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Anonymous: Wife Wants to Randomly Move?!

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  • Anonymous: Wife Wants to Randomly Move?!

    Received this message from a WCI user who wishes to remain anonymous. Please see below.

    Long time reader, rare poster, but would like to remain anonymous. I’m not sure if there is an easy solution to my problem, but this may just help me vent a little and maybe spark a discussion/solution for me.

    Few Facts:
    Me: Late 30s – partner in high-paying subspecialty practice with significant ancillary income (30%ile MGMA prior to partnership, now 99%ile once “buy-in” loans paid off in a few years)
    Wife: 30 – Stay at home mom now with our 4-month daughter (been married for 5, together for 10) - worked prior in medical field

    Location: LCOL area (1-1.5 hours to her parents and my parents in moderate to major metro areas)
    House: purchased 2 years ago, just finish $150k remodel (after living in apartments). We’re planning a bathroom remodel for next year….

    I love my job, I’m a young partner in a very strong private practice group. We are expanding throughout the region, ancillary income is significant, and all partners get along great.

    Many years ago during residency and fellowship, we interviewed all over the country and ultimately made the decision to come to our current location. Job and money are perfect; however, the location was OK since we would have preferred a bigger city with more unique amenities, but 1-1.5 hours away are major metro areas with everything you could want. So, in my mind, a win/win situation; and she agreed. Close enough to family, but not too close to be over every day. Lots of the senior partners have second homes/condos in the major metro areas and lake houses in the surrounding states.

    COVID definitely hampered our normal style as we travel 6+ times per year; cruises, international, beach, local, etc. We took one trip during COVID and are traveling to California in a few weeks for a quick week getaway. So, this lack of traveling may have contributed to this situation/funk, but she denies it does.

    We’ve been in the area for 3-4 years, have made lots of friends in the area and now we have a 4-month-old daughter. My wife worked prior to our daughter and occasionally hangs out with her work friends, but mostly we hang out with the wives of the other partners. But, in general, our 4-month-old consumes our lives now, which we both love!

    Over the last several weeks, my wife has basically come out of nowhere and says she hates living here and wants to move. This came to me as a complete surprise since we just bought a house and remodeled it. I’ve tried to talk to her about it and why she hates it here and there is no “good” reason; just hates it and wants to move.

    The only thing that has changed recently is that her father has been diagnosed with cancer (mid-70s) and probably has 3-5 years left. One of her siblings has also mentioned that they are moving back to where her parents are since the diagnosis (they were planning on moving in a few years, but are now considering moving up the move due to the diagnosis). This may be causing her stress and added pressure that she needs to be around!??!

    We cannot have any discussion in regards to this topic now because she just says she hates it and I cannot change her mind. I’ve offered the following ideas:

    -Get a nanny to help with the baby (give her more time to hang with friends, family, etc)? No, doesn’t matter
    -Get an apartment near her parents to help out this summer? No, that’s not why I want to move
    -Told her now with COVID improving, we can travel more. No, that won’t help
    -Should we go talk to someone to help us through this? No, I don’t need you or them telling me why we need to stay
    -Post-partum depression?! (definitely didn’t mention this..but maybe?!)
    -Join the local club/gyms to hang out with friends, do classes? No, won’t help

    This past weekend, I humored her and looked into all the job sites (recruiters, professional societies) for jobs near her parents. The hospital system is hiring in town, but the actual job is 1+ hour out of town in the opposite direction. This is the same hospital system that we’ve had 3 doctors that we personally know leave because of the terrible work environment. One of those doctors (who’s wife and him are from the area, built a forever home, and in the same specialty, etc.) left that hospital system and moved to our town because the work environment sucked so much. Her mom’s doctor's private practice doesn’t exist anymore as it got gobbled up in the last 2 years also. Literally, a HORRIFIC job market.

    I’m truly at a loss of what to do. I don’t want to be hospital-employed. My job is great. We’re so close to family and activities that in my mind it doesn’t matter that we need to drive 1.5 hours to see family or do some unique activities once in a while. I’d move and drive to my current job, but with call and driving 3 hours every day that seems backward instead of just driving to activities/family once in a while. My wife is not very close to her parents, to begin with, but maybe now with the diagnosis and new baby, maybe her view has changed?!?

    I know happy wife and happy life and I’d pretty much do anything for her. But leaving this job after a few years is just unfathomable. Maybe in 15-20 years, cash out and do earlier retirement, but not now. We made the decision together to come here for all the great reasons mentioned above.

    Thoughts/Suggestions/Ideas? How to even approach a discussion?


  • #2
    Communication. You're basically in a perfect gig now from a career standpoint, which obviously if you stay there you will be able to do whatever you want financially (within reason) for the rest of your life and that you're happy with from an environment perspective. If you would make this move you're going in essentially 180 * the opposite direction, to a worse QOL (driving an hour each way will suck), it seems like what you know about this market and opportunity also sounds bad.

    Your SO is going to have to do a little better than " I just hate it here," They need to communicate and use words if you're going to essentially leave a great place for a crappy one. If they explore what they actually want to do and why they want to do it, it will probably help bring clarity to the situation and help you guys find a good compromise.

    Is the issue they hate where you live, or that they want to be closer to their parent? Those are two different things with two different solutions.

    For example if they want to be closer to the city, could you perhaps split the difference between you and the major metro? Maybe a little more driving for you day to day but they are closer to big city. Or if the issue is they want to live near their parent, obviously that's different(unless the parent is in this metro).


    • #3
      You have to go to independent counselling


      • #4
        I think stress of taking care of the baby all by herself might also play a part. Why not help her out on some weekdays or weekends and give her some free time for herself.

        Some sort of part time home help might also help.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Panscan View Post
          Your SO is going to have to do a little better than " I just hate it here,"
          Ex-effing-zactly. What kind of teenager bullcrap is that?

          And yeah, it is almost certainly all the factors you mentioned, particuarly 'at home with 4 month old' and 'not working' and 'dad sick'. Her refrain proves that she doesn't (currently) possess the emotional maturity to process it. Maybe a little burned out. Goes back to communication.

          (But also I really want to hear from the women on this forum.)


          • #6
            I think you are stuck, no matter what you are doing your wife does not like your suggestions. An 1 1/2 hr is an easy drive. Sounds like she just wants to be "home", and I would bet if you moved back home , she still would not be happy.

            It seems like she is having some sort of psychological issues.


            • #7
              You guys just had life changing event. Taking care of newborn is really challenging. I would keep an eye out for postpartum depression and have her to talk to her OB or her doctor etc. Definitely hire some help if you can! and give her more breaks.


              • #8
                I think that "hate" is the first and foremost cognitive reality. You can fill in the rationale with almost anything. So "why" might not matter and cannot be rectified.


                • #9
                  I agree, there needs to be more than “I just hate it here”. So let’s say you agree to move, sell the house, get a new job, and after you’re there for a year, she hates it there too. Then what? Pretty tough call if she refuses to talk and refuses to go to therapy. Postpartum depression definitely seems like a possibly.


                  • #10
                    How much sleep do you both get each night with the newborn? Do you take turns getting up when the kid cries? That period in our lives was miserable. My wife did have post-partum depression and later told me she had suicidal ideation at that time. Post partum depression is very common. And I personally think sleep deprivation may contribute.

                    You said she just hangs out with the 4 month old and the wives of your partners? That doesn’t sound like my idea of fun.

                    It does kind of sound like your life is exactly how you want it to be and her life might possibly not be that great right now.

                    It sounds like you really like your job. That might be a source of contention if she has ambitions to do something besides being a stay at home mom. She also may not care about the things you think are important - like how much money you’ll eventually make as partner. It’s hard to give advice without knowing your exact situation. But consider cutting back at work to spend more time with your wife and your kid.


                    • #11
                      Being home might not make her as happy as she thinks it will.


                      • #12
                        I can’t add much more than what has already been said but this is a relationship/psychological issue. Counseling is what you BOTH need. If she refused counseling then some hard questions need to be asked and answered.


                        • #13
                          Sorry that your family finds itself in this position. I would definitely agree with those saying that objective, professional help is required. There seem to be very many factors that could be affecting your wife's thinking and she needs to explore them and have time and help in doing this. Her family doctor and OB are both good places to start and then individual counseling for her followed by counseling together. It would be a huge decision to move from what seems like a very good situation and the potential for impactful resentment seems very high with either choice. DW and I made a radical move 20 years ago when we had 4 children under 6 and lived to tell the tale. Communication is indeed the key.


                          • #14
                            I’m trying to imagine a situation in which I would do this to my husband. I can’t imagine one. I might say “I really don’t like it here but understand you do, can we make some adjustments or a timeline that we’re not going to be here forever?” But “I hate it and we need to leave”?? Never. And we are equal breadwinners so it’s important that both of us be reasonably happy at work—if one were working and the other wasn’t, the work happiness of the breadwinner would be a very large factor in any decision.

                            Happy spouse, happy house. Both of your life satisfaction is important. She doesn’t get to singlehandedly make this decision. Where you live is just a very small factor in happiness. I think there is something going on with her that she likely will need help to figure out. If she doesn’t want to pursue help that is going to be really difficult. This feeling may pass if it’s just been a few weeks but if she thinks that anytime she doesn’t like something you need to make a major life change to fix it for her I think there will be more issues ahead.


                            • #15
                              Agree with independent counseling.

                              I don't know what your wife is thinking, but I'd read this thread:

                              I imagine that the isolation of living in a LCOL area without much amenities as a 30 year old is suffocating, especially over the past year.

                              I think giving up a career at that age can be hard too, especially with a partner who's achieving so much. The Happiness Curve may be worth reading. We're not meant to be happy unless we're accomplishing something. I don't think a lot of people are cut out to be happy as stay at home parents, even if they're doing it in a brand new high end home.