Prepping With A Reluctant Partner
It sounds like there is something very wrong and very serious going on here between you and your wife. While you may want your wife to prepare for her next life, she is extremely uncomfortable and barely able to manage her current one. Social anxiety may not be the cause, but it is definitely a symptom of a bigger problem. I would suggest re-framing this problem in your mind away from "spouse disagrees with prepping" and now consider these issues to be fundamental problems in your marriage which need to be addressed immediately. It sounds as if your wife is embarrassed by you and does not want you to be who you really are. Why? If this situation persists, the resentment will continue to grow and you will both be very unhappy people in a lonely, painful relationship. Here are a couple of jumping off points to try to find the root source of the problems.
First, can you rule out medical issues? Is her anxiety worsening or changing over time? Postpartum? Even a simple thing like iron deficiency could possibly cause what you have described.
You may also want to look at psychological conditions. If she suffers from anxiety to the degree she is distressed over calling for pizza and needs you to do it for her, this is a severe and crippling problem – one that you may unknowingly be enabling. For the sake of your kids, you really should seek an opinion from a professional, and you do have sufficient grounds to do so. This is not normal. It is serious enough that you are beyond the point of a DIY diagnosis for her anxiety.
If you can get to the point to rule these out then I would ask: How compatible are both of you? Remember, a marriage is two distinctly different types of relationships confusingly combined into one: sex/kids/family provider duties/romantic love is one type of relationship and the other type is more person to person/openly expressive and communicative/trusting/comfortable being vulnerable/ie the kind of close relationship you have with others that you do not have sex with (siblings/really close friends). This second type also largely incorporates respect and admiration for the other person. How much do you actually like each other? With no distraction of family, flirting, or physical contact, do you enjoy being alone together?
I sincerely wish you the best.
It’s interesting. Anxiety manifests in different ways. Your wife, being sensitive to social cues, and a small rather than big picture person, (I am guessing) will be more attuned to your level of obsession and how far outside of the mainstream this might place you — for practical reasons — possibly job related. And that IS a realistic worry that you both have to navigate.
Many members, on a Peak Oil forum I was a part of, between 2003 to 2007 prepared for a disaster that didn’t happen. (Not to say it won’t ever be a problem — but that’s another topic.) It became a religion, based around what were originally justifiable feelings of anxiety.
‘True believers,’ also rooted in anxiety, can be just as resistant to reason as someone who appears to be living in a bubble of conformity, rooted in day to day anxieties. I am not describing you here, just what I have witnessed, elsewhere.
It is wise to prepare for any number of chaotic or collapse scenarios, in a reasonable manner. You just have to work out what is reasonable with your partner.
Hey Macro and Paula: if either of you don't think gender plays a significant role in a man/woman relationship then you either haven't been married long or in a relationship of extended duration. Paula's response is indicative of exactly what I alluded to. IMHO, women think in broad terms(no pun intended) and immediate concerns weighing each by its potential outcome. Men seem to think narrowly and deep to the exclusion of everything around them. I'm sure if men raised children the infant mortality rate would preclude a continuation of the species. For a fun aphorism, "women use both sides of their brains and men only half their brain". This seems to be born out by research.
If one chooses to ignore input from a member of the team, will there be a chance of consensus? Relationships are extremely important to women where there is one(70+% of divorces are filed by women). To ignore the female perspective is asking for dissension. You don't have to like it, but not to consider it is doing you and your spouse a disservice. Prep if you must, but try and do it together. (Sorry, Macro, I majored in linguistics).
[quote=JeffB46113]I understand this too from a different perspective. I was raised in a small community. Then I graduated mid-term Senior year, went to Boot Camp MCRD San Diego. Came home in time to graduate with my class. Then uncle Sam ships me off to be a "UN Peacekeeper" in Beirut, Lebanon. Things were completely the opposite of what I experienced growing up. Anxiety set in and has never left. Here I set this morning 50+, been working full-time since I was 15. I do not have two nickles to rub together. Was framing for a Contractor in 2009 near Fishers,IN. Building a house for one of the Colts Players. (What single guy really needs an 18,000 sq ft house on the water??) I am a 4x Combat Vet USMC, serious back injuries that VA will not address. Give me more Oxies and send in the next stooge. My worst anxiety centers around my PTSD. I was a Recon Marine. I am not proud of things I have done or the puppeteers that pulled my strings. We the People, must speak up now or everything is lost.[/quote]
Really sad. You have worked hard, thought you were serving your country and this is your reward. As nasty as this anxiety can be, do you think it performs any positive function? Does it encourage you to prepare somehow for the future? Will you be better equipped if the world devolves into chaos, or will you be paralyzed with fear?
Best regards — stay as positive as you can.
My late husband and I started preparing for disaster before 2000. We were both concerned about a banking collapse, peak oil, insidious rise of fascism, and 911 being an inside job — by 2002 — so we moved to Canada, to a remote small community, where we felt safe and we could live cheaply. That was our preparation.
We spent many years discussing 911, were on the same page there, so that was all good, for a time. We managed financially and even prospered after he retired at 45.
By 2007 I felt that we had done our preparations and could relax. My husband, for a number of reasons, remained truly fixated. He was excessively ruminating. I think he was wired to hyper focus, so not his fault. It was still very hard on our relationship and I think hard on his health.
We were living in a remote area and I felt housebound with someone whose interests had become obsessions and then almost fanatical devotions. Things improved finally, but there were many years where it was just very difficult.
So, it might be the excessive rumination that can accompany prepping that some partners fear, for the sake of the relationship. If you are with a 'fixater' there isn't much mental or emotional space left for the two of you.
Paula, and others, thank you! This is thought provoking. And Paula, you ask some very big questions that I'm not really prepared to answer (or even think about).
I will say this… My wife and I met at a bar, not an algorithmic matching service that ensures compatibility. I've been married for 7 years, but marriage isn't what permanently connects you to someone, kids are. I will stay with my wife forever if she allows it, that was my promise to her. And the best thing I can do for my kids is love their mother (which I do).
I do enable her a bit. She decided to marry an outgoing guy for a reason.
Do I fixate, with the male tunnel-vision that Prop describes? Yes. But that mentality is what has allowed me to achieve the success I've enjoyed thus far. If there's one thing I want to teach my children, it's the power to focus on the things you're good at and the things/people that matter.
Am I irrational with my prepping? No. My main rule for "prepping" (as it's been negatively labeled) is that my actions need to be worthwhile regardless of whether I'm right about the future. If my wife allowed me to do whatever I wanted, I would:
1.) Build a home that's efficient with at least the capability of being partially off grid. If energy winds up being abundant forever, that won't make the home's value fall. And teaching kids about living sustainably is a positive.
2.) Be diversified and liquid relative to my peer group.
3.) Aquaponics… I'm just plain fascinated with it as a project. It almost certainly would never feed my family, but it would be another great thing to do with my kids.
Prepping for me is a combination of productive hobbies and common sense.
I'm very careful about the "rabbit hole" crowd that get sucked into suggestive stories that generate a culty/religious tone. This is one of the things that attracted me to this site. Chris is scientific and reasonable. I'm an engineer, and have no room for bullshit.
Do I have questions about 9/11? Yes. But that's all they are, questions. More importantly, it's the kind of subject that does me no good to bother thinking (let alone talking) about. I'd much rather watch documentaries about the history of ancient Egypt as a harmless hobby, than watch documentaries about 9/11 with some intense looking old guy staged in a dark corner smoking a cigarette as he rants. That stuff takes honest questions, and soils them with fraudulent intensity.
What matters to me is the sustainability of my standard of living and hedges that can put a floor under it without costing me too much.
Sorry, it was uncletommy who was talking about male tunnel vision, not Prop.
Anyone who's interested in the subjects related to this post and this thread really should watch the movie "Take Shelter" together with their partner. Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain put in great performances. It's written well, though Shannon's character is probably a lot "crazier" than any of us have ever been accused of being. But it explores the issues we're talking about here: relationship stress, prepping for a disaster which is undetermined, etc.
Take Shelter is a 2011 American psychological thriller drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father (Shannon) questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself. It was nominated for four Saturn Awards including Best Horror or Thriller Film and Best Actressfor Chastain, and won Best Writing for Nichols and Best Actor for Shannon.
Here's Shannon's character at his lowest point at a church dinner when he flips out about the coming disaster he's been prepping for:
The deeper question for me is 'what do I want from my partner?'
Bonded couples develop complex and often co-dependent dynamics that we adapt to and thus the question. What do I want from my wife when I start talking about the "inevitable collapse of western civilization", or the potential that our children will starve to death in 10 years… (yikes!).
[cue thought cloud: "vat arrr yeu? keeedtingk me?!]
In our case Sandy aligned most everything. The rains ending but winds still blowing, suddenly in the southern winds a bright series of blinding flashes. Lights out. Only water for 10-days. Luckily we could walk 10 blocks where store owns put out power bars everywhere so folks could recharge. How did we know. I bought a solar power emo radio years earlier, before we were together. She was impressed.
If I ever went bonkers in public like the character in that clip, a compassionate hug is not what I would be receiving from my wife, that's for sure! I think Hollywood idealizes relationships a little too much these days. I'll try and watch this movie sometime. Not sure yet whether I'd want my wife to see it (based on the clip).