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Which strategy would you take?

  • Strategy B - more laid back

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Discussion Starter #1
I'd love to get your input on this - particularly (but not necessarily exclusively) from guys. OK, here goes - my first time posting.

1. My wife and I met in grad school in Vancouver. We moved in together during school. A year after graduating, she moved back to her home town, San Jose, to help her family business. Her plan was 1 to 1.5 years tops, then move to one of 3 cities where I had job offers (which she had input into). I stayed in Vancouver where I accepted an amazing job that is terrific in terms of money, status, and enjoyment.

2. Then: suddenly a lot of subtle hints / pressure for a ring, as a condition of moving back. I broke up with her for 2 or 3 months. Got back together. Proposed.

3. Suddenly, she really wanted to be in San Jose. We reached a compromise: try out Vancouver for 3 years, then San Jose for 3 years, and keep open minded re: long term.

4. One year later: she has NO intention of quitting her job. She is in Vancouver about 40-50% of the time, working remotely. She sees this as a huge sacrifice - if I say "when will you move here?" she says "I did, I do live here!". She keeps saying it will increase to 65-75%. It is NOT a "remote worker friendly" company - a lot of the travel is NOT reimbursed.

5. We were responsible, but, she got pregnant. I told her I would 100% support her choice, but if she keeps the baby, she must move up ASAP. She chose to terminate.

6. She now says she "hates" Vancouver and "no way" she would live here long term. She sometimes job hunts -- but not here! -- she looks in San Jose, New York, and all over the place. She also talks about getting another degree… also not here.

7. She is actively looking for real estate to buy in San Jose, saying she "knows she wants to have a base there long term". This was supposedly as an "investment" (which I might be OK with, if it's amazing), but then she started saying she would stay there herself when in San Jose. I strongly objected and she backed down on that, for now. Though she is still looking all the time and uses this as another excuse to be in San Jose more often.

8. She says she needs to know my long term plan / goals, "so we can see if we are aligned or not". I resisted - I said we work on shared goals, not individual ones. I think that was a mistake. So now I am working on it. It is tough because I took the "keep an open mind" thing so seriously. And, I am discovering that I am not good at articulating what I want from life, except in vague terms. But I'm working on it. I asked her for some time for this.

Which of these strategies would you take?

--> Strategy A: Say that (1) she has to move to where you are, including leaving her "remote" job and finding a local one, (2) you have to agree with any decision for either of you to move anywhere, (3) she has to trust that you'll take her preferences into consideration, as a very important, but not sole, factor. Set a deadline and say she can't stay married to you if she doesn't comply.

--> Strategy B: Say that you should both look for opportunities in each other's cities, but if you don't find good ones, you find creative ways to make it work in the meantime. Even in this scenario you'll be unlikely to look in San Jose for at least 2-3 years as your current job is not yet finished.

I don't like Strategy A because I am afraid she will leave. But I don't like Strategy B because it's dishonest - the truth is I want to live with my wife, which was a big part of why I proposed in the first place!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Did she terminate without telling you? What Toffer said divorce.
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No, I was unconditionally supportive of whatever decision she made. I went to the clinic with her and everything.

She gave me every opportunity to express my preference, and have input into it, and I did not. In the heat of that moment, I thought I should stand back and just be supportive. In hindsight I think this was a big mistake on my part - I should have been supportive of it being her choice, but also expressed my own opinion and preference - but hindsight is 20/20. It all happened pretty fast.

Divorce seems pretty harsh don't you think? I'm still in love with this woman and it's barely been a year!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She terminated your pregnancy to avoid moving to the city where you live. I find that shocking and horrifying. And I am 100% pro choice.

I'm sorry dude, not wife material.

Strategy C.
she gave other reasons -- timing -- in particular we have been planning a honeymoon and she wanted to travel first. Just so you have her side of the story.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How is the sex? During the limited time you are together of course.
Generally - over the course of our relationship it has been terrific.

Lately - it has been infrequent and bland, because we been fighting constantly. I'm hopeful that if we work things out it can get back to being good.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Please comment and vote in the poll! Thanks :smthumbup:
 

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A year after graduating, she moved back to her home town, San Jose, to help her family business. Her plan was 1 to 1.5 years tops, then move to one of 3 cities where I had job offers (which she had input into).
suddenly a lot of subtle hints / pressure for a ring, as a condition of moving back.
Sounds like 'bait & switch".
Suddenly, she really wanted to be in San Jose. We reached a compromise
Apparently YOU reached a compromise, doesn't sound like SHE did.
One year later: she has NO intention of quitting her job. She is in Vancouver about 40-50% of the time...if I say "when will you move here?" she says "I did, I do live here
She has made her choice clear!
she got pregnant. I told her I would 100% support her choice, but if she keeps the baby, she must move up ASAP. She chose to terminate
in particular we have been planning a honeymoon and she wanted to travel first
She would rather go on a honeymoon, travel, and live in San Jose than be a mother right now; I make no judgement on that, YOU need to decide where YOU stand with regard to the parenting/honeymooning issues
She now says she "hates" Vancouver and "no way" she would live here long term. She sometimes job hunts -- but not here! -- she looks in San Jose, New York, and all over the place. She also talks about getting another degree… also not here.
Unless you're planning to LEAVE Vancouver, you're NOT going to be in a relationship with this woman; you might not LIKE the idea, but THAT'S A FACT!
She is actively looking for real estate to buy in San Jose
She says she needs to know my long term plan / goals, "so we can see if we are aligned or not".
THAT is the purpose of dating/engagements.

I don't know why you ONLY wanted the guys' input; did you think we women would NOT be on your side because we don't have 'man parts'? because we wouldn't 'get it'? because we're automatically gender-biased?

As a woman, I'll tell you flat out that YOUR WIFE does NOT see you as 'Mr. Right'. She sees you as 'Mr. Right Now.' If you were the man of her dreams, the man she sees herself with 'forever', the father of her children, there is NOTHING that would keep her from living in Vancouver! NOTHING! Especially as she knows it is short-term (maybe as little as two more years.)

She had SOME agenda for getting married (pressuring for the ring as a condition of moving to Vancouver...which she NEVER did!), but she does NOT view you as a FOREVER husband. I believe when she finds someone else in San Jose, or New York, or wherever she decides to go to school, she'll dump you and tell you how you've "outgrown' each other...or some equally nauseating B.S.

Honestly, you're headed for divorce. Do yourself a favor and file now, file early. The less time you spend in this see-saw relationship, begging for recognition as her husband, the easier it will be to forget this mess and move on.

This is NOT a woman who compromises. You'll either do it HER WAY, or she'll leave you (weeks/months/couple years).
 

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Both of you put your respective interests ahead of the other. If you were both head over heels, I don't think this would be the case. You're future is in Vancouver and her's is in San Jose. There are other men in San Jose and other women in Vancouver.
 

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Strategy C - divorce
:iagree:

Brinseed

I had a girlfriend that acted like that. She always came first, no matter what. I waited for her to graduate from university for 2 years, when initally, said it would only be 6 months. In the meantime I moved abroad to work, and when I asked her to come and stay with me for a couple of months she said 3 weeks were enough because she had to study.

Only after I left her I realized how "brainwashed" I was. There was alway another excuse or priority for her.
It's better to part ways with people like that. If she truly loved you she would be happy anywhere you are. You live only once..
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone. I appreciate all of your input.

I really want to try to make my marriage work -- I take the commitment thing seriously -- I know it's a tough problem but I don't want to run away from it. Despite these issues I'm very much in love my wife and I would love for us to have a great future together, which I think we can do if we got over this geographic issue.

Also, I am wondering if I share some of the blame -- could it be that her hesitation to move is partly due to me not being firm enough? So far, each time I try to be firm, it leads to horrible fights. But, I'm not completely consistent - in my quest to be a "supportive" man I have often said it's fine for her to live in the US (not lately, but initially).

One more thing to note. I don't mind moving to San Jose -- even though it is definitely a sacrifice (I have a lot going for me here, and virtually nothing going for me down there... yet) -- I will gladly do it for her! -- the only thing is that: (1) I can't do it *today* - it would be foolish to mess up my current career situation, where I would look very very bad if I quit before completing at least 3-4 years and accomplishing certain key milestones; and (2) I need some assurance that if it *doesn't* turn out well for me down there, I won't have to live there regardless. In other words, I'm very open to trying it out, genuinely and truly, just not quite yet.

When I tell her this, she says that this counts for nothing because she is the only one sacrificing today [by commuting back and forth]. It seems to come down to trust - she seems to doubt that I'll really do it, or she thinks that if she moves here first, it would be a slippery slope and we'd never end up moving to San Jose in a couple of years as planned. She says that her ability to trust men took a serious hit when I broke up with her 2 years ago. I find this incredibly frustrating, but, I can at least see where she is coming from.

Does anyone have any suggestions other than telling me get a divorce, which I really don't want to do?
 

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Does anyone have any suggestions other than telling me get a divorce, which I really don't want to do?
NOBODY ever wants to get a divorce! Everyone gets married with the expectation that it will be FOREVER. Do not think that we blithely suggest 'get a divorce' like 'take an aspirin'; we don't. We know it's serious, a lot of us have been there/done that.

Just something to think about, brinseed.

BTW: Be extra careful with birth control UNTIL these issues are fully resolved. Another pregnancy will only muddy the waters further.

Good luck!
 

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You have already stated the core issue at the bottom of your first post.

You are afraid if you do the wrong thing this woman will leave you.

Unfortunately, you have already done the wrong thing ... you married her. And neither of you are ready.

You have asked for options other than divorce.

That is very straightforward based upon the information you have provided.

Cave.

Do what she wants ... because if you don't want to lose her, it's pretty clear that's your only option.

I understand that you love this woman. You will, in time, come to understand that if love means compromising yourself and everything else you value in the name of love ... your partner will not value you.

I know how you would like this to turn out. I think what you need to come to terms with, if you want to stay with THIS woman, is that you are going to be settling for what she gives you ... rather than you being the architect of what you want.

I noticed that you consistently referred to 'we' in your post. The thing that I'm sure is difficult for you to understand, is that most of the folks responding to you, don't see a 'we'. It doesn't look like a partnership at all, and certainly isn't operating like one.

I do wish you well.

One way or another, life is about to teach you a very hard, valuable lesson.
 

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I get the impression she's not all that committed to the marriage. You fear losing her more than she fears losing you. Do whatever you want, but I predict that this will not end well. Maybe 5 years, or a few more. She wants to be apart way too much. Have you thought about what (who) might be tying her to her city?
 

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Hey Brinseed.

Thanks for sharing your situation. It sounds incredibly difficult. I respect your struggle and the work you have put into your marriage, and I'll do my best to offer some help.

Also, I can certainly understand why so many of the replies here have leaned towards the divorce option. There is certainly grounds for that conclusion. With that said, I don't think its the best option (yet), and I believe that it is well within the realm of possibility to sort this all out. Here are the steps I would take, if I were in this situation.

1st -
Continue to see your wife as the woman you love and want to spend your life with. Resist the tendency to see her in a negative light (even if its merited), because it will not make the process of finding a solution easier. (and solving this is your goal, right?) You can choose to see your wife as domineering and uncompromising, or you can see her as someone who is just as worried and confused as you, and someone who could really use a clear path (like the one I'm typing up here) to find a real solution to the situation. Its obvious which perspective gets your closer to a solution, isn't it?

2nd -
Take a break from the "move here" conversation. During your serious conversations, spend time getting a crystal clear understanding of her priorities, and give her a crystal clear understanding of yours. Is it important to you to spend your life with THIS woman? More important then your location? More important then your current job? And for her... Is spending her life with YOU specifically important? More important then living in San Jose? More important then her current job? Having a crystal clear understanding of each others' priorities will make the "move here" conversation so much easier.

3rd -
Once priorities are clear, seek solutions. When you do start the "move here" conversation again, make sure you have a purpose. The purpose is not to "change her mind," or be more firm/laid back, or to "win." The purpose of the conversation is to seek solutions, that's it. Together, list out all the possible solutions... including her moving to Vancouver full time... including you moving to San Jose full time, immediately... including divorce (and hopefully, probably a whole list of other possible options). Make sure you both know you're just making a list right now, no big life altering choices are being made right now. Then, see if any of the options you come up with match your top priorities. See if any of the options match her top priorities. In my experience, there are almost always options that meet both individual's priorities. If all of your options only match with one person's priorities, then keep seeking solutions... Establish each others' non-negotiable... "the hill to die on" if you will. And keep listing ideas, literally anything, be as creative as possible, until something meets both hills.

If after several conversations, and a great deal of effort by both of you, there is still absolutely no solutions that fit both of your priorities, ask some trusted friends for their suggestions. If there is still nothing... THEN maybe start considering divorce.

4th -
Once you find a possible solution that fits both your priorities (I am hopeful and confident that you can), THEN you can finally start discussing the idea of actually using the solution in real life. Make sure you both understand exactly how this solution meets your priorities and gives you what you want. Also, make sure it is abundantly clear to each other what each person has to give up in the scenario, and make sure they know that this sacrifice is an act of love. No one is being pushed around. No one is forced to cave. Everyone's ideas and perspectives are heard, understood, and respected the whole way. This has been a completely joint decision... as it should be. Once its clear that it will work in real life, begin implementing it.

(if after further discussion of details, the solution doesn't work, return to step 3)

5th -
Celebrate it. You faced an enormous challenge together, and you got through. Nice work. :)

So here it is again, in really simple terms:

1 - Love her.
2 - Understand Priorities.
3 - List Possible Solutions & See if they fit Priorities.
4 - Discuss the best fitting Solution. If it works well, Implement it.
5 - Celebrate.

Your good intentions and love for her are clear. You can do this.

Well Wishes,

Ben
 

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Does anyone have any suggestions other than telling me get a divorce, which I really don't want to do?
Brinseed,

You certainly don't have to get a divorce, but you wife may want to if and when you start to respect yourself and set healthy boundaries.

All of us, men and women, have to ask ourselves every day in every choice we make whether our choice demonstrates a priority of relationship or separateness. Your wife has made choice after choice that shows separateness is a greater priority for her than relationship.

You are completely correct, you share the blame for this and the relationship answer is to share it equally. Yes, you have not been firm enough. You let conflict and a fear of "horrible fights" drive you into passivity. You need to be courageous in action and bring your concerns directly to her, letting her know your vision for your marriage. Don't allow yourself to be pulled into fighting, tell her your vision and leave it at that. But make sure you say it and say it clearly. She will go ahead and do whatever is in her heart and you can either factor that in and change your vision or not, depending on your level of conviction. But you need to communicate all this directly and clearly frequently.

Let her make the choice to either buy into it or not. Making your desires known is not in itself unreasonable, mean spirited or unloving when it is done in a respectful and loving manner in the spirit of relationship. But not speaking up for whatever your reason, fear of conflict, laziness or a non-committal attitude will certainly create bigger problems later
 

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Brinseed you may want to hire a pi in san jose to see if there is a 3rd person in the marriage to rule that out because she is not acting like a newlywed.
 
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