As with my previous post where I wrote about saying no to the move, the paragraph or so of its description made it seem so simple, so obvious. However, it did not reflect all the mental emotional effort that led to the short summary.
When this opportunity came about for D, it was unexpected. It wasn't one he had applied for but rather one he was recommended for when a previous boss found out we were considering a relocation and had a connection to what he felt was a super company out there.
So we were very surprised and had no idea what to expect when D was offered an interview/meet and greet with 2 of the 3 Principals of the company. Which led to a second interview with the 3rd Principal where D was offered a position which involved significant travel. Something he did not have extensive experience with before but felt he was capable of doing. It was 50% travel as they were assuming our move was definitely happening.
When D told them we were not moving, that's when the level of travel increased to 75% to compensate for being out of province.
Because I had already said "no" to the relocation, I found myself in the position where I felt like I was going to be the "bad guy" again. I know that I wasn't really but couldn't help feeling that way. Why was that?
Because my first impression of the offer was not a positive one. I didn't care about the money being offered but D did. It was more than he had ever seen on paper. For me, there isn't an amount where I would be OK with such a significant material change to our marriage. To put it bluntly, it wasn't what I signed up for. It would be a different story had we had grown into this together. This came out of the blue for both of us. And in many aspects, we are far from a newly established couple.
So what to do when your spouse was feeling so pumped about the potential of the position? This was a role he felt he could excel in, a role he had always dreamed of. How could I not be supportive and work on finding a solution?
In order to adequately access what life on the road will look like, I did what I knew. I checked out all the flight schedules, main airlines, airport hubs of locations he would be going to. By doing so, we could figure out just what a travel week would look like. How early he'd have to leave, if he could make it to location the same day and if he could make it home by the end of the week. I even looked at apartment rental options so he wouldn't have to stay in a hotel for the week. A much healthier alternative to restaurant food all the time.
For most if not all locations, it would be a Sunday afternoon - Friday travel week. Which leaves Saturday as a home day before leaving again. I didn't like it. Seemed easier and less stressful if he would just stay on location, finish the work before coming home.
It was very difficult to stand by and allow D adequate space to sort this through. I have a horrible habit of wanting to "fix" things and offer solutions whether asked or not. Obviously, I wanted him to come up with the same conclusions as me without coming across as the overly emotional wife.
But it is my marriage too. I like the amount of time, contact, level of interaction and cooperation we have together. Negotiating the pros and cons was a real test of our communication. On another level, it was hard not to think the thought that maybe he didn't want the same things anymore? That the lure of this position was stronger than what we had? Was this a sign we were growing apart?
It also played on something I worried about a long time ago when things started getting serious between us. I worried that because we met at a time when my life and dreams were more established than his, that my lifestyle may have steamrollered his. I believed him when he said he wanted the same things. This process challenged that and I was afraid it was going to be proven wrong.
I know that as a person, I'm well suited for a husband that travels for work as I'm fairly independent, can keep myself amused and handle stuff around the house. Worse case, should I not want the extra work, I'm not averse to hiring out. As I do travel up to 10 weeks a year solo, I obviously don't mind spending alone time. But was it selfish to not want him away so much? I questioned my motives a lot.
Another issue was D's perception that the position would mean greater autonomy. I have a lot of autonomy in my work. And he would like to experience the same. But it isn't the same. I interpreted the position as a "turn your life over" to the corporation for one goal and one goal only. The title may sound more impressive and powerful but the level of subjugation I felt would be much higher. His life would be all about work. Opposite of what we had been building and living. And he is going to have to work extremely hard to earn the extra dollars. There are no freebies.
It was a lucky coincidence that I ended up travelling on continent for once because time change wasn't an issue and we were able to touch base daily. Because the start date wasn't going to be until Jan '14 (as they initially assumed we'd need time to move), there was time to discuss the various facets though neither of us wished to make a career of it. My being away was a good thing too. Allowed both of us to sort through thoughts and feelings without the others' interference/influence.
In the end D came to his own conclusions and they happily matched mine. Yes I did provide lots of opinions and questions -- Wouldn't be my way not to but hopefully done in a manner where I wasn't coming across like I was trying to control or "spoil" everything.
I learned he is as protective of our life as I had hoped (phew!). Had it turned out differently, then time would tell if the glue that holds us together is strong enough to withstand such a large voluntary change. Voluntary being the operative word.
There are changes that are forced onto couples and families that cannot be easily understood or negotiated, only managed. This wasn't one of them. We had to remind ourselves that this whole out west search was self / lifestyle motivated, not out of need for more income. So it was imperative to remain highly cognisant of potential consequences during this process.
That's not to say he wasn't upset or sad about it. D did feel like he was letting his old boss down and all the friends who travelled for work (who were rallying for him to accept) by not stepping up. Bottom line was he decided He was about more Life, over more money and more work. We are both ecstatic to lay this whole adventure to rest. Have much to be grateful for.