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Old 12-08-2012, 17:14   #31
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Originally Posted by Davie J. View Post

The purpose of this dialogue is to get whatever advice I can get from female sailors who might read this blog. I'm sure that I don't understand the female point of view, but I'm desperate to find a solution. If anyone has a suggestion, please, please let me hear it.
I am not female so won't try to answer your dilemma for you.

I do note that of the population of "non-sailing/cruising nesters" that feel like your wife, 0.00% are going to read your question here on CF. Those here either cruise, want to cruise or have cruised. The latter if having HAD ENOUGH, and gone "home" are not here either.

Suggest you join a knitting forum;
Knitter's Review Forums - interchangeable knitting needle sets

Or one to suggest ways of dealing with the kids after your away;
Estranged Adult children - Parents Forum - GardenWeb

I agree that since you state you have "been talking" about this for years and now when it presents itself it is a no-go, it seems a bit "suspicious".

IMO you are totally screwed either way.

I know this married guy who for years .................errr.............well............ .that's another story. (actually I know two and have heard of several others)

Who knows what is next.
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Old 12-08-2012, 17:17   #32
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Re: Reluctant Wife

I will be in a similar boat (so to speak). Except my wife has already told me she will not go sailing more than a week or two. Hopefully it will work out so she can stay stateside in a small house and I will go cruising for a few years. Financially, the boat will have to be small, but if it's just me that's OK. If she came along, I would need a huge boat with complicated systems.

In 10 years, after my kid is done with college, things will start to get very interesting.

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Old 12-08-2012, 17:28   #33
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Marriage is pretty silly, if you think about it.

"Hey baby, we got a good thing going, why don't we get the church, the state, and the lawyers in on it?"
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Old 12-08-2012, 17:30   #34
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Originally Posted by s/vPainkiller View Post
That's a tough situation. I feel for you. I guess my gut reaction is that it's kind of unfair on her part to allow you to toil under the false assumption all these years that she was willing to go along with your dream. I doubt that this is a sudden realization on her part. I bet that this has been her feeling all along, and her "reasons" are just excuses. She sounds like she just doesn't want to do it. Period.

That said, all you can do is offer a compromise. Maybe a smaller house and smaller boat. Or a short term cruise like you said rather than long term. If you can't convince her to go under *any* circumstances, then you have to decide if you are willing to give up on your dream. The ball's then in your court. She certainly can't blame you for wanting to pursue something that she knows you have dreamed about for decades. Is that fair of her?

I definitely agree with Scott's assessment. It's not as though any of this came as a shock to her, going by what you've told us. I feel bad for you that you (and you as a couple) are going through sounds as though there was likely a lot of things left unsaid, on her end, over the years. I don't have any helpful suggestions, outside some of the ones that have been voiced by CF'ers already. This place is pretty good for that.

I wish you luck, as well as a peaceful spot in your mind from which to make your decisions.

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Old 12-08-2012, 18:12   #35
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Re: Reluctant Wife

There's always the "fixer upper" or 'project boat" solution.

Have a talk with your wife about how much you want to go cruising. I'm sure you've already done this but this time you have a simpler outcome - to get a cruising boat.

See if you can pin down her objections and work through them as much as possible.

She's your wife, I assume you've been through a bit together and have a fair bit in common. She has as much to loose as you in a divorce, particularly after the kids have left. Check out the stats on remarriage/new relationship for older women and you should get my drift.

It's possible the kids have become independent and started to drift away and this together with your hare brained schemed to go round the Horn has freaked her out.

Be realistic about what you want, what she wants and what is achievable.

Now start to look for a "fixer upper", one that is affordable with your present finances and that allows you to keep the house. Reading between the lines it sounds like you're no longer a spring chicken so compromising (possibly on a trawler) may be realistic for you both. See if you can involve her in the search - women are inherently curious, particularly about the activities of their partner, so even if she says 'no' eventually she will have to see what you are up to.

Do some solid research so that you know what it will cost to rejuvenate an older boat.

Keep this up for a while and eventually you'll could start to see cracks appearing. Go on for long enough and you should end up with a nice project. Make sure it's close enough to where you live that you can get to it for at least a few hours every day.

Do put enough time in so that she realizes that she has a choice between the home with a few vanishing kids and comfortable time with you.

Eventually you could be able to head off for a few months smooth water cruising, put her fears to rest and rent the house...
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Old 12-08-2012, 18:16   #36
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Have you tried champaigne?
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 12-08-2012, 18:26   #37
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Re: Reluctant Wife

We solved our dilemma by becoming commuter cruisers. My husband was the one that didn't want to go cruising full time - he enjoys one design racing and we spend several weekends in a summer traveling to regattas east of the Mississippi. Our compromise was to cruise only for the "cold" season - winter in Illinois. We're lucky because it satisfies both of our sailing dreams.

Your situation is a bit different, but I think I'd try to reach a compromise - a smaller boat, a smaller land base, only the two of you can reach the compromise. Both of us have benefited from our compromise, there's nothing like going cruising, but we're involved in our kids and grandkids lives as well as continuing David's racing passion.

Good luck!
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Old 12-08-2012, 18:27   #38
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Yes you have a problem,one that many sailors/cruisers have experienced.I read all the postings, and nobody suggested looking at yourself, are you a trustworthy captain, in which she has confidence, do you know how to make HER living on a boat
pleasurable ,and can you help her with her anxiety, I help /teach couples adjust to life on a boat,you almost sound as if her goals are not obtainable living on a boat.They are, especially if you love each other,TALK LISTEN TALK LISTEN go slow, it is worth it, best of luck to you both. Ole
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Old 12-08-2012, 18:35   #39
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
There's always the "fixer upper" or 'project boat" solution.
A fixer upper wife and a project boat. Hmmm... Can't afford both - LOL...

OP - As you can tell everyone is sympathetic - why not we are all sailors?

Marriage or long term relationship is a compact. She diligently raised 3 kids (and maybe worked, I don't know) and you diligently went to work for 30 years.

You appear to have been honest about long term goals but apparently something got lost in translation. Presuming you don't want another divorce something's gotta give.

Not retiring on a boat is not the worst thing that can happen. Also, when the kids are gone I presume your "bigger" house can be donwgraded to a smaller house or even a condo - and the condo/boat idea may work.

She will likely resist downgrading the house as may have visions of all the kids and grandkids coming to town for thanksgiving and Christmas but the reality she doesn't know yet is that the kids will get busy with their lives and they will presumably scatter to find suitable work. The days where people live and die on the same street seem to be gone if you want to find the good jobs - and the big family visits will just not really happen in all but tv families and a few rare ones.

I suspect she is going through a tremendous transition right now from homemaker to empty nester. You can't fix this for her but you can help her through it.

If it were me I would definitely and seriously talk about options. I would not offer solutions but I would ask her how she can solve your problem. People are more willing to help you then have their plans challenged directly.

You need to convince her that you need some sort of lifestyle that includes boating. It doesn't have to be now but there has to be a concrete plan that she buys into.

Now depending on how all that conversation goes really sets what happens next. I stayed 23 years in a failed and sad marriage (jeez who hasn't) and finally pulled the pin 4 years ago. Year 1-2 were pretty brutal financially but I knew it was the right decision.

I may have 15-25 years left. I refuse to exit this life without having done "for me." - It may sound selfish but that is from the perspective of a society that believes the working spouse should spend 50 years being an ATM machine and then croak in bed one night.

Life's too short but it is also surprisingly long.
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Old 12-08-2012, 18:38   #40
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Lot of great advice for all of us to consider. I think the trawler idea makes sense. Combine it with scaled back goals; instead of several years of open-ended cruising, how about coastal cruising, maybe the Great Loop. That way she's in a less tropical environment, not out of site of land often and close to points where she can get off and visit the kids or vice versa. Who knows, she may get it in her blood and be ready for a 55 mile crossing to the Bahamas. In my opinion, the Bahamas offer some of the greatest cruising in the Western Hemisphere. Also easy access to the US. Realistically, while this has been your dream it may be a little too ambitious. Many cruisers burn out after a year of two. Scale back and compromise. Good luck
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Old 12-08-2012, 20:13   #41
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Rant warning
I could be nice, but….
You have a problem, the question is whether your wife’s refusal to be a long term live abroad is the problem or just a symptom.
If you push your wife too hard you may just end up without the funds for a house or boat and may have to continue working so you either need to decide what is important to you. If you succeed in pushing her to agree then I suspect that if she is not happy (as will probably be the case) you will find that there are worse things than sailing alone.
Several of the posters have mentioned communication – look at your own post.
! Several times we discussed, semi-seriously, the prospects of just continuing on and escaping from the maddening crowd.” “Naturally, I expected my wife to be as excited as I am, considering I had voiced my desires for retirement many times.” “I have offered a compromise of sailing for only three to five years, !! In short, I think she's scared.
I am not a woman or even an expert at understanding women, lol. However I have managed to work out a few things along the way. Firstly they are human beings (yet to decide if men are) but all of us like to be consulted and have our views and wishes considered. There are (as a generalisation) differences in the way that women communicated and how they make decisions. Women communicate face to face with each other, men communicated side to side; things get complicated when the two approaches meet. Women are more inclined to make decisions by trying to reach an agreement – it isn’t settled until it is resolved. Personally this is why I prefer to work with, and have, female managers. Are you sure that you reached an agreement or did you just “think” and “expect”. A good general rule is “you have two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion”
Think logically, you have tried to sell the wife a product (live aboard cruiser with a unguaranteed promise that you will return to land after 3 to 5 years). She is not buying because: she does not like the product and/or thinks the price is too high and/or wants to spend her resources in other ways. So ……
Redefine the product – communicate with her (focus on listening to her wants and needs. If you know (not just think) what she wants then it will be a lot easier to sell her something that is tailored to her as well as you. What I guess is that the issues will include, security (safety and financial), access to family (don’t foget friends and pets) and health.
In this regard some of the solutions have already been identified. Down size the house to some thing that is suitable to maintain inderpendance in for as long as possible WHEN you do return to land. This is your grantee that you will be returning rather a vague offer of 3 to 5 years. Look at things from her perspective, you sell the house – buy a boat, what happens to her if something happens to you and she is stuck with a boat that will be hard to sell at a reasonable price so that she can return – hell she is not the one that is THAT interested in sailing.
Buy a boat that needs work, but make sure that it is a boat that will be labour intensive rather than capital intensive to bring up to scratch. Seek to get her involved in the decision especially as related to the cosmetics of the boat. The more of herself she see in the boat the more attached she will be to it. Seek to get you kids/grand kids interested in sailing. That way what was a problem (not seeking the kids) becomes and opportunity. It would be nice to give them an “opportunity of a life time” to experience some of those great time that you enjoyed with you wife – lol.
Having a boat in the location so that you can work on it should provide her with the opportunity for her to make friends in the boating community. If you sell up and sail away in the current situation she WILL grieve for her friends.
Remember when she tells you of her wants and needs to tell her that you are glad that she pointed that out because you were “so tied up in your own dreams that you fogot about the other opportunities in life”. OK so that’s humble pie as well as a bit of a guilt trip.
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Old 12-08-2012, 20:42   #42
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I always thought long term cruising would be great, my wife was not convinced. We are on the northern Chesapeake so we decided to take a trial run to New Bern, NC and leave the boat there during my last winter of work. We both had a great time on both legs of the trip. Being cautious suggested Charleston for the next winter, she decided why not the Keys and the Bahamas, I said great. Did the Keys, not the Bahamas and determined living aboard is not something either of us wanted to do. Glad to be home and have the boat in a nearby marina ready for short term trips.
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Old 12-08-2012, 20:46   #43
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Originally Posted by mrohr View Post
Girlfriends sail, wives don't.
Sorry, but what a load of cr@p!
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Old 12-08-2012, 22:32   #44
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Originally Posted by Davie J. View Post
A number of years ago, after a divorce and before I met my current wife, I bought a 38' sloop and went sailing for a year. What I learned was that sailing is much better when shared with one's significant other. Being a companion oriented male, I found myself lonely and lacking in the satisfaction that normally comes from the freedom of sailing.

When I married my current wife Ann, she knew of my obsession with sailing. Several times we chartered boats in various Caribbean locations and sailed together for 10 days to two weeks. Ann was in heaven! Several times we discussed, semi-seriously, the prospects of just continuing on and escaping from the maddening crowd.

Now it's time to retire and I am ready to buy my boat and spend the rest of my ambulatory life afloat. Naturally, I expected my wife to be as excited as I am, considering I had voiced my desires for retirement many times.

Needless to say, I was astounded when she told me that she will not retire to a sailboat with me! Her feelings about me have not changed, but the boat is out. We don't have enough money to own a house for her and a boat for me, let alone pay for the expenses of two in different environments. I'm crushed!! I've waited most of the last 25 years waiting for this period in life and now I don't know what to do.

Ann wants to be close to the kids: one is in New York and the other two will be scattered to who knows where. Plus, she is afraid of skin cancer: once she had an in Situ melanoma but, when it was removed, the cancer didn't spread. Now, after 20 years, she has no signs of melanoma nor any other form of skin cancer. She tells me that she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life "lathering up" with sun block.

I have offered a compromise of sailing for only three to five years, but she is having none of it. Truth be told, I think she is afraid of sailing out of sight of land. Most of our sailing charters have been island hopping in the Virgin Islands. It's like sailing in a big bath tub!! In short, I think she's scared.

The purpose of this dialogue is to get whatever advice I can get from female sailors who might read this blog. I'm sure that I don't understand the female point of view, but I'm desperate to find a solution. If anyone has a suggestion, please, please let me hear it.
I have spoken on this topic (and on CF) about this aspect before.

Ana has even posted a section to our blog ... i think it is Impi's solutions for fun as a female sailor and has a section for men and female sailors ...

To keep it short, I think that first of all you would need to equip the boat for every comfort if your wife is already reluctant to do this ... Fresh water and plenty of it for showering, washing clothes etc. Also, put in a washing/drying machine so to have fresh laundry is easy ... hair dryers and other electrical appliances must be easy to run on the boat.

Secondly, plan a route that is easy, safe and includes ways to see the kids often enough. My kids were at first a bit hesitant about me leaving on our cruise but now they LOVE visiting us and joining in on the adventure from time to time.

Thirdly, get a good communication system on board to keep in contact with the outside world. We talk regularly to our kids on skype, email them, have a cat-impi facebook page where they can interact ...

I find it quite astounding that males get confused when we want to sail around following our dreams, never present a plan to our woman, do not assure them that we will keep them comfortable and safe and that financially we have the means to do it ... and then wonder why our wives do not wish to follow 'the dream'.

I am sure that if you broke the news to your wife and also presented her with a clear cut plan of how you will 'kit out the boat' and a plan (which includes safety) as to where you will travel and how you can afford to do this, how and where you will see the kids etc. etc. and that should it be something you both just don't enjoy as much as you thought you would, an exit plan to revert back to living on land ... you would have a good shot at it!
In our own style and our own time ...
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Old 12-08-2012, 23:09   #45
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Re: Reluctant Wife

Give her a go to sailing or staying home and drinking heavily and looking all days of Hornblower vids and drinking more..

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