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How to be fair?

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  • How to be fair?

    The questions and replies regarding divorce and the disposition of home shop assets( My divorce was years ago, amicable about the shop, now long since remarried) have set me thinking about my present circumstances, which perhaps are faced by some. My present wife has helped me in my hobby for nearly 30 yrs, she has helped me move machines,driven our steam engines , attended countless steam and hobby shows, provided me with packed lunches, occasionally carted me to hospital when needed!!! etc etc. Sadly, as a result of a couple of car accidents( not her fault) and arthritis now she is quite disabled, uses a cane and sometimes an electric scooter to help mobility. Yesterday she drove out to the railway track to" see what you were doing" and helped out bringing back lots of stuff that wouldnt fit on my truck, saving me a second run out, even though she had to be helped up the steps at the clubhouse. I feel rather guilty leaving her at home alone, yet we know full well she cannot cope with even my outings for which are less strenuous than previously. We go out to the theater, occasionally to the casino, to church , to family functions, days out and even the occasional overnighter away but I sometimes feel i am somehow shortchanging her. How do the rest of you keep things " fair"?? Regards David Powell

  • #2
    I don't see anything wrong with a man and a woman each having their own hobbies, friends, etc., as long as they also enjoy doing some things together, some of the time.

    I HATE HATE HATE to be "smothered" or to be expected to do everything that she wants to do and go everywhere she wants to go. That was a big factor in the undoing of all my previous relationships.

    Same with money -- she should have her own spending money, I should have mine. Yet both are involved in important financial decisions like houses, cars, utilities, careers, etc..

    It sounds like you are your wife's hobby. Her world revolves around you. This is not unusual in a relationship. But ..... that's her choice. Personally, I don't think it is the healthiest choice in the world, but that's the way it is, and it has worked for you two all these years.

    So ..... regarding your guilty concious -- don't spend every waking hour on your hobby while ignoring her, but don't spend every waking hour on her while ignoring your hobby. Find some middle ground.

    Ah ..... the HSM personal advice column. Ha Ha Ha.


    • #3
      Does the woman have any interests other than following you around?? Only partly kidding... Seriously, consider her true interests by listening (maybe over the special meal mentioned below) to her and then support her in her interests as she has you in yours once in a while to establish some balance.

      If you still think you're getting the better of the deal, buy her flowers or a bauble once in a while and maybe go out for a special meal toHER favorite place... Most effective is to tell her as well as show her how much she means to you/how much you appreciate her...

      Just my opinion, it's only worked for me for 23 years, YMMV.
      Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


      • #4
        In reading the first reply, I think the point may have been missed. Unless I am reading things wrong, your wife is in no way complaining or being "needy". The only thing mentioned were genuine physical help needs that come from physical limitations-- which is part of a marriage as we get older.

        I think I understand where you are coming from since I am in a similar situation. My wife is unbelievably patient and supportive. When her mother passed away and insurance was settled, my wife basically bought me my lathe and Bridgeport mill out of sheer generosity. She occasionally makes me lunch when I am out working in the shop and brings it out like a picnic. She has helped me load huge greasy machine tools on and off trailers, and helped me as I built my shop. I never hear a complaint. She does have her own interests, as discussed, but does the loving things above out of sheer unselfishness and a desire to be with me. That doesn't make her "needy". As a result, I sometimes feel a bit guilty spending a bunch of time in the shop.

        I think the answer is to be in good communication and listen for hints of things she would like to do. Do them. If you don't get any hints from things she says, sit down and ask what she would like to do, together, with you....not so much a date (unless that's what she wants) as just time spent together doing things that she enjoys.

        You have a real gem there and it's admirable of you to consider her needs too. I think that goes a long way to avoid divorce. Few things serve to break down the irritating barriers that can build up between married folks than genuine, self-sacrificing interest in the other person's happiness.

        Paul Carpenter
        Mapleton, IL


        • #5
          "shared time"

          Originally posted by pcarpenter
          ask what she would like to do, together, with you....not so much a date (unless that's what she wants) as just time spent together doing things that she enjoys.
          There's always the "in between" aka you both do hobby time together in the same room.

          Comfy couch in the workshop in front of a big crafting table with storage for her crafty hobbies in front of a TV attached to one of those DVR things that records all her soap operas / daytime talk shows. And a shared fridge full of beverages we both enjoy (no alcohol around power tools of course, etc etc)

          Pluses - when doing certain operations its comforting to know there's someone in the room who knows where the power switch is and where the 911 phone is (thankfully never needed so far)

          Negatives - Right when so and so is about to tearfully confess to such and such about her soap opera misbehaviors, I light up my loud bandsaw cutting a couple inches of solid aluminum and she can't hear the most important part of her TV show... This has lead to some discord in the past. Also, when Dr Phil is doing yet another anti-male rant, its bad form to break out laughing or chuckling, at least its bad if she hears it.