journal of wood

Where are you and where are you going?
wood
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journal of wood

Post by wood » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:39 am

I've presented myself and posted some on this forum before, but here's a short summary:

- Born 1985 in Norway, typical western middleclass upbringing.
- Got a bachelors degree in economics.
- Worked for 8 years. I had zero NW 4 years ago, after which I started saving hard. Networth as of 2017 is close to $150k.
- Anxious to start my ERE life and not sure what my money goal is. I keep revising it down.
- I like running, dogs, exploring new places and coffee.
- I feel at home in East Africa. It's affordable, dynamic, great people and I want to have something there.

I expect this journal to be more like a messy diary and will use it to vent my thoughts.

When will it be my turn to ERE?!
There are (too) many factors at play when trying to determine when I can and should ERE. I have a tolerable job with average pay but with very little opportunity for advancement (government office job). On the plus side I make friends at work, enjoy the social aspect and use the basement gym almost daily. Little to no work pressure, and low mental effort. These are great perks for me but I do get bored and use a couple hours every day to analyse stocks or other personal projects. Yes, I am taking advantage. Yes, I'm sitting at work writing this.

If I continue my job for another 8 years I will be home free. I can quit and then some. There will be money for a life partner and maybe kids and I can do what I want in the country I was born. Since 8 years sounds like a drag I'm doing what I can to shorten it. I'm at a point where further action steps will take a lot of effort but have little total effect. But 8 years is my max.

I could on the other hand retire right now. I have about $60k in liquid savings, and $80k in positive real estate NW that brings $2k/year in cash flow. I could quit my job, move to Africa and invest some money there. I'm good at hands-on business like that. There are people and friends I know there who would help me in the beginning. My worst fear is being scammed and losing all my money on something. Half of my savings would carry my living expenses for 3 years there and I could make the other half work for me. It might not make me rich, but I think I can do it.

I'm leaning towards a compromise. Work another year. Then apply for a 6-12 month leave without pay. Try my luck in Africa. Then come back, work some more and I'd have enough information/confidence to make a clear decision on what to do. I could work another 3-4 years and do a "bare minimum" retirement in Norway with the option of being in Africa large parts of the year. Question I currently ask myself: what to do if they won't give me a leave? Do I just quit, or grind it out some more until it becomes intolerable?

wood
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Re: journal of wood

Post by wood » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:37 am

My wife part 1
One of the factors making this difficult for me is the fact I'm married. Let me explain.

I got engaged to a woman from Kenya around the same time I started on my ERE path 4 years ago. Long distance was a pain, so we married and she moved here 2 years ago. I won't get into details about it (though I will if you ask), but we have recently agreed to live separate and maybe even divorce. I'm currently in a moving process, on the dating scene again and life feels full of uncertainties.

We are very close to each other emotionally and firmly believe we belong to each other in some form, even if just friends. If we divorce, she will be denied papers to stay here. Her life here will be wiped out, including job, friends, me and my (now our) family. I'm therefore considering to not report to the government that we live separate, just for the sake of her papers and because I'd like to have her closer to me than a 20 hour, $500 flight. A solution like this would keep us formally married, but act nothing like a married couple. Bear in mind our families and friends see us as a traditionally, normal married couple. I wonder what to tell them.

We could just divorce, at which point she dissappears. It is likely to create friction between us. We will probably grow distant from each other. There's no way I'm allowing myself to be that emotionally close to someone living that far away. Been there, won't do it again. On a practical level and in terms of my path to ERE, I am ok with that scenario. Emotionally not so much so. Basically my life would be "less" for quite some time. Less pain and drama, but also less love, joy, excitement.

None of us want kids. That's until she fell pregnant a month ago and had an abortion. Now she is in the "maybe in the future" zone. She is not aiming for ERE and she's financially behind me. I can easily see a future scenario in which I'm ERE and wanting to go on adventure abroad, while she wants to stick with her job and want kids. If we break now we atleast avoid future drama.

All of this would be alot easier if we were just friends, or if we didn't have trouble living together. It's hard for us to be just friends. If you ask me what I want, I don't have a clear answer.
Last edited by wood on Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:08 am

You put this on front street and for some reason I felt compelled to read it so I will just give you my thought on this matter.

Are you fucking serious?

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singvestor
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Re: journal of wood

Post by singvestor » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:30 am

What is the issue? Why not try to make it work?

halfmoon
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Re: journal of wood

Post by halfmoon » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:35 am

@wood, I can see this an emotional quagmire that only you can resolve, so I'll stick to practicalities. I know nothing of Norway's laws, but the questions that occur to me:

1. If you divorce, will your wife be entitled to a share of your savings? If so, dragging out the marriage will significantly impact your ERE potential.

2. If your government finds out that you're living separately and maintaining the marriage only to secure your wife's residency, is this considered fraud? Could it impact your government job?

3. If the answer to #2 is yes, are you going to lie to your friends and family?

4. If it's hard for you to be just friends, does this mean you sleep together sometimes or might in the future? If so, what if she gets pregnant again and doesn't want to abort?

I wish you luck. It's a difficult situation.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:04 pm

singvestor wrote:What is the issue? Why not try to make it work?
Let me get this straight. You are married but not living together, just impregnated your wife (who aborted), are currently on the dating scene and want to make the relationship work?

I think Warren Jeffs had a more rigorous view of marriage than you.

scriptbunny
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Re: journal of wood

Post by scriptbunny » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:25 pm

+1 to everything halfmoon said. Also does Norway (or wherever you live now, 'tis unclear) have the equivalent of permanent residency, i.e. some immigration status where she is not dependent on being married to you to live there?

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Eureka
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Eureka » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:29 pm

If one of my friends had told me this story, I would probably say: don't just give up this fabulous woman who means so much to you. Try to work it out. Give your marriage a second chance. Go to Kenya with her, set up a life there, see what happens and where life takes you. Don't try to plan everything ahead. Enjoy the moment.

I sometimes see all this saving for ERE as an obsession more than a way of life. You also have to live your life now. Ways for earning and saving money are all over the place. Love might not be.

Noedig
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Noedig » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:37 pm

Hey journal of wood

Everyone's just laid into you. Harsh ... will seem unfair.

I can easily see a future scenario in which I'm ERE and wanting to go on adventure abroad, while she wants to stick with her job and want kids. If we break now we atleast avoid future drama.' This seems the core issue. That and the recent separation and abortion.

You seem like a nice guy, with warm intentions and self doubt. But I think you are better off resolving this situation, in or out of the marriage.

Deferring the pain of divorce in favour of drifting along half-in a relationship will waste your life and hers. Alternatively go all-in. All paths have costs.

ERE appeals to a part of us that wants control over our life. But ERE is not a solution to your emotional situation.

The best of luck in deciding what to do.

wood
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Re: journal of wood

Post by wood » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:41 am

singvestor wrote:What is the issue? Why not try to make it work?
I love this woman very much and despite any issues we treat each other with care and affection.
She cheated on me in the past after marrying. We reconciled and agreed it could be a good idea to try an "open relationship". That means we keep each other as partner number 1, but allow for a partner number 2, 3 and 4.
Our agreement was that we notify each other of other potential and actual partners.
She broke that agreement. She's had 4 different boyfriends the last 6 months. She told them all she was single. I knew nothing about it, our marriage was quite normal on the surface, and I assumed she had no other partners. The only other partner I knew about was a threesome we had at some point.
She also got pregnant, aborted and we don't know who the father would have been. We're both okay with aborting regardless who the father would have been.
We are trying to make it work. She doesn't know what she wants. She doesn't want to promise me anything. It's very emotional at this point. What happened broke my trust in her. I'm angry at her but I let it out in my workouts and try to support her. She cries a lot and feels bad about herself. We have a roommate. So I figured I can move out, it will give us both some space.

Onto the practicalities halfmoon asked about:
1. We have separate finances so divorce/no divorce won't impact my ERE much.
2. If the government finds out we live separately, her residency application will be denied the next time she applies. It won't impact my job. It's she who applies and has to document that we live together, so it's her problem if she lies about that.
3. I don't know what to tell friends and in particular family yet. But personally I want to be as honest as possible in everything.
4. Like I said we are trying to work on it. I haven't moved out just yet. So we sleep together yes, with protection. Despite everything we feel inlove with each other. Whether we sleep together or not in the future will depend on what kind of relationship we want. If she gets pregnant and doesn't abort I will be a good father.

@scriptbunny: After 3 years from now she can get permanent residency here, regardless or marriage status or living situation.

I think I have adressed what most of you asked about. Thanks for advice and kind words Eureka, I am infact tempted to do something like what you said. Noedig you were spot on with your post. And yes, Jason, I am fucking serious. If you think I'm doing something stupid, I'd appreciate your advice rather than your attempts at insulting.

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Ego
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Ego » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:09 am

There are questions for which no good advice can be provided. That doesn't mean a good solution doesn't exist. It might. It means that for a person to make suggestions they have to ignore the fact that so many of the most important details are unknowable and highly complex. Yet people love simple answers to complex problems. Rules-of-thumb.

When we're lost in the middle of nowhere we often feel the compulsion to keep going. It can feel better to move somewhere, anywhere, than to stop and think. Sometimes in those situations it is best turn around and consider retracing your steps. It can be helpful to figure out how you got here before deciding where to go next.

http://www.thebookoflife.org/how-we-end ... ng-people/

Despite the title to this essay, I am not implying that you married the wrong person. I think it could possibly prove helpful in figuring out if you can continue to be married to her.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:19 am

My advice?

Call a lawyer.

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Dragline
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Dragline » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:43 am

Honestly, based on your description, I think you married the wrong person. What you describe is a person habitually engaged in drama and dishonesty, and you are right not to trust her. She may have a borderline "borderline" personality. No amount of love or other favorable emotions will "fix" these basic issues -- they are simply beyond your control. As long as she is a major player in your life, your life will likely be chaotic and probably not what you want, regardless of how the financial aspects of it are working or not.

Go see if you can find a copy of the book "Emotional Vampires" by Bernstein. You may find your spouse in there, specifically under "Histrionic Vampires":

"Histrionic vampires live for attention and approval. Looking good is their specialty. Everything else is an unimportant detail. Histrionics have what it takes to get hired into your business or your life, but be careful. Histrionic means dramatic. What you see is all a show, and definitely not what you get. Vampires can’t see their reflections in a mirror. Histrionics can’t even see the mirror. They’re experts at hiding their own motivations from themselves. They believe that they never do anything unacceptable, like making mistakes or having bad thoughts about anyone. They’re just nice people who only want to help. If you question that, you’re likely to suffer. It’s amazing how much damage nice people can do."

Bernstein, Albert. Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, 2nd Edition (p. 5). McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle Edition.

7Wannabe5
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Re: journal of wood

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:03 am

First off, I want to apologize for unknowingly simultaneously writing a post on another thread here that offered a very cold analysis of the value of marrying a first world citizen. I have myself twice been in relationship with men who were previously in relationship with a woman who would or did benefit from such a marriage, so I was projecting a bit of my own second-hand market experience.

That said, I agree with Ego. In my personal experience, and having spent a great deal of time in intimate communication with other people who tried to save their marriage, there is no possibility of underestimating the likelihood of sunk-cost investment fallacy when faced with such a decision. However, you will never be free until you accept that at some place YOU dropped a stitch in the knitting of your life, and now you will have to un-knit your decision-making back to that place on the pattern. It does not matter whether your wife is a psychopath, garden-variety bad wife or just the wrong one for you, the more personal responsibility without blame/wrong shifting you can accept while going through this process, the better off you will be in the long run.

The single best simple piece of advice I ever encountered for application to this variety of problem is to do the intellectual exercise of imagining that there exists some higher power or intelligence or morality or knower-of-all-things-past-and-future who could grant you absolute absolution from any guilt in your decision making process. Studies of relative happiness levels of people after should-I-stay-or-should-I-go? decision reveal that when the decision was made from perspective of absolution-granted, the individual was most likely to be happy with decision X years later. For instance, many people might readily absolve themselves from guilt for choosing to divorce a spouse who cheated on them, but fewer are able to absolve themselves from guilt for choosing to divorce a spouse who succumbed to the obesity epidemic and thereby became sexually unappealing. This sort of dilemma frequently leads to a situation of downwards ratcheting dysfunction that continues until the behavior of one spouse finally exceeds the guilt+dependency level of the other spouse. For instance, the obese spouse is now scooter-dependent and unwilling to make lifestyle changes. IOW, the desire to hold the perspective that your identity is that of a good person who struggles to maintain contract even at some level of personal loss is part of your dependency on the continuation of your marriage.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:20 am

I am a Christian so I will give you that perspective: Divorce is permissible when ongoing, unrepentant infidelity or abuse exists.

I think we have met both criteria here to say the least.

So if you're looking for heteronomous forgiveness, the Trinitarian God grants it.

If you wish to keep things to the immanent, unless you enjoy being cuckolded, evidence seems to indicate that you should move on.

7Wannabe5
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Re: journal of wood

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:12 pm

Jason said: I am a Christian so I will give you that perspective: Divorce is permissible when ongoing, unrepentant infidelity or abuse exists.
So, you would choose to maintain monogamous contract in situation where your spouse went from 5'2" 120 lbs. on marriage day to close to 400 lbs. after 20 years of marriage? This happened to a friend of mine. I also know of individuals, including a minister, who were too chicken to ask for divorce, so they cheated with semi-conscious hope of being caught, so that their spouse would be the one to do the deed.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:17 pm

Yes. I made the vow. Not my penis.

If you use ad hominem examples of people betraying their confessed believe systems or intellectual presuppositions as proving the invalidity of said believe system or intellectual presupposition, none would be valid.

Christianity has the crusades but closed systems have the early 20th century European fascist and totalitarian regimes et al.

7Wannabe5
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Re: journal of wood

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:47 pm

Jason said: Yes. I made the vow. Not my penis.
Good on you then. My friend with the obese wife had also converted to Mormonism when he married her, so I believe that his decision to divorce was consistent with his realization that his adoption of Christian ethic was externally motivated. It is not infrequent that the core reason for a divorce is revealed to be a lack of agreement on what constitutes marriage. My first marriage contract was modern, liberal egalitarian under-duress. I was pregnant and so was the female Unitarian minister before whom my ex and I repeated vows to "always promote each others personal growth." Therefore, once my kids were mature, it was relatively easy for me to come to realization that I might best promote my hipster husband's personal growth by kicking him to the curb. My second "marriage" contract was Islamic and not-legal-in-the-U.S. of A., so it was relatively easy for me to come to realization that my growing tendency to engage in such behaviors as hiding in my car listening to Runaways version of "Cherry Bomb" full-blast was a sign that I wanted to exit restrictive contract and go back to full privileges granted me as birthright of FREE AMERICAN GIRL!!! Anyways, it is highly unlikely, although in the realm of possibility, that I will every choose to enter into any such contract again, so ...grain of salt.

7Wannabe5
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Re: journal of wood

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:39 pm

@wood- Takeaway for you from my response to Jason being that you ought not feel bad about the reality that cultural differences can be a huge issue in marriage. One of my favorite novelists is the wickedly intelligent, under-appreciated Diane Johnson. Her "Le Mariage" and "Le Divorce" examine how the formation and dissolution of a marriage between people from two different cultures, even two that are not objectively viewed as entirely dissimilar, such as American and French culture, can serve as model of how alliances are formed and dissolved between nations. Differences are first seen as entirely beneficial and then otherwise.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:01 am

Sorry to hear @wood

By chance, I have seen many mixed Kenyan/European marriages (i have lived in Africa), and it ends often like this. You cannot blame the girls, they want a ticket to a better life.

All the best with the decisions, and the ERE route in life !

wood
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Re: journal of wood

Post by wood » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:15 am

Another day, another mood. Being in the middle of what feels like an emotional shitstorm, I'm seing myself wanting to make one decision today, and an opposing decision tomorrow. This is the main reason my first priority is to move out, so that I can think clearly about my situation.

Jason, I don't think I need a lawyer. For what exactly? We discuss our situation on a daily basis. She accepts whatever decision I will make, even if it means divorce and her having to leave the country, even though it would break her (her words).

I might have married the wrong person Ego, I won't deny the thought has crossed my mind. At the same time, our marrying was just to end the long distance. Had she been Norwegian, we wouldn't have married. We saw it as a way to circumvent the rules of the world (no free movement of people).

Your post was interesting Dragline. I will look for that book. Honestly I don't see her as a histrionic vampire. It's correct that she cares about looking good and getting approval. This trait might stem from some issues she had in her childhood. But I think it's incorrect that she doesn't see her own mistakes. She blames herself more than anyone in this. It makes me feel abit sorry for her, seing the crying and ongoing depression. I could be wrong though, maybe its all a show. Or she is fooling herself. My take from all of this is that she is poor at making life decisions and seing consequences. She wants one thing (weightloss) but does another (eats candy), she has poor impulse control. It is not some concious evil grand scheme where she doesn't see her own wrongdoing.

7Wannabe5, I always appreciate your posts. I couldn't find the cold analysis you mentioned though. But you are spot on when it comes to the sunk cost fallacy. I realize I'm a victim of this fallacy and maybe more so subconciously than I like to admit. When I try to remove all possible feelings of guilt from my decision-making, what I'm left with is the following: There's a red button in front of me. I can push it, and it immediately turns someone's life upside down. This someone will have to leave her job, her friends here and the country. It's a decision that can't be undone, ever. I will likely head into some form of depression worse than I am in now, but that is temporary. My life and me, in all its selfishness, will be fine in the end. My fear is regret.

It's nice to get different perspectives from you guys. I also have a couple of friends I'm talking to regularly about this.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:10 am

Maybe the way I express myself lends itself to instigation, but that is not my intent. Well, for the most part.

So, in all honesty, this is what I think:

(1) Healthy relationships reach a level of simplicity where both partners learn to co-exist. Remember, simplicity is not simplistic. Simplicity is complexity that appears simple from the outside. It takes work and maintenance to keep things in a state of simplicity. I see absolute no possibility of you ever achieving this in your current relationship;

(2) This type of discussion is pre-"I do."

(3) From any objective standpoint, as a dude just looking in (and remember you put this out here) your wife knows you are a doormat. How you maintain the ability to defend her or maintain any semblance of hope in this relationship is astonishing to me;

wood
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Re: journal of wood

Post by wood » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:29 am

The New Apartment part 1

I've finally moved and it feels like the sky has cleared. We had a talk with wife and agreed to take a full break in our relationship. No contact for a week to get some space, and remain as friends for now. I feel exceedingly at distance with her and the whole relationship. I'm not angry or bitter, just done. We will remain formally married so that her papers don't get screwed for now. As long as this formality doesn't affect me negatively it will stay this way. It feels like a solution is in place, atleast short term. My life can continue now.

The apartment is pretty sweet. The building is 150 years old and has 2 apartments in it. Mine is in 2nd floor. The interior looks to be from the 70's. It is clean and functional, just old. The bathroom is shared with the apartment below. A family of 4 is living there. That's the downside. On the upside, the price couldn't be better unless I moved in with my parents. $450/month and it's 60 seconds walking distance from work and grocery store. There's a separate bedroom so I don't have to sleep in my living room. Got my own kitchen as well. And there is storage space. The vintage feeling of the place fits well with my plan of getting 2nd hand furniture.

I paid $40 for a used quality bed and another $40 for moving all the heavy stuff. And that's all the moving costs :)
Last edited by wood on Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:24 am

Glad to see you have obtained clarity on this matter and can move on to ERE. The simplistic (not simple) nature of your post reflects the change.

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Eureka
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Eureka » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:10 am

Glad you came with an update. I have kind of been worried about you, so very relieved to hear that you are better now and acting towards a sustainable solution.

None of my business, but why would she prefer to stay in Norway now that she is no longer with you? Cold, busy place with long dark winters where she does not even know the language ...

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