened to him. It would be hard, and we arent prepared, but it would hopefully slow him down. I felt bad for even thinking about it.

Gasser, your post makes sense. Whenever we add something new to our yard he is so happy and says, "The best revenge is living well". We don't get along with our neighbors. And why is one measured by the amount of toys collected? I would give it all up for more free time and the opportunity to have better memories. No kid wants to look back on their life and think about their Dad being gone all hours working, they want to remember fishing trips, sports and hobbies shared with loved ones.
We drive by this house down the road from us thats like a castle. Huge manicured lawn, inground pool and poolhouse. Everything about it is perfect. I cant count the times he's seen a place like that and said "someday". I tell him fine, then you better make sure theres enough money to pay someone to take care of it all cause I'm not going to!

Chaajoad, it is so true that "stuff" takes alot of our time. When we moved into this house we needed a big diningroom table. I found my dream table at the 7th store. Its been 3 years and I still walk by and pat it and say.. I love my table.. but lately I'm noticing we only use it 3 times a year. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Everday it gets covered in cat hair. I wipe the whole thing down everyday. The chairs are heavy and upholstered and need vacuuming regularly. Is it worth it? I'm thinking not. And my MIL invites us over for dinner those days every year, so why do I bother? Thanks for the nice words..

Smoky, I would love to learn about an upcoming rally that I could talk him into. It wouldnt take much if he could cash in some vacation time at work. I know he is dying for some time off but keeps saying he has nothing to do and nowhere to go so why bother. I think he wants to save his time off for a trip. You guys would really like him, he's alot of fun and the life of the party if you can get him to stop bragging about wanting to redo the driveway or cut down trees to extend the yard. I don't want to trek too far away at first. Probably anything between DC and Myrtle Beach would interest him.

Thank you guys for being so nice and dealing with me. I'm in a state of nausea almost constanly with the worrying and dealing with "stuff" and this is one of the few places that help me feel better.
 

scottydl

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Hey ECM, mine will be short and sweet.  Obviously I think you've realize that no amount of stuff will ever make your husband happy.  I think he knows that too on some level, but is not ready to admit it.  You're right to a degree, he likes the chaos but it's because it distracts him from what is actually wrong in his eyes.  He is trying to compensate for something that's missing from his life, and I am willing to bet it has something to do with his family of origin (FOO)... that's a psychology/social work term.  What are his family relationships like?  Apart from your physical distance away from everyone, is there anyone in the family/friends arena that you can ask to reach out to him?  Or is he already following a pattern set by everyone else (a pattern that you are wisely trying to break)?  Either way, all I can do is encourage you to not give up on him.  A marriage is a lifelong commitment even though it's not treated that way nowadays in society.  There are people out there (even total stranger) who care for you and your situation, and this forum is just one example!  If you have (or can make) the time, I would encourage you to seek out some resources in your community such as a women's group at a local church for example.  You may feel alone, but in our stuff-driven world there are undoubtedly other women just like you... along with women who have lived through it and can offer help.  I would recommend the same for your husband, and getting involved in a men's group where he can share & learn from other men (and I'm not talking about hanging out drinking brewskies at the local pub ;)).  But it sounds like it may be awhile before he's ready for that.  These things will strengthen you each individually, and in turn improve your marriage and set a good example for your son.  Hang in there...  :)
 

motojavaphil

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Rio Rancho, New Mexico
ECM, What a great thread!  As we approach the fulltiming part of the lifestyle a couple things have made me anxious.  Letting stuff go.  All my stuff reflects my hard work and suddenly it will be dust vapors.  It defined who I am, the car, the house and all of those other things.  Its like I have spent 30 years building something only to give it away.  That makes me very anxious as even Superman had a Fortress of Solitude.

I have looked at our 5r and the symbolism it reflects during our trips here and there.  It gives me a sense of freedom no house could ever do.  It also provided more intimacy for Carol and me as 370sq ft is smaller than our living room.  It takes me away from my problems and is respite from the storminess of my working life.  If I do not like my neighbors or the weather I am gone.  New smells, new sights and new people are the charm for me.

In the final analysis I recognize I will be bringing me into the fulltime lifestyle.  All of my intensity, insecurities and needs.  That can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing depending on the person.  In any case there will be a closeness that working and stick living folks never know.

I'd recommend a personal inventory by both of you.  In as much as you get rid of material stuff, keep stuff or store stuff you might want to do the same with your emotional issues.  When you enter the road f/t you need to limit the amount of baggage you take to make it a good experience.  If he has no time now for home he would more than likely not do well in the small space of an RV.  I'd seek out a counselor and sort it out, get on the same page and know the exact direction you are going.

Retirement, as I am discovering, is a big change and is not easy for many.  As much as you have your finances and material things in order you also need to have your emotional priorities in order. ;)

Good luck with all of it and just know the good things do not come easily.  Phil 
 

fredethomas

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You might remind your husband that with a new mortorhome he can start all over again with all new toys.  Many of us have done that.  Some have two or more TIVO's, at least two computers, GPS, Sat. radios, Sat. TV, Sat internet, custom desks, chairs, wine glass cabinets, water filters, water conditioners, sewer hoses, fancy engine oil filters, hopped up engines, patio chairs, tables, screens, BBQ's, freezers.  And most of all there are always new people to show it off to in the camping grounds from Florida to Alaska, from NE Canada to way down in Mexico.  When the bridge gets built to Hawaii that will add more RV'ers.
 
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