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Car Replacement Negotiations

June 3rd, 2009 at 07:35 pm

At some point during our latest car saga I caught Mr H and told him that we needed to discuss car replacement. He told me that he didn't have time/was too tired/some reason he couldn't do it right then. I said, "Okay, when?" "June 1st" was the reply. He surprised me by remembering this appointment and appearing willing to have the discussion. Frequently he "forgets" this kind of thing.

What came out of this discussion was that we should save about $10,000 for a replacement vehicle.

But as I thought about it, I was uneasy. There is no deadline, and no source for the money for this savings. This means in another year we will have the same conversation because no action will have occurred during that time period. I went back to him and requested a further discussion. It was down hill from there.

Basically, my experience has been problem occurs --> I bring problem to Mr H's attention --> I suggest we work to solve the problem --> Mr H verbally attacks me/reacts by "solving" the problem with the first solution that comes to his head (even/especially if it's one we both hate and it doesn't solve the problem!) --> I later solve the problem by myself or the problem remains unsolved (and uncomfortable for me) --> Mr H experiences that everything "just works out". Dysfunctional? You bet. At the beginning of our marriage I gave him the benefit of the doubt, believed that he would eventually come to see how unproductive this was. Now I realize that I was just way too nice and forgiving . . . but trying to change this pattern requires the full emotional amour because no woman wants to be verbally attacked by her husband. . . and yet I've been down this path enough to know that's pretty much what's going to happen. Much earlier in our marriage I asked Mr H what I could say or do differently to help this situation, or if there was another approach to take. He had no response.

In this instance, the problem is that there is no obvious source of money for these savings. Our budget's stretched pretty thin. Pointing this out to Mr H, and that, if it's not funded it's not a priority, and that bothers me . . . brought the predictable response. Mr H's solution was to sell my car and have us become a one car family, and since Daisy will be homeschooled next year she and I could just stay home all the time. He needs his car for work so of course he'll get to have it every day. It was way less pleasant than I'm reporting it here. Ouch.

At the heart of it though is what seems to be an irresolvable difference in priorities, and an unwillingness to change with circumstances.

Our income is unlikely to go up in the near future. Mr H will not work harder/smarter/more than he is now, and I'm unwilling to sacrifice my home life at this time for another corporate job. (I had two working parents and neither of them were really around to raise us. When Daisy is 18 I plan to work full time and more to make up for what was not saved during this time.) I'm very concerned about retirement savings, planning ahead for seen and unseen expenditures, and having a home life. Mr H appears to be concerned about keeping the house (and only this house) and not having to make any changes to anything about his life. I would be happy to sell the house and go to one car if we lived somewhere where walking and public transportation were more workable. Mr H wouldn't hear of selling this house. We're at something of an impasse.

In the end, I relentlessly forced us to stay focused on the problem. Mr H backed down a bit and apologized. It's progress for us, although sometimes I feel like having to work this hard (and unpleasantly) with him on *every* problem that occurs in our lives is going to kill me.

We agreed to discuss income generating ideas and saving ideas in a couple of weeks.

4 Responses to “Car Replacement Negotiations”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    Not to take your husband's side, because I sympathize with you. But realistically, do you really need 2 cars?

    "At the heart of it though is what seems to be an irresolvable difference in priorities, and an unwillingness to change with circumstances."

    It kind of read to me that you want to stay home, and money is tight, but you don't want to sacrifice a second auto. Certainly, your dh could do some sacrificing too, but I am just curious if the road runs both ways a bit.

    Beyond that, all you can do is keep trying. Hopefully you can both agree on some changes.

  2. monkeymama Says:

    I just had to add we've had the "2 car discussion" in my house and our second auto is far more valuable kept than sold. So I totally understand if it makes little financial sense to sell it (likely).

    If we sold our second car we might get $2k if we are lucky, but the insurance/maintenance costs are minimal to keep it for the convenience (& awesome gas mileage). Thus, selling it was never a very serious consideration.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    I just had to add we've had the "2 car discussion" in my house and our second auto is far more valuable kept than sold. So I totally understand if it makes little financial sense to sell it (likely).

    If we sold our second car we might get $2k if we are lucky, but the insurance/maintenance costs are minimal to keep it for the convenience (& awesome gas mileage). Thus, selling it was never a very serious consideration. Though we both agree we don't "need" 2 cars.

  4. Petunia Says:

    monkeymama - Thanks for your comments! I lived without a car until I was 30 (and had my corporate job). I would have no qualms about getting rid of my car if 1) we did not live in suburbia, 2) I did not need to take Daisy (and her friends) to activities and 3)we could work out something that works for both of us regarding one car. This is why I suggested to DH that we move. . . we live in a 1200 sq ft rambler in surburbia, nothing special.

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