How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

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Clarice
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How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Clarice » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:52 am

That is the question that I am embarking on answering. It is an interesting time in my life and a difficult time in my marriage. Mine has been a very old fashioned one - one joint bank account, one credit card per household, no debt of any kind. It's not working anymore.
I've been working in healthcare for many years, became quite disenchanted with it and in 2014 switched to a per diem status. Over time my hours dwindled to next to nothing. I volunteered at my daughter's school, volunteered at a learning farm, and took some real estate classes. I read a lot and stumbled upon Jacob's book. I loved the idea; DH - not so much. As I was experimenting with DIY laundry detergents and making my own cheese DH developed a penchant for Gruyere and became pretty good at downhill skiing. He also embarked on the pursuit of perfect - a perfect garage door instead of a perfectly functional one, a perfect dining set instead of a perfectly functional one, a perfect couch instead of a functional one. We both rigorously engaged in the Pygmalion Project with him "inspecting" me a lot and saying things like, "Even when turning on the dishwasher you just can't choose the Normal cycle " and me sprinkling my speech with phrases like "a cubical farm" and "corporate slaves" way too liberally.
Then it dawned on me (I am not as stupid as I look :lol: ), that it's not independence if it depends on convincing someone. Thus, in January I made arrangements at work to have more hours, opened my own bank account with my pay check going there, and got my separate cc. I should have done it in 1996, but oh well... I don't want separate finances, but I do want a separate score card, the one that makes sense to me.
There are not that many categories that I've been able to separate from the rest of the household. I remember these categories by the acronym GET. Here is my January score card.

I got my first paycheck of $1, 729.64 and spent $410.65 in the following manner:

Girl's Stuff - $105.45
Hair Salon - $100
Tampons - $5.45

Education & Entertainment - $173.61
Book Personal Village by Marvin Thomas (used was not available :roll: )
Gifts for 2 bd parties - $125
Checks that came with the checking account - $25.95 ( What??? :o I didn't know they were not free with the account. Now I do - education :twisted:

Transportation - $139.59

Gas - $139.59 (suburban mom ;) )

My next step will be somehow investing that money if you can even call this investing for such a trivial sum. I am quite clueless there. I'll make it up as I go. :)

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by jennypenny » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:34 pm

I'm not the person to ask about this, but have you seen the ERE wheaton scale thread? I'm not sure what it's called* but if you and your husband are too many levels apart, you need to tread carefully.

*It's on the wiki but I'm not sure if this is the final version. Maybe someone who knows can post it? https://wiki.earlyretirementextreme.com ... ton_Levels

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by jacob » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:38 pm


ThisDinosaur
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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by ThisDinosaur » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:40 pm

Have you read "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" by Harry Brown? Being married is a choice you make every day. Every choice has consequences, good and bad. You weigh those consequences and decide if its worth it. Certainly, you can do whatever is reasonable to convince your spouse to see things your way. But if that doesn't work, it makes no sense to wish for them to change and be disappointed.

In case its not obvious, I've thought about this a lot ;)

Clarice
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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Clarice » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:53 pm

@Jenny and Jacob:

Thank you for the reference - I am familiar with the ERE Wheaton Scale though I have a somewhat hard time placing myself and DH at a certain level.
Level 1? Both of us are definitely above that.
Level 2? I am embarking on my own accumulation of money phase. We do not have any debt. Cruise? Both of us can imagine doing a cruise only if ordered by court, or as a part of a plea bargain... punishment, really... :lol:
Level 3? Europe, yes, no guided tours though. I spend some time in Europe every year - sleeping off a jet lag before making a final leg of my trip - to visit my old parents in St. Petersburg, Russia. If all 3 of us go - here is 1 jacob right there. :(
Level 4 and 5? Here where DH and I part ways. DH does not want efficiency and optimization - he wants "perfect" as he understands it, and he can afford it in a conventional Suze Orman type of way. I can trust him not to be in debt, for which I would be responsible. In his world, men don't do debt. ;)
Level 6 and 7? Nothing there applies to us. :roll:
Level 8? Nothing there applies to me. DH? He is a brilliant engineer and everybody wants him. :)

I remember Jacob's mentioned skimming through the journals to eyeball the peoples' ERE Wheaton level. Where am I? I am quite clueless at this point.

@jenny:

"you need to tread carefully" - I know!!! But how? Do you have any specific advice? I would really appreciate it. I find it VERY hard to shut up the J in my INTJ.

@ThisDinosaur:

You can not imagine how many times I re-read certain parts of this book just to calm myself down. I use it in the way other people use Xanax.

To sum it up, I would like to proceed the way I see fit. Money is never just about money. It reflects the way we see the world. However, I can trust DH not to ruin anything. I could not convince him to want FU money. I am acquiring my own.

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by jacob » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:09 pm

"If you hear the sound of hooves, think horses, not zebras...", so when I squint my eyes, I see level 2-3. It's just that DH wants to accumulate "nice things" instead of monies. These are collected for the sake of collecting them. It's not with the view of growing their value, like one might speculate on classic cars or fix them up like houses. Insofar it's mostly about owning for the sake of having, it's L2. It's the stuff-equivalent of a checking account or a bank box. By opening an account for yourself and tracking budgets, you're demonstrating L3. If you were to start switching services or DIYing with the aim of saving even more money (as opposed to treating it as a fun project), that would be L4. And so on ...

The most important part of that Wheaton table is the financial paradigm. The particular kinds of vacations just illustrate what someone within a given paradigm can come up with. An L2 would save up in their vacation fund and maybe book a cruise for 10 days. If the L6 wanted to get on a cruise ship, they'd be more likely to look for a summer job on such a ship.

In any case, what usually works better is "Show, don't tell". It's likely that not much of what's going on here [on these forums] will be convincing at the L2 level. It would be more likely to elicit a "that might work for them, but it could never work for me because <insert standard objection>.

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by phil » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:21 pm

The following topic might be of help for your "battle" with your husband: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7894

I think you should take it very slowly with him. Drastic lifestyle changes are not made overnight by most people. Trying to "convert" him will likely do more harm than good. Lead by example, drop some gems here and there and try to make him think about what things he would like to do in life and how your finances fit into that, etc. But ultimately he has to discover it all for himself.

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by George the original one » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:39 pm

Clarice wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:52 am
He also embarked on the pursuit of perfect - a perfect garage door instead of a perfectly functional one, a perfect dining set instead of a perfectly functional one, a perfect couch instead of a functional one.
Make sure you aren't confusing signaling status to others vs. BIFL (buy it for life). I think a case can be made for BIFL in each of these cases, though I'd personally only argue the garage door & couch are strong BIFL... mainly because I did the same when we needed them 8-)

Thus our garage doors should last 30 years, insulated, & never need painting to add value to the house while the sleeper sofa is leather with a memory foam mattress & no intrusive bars... probably has a better mattress than our bed, yet only guests have slept on it, so I don't really know, LOL.

Anyway, as long as you two can find the compromises that satisfy both of you, it's not a problem.

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Jason » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:16 pm

Accidentally calling him Jacob in your more intimate moments might be a cause for concern.

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by jennypenny » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:44 pm

@clarice -- I really don't have any advice other than to compromise. If you find middle ground and you keep working your way up the ERE Wheaton scale, by default the compromise position will also move, albeit more slowly.

I'm an INTP, not J. There was a forum discussion once that concluded 'P is for pain in the ass and J is for jerk", and I agree. It doesn't mean they are jerks and PITAs, more like that's how they appear to others when they think they're acting 'normal'. Find a way to compromise and acknowledge when you're J'ing him to death.*

*I once referred to this as 'INTJ-splaining' and it gets old fast. ;)

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by RFS » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:39 pm

Jason wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:16 pm
Accidentally calling him Jacob in your more intimate moments might be a cause for concern.
:lol:

I'm interested to see how this works out for you.

My $.02: There's a subtle but significant difference in "your ___ is bad" vs "I think your ____ is bad." The first line attacks someone's ego, the second line steers the conversation towards understanding each other. It prevents breakdowns in communication. Hopefully that will help as you communicate ERE to your husband.

Clarice
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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Clarice » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:20 pm

@RFS: Thank you, definitely less zeal is better in situations like this one.

@jennypenny: Duly noted. Don't feel too sorry for DH though. He has been practicing his defense (as in the best defense is an offence) for 20 years in his own, very grating ISTJ style of J-ing, noting, quite astutely, how the way I do things is different from the proper way and being really militant wrt little stains, droplets of water, and dust balls. I've always joked that I have to abide by 11 commandments with the first one being, "Thou shalt not spill". :roll:

@Jason: Ha-ha...I will make sure to heed your warning! :twisted:

@George the original one: Signaling status is definitely not what DH does. Surprisingly, BIFL is also not his motivation. His motivation is the pursuit of perfect as he understands it. Here is our garage door story: We had an original door from the 60-s. DH wanted a perfect one, but didn't get to it for quite a while. One foggy (VERY foggy) morning I was going to work and backing out of our garage toward the driveway. BOOM. A loud noise alerted me to the fact that the garage door happened to be closed. :lol: :lol: :lol: Oops... Nothing really happened - a tiny dent, but DH did not let that crisis go to waste and got his new perfect garage door. :D

@Jacob: Thank you. Your comments help me to identify the direction of change: switching services, DIYing, reducing needs. Funny, I say this phrase about hoofs and horses in my head quite often when dealing with the patients at work. It usually works. I agree with your assessment.

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:09 am

@Clarice:

What Jason said might be funny because true-ish. My ex-husband was actually jealous of my relationship with Michael Pollan (I loved him before anybody else knew who he was.) Note the prefix.

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:20 am

Maybe you just need to put those feminine wiles to use. Like set up a date night where you cook him a home made meal made from scratch, show yourself off in a dress you made by hand, prop him up be letting him beat you in a game of chess, and then when you are relaxing in your newly decluttered living room, coyly whisper in his ear "You know what really turns me on, baby? A man who re-soles his twenty year old work boots."

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Family father » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:36 am

Actually, the last part:
Jason wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:20 am
"You know what really turns me on, baby? A man who re-soles his twenty year old work boots."
May be enough...

It is for many of us :oops:

Kind of stick and carrot method... :lol:

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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:06 am

Family father wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:36 am
Actually, the last part:


May be enough...

It is for many of us :oops:

Kind of stick and carrot method... :lol:

I gave up on the personality test because my need for such in-depth self-reflection in consideration of this and other basic realities rendered it unnecessary.

That doesn't mean Mr. Clarice is immune to such behavioral reductionism. I have heard accounts of that possibility, though none I have been able to verify personally. And I don't mean to sexualize Clarice or ERE, the latter being an undertaking as arduous as winning an AVN award for an extremely imaginative and liberal interpretation of Walden's Pond. However, within the safe confines of the marital union, where no disrespect is brought upon either partner, I don't see why such an approach cannot at least be considered.

Clarice
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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Clarice » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:21 pm

Jason wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:20 am
Maybe you just need to put those feminine wiles to use. Like set up a date night where you cook him a home made meal made from scratch, show yourself off in a dress you made by hand, prop him up be letting him beat you in a game of chess, and then when you are relaxing in your newly decluttered living room, coyly whisper in his ear "You know what really turns me on, baby? A man who re-soles his twenty year old work boots."
@Jason:

That's an excellent idea Jason! I have to think of specifics though. Your particular examples will not work for me:

- Audrey Hepburn would not look good if I'd make her a dress by hand. Moi? In a dress made by my hand and self-inflicted haircut I would look closer to Golda Meir on a 10-shekel bill than to Audrey Hepburn. This will not work well for the kind of negotiations I am embarking upon! :twisted:

- a meal made from scratch, a decluttered living room, and DH winning in a chess game would not be a change from a baseline for us; :|
Anyway, I get your point. I'll keep on thinking.

@7wb5:

Your ex was aware of your intellectual crushes? How sweet of him! :o

On a more serious note, I've noticed some changes in my behavior since I've got a new arrangement at my job and a separate bank account where my paycheck is deposited. I've stopped bugging DH: I do not turn off the light when he lives the room, I do not lower the thermostat when he is not looking, and I do not engage in Gruyere vs. Cheddar conversations. I let him be. To be continued. :)
Last edited by Clarice on Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Jason
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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:42 pm

Clarice wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:21 pm
would look closer to Golda Meir on a 10-shekel bill than to Audey Hepburn. This will not work well for the kind of negotiations I am embarking upon! :twisted:
Yeah, that look only seems to work in negotiations where one refuses to acknowledge that the other side exists, so maybe save it as a last resort.

Clarice
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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Clarice » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:08 pm

It's been a month... What have I accomplished? My main accomplishment has been getting a second per diem job within an easy 15-minute walk from my house. Since going back to work in January I've reconsidered my approach to the situation. Big picture (healthcare racket that preys on captive audience of old/sick people who don't know any better) is my enemy here. I've developed some rules to make my work tolerable while I'm there:

1. Brighten the day of at least one old/sick person;
2. Have at least one meaningful exchange with a coworker. Don't forget the little pleasures of people watching.
3. Learn new tests/procedures - things have changed in 4 years that I've been mostly absent.
4. Approach your paperwork as a form of abstract art; have some fun while doing it.
5. Multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours worked and imagine your independence.

Two jobs instead of one keep things more lively. It's my own humble version of popular on this forum theme of polyamory. :lol:

Personally, things have been tough. My older daughter stumped me again. She is one of those Lamborghinis that Half Moon was talking about in her journal - a Lamborghini that wrecked herself. I went to a psychologist to sort things out. The psychologist was very helpful.

Things also have been difficult with DH. He has an uncanny ability to walk into our kitchen, look at the counter top, and ask,"Why didn't you wipe that water?" in a tone of voice that goes well with the sentence, "THEN HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THAT YOUR FINGERPRINTS WERE FOUND ON THE BODY OF THE DECEASED?". I don't have a soft, easy going nature to just ignore it and often lose my self-possession. Ugh... more motivation for FI...

...reading the book Economics: Private and Public Choice from Jacob's investing curriculum. I count reading comprehension in my asset column, but still... it's a boring book. I am convinced that if clinical trials were conducted this book would outperform Ambien by a large margin in the effectiveness of inducing sleep...yet I persist. :)

My cell phone suffered a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The baby was about 18 month old. :roll: I googled "best cheap phones 2018", came up with Moto G5 Plus, and found it on Craig's List - new, in a box, 64GB. The guy said he bought it for his wife, but she didn't like it. DH warned repeatedly on proliferation of scammers on CL and my limited ability to size up a cell phone quickly. I insisted. While waiting for the guy at a local police station's parking lot (his choice of a meeting place) I googled "the tips for buying a used cell phone". God... DH was right. I am not good at sizing up a phone, but ... I am good at sizing up a guy: a well dressed Asian man in his early 40-es, nice smile, a wedding band in a style that was popular 10-15 years ago. He opened the box... I looked, at the box - briefly, at the man - thoroughly, ...and counted 11 Jacksons. The phone has been working perfectly! :D

So, without further ado, here is my February score card.

Pay Checks Total: $1,809.84
GET Expenses: $740.38

Girl's Stuff - $142.59
Cosmetics & Bathroom Supplies - 24.59
Clothing (Patagonia jacket and random yoga pants) - $118.06

Education and Entertainment - $470.93

Eating out with DD and my girlfriends - $105.19
Amazon Prime Membership - $11.19
Amazon Video (Sherlock) - $17.98
Economics: Private and Public Choice - $4.99
Visit to a Psychologist - $100
Cell Phone - $220
Cell Phone Case - $10.89

Transportation - $126.76
Gas - $126.76

This post has been greatly helped by two glasses of Pinot Grigio - a few sips left... To our journey, dear fellow forumites! :D

Jason
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Re: How Will My Fascination with ERE Affect My Marriage?

Post by Jason » Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:44 am

Clarice wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:08 pm
I count reading comprehension in my asset column
I comment to my wife all the time how many people simply do not read what is put in front of them but need it verbally spoon fed to them. And I'm not talking in-depth analysis or position papers. I'm talking two sentence emails. I heard this is probably playing out in The Oval Office at this very moment. I generally bifurcate the readers from the non-readers not in a judgment sense, but in how best to communicate with them. I find that non-readers generally talk more than readers which is why I try to stay away from talkers when its an option. And of course if said talkers talk about how much they read, it's usually of the quality reserved for an airport convenience store carousel.

A professor once stated he did not want to teach us the facts but how an expert in his field (which he was) thought. I keep that in mind when I try to fight through material that I am not naturally inclined to be interested in. At least I can try to glimpse into how qualified people in an area that I am not qualified think. I think its also just a good cognitive exercise. It also informs me that "Well, at least now I know I could never be a "so and so."

And don't take this the wrong way, but your husband sounds like a douche.

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