What Should I Do?

Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

How to lessen the divide when you're not on the same page
Friday, December 17, 2010, 12:13 PM
Is your partner not “on board” with the ideas in The Crash Course?  Here are the do’s and don'ts of speaking with your reluctant partner.

In early 2002, the stock market was tanking and Chris watched our savings drop along with it.  Ignoring the platitudes of our financial advisor to "wait it out because the stock market always goes back up," he began an intensely focused (dare I say obsessive?) study of the economy.  What he learned made him both angry and afraid. He ranted about the state of debt levels, the fragility of fiat currencies, and the inequities of the banking system - and I barely listened:  “Uh huh.  Really?  Gosh, that’s too bad.  Can you pass me a diaper, please?”

The movie “The Matrix” had just come out, providing perfect metaphors that made him sound pretty darn crazy to me:  He talked about having taken the red pill, and that he didn’t want to be a battery for the machine anymore.  I figured this was some kind of mid-life crisis in the works.  It was an emotional squall; I just had to wait it out, and Chris would be back to his usual self in a few months.  But the squall didn’t pass - instead, it picked up energy and became a real storm.  The harder the storm raged, the more I shut down to what Chris was trying to tell me.  He was growing increasingly distrustful of the system and fearful about the impact on his family, but I couldn’t open up and listen to what he was saying at all.  No one else I knew was talking about this stuff.  What was the matter with my husband?

After a while, Chris changed tactics, and rather than attempting to force me to his position or expressing his fear, he altered the tone of his voice.  He cooled down, came to me one evening (I remember it well) and said, “I need to talk to you about something really important.  Everything I have been reading and researching is changing my impression of what the future looks like.  I’m looking at the future through a new lens, and what I see has huge implications for our family; I need you to learn what I have learned; to look through the same lens and see if you come to the same conclusions.”  

This change in approach helped me shift my own stance.  My earlier perception that Chris was coming at me strongly from a place of fear and anger led me to put up walls to protect myself from the intensity of his emotions.  When he shifted and came to me calmly, I was able to put down those walls and listen to what he was saying.  I began my own journey of learning about the economy (we were only looking at one “E” at that point), and quickly drew the same conclusions as Chris.  It was clear that our energy-dependent lifestyle and super-sized home were not in alignment with our new perspective on the future.

And while fear of “what might go wrong” provided the initial energy I needed to sell our house and move, it was the calling of a better way of life for my family that sustained me throughout the process.  I did not want to live in fear, but rather joy.  I could tell that the life we were visioning together was a better life - more connected to the land and natural cycles, more connected to our community and our children.  While Chris was primarily motivated by a desire to provide for and protect his family, I was primarily motivated by a vision of a healthier life for my children. 

Within a year, we had sold our big house, tossed our TV, moved to western Massachusetts, got chickens and planted a garden, took the kids out of school, and began focusing on community building.

We were incredibly fortunate to maintain our unity as a couple throughout the major life shift we undertook seven years ago. Since that time we have met countless people in our seminars and at talks who describe a similar dynamic in which one partner “sees the light” and the other is reluctant to follow. Frequently, there is no happy ending to the story, and rather than unity, the relationship deteriorates due to stress and disharmony.  So many folks have approached us wanting to know:  How did Chris and I make it through this stage?  In response, we have developed a list of successful strategies for working towards unity with your reluctant partner.  We have found these to be very successful, and want to share them with you all:

  1. Be aware of your own emotional state!  This is critical.  Read the 6 Stages of Awareness and identify which emotional state you are most closely aligned with right now.  Know that your emotional state has a huge impact on your partner, as our story illustrates.
  2. Set aside time and space to talk about your concerns; don’t try to talk to your partner offhandedly or while the other is engaged in a task.  Create space for a “serious” conversation; it signals to your partner that this is deeply important to you.
  3. If at all possible, set aside your own fear/anger/depression when talking to your partner, and communicate with as little “charge” as possible.  When I need to do this, I literally ask the scared (or angry or sad) part of myself to sit aside for a few minutes so I can have a conversation from a grounded, clear place.  What settles your emotions?  I feel settled after I spend time alone in nature, but everyone has their own way to create a state of inner calm.  Whatever that may be, do it before you have the “serious” conversation about why the implications of the Crash Course are important to you.
  4. Chris’s approach was really effective:  Instead of saying, “This is what I believe! You have to believe it too!” he encouraged me to learn for myself and see what conclusions I came to on my own.  At the time there was no Crash Course, so I had to read source material from numerous books, articles, and websites; instead of love notes, Chris left important articles on my pillow at night!  With the CC, you are fortunate to have much of the information in condensed form - use it wisely.  Ask your partner to watch the CC with you, to see what s/he thinks about the material.
  5. Everyone has different processing speeds.  If you are successful in getting your partner to watch the Crash Course, don’t assume s/he will be able to instantly process and respond to the material. Allow a few days to let it “simmer,” then check in and see if your partner is ready to talk about it.  It may take a long while!  We once had a man show up at our door who had seen Chris give a talk locally a few years back; initially he thought Chris was way off base, but he wanted to come back and let us know we were right!  We plant the seeds of this information and sometimes have to wait very patiently for the seed to germinate and sprout.
  6. If after watching the Crash Course, your partner is still not convinced, take a deep breath and let it go for a while.  Not everyone is ready to engage with this material – it is pretty intense, after all.  If you can, try to accept where your partner is without judgment; again, not everyone is ready to process this information at the same pace.  Your partner may need to hear it from his or her best friend, doctor, or trusted TV personality before the underlying beliefs can shift. The information may need to lie dormant for a very long time before it reemerges.
  7. Not everyone is built to be an early adopter.  While gaining some traction in the mainstream media, the implications of the Crash Course are still understood by only a small minority of the global population.  As the situation continues to unfold, it will become clear to more and more people, perhaps your partner as well.  Be patient!
  8. Agree to disagree.  If your partner is unwilling to join you in your thinking or personal preparations, ask for his/her blessing to follow your gut and do what feels right.  I know at least three couples in which one partner is quietly preparing, and while the other is not on board, s/he is not blocking the activity.
  9. Some partners are actively hostile to any mention of the Crash Course or related information.  This can be very challenging, especially if the other partner is passionate in his/her conviction about the implications of the CC.  If you can, accept where your partner is, even if you don’t agree.  If your partner is in this category, don’t even talk about the Crash Course or related material around them; it will only serve to solidify the opposing stance of your partner.  Read what you want, prepare in the ways that seem most important, but don’t try to involve your partner in the process.  Leave them alone.  Accepting them as they are and giving them space to be without judgment will be the most effective approach.
  10. Come to a seminar with your partner (the next one is Feb. 25 in Rowe MA) or schedule a private consultation.  We have seen major shifts happen with couples in our seminars.  There is usually at least one reluctant partner in each group, and frequently there are more.  Your partner will be in a room filled with very normal looking and sounding people who share the same beliefs as you do.  Your views will no longer seem quite so crazy!  Chris and I have been at this a long time and are both in a persistent state of emotional acceptance with the material; being in a room with others who are in acceptance provides an opportunity for deep shifts to occur.  We present the information with compassion and without fear or anger.  This allows people to lay down their emotional barriers and listen in a new way. One participant from Rowe last year said it most succinctly:  “I’ve never felt so safe hearing such scary information before.”
  11. If all of these approaches are not successful and you are at an impasse facing a deteriorating relationship, please seek professional therapy to help see you through it. 

Above all, know that you are not alone. There are thousands of others who share your experiences and frustrations in working with a reluctant partner, close friend, or family member.  If you have stories to share on this subject, I encourage you to do so in the comments below.  Together, we can support each other to find our way through the challenging landscape of relationships with reluctant partners.

best,
Becca 


This What Should I Do? blog series is intended to surface knowledge and perspective useful to preparing for a future defined by Peak Oil.  The content is written by PeakProsperity.com readers and is based in their own experiences in putting into practice many of the ideas exchanged on this site.  If there are topics you'd like to see featured here, or if you have interest in contributing a post in a relevant area of your expertise, please indicate so in our What Should I Do? series feedback forum.

If you have not yet seen the other articles in this series, you can find them here:

This series is a companion to this site's free What Should I Do? Guide, which provides guidance from Chris and the PeakProsperity.com staff on specific strategies, products, and services that individuals should consider in their preparations.

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39 Comments

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Thanks for your excellent advice Becca.  I've been hearing of your expertise on this topic for many months and it is good we are finally able to read your thoughts directly.  They are very helpful.

It would be good to have more articles from you on the following topics:

Dealing with our own emotional reactions to the expected future.  Having children makes this especially difficult.  There is good reason to fear for their future, and our emotions can complicate our actions and our relationships with them.  The 6 Stages of Awareness is a good foundation, but this could easily be expanded upon.

Dealing with friends and acquaintances.  This is risky as they are likely to write you off as a kook.

Thanks again.

Travlin 

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Thank you so much for sharing your story and your wisdom, Becca.  As you know, my husband is one who isn't on board with Chris' thoughts in the same way that I am.  We went to one of the early End of Money seminars, and we have known your family for years (practically since you made your big move from the old life to the new.)  And, of course, my dedication to my work here at CM.com makes Chris' ideas quite central to my life.  But despite that prolonged and frequent exposure, my husband simply doesn't have the same response as I do.

I found this very frustrating at first, and I couldn't figure out why he was so resistant to accepting what seemed to me to be self-evident truths.  And then I realized that the disconnect was not so much with the basic truths contained in the Crash Course, but how we are destined by personality to respond to that information.

I am a preparer.  I always have been.  Stockpiling pantry food, making sure we have hand-me-downs for the kids in the next several sizes, collecting how-to-books "just in case," all of those things have always appealed to me and made me feel safer and more secure even before encountering the information contained in the Crash Course.  I love keeping old-fashioned things for their usefulness and practicing self-sufficiency skills.  These practices calm my anxieties and fear about the future.  I prefer to take a proactive stance to provisioning, and I am acutely sensitive to gaps in my preparations.  My parents call it the "Depression mentality."  But Depression or no, I think some people are simply hard-wired to be preparers.

My husband is not a preparer.  It doesn't appeal to him to collect tools and durable goods for future use.  But after months of thoughtful observation and contemplation, I can say that he DOES have some incredibly useful skills and traits that apply just as importantly to preparation. He is remarkably emotionally self-reliant.  He has a deep-seated, unshakeable trust that he will be able to adapt to and find his way in any scenario.  He is smart and resourceful, he knows how to make things work under less than ideal circumstances, and he is optimistic and open-minded about what shape this might take.  To him, this mindset represents the most important form of preparation.  And I simply cannot argue with that. 

So our disagreements about where our attention and energy should be spent generally boil down to him feeling that my material preparations are based too much on guesswork to be well-placed, and me feeling that his lack of material preparation reflects some naivete about what is to come.  You know, we both have a good point:  Preparations all inevitably fall short of being fully effective.  It's an argument that goes round and round - is it worth it?  What is worth it?  What preparations make the most sense to each individual?

So it is clear that my need for preparation takes a more material form, while his need for preparation involves continuing to exercise and strengthen his ability to make the most of whatever comes his way.  I think the shape of his response is less common than mine; after all, here at CM.com we have found that when people ask us, "What should I do?" they are typically satisfied with suggestions for material preparations.  And it may well be that people who feel as my husband does are simply not attracted to a website that champions material preparation, so it may be true that we are surrounded here in this online community by people who validate "my" type of perspective and approach to preparation.

Anyway, after struggling with that seeming disconnect for many months, even years, I have come to feel that my husband's emotional preparedness and confidence is as essential to our well-being as my material preparations.  We do disagree on some of the finer points of Chris' arguments - I tend to look at the worst-case scenario, while he tends to look at the best-case and not feel quite as doomey as I do, but we do agree on the basic facts of the 3 Es and where they are headed.

While he doesn't always agree with my choices with regard to purchasing and accumulating things -- often I feel something is an essential expenditure while he feels it is not, and this can be stressful with a tight budget -- he does unquestionably support my need to do what I feel I must to increase my sense of security and ease my anxiety in the way that my personality requires.  And he is entitled to the same from me - I cannot push him to join me in my plans and purchases, but I can honor the validity of his own less-material "preparation" of maintaining a strong core of inner emotional resilience. 

It is important to remember where your values intersect, and all too easy to get stuck on the (hopefully far fewer) ways in which you do not see eye-to-eye.  Keep in mind all the good reasons why you partnered with this person in the first place, give them space to grow in their own way and in their own time, and take the steps you require to support your own need for preparation.

And ultimately, I feel that our family of six will be richer for having two adults with different perspectives and offerings.  Thank goodness for my kids that I keep a deep pantry.  And thank goodness for them that their dad is a fearless optimist about our family's ability to survive, with or without that pantry.

So I want to encourage those of you who are reading this to consider whether your partner's perspective may be, for them, a reflection of acknowledgment and preparation, even if it doesn't appear so at first glance.

Good luck to all who are feeling challenged by their partners' differing perspectives.

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1836
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

"At the time there was no Crash Course, so I had to read source material from numerous books, articles, and websites; instead of love notes, Chris left important articles on my pillow at night!"

Wow, you must have really loved him to read all those articles rather than have all the relevant data nicely assembled in one convenient presentation! :-)

My wife and I have watched the Crash Course (sometime last year). But she got into the "nesting" stage and the "think positive" stage and now we're in the "pass the diapers" stage and I feel like I'm the only one thinking all these things because she's just been so overwhelmed with our newborn twins and as a mother and natural optimist, she wants to think only of positive things.

Two things please:
1. Please remind him to update the Crash Course. Some of the material is two years old now and there is so much more compelling data now! The national debt is even higher!
2. Please consider holding a Crash Course seminar in Southern California! Would love to attend!

One additional positive note: I loved the "What Should I Do?" series. It is helpful to have things to do, that those of us who are of very limited finances and physical resources can do. Not everyone can go trading in commodities and gold or even store physical gold. Not everyone can afford nor have space to store 6 months or a year of food for a family.

Poet

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2099
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Amanda wrote:

Good luck to all who are feeling challenged by their partners' differing perspectives.

This post is an excellent "case study" (and really well-written!).  Thanks Amanda.

And as a supplemental thought to the contrast between your prep style and your husband's prep style (which you trace back to differences in your core personality/way of being or seeing things), I can say that I was a guy who stretched my post-college wanderjahr into a decade-plus of hither-and-yon.  My friends got used to me picking up and heading off to the horizon every couple of years.  I was most definitely not a collector of material things.  But now I'm putting deep roots down and gathering all sorts of stuff (they see it as just the typical mid-life American accumulation of material things, whereas to me the stuff constitutes a material hedge of necessaries against future uncertainty).  If only they were willing to understand the Why of it.

So, too late to keep this short, but FWIW, personality types IME can shift -- at least as pertains to the 3Es and the Upcoming Excitement.

And as for Becca's story, although I heard it in person at the New Paltz seminars last April, I was glad to get another gander at it.  (I find I get a deeper understanding w/repeat exposure [I re-watched disc 2 of the CC DVD last weekend and had any number of "ohhh yeah"/"aha!" moments].) Thanks to you too!  

Viva -- Sager

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Posts: 1322
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Amanda

That was a very wise and thoughtful post.  Thanks for taking the time to do it.

Travlin 

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 443
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Becca, it's nice to hear from you.  There is a great truth in your article, I think. 

This wisdom can benefit anybody, at any point in their life:  the idea that acceptance is a part of love, is important not only in discussing the Crash Course with a partner but in many other areas of life, too.

Rector's picture
Rector
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 8 2010
Posts: 322
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Thank you for the well thought out post.  I had lunch with a college friend today who is awake but his wife is totally hostile to the end of the world as we know it.  I didn't have alot of good advice but I know he is checking the site each day.  This will make a difference and you have done something worthwhile with this effort.

Hat tip,

Rector

allenwong8838's picture
allenwong8838
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 27 2009
Posts: 18
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Thank you Becca for sharing. Very nice piece.

Andi's picture
Andi
Status: Member (Offline)
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Posts: 1
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Great to hear a woman's voice on this site - this area of thought and discussion can be a bit male-centric. Thanks Becca

Becca Martenson's picture
Becca Martenson
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 35
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Thanks to everyone for your warm responses to my article.  I appreciate your feedback.

Travlin, you requested more information about "dealing with our emotional reactions to the expected future", especially with the added complexity of having children, and the fears that naturally arise when we think about their futures.   I wanted to let you know that I am working on a piece on emotional preparation and it will hopefully be out after New Year's sometime.

Amanda, thank you for your insightful reflections on your husband's emotional resilience, and your journey to appreciate his response to future uncertainty.  It sounds like you two have found a perfect balance in your relationship, with you holding the physical preparations and Sean being the source for emotional resilience and optimism.  Your children are learning from both of you how to manage the changing and sometimes less-than-ideal conditions life presents.  Celebrate what you each bring!   I am always grateful for the different gifts Chris and I each bring to our relationship and family.

Poet, it sounds like your wife is doing an amazing job if she remains optimistic while mothering infant twins!  The early stage of parenting, when the babies are still nursing and in diapers, is unbelievably taxing (physically and emotionally) for both mothers and fathers.  Please just let her be where she is, and support her positive attitude (it will be much healthier for your children to have an optimistic and happy mom, believe me!).  If you need to "hold the darkness" for a period of time while she is immersed in mothering, please do this.  This is a beautiful gift you can give your family during this important stage of your children's life.

As for the updated Crash Course, it will be coming in book form in March!

This wisdom can benefit anybody, at any point in their life:  the idea that acceptance is a part of love, is important not only in discussing the Crash Course with a partner but in many other areas of life, too.

I couldn't have said it better myself Jrf29.  Thank you.

Nate's picture
Nate
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: May 6 2009
Posts: 459
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Becca,

The CM community really appreciates you opening up and sharing how you grew and learned through this process.  I have aways been a non-mainstrean individual, and my wife simple more old school (farm girl).  We were fortunate to hear Chris speak at Sonora, Ca.  As he came on stage, my wife asked "is this where they hand our the cyanide?"  By the end of Chris's talk, she understood my concerns.  Chris's credentials, knowledge, and presentation skills sold her on where we are headed.  He is really a well rounded and gifted individual.

Our current position today is "one foot in this world and one in the next".  More than 10% prepared (food, shelter, and warmth), but still some gaps.  Currently our steps are baby steps, but we continue to more in the right direction.  Unforltunately, it will take one more shoe to drop to move us in high gear.  What keeps me going is that being 50% prepared is alot better than 0%.

Nate

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 1543
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Hi Becca-

  Thanks for sharing your and Chris's story.  It helps those of us going through such difficulties to know that we aren't alone!  Thanks also to Amanda and the others who have shared their stories as well!

  There has been some additional great discussion on this topic on earlier threads.  One  folks can check out is at http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/depression-and-marriage-problems-taking-red-pill/33400.  I think there were some other threads too; but this was the only one whose name I remembered enough to find it. 

 Wishing you the best over the holidays,

 pinecarr

isora's picture
isora
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 8 2010
Posts: 21
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Yeah, "reluctant" ...but it isn't surprising me, after I had a few month of time, to think about. The E-facts are hard stuff. Who wants to hear in detail, at which high degreed all the work ants (like me and probably You) were fooled in each thinkable way?

And it took several month for my wife, to accept some of the basic thoughts. Helpfully the last 2 years were filled up with headlines, we never heard before - so we wondered: what could have changed?

...I'm from Germany. We had a lot of  events in history which  took all wealth from the work ants: Weimar Republik, Great Depression, WWII, changing the Mark (of the former GDR- Germany Democratic Republic) into the Deutsch Mark (D-Mark of the FRG at a rate of 2:1) and changing the D-Mark into the Euro (rate 2:1 again).

But the spaghetties, the fuel, the bread, electricity and so on stayed at the same levels, but the incomes were cut by half each time.

My wife had even more difficulties to accept my doings. I spend or let's say: I invested 6 full months of 2010 onto the subject and haven't stoped yet. More than one month of the six I used for the translation of the CC into german language - together with friends from Switzerland and Germany (Mark, Chantal, Paul, Uwe).

When the CC will be available in german by the end of  January 2011, I hope my wife will dive into it together with me. I think she was a little bit jealous of the things I deal with. And I was filled up with passion and anger and anciety - You bet.

But now we have a pantry, an owen, canceled all retirement plans because of inflation and think about real money. So at last the truth works it's way :-) Hopefully I start into a new episode of my working life within weeks: I combine my former doings (IT) with a job dealing with IT around the production of an engine making electricity and warmth out of natural gas (cogeneration unit or CHP: combined heat and power unit).

As the old Karl Marx said: An idea materializes into power, when it grasps the masses. So Chris, You changed the life of lot's of works ants into knowing work ants (red pill). Our savings won't be stolen by politicians and bankers and magnats anymore. I often must think and laugh of the saying of Ron Paul: "Don't steal! The government hats competition."

And maybe the works ants will express their anger sometimes. Time for changes?

Thankfully. Joerg

WedgeHead's picture
WedgeHead
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Joined: May 17 2009
Posts: 13
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Becca,

Thanks for your thoughtful insights.  Thankfully my wife was immediately on board when I approached her with the Crash Course.  (Hardly anyone else has been, but I'd take her first anytime!)

I'd be interested in your insight about sharing information with your kids.  We have a 13 year old son and 11 and 7 year old daughters.  (I actaully met you in Denver in July 2009 -- I was the one who chose to fly back to San Diego for my son's graduation and had to miss the Sunday session.)  I have kept my job and income and the preparations we have made have been more on the financial (precious metals, cash), deep pantry, stored water, etc. so nothing as dramatic as a move to the country.  All of my family is in the immediate area, which makes any contemplated move more difficult.  When the kids ask about any prep stuff we are doing we typically portray it as earthquake/wildfire preparation, which doesn't overly alarm them.

What are your thoughts about the appropriate method and timing to educate kids on these issues depending on their ages?  While we want and need them to understand what our concerns are at the appropriate time, we also don't want to unnecessarily alarm them or steal their childhood since our society does that anyhow. 

(I am not sure if you are aware of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, but they are middle school level books that present very compelling, and not unrealistic, visions of what a post peak oil future could look like.  It has lead to some interesting discussions with my son about what events could lead to that type of situation.)

Thanks,

Mike

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1024
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Thanks Becca, your contributions at Rowe when I attended a couple years ago and with posts like this really round out the genuine sincerity of the message of CM.com. 

I am currently seeking out possibilities for a new relationship and have come to realize that my ideal partner - she will need to be able to get on board with the necessary changes in perspective and lifestyle I am envisioning based on information from sources like the Crash Course.  In fact, its a deal breaker because trying to run a household as a single parent seems to be more and more both economically and mentally challenging without even considering the risks on the horizon of peak oil or dollar debasement. 

With kids, I generally find the right time to educate them is to give accurate information when they ask, up to the amount that satisfies their current level of interest.  Mine are still young, but they are regularly involved in the lifestyle I am trying to develop of more simplicity, frugality, and self reliance.  Will they still get up at 6AM to run out in 15 F weather to open the chicken coop when they are teenagers is still to be seen, but at least they getting a sense of the energy and effort that goes into necessities of life others might just take for granted.

Tom

peter31's picture
peter31
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Posts: 19
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Becca

Thanks for a great post.  I've seen this problem of the "reluctant partner" covered several times elsewhere but it's always helpful to read it again and realise other people have the same problem.

I'm a family physician in Belleville, Ontario, so your comment at No. 6 "your partner may need to hear it from his or her doctor" made me smile!  I wish it worked for me.  I and my wife are definitely at Stage No. 9.  I have been trying to talk to her about these issues for two years, but every time I raise it, however tentatively, she shuts down and doesn't want to know, and I pretty soon got the message "I don't want you to talk to me about this", so I don't.  Which makes it hard to discuss things that we really ought to discuss, like educating the children (we have four aged 3 to 9) and our work and retirement plans.  The last time I raised it, I said to her that I had some evidence about the state of the economy I wanted to show her and her response was "I don't want to look at the evidence".  So unfortunately I think it's going to take a major disaster like a war or fuel or food shortage to shake her out of that - I don't think I can do it alone.

If you're serious about the "go see your doctor about it" idea, and there's a couple local to me (in Ontario) having problems, I'd be happy to talk to them.  I also have a website under development, Post Peak Medicine (www.postpeakmedicine.com)

Regards, Peter 

ericsprojects's picture
ericsprojects
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Posts: 2
Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Amanda:

I am glad to hear that you and yours are working out solutions, even if you don't agree.

I am fortunate to have the wife that I do.  She is the one that found the www.PeakProsperity.com website and alerted me to just how important preperations are.  She is really getting us prepared.

We don't always agree on what is needed, but we do agree that the transition is not going to be easy and that we need to do our best to prepare.

The way I see it, no matter how much you stockpile, it will run out.  No matter what tools you have, some day they will break and you will not be able to get parts.  Machines break down, systems fail. 

The only thing that you will not run out of is skill or ability.  It's the only thing you can count on.  It doesn't break and it doesn't have to be rebooted.  It's just always there. 

For me, it's not what do I need or what should I do, but what don't I need, what can I do without.  Maybe your husband's thinking is a little like this.

Peace!

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Becca Martenson
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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Hi Mike, it’s good to hear from you!

The subject of how to talk to our kids is a difficult one for sure, and one many people wonder about.  I can tell you about my own experience and I’d love to hear what others think.  Honestly, this is a BIG subject, and I won’t be able to address it fully in this response.

I think the most important thing to remember when talking to your kids (or ANYONE, for that matter) is to keep track of your own emotional state and keep fear out of the conversation if at all possible. 

As you might imagine, our own kids have steeped in this material for years; they hear us talking about it the 3 Es, but we rarely sit them down and say “hey kids, the future might be a little dicey”.  If they ask a question, we’ll answer it honestly.  Obviously, different aged children require a different response.  I’ve been completely straight up with our daughter who is 16; I’ve let her know that we’ll have some challenging times ahead, but that we’ll pull together as a family and a community and come out stronger (my genuine belief).  With our younger kids (10 and 12), they know we expect a period of rapid change, but we don’t go into the potential darkness with them.  We are matter of fact about the times we live in-  that their adult lives will probably be pretty different from ours.  Not scary, just different. 

I think Tom said it very well:

With kids, I generally find the right time to educate them is to give accurate information when they ask, up to the amount that satisfies their current level of interest. 

We’re also matter of fact about our preparations- all the kids participated in our food packing day.  It was just another community event, like our chicken processing day.  Nothing unusual.  Certainly not scary.  Just what prudent grown-ups do when prepping for winter:  we fill the freezer with chickens and food from the garden, and make sure we have supplies on hand in case of emergencies.  Just like having a first-aid kit in the car.  No big deal.

I know that our community IS unusual compared to most folks, so talking about preparations in terms of earthquake/icestorm/hurricane etc is just fine.  Honestly, I’ve pulled out our oil lamps for power loss due to wind and ice storms MANY times.  Full breakdown of the grid due to economic calamity or peak oil?  Not yet. 

I’d love to hear what the rest of you think!  Chime in if you have stories to tell about talking with your kids about the 3 Es.

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Peter,  it must be challenging to try to talk to your wife about  this material and have her shut down in response. 

She’s just not ready yet, and there’s not much you can do about it.  Like the majority of folks, she’ll need to world to crumble a bit more aggressively before she’ll be ready to see what you can see now.  She is not alone.  MOST people fall into this camp.  Your children are still young and I advise that you let them (and her) stay “in the bubble” of their current worldview.  Will your wife allow you to manage the finances and make whatever preparations you feel are necessary, as long as you don’t include her in the process?  If so, go ahead and do what you need to do.  When the next big correction comes, perhaps she’ll be ready.  But maybe not.  Just keep plugging along yourself as best you can.  Find support here at the site and with others in your community if possible.

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

The children I have left at home are 13,14,16 ,&19   .    We do not sugar coat anything .  I tell them they are learning to garden and raise animals because it is cheaper and they will need to know it well enough to teach it to their children .

We study history and the other countries collapsing .  We  teach fishing , hunting,  survival skills and can shoot  better than I .They know how make soap , can and dehydrate food  , make  butter ,yogurt  & cheese . To make herbal medicine and Identify the plants . They know how to shear the sheep , wash the wool, card it spin ,  felt ,and crochet it .  They know how to care for the animals and to butcher them .  They care for the bee hive and harvest the honey  . They cut the wood , take care of the stove, and run the generator .  They know how to ride their horses like the wind .   Hey they even cut each others hair ! They know that they will not be going to college .  My library is full and for now the Internet is available .

They Know they may well have to depend on each other .   If I do not have patience they have grandparents  down the road that help teach some things . They have helped teach their nephews to bake pumpkin seeds and make baby food for the little sister .

  They have no fear or anxiety ... they are  young .  They have very few needs .  If you do not have much  you can not loose much .  They know how to get to town on Sat. night and have a good time with their friends .

Honestly  Kids just want  to spend time with you . They will learn from doing . The younger you start the better.

What I need to do is write a diary /calender   so if something happens to me they will carry on . They are kids ... you have to tell them to get their nose out of the book, get off FB , and get busy .

My  husbands fear is not having his retirement and possibly having to work until he dies .  He fears having more freedoms taken away . Having no TV  would be his biggest challenge .. I kid you not .  He has his routine and does not like it changed BUT  he would absolutely do anything to protect and care for   his family .   And so I know my children will do the same for theirs .

   Fellows  most  wives just want their little world to be safe , they need  to know they can depend on you to be there for the family..  no matter what .  Just do your preparations and have patience , they will  get on board the lifeboat  before the ship sinks .    They will not abandon you , but if  they do .... sad to say  you will be better off without the burden . You can say  "Honey , If  something were to happen while I was away or at work  would you know how to hook up the generator ?'' or "  Do you have any extra water or food stored incase the  Storm comes through here ?"   or " I was thinking about starting a little square foot garden  what do you think would be the best place  to put it ?"  Start small it will get the wheels turning .  

Ladies  leave the survival issues of Popular Mechanic's   or Mother Earth News laying in the bathroom .   Start a project that you can not finish on your own and they will come to your rescue to fix the mess . When they ask "What in the H*** you are trying to do then  you can give them little hints at a time . Make homemade bread and reel them in  LOL . Tell them how much cheaper it is and that you may need to know how to do it more often if the  price of groceries keep jumping up .

FM

PS.    There is no way you will get them to give up the Harley until it is their idea.

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Full Moon wrote:

They know that they will not be going to college . 

FM,

Just curious.  Why not?

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Thanks Becca.

I am leaving my wife in her bubble (together with the granite countertops, which seem to be an important part of the bubble) but I have actually found it much easier to talk to the kids about peak oil related issues because they don't have any preconceived ideas.  They are age 3 to 9, and obviously the 3 year old doesn't have much of a clue yet, but I try to plant some fun post peak ideas in the minds of the older kids, like "when you get older, wouldn't it be fun to learn to ride a horse as well as drive a car?" and "what other ways can you think of to heat our house in winter if the propane runs out, wouldn't it be fun to have a wood stove?"  I told them a story about pirate treasure and how pirates could tell real silver coins from nickel coins (you take a 1oz silver round, balance it on the tip of your finger and tap it with another one and it rings - cool party trick).  I have shown them a couple of peak oil related cartoons (try "How will you ride the slide?" from YouTube).  We started vegetable gardening this year, which the kids loved but my wife didn't (it's messy and dirty, it makes the yard look untidy, we don't have time for it, it doesn't produce much, it's cheaper to buy stuff at the store, yada yada).  So we grew some pumpkins for Halloween and they didn't realise I was actually teaching them about urban farming.  So I'm doing my best to give them a few useful survival skills which they might appreciate later on. 

FM and AO - I'm preparing my kids both for maybe going to college, and maybe not going to college, as I've no idea how fast or slow the collapse may be and what options may or may not be available 10-20 years from now.

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Becca,

I really appreciate the great article. I guess that since my wife jumped onboard immediately when I showed her the Crash Course, I took it (her) for granted. Now, after reading your article and the posts from those here whose partners either think it is crazy conspiracy theory talk, or they just aren't ready to think about a different future at all, I feel blessed. If there is anything I don't need right now is my partner acting like, "Don't worry, everything is better now, the guy on the TV said so," and my heart goes out to anyone in that situation. I think hanging in there and being patient with a doubting spouse, while doing your best to prepare, is sound advice.

peter31, Fortunately you are a physician. You can legally prescribe the "red pill". (sorry couldn't resist).

SS

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

1 .We do not have the cash  and will not go into debt . 

2.  Colleges are overpriced .   

3.  I will not pay for humanistic  teaching .   They will do apprenticeships as their brothers and sisters have .    

4.  IF  ( big IF )  we had our prepping done and had  cash to pay for College  then and only then would we consider a faith based college for the ones who might be called to a field that requires it .          

   Personal choices we have made ...  Not sending them just for an Mrs. ( to  find a spouse ) .   

  1.  FM
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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

ericsprojects wrote:

The only thing that you will not run out of is skill or ability.  It's the only thing you can count on.  It doesn't break and it doesn't have to be rebooted.  It's just always there. 

For me, it's not what do I need or what should I do, but what don't I need, what can I do without.  Maybe your husband's thinking is a little like this.

Eric, I appreciate your insights here -- and I can't resist saying hello and welcome!  It's wonderful to "see" you here.  Worlds collide!  If you don't remember me, your dear wife will.  Best wishes to all of you.

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Full Moon wrote:

Ladies  leave the survival issues of Popular Mechanic's   or Mother Earth News laying in the bathroom .   Start a project that you can not finish on your own and they will come to your rescue to fix the mess .

Wow, FM, you are crafty!  Smile

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Full Moon

Full Moon wrote:

Fellows  most  wives just want their little world to be safe , they need  to know they can depend on you to be there for the family..  no matter what .  Just do your preparations and have patience , they will  get on board the lifeboat  before the ship sinks .    They will not abandon you , but if  they do .... sad to say  you will be better off without the burden . You can say  "Honey , If  something were to happen while I was away or at work  would you know how to hook up the generator ?'' or "  Do you have any extra water or food stored incase the  Storm comes through here ?"   or " I was thinking about starting a little square foot garden  what do you think would be the best place  to put it ?"  Start small it will get the wheels turning

For this and for everything else you've written, thank you.

Poet

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Woodman wrote:

With kids, I generally find the right time to educate them is to give accurate information when they ask, up to the amount that satisfies their current level of interest. 

And they'll let you know if you're overdoing it.  My daughter gave me a good laugh the other night.. As I was tucking her in, she interrupted me mid-sentence (I honestly don't even remember what I was talking about).  "Dad, we don't have time for this if you're going to talk about the end of the world."  Just the little tweak I needed !

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

I  agree . All children love to learn .   Trapping them inside and making them sit for  Looooooong periods of time  kills the desire .  They love to create and learn life skills .      However  they are not all in tune with everything . Example  I can say "hey look  no Red in the sky tonight !"   And they will not automatically  register that they need to get ready for rain or snow.  I can say " did you see the  Sun Dog ?'  and  only then will it click that they need to get things ready for a storm .  But they do not  look for the signs  they are sometimes in their own  world .    You  teach them  by the way you live. .    You say Hmm  I wonder what might happen if we tried  this  or that ? What do you think ?

Also   do not assume your spouse Knows these things either .... They may not have had parents that took time to teach them. They may not  even know their directions .

   Mostly  I say  Learn what you can  and  change your self  first .  Practice what you preach, others will see the difference  ....you will attract not repel.

FM

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Full Moon wrote:

1 .We do not have the cash  and will not go into debt . 

2.  Colleges are overpriced .   

3.  I will not pay for humanistic  teaching .   They will do apprenticeships as their brothers and sisters have .    

4.  IF  ( big IF )  we had our prepping done and had  cash to pay for College  then and only then would we consider a faith based college for the ones who might be called to a field that requires it .          

   Personal choices we have made ...  Not sending them just for an Mrs. ( to  find a spouse ) .   

  1.  FM

I agree with much of what you say.  But for those with a genuine need and especially for those with the ability who are high academic achievers and have demonstrated citizenship and leadership in their lives, there are scholarships that will pay for almost everything.  And if you've educated them well, they will see through the weakness of certain humanistic teachings if they decide to one of those schools.  Also, a practical education doesn't have to preclude an academic education.  They can have both.

A future without a college education, in most instances, puts people at a distinct disadvantage in most fields.  For example, we have a friend who is very intelligent but never finished her college degree.  She works in a large library but her advancement has been halted because she doesn't have a degree.  She's smarter than most of the people above her but she's not going anywhere without that degree, unfortunately.

"The future belonds to those who prepare for it today"  Malcolm X        

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

ao wrote:

A future without a college education, in most instances, puts people at a distinct disadvantage in most fields.  For example, we have a friend who is very intelligent but never finished her college degree.  She works in a large library but her advancement has been halted because she doesn't have a degree.  She's smarter than most of the people above her but she's not going anywhere without that degree, unfortunately.

"The future belonds to those who prepare for it today"  Malcolm X        

Since most libraries are not "for profit", they do not have an incentive to promote on performance. Of course what one person considers "advancement" another could see as a trap that would pull their attention away from family and other interests. In many if not most fields, a degree might get you through the door, but performance is what counts. I think "high academic achievers" will gravitate towards college and careers that reward that, but I also believe that college education has been pushed on our society far too much. Starbucks is full of university graduates that may have been better off learning a trade. I'm not dissing working at Starbucks, but I doubt this is what these people went to college for.

SS

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

AO ,     Thanks ,  Yes they could get scholarships.   They move out on their own  to qualify for grants  But   my children who have degrees  make less than the ones  who have apprenticeships .   I am not telling other people to  not  send their kids to college .    I am  saying do not depend on it .   You  have to pay attention to which way your child  leans .  

some interesting findings off of Survivalblog

#1 Americans now owe more than $875 billion on student loans, which is more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.

#2 Since 1982, the cost of medical care in the United States has gone up over 200%, which is horrific, but that is nothing compared to the cost of college tuition which has gone up by more than 400%.

#3 The typical U.S. college student spends less than 30 hours a week on academics.

#4 The unemployment rate for college graduates under the age of 25 is over 9 percent.

#5 There are about two million recent college graduates that are currently unemployed.

#6 Approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.

#7 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

#8 The Project on Student Debt estimates that 206,000 Americans graduated from college with more than $40,000 in student loan debt during 2008.

#9 In the United States today, 24.5 percent of all retail salespersons have a college degree.

#10 Total student loan debt in the United States is now increasing at a rate of approximately $2,853.88 per second.

#11 There are 365,000 cashiers in the United States today that have college degrees.

#12 Starting salaries for college graduates across the United States are down in 2010.

#13 In 1992, there were 5.1 million "underemployed" college graduates in the United States.  In 2008, there were 17 million "underemployed" college graduates in the United States.

#14 In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.

#15 Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor's degree within four years.

#16 According to a recent survey by Twentysomething Inc., a staggering 85 percent of college seniors planned to move back home after graduation last May.

I went to college  ... partied my whole way through. So did my girl friends .   some are  teachers, one a bank teller .  All  making less money than my adult children after 30 years on the Job ..  And how safe are these jobs ?  I will not pay for my kids to go to college  for a piece of paper and a hangover .  My Daughter that has a nursing "Paper "  now works as a Nanny making a LOT more money and loving every minute of it ,

Again  I am NOT telling you to keep YOUR children out of college .  I am saying you do not have to have college degree to learn what interests you or so called  secure employment .  Go with what your gifts are . Think outside the box .

FM

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Ps.

My husband thinks people change their careers  on  average of 4 times any way  and that no one knows what they want to be when they grow up until they are 40 anyway .  LOL      

  We are just odd ducks .    

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Becca, thank you for this wonderful article -- I read the post you put on a previous forum thread dealing with this very topic, and it certainly deserved a wider readership than that thread alone received.

Kathy McMahon (Peak Shrink from Peak Oil Blues) recently discussed the different ways that men and women deal with reluctant partners after they take the red pill, and I think that much of her analysis fits what has been written here.  I know that when I first learned about Peak Oil and the numerous looming environmental dilemmas we face (climate change, mass extinction, habitat loss, etc.), my reaction was to first educate myself as much as possible before unleashing everything that I had learned on my wife.  In other words, the typical male approach to these kinds of problems.  Needless to say, my wife was far from receptive to my efforts, and it took a good 5+ years to finally get her come around to any meaningful degree -- and the biggest source of help in that regard was Chris's article on the WHYs of making your life more resilient.  I'll never forget that same day this past summer when my wife asked me if I wanted her to process some fresh tomatoes out of the garden, and I asked her if she managed to read Chris's article yet.  She looked at me, smiled, and said, "I did ask you if you wanted me to process those tomatoes, didn't I?"

According to Kathy McMahon, again, women tend to be much more subtle and group-minded, as opposed to data-driven, in their approach, often choosing to surround themselves (and, by default, their partners) with other like-minded people.  When the reluctant partner often finds himself surrounded by a group of people who commonly and openly discuss these "resiliency issues," over time they cannot help but be drawn in to a certain degree.

Anyway, that's just my $0.02, for what it's worth.  Thanks again to everyone for their contributions, and Becca for sharing this piece.

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Amanda wrote:

Eric, I appreciate your insights here -- and I can't resist saying hello and welcome!  It's wonderful to "see" you here.  Worlds collide!  If you don't remember me, your dear wife will.  Best wishes to all of you.

Amanda:  Yes, I do remember meeting you and your lovely family. 

I would have to say, it's not so strange to see a like minded person in the same place, after all, I believe my wife found out about this website through you.  I'm pretty sure the conversation went something like "Remember Amanda?  She says you have to read this..."

I am glad to see you doing well.

-Eric

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Musings_from_the_Fringe wrote:
Becca, thank you for this wonderful article -- I read the post you put on a previous forum thread dealing with this very topic, and it certainly deserved a wider readership than that thread alone received.

Here's Becca's earlier post, for anyone who is interested.

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Becca

Many thanks for your insight, you clearly have a very strong relationship and a willingness to see other view points.  I suspect many others are not as open to having their beliefs challenged.  What was alos interesting for me personally was how Chris began his journey.

My wife is happy for me to take the lead on preping and understands where I am coming from and doesn't stand in my way, there are come common areas such as gardening where we have shared more fully the importance of doing things. 

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Re: Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

Great advice Becca!

Most of my friends are in denial and think things will turn out, (because thats the way it's always been thier short 35 years of life.)  My coworkers are all in various stages of beleif and are surprisingly more receptive than my friends.  I'll try out some of these different approaches on them.  Thanks!

-Tommy

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Post Peak Medicine web site

Hi Peter,

          I was looking forward to checking out your web site on "Post Peak Medicine". Did you create another web site after having that web high jacked?  Sorry people that was supposed to be a PM but I can't back peddle .

Thx 

NN

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