A friend whose husband was recently laid off from a high level executive job confessed the other day that she doesn’t know what to do.
They have been married since she was 24, he 31. They are very much a “Barbie and Ken” type couple and make a striking pair. She’s now 49, he’s 56. Both still look very young for their age.
They waited several years after marriage to start a family and now have three teenage sons ranging in age from middle school to a senior in high school.
She was a career gal in her 20s and early 30s and then has been a stay at home mom since the kids arrived. She dabbles in fixing up and reselling vintage furniture and other part time activities to make extra pocket money. She’s contemplated going back to work but admitted there’s no way she could earn enough to meet their expenses.
He has had a successful career in management, working his way up to the executive level. He’s worked for many household name companies over the years, increasing his skill set and marketability. His most recent job, the one recently lost, paid $190k a year.
Like many American couples they have saved little over the years despite his income, mostly because they live right at or perhaps even above their means. They do own their home but after a recent extensive remodel and expansion have little or no equity in it.
As one might imagine, with little cushion to absorb this unexpected blow, she’s panicking. She opened up to me that their marriage is struggling and she’s been contemplating divorce.
Knowing the red pill, I wasn’t shocked at all by this and was glad she shared it with me. I explained to her that the feelings she was having are a normal knee jerk reaction women often have during such times of crisis, but that having such feelings did not necessarily mean they needed to be acted upon.
Women are hardwired to survive, and self-preservation is a natural go-to mode in crisis. This drive is a primative one, coming from deep within the brain stem. It’s the same drive that allows women to survive disasters, wars, famine, disease, kidnapping, rape, and other threats to survival. (See “war bride theory” for more in depth explanation of this. https://therationalmale.com/2011/10/03/war-brides/)
The problem with this urge is it doesn’t come from a logical, reasoned place and unchecked it can lead to disasterous decisions or overreactions when survival isn’t truly at stake but it just feels like it is.
My friend seemed relieved to get these dark thoughts about abandoning ship out of her head and to understand just because she has such feelings doesn’t mean she must act upon them or that they were even in her best interest.
We discussed some alternatives, and also talked about how the current marriage struggles seemed to be situational rather than unresolvable. I helped her understand what her husband might be feeling, and how pulling together as a team would be far more constructive than splitting apart.
I also verbalized what I suspect might have been her biggest fear — at his age he may not find another job at that income level. I have seen many men (and women) downsized a decade short of retirement face this. Unfortunately the work world can be brutal, and often companies will hire the younger candidate for less than someone in their late 50s. It’s ageism, but often not directly so. She admitted this was a huge concern.
Then we switched to outside the box mode. One reason for their home remodel is that her husband dreams of running a bed and breakfast in retirement. He’s burned out in his career, and has been longing to shift gears for some time.
Downstairs they have two spare rooms with bathrooms that are fully ADA compliant. What did she think of the idea of leasing those rooms out right now to two elderly folks looking for an assisted living situation, I asked? Last I heard such arrangements paid up to $2,000 a month, or more. (Still less than assisted living or a retirement home, so such rentals are much sought after.) I saw a light of hope click on.
She also shared they have a fully wired and plumbed RV hookup on the back side of their 10-acre property. Again I asked had they considered renting that spot as well? They are going for $600+ a month and it’s hard to find an available space. Turned out she knows a young couple building a home that are looking for just such an arrangement!
I could see the tension dissipate as she realized these options that are already ready and waiting could help make up for their current lack of income and also supplement it to the tune of $4600 a month so that if her husband can’t replace his $190k salary, it would still be OK. If he could, then they could plow that income into savings and be well set up for retirement vs. not having any.
She could hardly wait to get home to share these ideas with her husband, and seemed completely excited at the idea of taking in some borders. They both love to entertain and love people, so she seemed jazzed at the thought. (It wouldn’t work for everyone but for them may be a perfect fit. She would still be able to be with her sons and work from home.)
She was almost in tears as she thanked me for being a sounding board and for helping her brainstorm some solutions. I told her I was happy to and thanked her for opening up so I was able to, and that I hoped the ideas would help take the pressure off.
Without what I have learned via the red pill and the manosphere I don’t think I would have been able to understand the dynamics at play or advise her why she felt as she did, or why despite those fear-based feelings, the best path was to stay the course, stick together, face the challenge, and not just survive but thrive.
I am hoping they put the ideas into play quickly and take some of the financial pressure and strain off their marriage. I will be doing my best to encourage her through this storm.
What do you think? Please share in the comments!