Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “He Loves Country Livin’, but I’m Miserable”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I have been living in remote locations (rural and removed from town) with my husband who must have large acreage for his many, many horses (we have four dogs to boot). Though I have tried for years to grin and bear it, I can no longer live in such an isolated area. I am in town every day, which involves nearly 80 miles of driving round-trip just to take care of errands or to enjoy myself with some friends or handle kids’ activities. It’s gotten to the point where I just hate to be in that house with all the animals and the dirt from the farm and the constant chores. I’m trying to be a part-time student and a mother, but I find myself completely overwhelmed with constant domestic duties, and I rarely get a chance to just enjoy quiet or my kids or to sit for extended periods to work on schoolwork. I can’t help but imagine that life would be so much more relaxing, and less complicated, without the isolation and with a smaller home (ours is currently over 5000 square feet). I want ME time and, though I love my husband, it’s time for my needs to be met too. I’m not sure how to make that happen, or if his needs supersede mine, or if we will never see eye to eye. He loves his many animals and the farm life. I miss living close to civilization and long for a more manageable lifestyle. — Tired of The Horse Shit

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281 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Christy February 27, 2013, 9:06 am

    Talk about this with your husband.

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    • avatar

      Christy February 27, 2013, 9:08 am

      Sorry, you’re not actually asking a question here. Can DW have a new rule: If you’re just complaining about something with your S.O., you have to talk to them about it before writing in? Because like, really, what do you want us to tell you? Leave him? Move to the city? Start renting out 4/5 of your house to tenants? Hire a housekeeper? CLEARLY the solution here is talking to your husband. Whether that talk is mediated with a therapist or on your own, you have to talk about it.

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      • avatar

        Sarah February 27, 2013, 9:17 am

        I think she is looking for advice on how to approach this with him and what the possible compromises are because she is obviously struggling with seeing any.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 9:24 am

        Its kind of hard to give advice on how to approach one’s own husband to simply start a discussion. You just go up to him, your “life partner,” and say Hi Hubby, I’m sick of the farm. Let’s talk.

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  • avatar

    Oldie February 27, 2013, 9:11 am

    Your husband doesn’t seem to know about the existence of compromise or anything beyond male supremacy in marriage. How did you slip into this situation of always agreeing to your husband’s whims?You complain that you have so many chores that you have no time to yourself. Do fewer chores and take some quiet me time. When your husband complains, tell him that you need to negotiate a new living arrangement — one that you are as happy with as he is. Decide what the minimum change is that will make you happy. Also decide if you will be happier divorced and starting over, if you are unable to convince your husband to agree to the changes that you need to be happy. How does your husband spend his time? Does he work as hard as you do? Does he really need many horses?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 9:15 am

      This is such an unfair comment. Do you not think its possible they AGREED to this and now she’s decided she doesn’t like it.

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      • avatar

        Christy February 27, 2013, 9:20 am

        OMG I know. It’s a FARM, of course there’s horses there. Of course there’s chores. I’m sure your husband the farmer is slacking off. Yup.

        Sorry, y’all, my bitch factor is really high this morning.

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      • avatar

        Oldie February 27, 2013, 11:54 am

        It’s certainly likely that she agreed, although we don’t know how much she was pressured to agree. Even if she agreed, she changed her mind. Everyone is jumping to the conclusion “well this is a farm, what do you expect?” The problem seems to go beyond the farm. She said her husband likes to keep a lot of horses and 4 dogs. That isn’t farming, that’s a guy who likes horses and dogs and living remote from people.

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    • theattack

      theattack February 27, 2013, 9:30 am

      Wow, No. How in the world is he insisting on male supremacy just by living somewhere he can have his horses? Sorry, but that’s ridiculous, and I think this is the sort of statement that makes feminists look bad.

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      • avatar

        EricaSwagger February 27, 2013, 9:57 am

        Exactly.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 11:48 am

        Because he expects her to do so much of the work and in truth we do not know if she thought horses and animals sounded great in the beginning, only to find out she hates it, or if he said “Honey, this is how it is and how it’s gonna be” and she went along with it for whatever reason. I know that my college boyfriend wanted to live out in the middle of nowhere. It sounded great to me because at age 19 I loved hiking and being outside. So after graduation we moved to the middle of nowhere in New Mexico for a volunteer internship type job (his) and I loved it for about 2 weeks, then I hated it. But it took a while for me to realize I hated it. Because I just wanted to go along with it and fit the cool image of moving from the populated east coast to cool and groovy New Mexico with my cool and groovy boyfriend – away from my parents and all independent and stuff… where we had to drive 100 miles (and we did not even own a car…) to Albuquerque to buy our health food groceries…. I got a job in Seattle after about 6-7 months and I was GONE! And I was so happy to move to Seattle. And the relationship did not survive much longer (even after he moved to Seattle to presumably join me later) because with all of the isolation and lack of social contact for me, we fought a lot more and I grew to despise him. Sad but true.

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      • avatar

        EricaSwagger February 27, 2013, 12:43 pm

        If he treated her like that in the first place and she “went along with it for whatever reason” that’s her fault, not his. People treat us how they treat us. It’s up to us to let them or not. If the husband told her “this is how our life is going to be” and she married him anyway, that’s on her.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 2:35 pm

        Well, certain more conservative, religious cultures sort of expect that kind of subservient behavior from women. I can totally see that perhaps she was raised by religious parents, married a redneck who had conservative rural values only to realize how much it sucks for her. But now she has kids because that’s what women are good for (according to this paradigm) and now it isn’t working for her anymore because she has evolved a bit.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 2:36 pm

        That’s reading quite a bit of extra stuff into this letter, IMO…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 2:39 pm

        yea

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 2:42 pm

        Yes, true, I do not know all the facts, but I can totally see it. He is probably a gun nut too . OR maybe he is a back to the land hippie…. whatever it is, this whole arrangement isn’t working for her anymore. And if she is also homeschooling too? OMG. I am making a lot of assumptions here, only because I have known people like this on both ends of the spectrum. We have our “let’s live all isolated in the mountains” version of this story where I live…

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      • avatar

        Oldie February 28, 2013, 10:50 am

        So if a man physically and/or emotionally abuses his new wife, and she went along with it in the weeks leading up to marriage and for several months and then decided that she had absolutely enough and couldn’t take any more, then in your view that would be her fault, not his. Initially trying to make a spouse happy by trying to live with his desire to be extremely remote, keep a herd of horses, etc. does not commit one to that approach in perpetuity. What it is is a case of compromising, seeing if you can live with your spouses heart’s desire, or giving him his choice for a while and expecting that at some point your wishes/desires will be acknowledged and satisfied.

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      • avatar

        AmyP February 27, 2013, 12:53 pm

        “Because he expects her to do so much of the work.”

        Yeah.

        By the way, I’m a farm kid and my parents were both farm kids. My mom did not have any official farm responsibilities when I was growing up (she’d had more than enough herself as a kid). She’d occasionally feed the cows when my dad was out of town, but that was an exceptional situation. (She does get firewood for the house from the barn, but that’s not really a farm chore.)

        My grandma (my dad’s mom), on the other hand, was always an enthusiastic tractor-driving, cow-chasing farm wife.

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    • katie

      katie February 27, 2013, 9:37 am

      yea, i think its obvious you have never lived on a farm. the chores never end… im sure, i would bet money, that the husband is doing chores all day every day. but on a farm, thats not enough. you need a lot of people to maintain a farm, *especially* one with animals.

      i dont know how big “large acreage” is to this LW, but my family owned like 24 acres and we had 2 fulltime farmhands at one point, plus whatever my dad and I could help with for minimal animals (like a small herd of sheep, some chickens, one pony, ect), and one large greenhouse to try to grow veggies.

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      • avatar

        MissDre February 27, 2013, 9:47 am

        Ugh, I don’t live on a farm or have animals, but I live on an acreage in the country and even the chores there are too much for me (I’m such a city girl). I am SOOOOO sick of dragging wood up to the house every damn day just to keep the house warm, and of course that makes SUCH a mess with bits of dirt and moss and wood shavings getting everywhere. Plus the shoveling and the plowing when it snows, oh man it’s miserable.I can’t even imagine how much harder it would be with MORE land + animals + kids.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 9:52 am

        I didn’t know you lived in the country! But I feel you on the wood thing… Most of the time the boy brings it up to the house in a wheelbarrow, so I just have to help bring it in/sweep up.

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      • avatar

        MissDre February 27, 2013, 10:08 am

        I’ve been living in the country for about a year, with my mom. I hate it. She loves it, because she grew up on a farm, but I lived in the city for 25 years so this is awful for me. I’m scared to go out to get wood at night because it’s so friggin dark and we’re surrounded by forest! I feel like there could be any number of wild creatures stalking me when I go out there. Plus there’s all kinds of weird insects making noise and it freaks me out.

        Oh you know what else sucks? Cleaning out the ash pans in the wood stoves. It makes SUCH a mess. I feel like I am constantly cleaning up ash and wood dirt. I don’t know how my mom is going to survive out there all alone when I eventually leave her… she’s not strong enough to carry wood or lift a bag of pellets.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 10:32 am

        yea, my dad is getting old and he finally sold/lease to own/something his farm a few months ago, and i think that was a big part of it, and he even kept farmhands/housekeepers still!

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    • avatar

      Miss Terri February 27, 2013, 11:37 am

      I think some of the folks are being a little hard on your answer… Even if the LW INITIALLY agreed to the arrangement, she has a right to decide she doesn’t like it now. How many of us INITIALLY thought something sounded like a good idea, but 2 – 3 years into it, realized it wasn’t a bowl of cherries? I feel sorry for her – she definitely needs to talk to her husband, but the solution may be difficult decisions for BOTH of them. But decide she must – it sounds like her sanity depends on it….

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  • avatar

    artsygirl February 27, 2013, 9:20 am

    LW – have you sat your husband down and spoken to him about your feelings? If you are getting to the point of resentment then obviously something has to give. Also, there seems to be a couple of different issues at work in your letter. On one hand you miss living near other people and on the other it sounds like you have WAY too much on your plate. To address the living so rurally, I would suggest you look into either an apartment or small house you can rent in town. Tell your husband that you want to stay in town 1 or 2 nights a week to work on your studies. That way you get your urban fix as well as giving yourself some me time away from the duties of being a farm wife and mother.

    Also, I would look into shutting off part of your house. Unless you have TONS of children, that is too much space. If you turn off the vents, put protective sheets on the furniture, and close the door to pets and children you can reduce the amount of space you need to clean and look after every week. If all the space is in common areas, I would also suggest seeing if you can hire some help. Have a woman come in once or twice a week to help dust, vacuum, or wash up can make all the difference in your schedule. It would also provide you with some company. Depending on the age of your children, I would speak with your husband and talk about downsizing to a smaller house on your large property. And while I hate to trot out the trope, you might want to speak to a therapist both alone and with your husband to make sure you are both communicating effectively.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 9:21 am

    This is definitely why you discuss where you see yourself living before you get married, and ideally try out that lifestyle before you put a ring on it. I feel your husband probably had horses and animals before you got married, or made it clear that he wanted to live in a rural area with that type of lifestyle. Did you agree? Disagree? Or just silently go along with it? Being in a relationship does not mean “grinning and bearing it.” It means doing the hard things like talking about your needs upfront, and making them known. I have spent a lot of time with young people who have a farming lifestyle and it’s true that “You marry the farmer, you marry the farm.” You don’t have to agree with your partner on everything, but having a common interest/value for rural life is ideal.

    BUT, you are here… so how do we fix this? Obviously talk to your husband about how you are feeling and see if you can make some sort of compromise. Can you “shut up” part of your big home so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it? Can you make a weekend trip out of visiting people in town while your husband holds down the fort? You have to decide for yourself whether it is you are feeling overwhelmed because of the lack of time, the isolation, or both. Lack of time you can fix where you are, the isolation is a different story.

    PS… those hay-burners (horses) are really expensive. Maybe he can get rid of one in exchange for hiring a house keeper every few weeks. 🙂 Good luck, and try to enjoy all the beauty and awesomeness that a rural lifestyle comes with. Start a garden, ride the horses, bird watch, invite people out to your house for a dinner party/bonfire.

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    • avatar

      csp February 27, 2013, 9:27 am

      See, my guess is that they talked about this and she didn’t realize what it really meant. I think the idea of a big, nice house is great along with having horses. It sounds so romantic. Then you get to how hard the work is and how lonely it can be.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle February 27, 2013, 9:33 am

        This is a possibility, but still—how deluded do you have to be in order to believe it’s all gonna be just a romantic fairytale? It’s still a house. I’m sure she realized that houses require upkeep, & every additional living thing you own/create (meaning a child) requires even MORE attention & care? Plus the added acreage… also, isn’t it kind of a standard thing to say, when wishing for like a castle or mansion or sprawling property—“imagine what it takes to clean the thing! Blah!”

        I dunno, sorry for rambling, it’s just crazy to me that this was a surprise for her.

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      • avatar

        MissDre February 27, 2013, 10:13 am

        I never in a million years would have thought living in the country would be as much work as it has been for me, so don’t be so quick to judge. I grew up in a condo, where the sidewalks were plowed by a maintenance crew and a landscaping company took care of cutting grass and so on. If you’ve never had to pick up a shovel in your life, or if you’re used to just turning a dial on the thermostat when you want to warm the house, it’s a huge smack in the face to move to the country.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle February 27, 2013, 10:26 am

        I mean, I can totally see how it would come as shock—even if someone is knowledgeable about the added work. But that’s my question…how was it overlooked in the discussion? My boyfriend & I talk about where we’d wanna live, & as somebody who (like you’ve described) only has to crank the thermostat for heat & has never done yardwork in her life, I *know* I’d never want to live in the country.

        I mean, I guess the LW wasn’t as dead-set against it, which is how she wound up here—overwhelmed by everything. But it was just confusing to me.

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      • avatar

        MissDre February 27, 2013, 10:40 am

        I’m guessing like others suggested, she agreed to it without really knowing what she was in for. I’m going to compare it to me getting a puppy this year. Even at 26 years old I was like I’ll totally walk it every day and I’ll feed it and play with it and omg omg let’s get a puppy!!! Well 3 months later, I’m losing my sanity because she’s still not house trained and she’s so hyper and she’s chewing everything and makes a mess everywhere she goes. Would I send her back? No. But if I actually really honestly truly knew how hard having a dog was, I wouldn’t have got her. So I guess what I’m saying is, I can understand how somebody would agree to moving to the country thinking it won’t be so bad, and becoming overwhelmed when they do because they didn’t truly understand what it was like.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary February 27, 2013, 11:23 am

        I feel you on the puppy thing! I had dogs before, but a puppy is really exhausting. It’s like it never ends. It does get better though. My dog calmed down a good bit after a year, and now that she’s almost 3 she’s so much better!

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      • avatar

        MMcG February 27, 2013, 1:08 pm

        That’s why you cheat and adopt a nice already potty-trained year old dog… you still get to train them up but they are past the really bad chewy/puppy stage 😉

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      • avatar

        MissDre February 27, 2013, 1:42 pm

        Yeah, that would’ve been smart. She’s already destroyed my favourite pair of leggings, and stolen most of my socks and underwear. Plus I have to always remember to put my boots in the closet so she doesn’t eat them. Blah! Plus my poor timid cat has scabs all over his head from her chewing on him, and he’s too shy to fight her off. I’m constantly having to rescue him.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ February 27, 2013, 10:56 am

        You can know exactly what you’re getting into, and still not know exactly how you’ll respond to it, especially over time. All you ever have is your best guess.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay February 27, 2013, 2:01 pm

        There’s a difference, too, between thinking something is doable and a romantic fairytale. In college, I didn’t think that working late while having 8 a.m. classes would be that pleasant, but I didn’t realize it would be nearly unbearable. I think a lot of things in life are like that. Like having a baby or having a long commute or whatever. It’s just how things work sometimes.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 9:36 am

        Very true, I agree that’s probably what happened. Ideally, it would be good to have tried out this lifestyle before truly agreeing to it if you have never experienced that before. I know that dating someone who lives/works/breaths his farm was a wake up call that came with really awesome and also really difficult parts. I am glad I will be living on the farm for a while before I commit 100%.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 11:48 am

        Or maybe it has grown over time. They may have bought the land and then the husband got some horses and then some more horses and more horses and then they are in over their head. It takes a while to build a herd. She doesn’t say whether the husband is a farmer or whether they have land so that he can keep horses and he is commuting to a job, leaving her stuck with the chores for all those horses he loves so much. Especially since she says they have moved around I don’t think he is farming because a farmer doesn’t keep moving, he has his property and he farms it so my guess is that he is commuting to a job.

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      • avatar

        FossilChick February 27, 2013, 9:48 pm

        I agree that it is very likely that the resentment built over time. I grew up on a farm. My mother often said that she enjoyed the farm lifestyle when she was a newlywed, but grew to dislike it once the kids came along. She felt isolated from other mothers, she was our only “playmate” because we lived so far from any other kids, kid duties supplanted farm work so she always felt behind on the housework and chores (even though my dad chipped in and did spend a lot of time with us), and it suddenly became hugely inconvenient to live an hour from town.

        Kids get sick, a lot, and pediatrician trips are endless. She lived in fear of needing to make an ER trip, because it was a 45 minute drive in good weather with no traffic. Kids need to get to school and back and you better believe the bus did not come up our way. We never took a single vacation. Visiting grandparents meant time away from the farm, and the animals couldn’t be left. I think that the life she envisioned for herself as a young woman didn’t take into account the logistics of raising children in a rural environment with only the extremely work-intensive farm as income. I don’t blame her for not having that foresight. Interestingly, she did begin to enjoy the lifestyle again once the kids were launched. I think one question is, did the LW ever like the farm? If she didn’t, she should never have married a farm-type. If she once enjoyed it, there may be room for compromise here.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 9:32 am

      Oh LW I just have so many things to say to you! Farms are amazing places to cultivate your own interests/passions, kind of like a canvas to paint on. So maybe tell your husband “Hey, horses are your thing. House is both of ours, so is the kid. I wanna have my farm-thing.” Then take a while to think about what it is. What do you like to do? I mentioned some things above… but I just really want to emphasize that I think you should take control of this place and do something to make it a meaningful place for you.

      A lot of women in the country find company/social outlets through a blogging community. If you like to write, and/or take photos maybe start a blog and talk to other SAHMs across the internet and tell your story.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle February 27, 2013, 9:24 am

    Okay, I wanted to start off my response with something other than “Why did you marry him?” but…I can’t. Please forgive the question—but ~why~ did you marry him? I assume he’s always been a horse & animals farmguy…and most people have enough of an idea of themselves to know whether or not this is something they want (or at least can live with) in a partner?

    Also, how long have you two been together? How old is your child (who I’m only assuming exists because you refer to yourself as a “mother”)? I don’t know, this is kind of important. It sounds like you love your husband but are getting frustrated that your only identity is mother/wife/caretaker. Is it REALLY about the location? Can you hire help to make things easier for you around the house?

    Talk to your husband about your frustrations, if you haven’t already. Tell him you feel overwhelmed and isolated—& that it isn’t just a passing feeling.

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  • avatar

    AmyP February 27, 2013, 9:31 am

    I want to know how you wind up with a 5,000 sq. ft. house without realizing that that’s a lot of work?

    (If you inherited it, I understand.)

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 10:22 am

      When you buy a farm you automatically get the house that is already on it. You don’t choose the farm for the house, you choose it for the land and get the house that is there, if there is one.

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      • avatar

        AmyP February 27, 2013, 1:02 pm

        Unless they bought the land and then built everything themselves (people do do that here in Texas). That would make it a lot worse–to have sunk all that time, money and energy into building their dream and then realizing that she hates it.

        There are a bunch of different possible scenarios. And this is not exhaustive:

        1) he inherited the farm

        2) they bought a farm with buildings (your version)

        3) they bought raw land and put up buildings on it

        It also makes a difference if this is a commercial farm or if it’s a hobby farm.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 1:13 pm

        They could also be renting because she mentions that they’ve lived in various rural places.

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      • avatar

        AmyP February 27, 2013, 2:04 pm

        That would be a best-case scenario. I’m afraid that they’ve bought this thing (probably for more than it’s worth) and will have a heck of a time unloading it.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 9:31 am

    So a few questions- When you married did you know living on a farm was paramount for him? Does he help around the house (cook dinner, watch the kid, etc)? Does he get to have time with his friends or is he just as overwhelmed as you are? Have you talked to him???

    Also, why the hell do you have a 5000 sqft house? If it is 3 (or even 4) of you, that is ridiculously oversized.

    And, your husbands “needs” should not superceed your own. Both of your needs should be on the same level. If your needs are being met then he needs to compromise with you so both of you can be happy.

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  • avatar

    Trixy Minx February 27, 2013, 9:35 am

    First there’s always online school so you don’t always have to drive to town. Second when you are in town why don’t you get all your errands fine at once and stock up on food and supplies so you don’thave to be there ask the time. Third, online shopping so you can have stuff delivered to the house. Forth, hire someone to clean and someone to take care of the horses. Also, place mats or maybe have a mud room so dirt isn’t always taking inside. Also, talk to your husband! Geez

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 9:42 am

      You make it sound so simple and obvious when you lay it out like that. (not that it isn’t simple or obvious)
      Easy Peasy

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 10:09 am

      Wendy linked an awesome website around Christmas that has groceries, cleaning supplies, diapers etc and ships to your home (with free shipping a lot of the time). And if you can’t afford to hire someone to clean, maybe it’s time to think about chores for the kid/kids. Not child labor or anything but for example when I was younger, my chore was to clear the table/load the dishwasher/wash dinner dishes everyday. Not hard work, but it gave my mom 30 minutes to relax and took a little off of her household maintence plate.

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      • avatar

        Doodles February 27, 2013, 10:58 am

        Lol GG! My parents and aunts and uncles all used to joke that the reason they had kids was so they did not have to clean anymore. We would complain and that was he response. Sorry, I just had to add this lil tid bit. Made me smile.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. February 27, 2013, 12:21 pm

        My dad says that the reason his parents had him was to tend the coal furnace in the basement: bank the fire in the evening, clean out the ash and add new coal in the morning. That was why you had teenaged boys, he says. My mom grew up in a family of 14 on a farm. Lots of cheap labor, there.

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    • avatar

      AmyP February 27, 2013, 10:17 am

      Problem is, she wants to escape from the farm periodically. She doesn’t want to arrange her life so she never has to leave.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar February 27, 2013, 10:44 am

        Exactly! That all probably sounds like hell to her!

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 10:26 am

      Do you really think that they deliver that far from town. Living in a remote rural area is nothing like living in a city. I remember people wanting pizza delivery and finding out how much pizza they would need to buy to get pizza delivered and it was about $100 worth and it was closer than the distance she is driving.

      You can also schedule errands when you are in town but if kids have school activities on most evening, like sports practices and games, then you have to drive every single day.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 10:47 am

        The websites Wendy linked ship via USPS, Fed Ex and UPS which deliver anywhere. She might not be able to get like milk or cheese, but could get cleaning products/dry goods/personal hygene products which would take a little strain off.

        And if the kids have stuff “most evenings” and this is creating some of the stress- cut down on activities!! Kids will survive with out soccer 3 nights a week and karate and ballet and trumpet classes. Really they will.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 11:08 am

        Where I grew up the after school activities were all sports and if you didn’t participate you really had nothing to do. So right now it would be basketball and you either go to practice every evening or you have nothing at all. There is no ballet or karate or soccer or scouting within an hours drive of my parents. All of the activies are through the school. My sister lives on the other side of the state in a rural area and it is the same. Her kids can play baseball, basketball and football. Those are their options. They either do them, from whatever age you can begin, or you have nothing at all. There is 4-H and they do that but there are very limited options.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 11:20 am

        Right…do nothing. It’s okay. Kids turn out just fine all the damn time with out being involved in extraciricular activies, school related or otherwise. It is not manditory. If the parents are being stretched too thin trying to keep up with voulentary activities then they get droped in my opinion. Play soccer in the backyard- lord knows it’s big enough.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 11:53 am

        Then the kids end up isolated and without friends and lack social skills. It is sad and it happens. Because they probably have few neighbors within any reasonable distance to play, the kids see other kids by doing the activities or they are just alone. It really isn’t about the activity or getting exercise, it’s about socializing.

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        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 12:06 pm

        Well they are going to school…so I dont’ really see how they aren’t socializing.

        And, chances are some of the farm hands have kids. Bring them over. I don’t see how stretching the parent’s to the break is the answer here so the kid can have a few hours bs-ing with friends each night. I mean really that is what school is for- to develop social skills (in addition to learning). All the activities are extra and unnecessary. If they were being home schooled that’s one thing…but going to a physical school 5 days a week is enough. I promise.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 12:08 pm

        That’s bologna! They attend school (right?). I never did sports or whatever, and I turned out fine socially (depending on who you ask, lol).

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 1:12 pm

        But were there kids nearby that you could play with after school. Did you need to walk miles to have a kid to play with?

        My daughter’s school had one twenty minute recess. Not really much time to socialize. Now she”s in middle school and there is no recess and unless you have a friend in your class and manage to sit together, which is difficult with assigned seats, then you don’t see each other. One of her friends ended up with not a single class with a friend and has been feeling isolated even with us all living close enough to get together on weekends.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 1:27 pm

        Is it a bit better to have extra curriculars and social time? Of course. I think its just weighing options: 1. plenty of social time v. 2. a sane and healthy parent.

        So yea, its better, but if its at the cost of mom’s sanity, it wont kill the kid to miss it.

        To answer your actual question, I had siblings to play with.

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        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 1:37 pm

        Who are the kids going to play with after school? Well first, they should be doing home work and helping around the house/farm/doing chores. And secondly, they can play with siblings or themselves. Goodness, handholding much? Boo hoo you can’t sit next to your friend in class! You don’t have 20 friends in the neighborhood to hang out with everyday. What? I never had ANY of that growing up and I will not stress myself out to the point of writting into an advice column to give my children that. It’s unnecessary.

        I didn’t have friends who lived closer than 3 miles (and I “lived in a town”) when I got home from school I did my homework, chores and helped my mom with my siblings or entertained myself.

        Sacrificing a parents sanity, and frankly in this case it seems like maybe a marraige….yeah I would not do that so my kids could play t-ball.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 1:43 pm

        i wonder why the LW feels the need to keep her kids in activities. i wonder if she wants them to get away from farm life, so shes trying to expose them to as many things as she can, so they dont just grow up on a farm and then whole cycle repeats itself… i wonder if she had that growing up, and so she cant imagine that people dont do it.. i wonder.

        although, i do question the amount of activities though. there really isnt much to choose from in rural areas, so this may be her kids only chance for any type of “fun”, you know? so maybe thats why its so important. the skating rink was my fun when i lived on the farm, we went every friday.. haha

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 3:03 pm

        Really? You didn’t hang out with your friends outside of school? If the parents don’t want their kids doing lots of activities, that’s fine, but I think it’s very important for kids to have friends and actually hang out with them when they’re not at school.

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        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 3:46 pm

        CM, only on weekends. We never had weeknight friend hang outs. And it was maybe two weekend friend activities a month. I turned out just fine.

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        MMcG February 27, 2013, 5:28 pm

        The fact that you had siblings is huge though. Having grown up as an only it can get insanely stir crazy and boring, starting round 3-4th grade I would have gone cuckoo if I didn’t have lots of friends close by. And what about summers!?!

        I’m all for independence and doing your share of chores around the house, but what if the kid actually likes and is really good at music and wants to go? Of all the assumptions flying around on this one – probably because there is so little to go on 😉 – why assume the LW is the helicoptering over scheduling parent?

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 1:16 pm

        We lived 3 miles away from the only child my sister’s age and one of my brothers was ten miles from anyone his age. I had a girl my age only one mile away so we would walk and get together to play.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr February 27, 2013, 11:50 am

      Hmm… as people have pointed out, she feels isolated, so online school is probably not the best option. But IMO, depending on what she’s studying, it could be an actively terrible option – you don’t make the same connections, have the same community, or have the same individual attention from professors / intellectual conversations with peers online.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 3:01 pm

        And how do you do science labs? I was a science major. Some things you just cannot do online. Her life reminds me of that Barbara Kingsolver novel about the butterflies and global warming. Flight something….

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  • theattack

    theattack February 27, 2013, 9:36 am

    I think it’s sad that you can’t find happiness where you are. There are plenty of marvelous things to do in rural areas. You don’t have to drive that far just to have a good time unless you absolutely can’t take pleasure in the simple things in life. If you are this miserable, you need to do something about it, but you really didn’t say anything about trying to learn to love this lifestyle. Your first step should be to discover the many, many things around you and see if you can find joy outside of the shopping mall or whatever you do in the city. “Grin and bear it” doesn’t sound like you actually made an effort. If you can’t do that, talk to your husband about how you can meet in the middle. Can you move closer to the outskirts of town? Can you agree to hire some help? If you two have that many horses, you can probably afford to get some help.

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    • avatar

      painted_lady February 27, 2013, 11:35 am

      I’m not saying this shouldn’t have been something they absolutely discussed/tried out/found a compromise BEFORE marriage, but sometimes it’s not as simple as just “Find something to like!” If they were there for a well-defined amount of time and were done, then sure. But this is her life. I absolutely love the country for a few days to a week. It’s gorgeous, it’s peaceful…but then I’m so bored I want to scream. Sure, there’s stuff to do, but it isn’t MY stuff. I would be MISERABLE living in the middle of nowhere. I live in a small town right now, but right downtown in said small town…and I can’t wait to leave and go back to the city. I miss museums and theatre and fifty different restaurants from twelve countries within walking distance, and art galleries that have paintings that don’t involve pelicans and boats, and festivals and pride week, and indie movie houses…so while I realize there are lots of things to do here, and my regards to the people who love the beach and antiquing and craft fairs and one movie theatre and a single Chinese restaurant that scares the hell out of me, that’s not me.

      She’s not wrong for not wanting to live closer to the things she enjoys, but she should have said that before she married him.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 12:21 pm

        To be honest, I just don’t get it because I love the rural life. I don’t like life in the city, and even towns are much more than I want really. I’m very biased about this, but I just cannot understand people who prefer museums to hummingbirds or five different Ethiopian restaurants to creek-stomping. Even just driving into a busy city for an afternoon makes me feel crappy. No offense to you intended at all, PL. I just find all of that really overwhelming and frustrating, and I think it’s sad that people don’t appreciate simple things as much as they used to. You’re right though, that she likes what she likes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I still stand by that she needs to try to appreciate what she already has before she turns her life upside down to get what she’s familiar with.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed February 27, 2013, 5:31 pm

        That’s funny…I’m the exact opposite. I would not do well living in rural areas. Visiting for a weekend is fun, but living there? I just couldn’t do it.

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      • avatar

        McLaughlane February 27, 2013, 12:44 pm

        painted_lady – You wouldn’t happen to live in Ventura, CA, do you? Because I’ve been here for a year after living in San Diego my whole life, and it’s like you took the words right out of my mouth! I like the beach ok, and we have some cool antique shops, but I miss San Diego and its delicious Japanese restaurants and museums and all my old haunts.

        I don’t have much advice for the LW, sadly, since I have never lived somewhere completely rural….but good luck!

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        painted_lady February 27, 2013, 1:56 pm

        No – Galveston. I was living in Houston. I don’t hate it, I just miss my life.

        @theattack – I don’t think people don’t enjoy simple things, I just think they either *also* enjoy other things, or the simple things they enjoy can be done in a city. For me, living in the middle of Houston, I could tie my kayak onto my car, drive down to the gulf or up to the lake and spend the day on the water. I fucking love it. But I like living someplace where I can decide I want Malaysian on a whim rather than needing to make a whole day trip out of it. I can spend a day at the park sketching in Houston, but I can’t find castlevetrano olives or hard peppered goat cheese – two of my favorite things to cook with – or a coffeehouse with live music playing so I can sit and listen and drink wine with good friends. Those are the simple things I enjoy, and I know – because you are so sweet – that you weren’t calling me “sad” because I enjoy different things than you. I know there’s a mentality amongst people who live in cities that people in the country are uncultured yokels, but I’m lucky that I was raised to appreciate both worlds – I just choose to make my home in urban areas. Obviously for you, you’d rather live someplace quiet and with lots of nature around, and you can go into the city if you want. And I don’t think it’s “sad” that you haven’t seen a Puccini opera or watched a gay pride parade, if you haven’t. It’s just a different set of preferences and priorities.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 2:02 pm

        Oh no, I wasn’t calling you “sad” at all! Your description is much different than I imagine city people anyway, not that I think city people are necessarily sad either. I know so many people who can’t appreciate anything other than some sort of man-made entertainment, and THAT is sad to me. People who think it’s podunk and stupid to enjoy doing anything other than their life full of bright lights and hangovers make me sad.

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        painted_lady February 27, 2013, 3:08 pm

        Yeah, I hear you there – that sounds exhausting and terribly shallow, and I’ve definitely met people who only do the clubbing-drinking-drugs-party thing, but most outgrow it by about 25, fortunately. I kind of feel like you do, though, that they’re missing SO much by disengaging and not taking the time to see what an awesome place they live in (I sound like a travel ad talking about Houston, I know). But then again, I think I’ve run into more people who live the party lifestyle here (but this town is fucking weird).

        She did say “years” when she talked about living in this house, and I feel like even the most resistant to a new lifestyle would have adjusted if it were going to happen. Though I kind of think she sounds depressed, so addressing that part of it before making any life-changing decisions would be best for her and her family.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle February 27, 2013, 9:48 am

    I was following along until you said there is no peace in a 5000 square foot home.

    Hire a maid to help with the house work once a week. It’s hard keeping that house together.
    Understand that if you lived in smaller quarters you can really not escape anything for peace and quiet. I’m sure with a 5000 square foot home you have a lot of places to go. If you don’t already have a room to call your own where you can do what you want then make one! But truthfully some mom’s only get me time in the shower. And I’m sure yours is much larger than most.
    Build sheet huts with the kids. Or take blankets and have a movie night. Children don’t need to be stimulated and socialized every single day. What they want is a good loving home which is sounds like you have.
    I’m sure there is a tiny grocery store or farmers market nearby. You don’t have to drive that long of distance everyday.
    Finally just talk to your husband. Maybe even just give him this letter if you can’t actually talk.

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  • katie

    katie February 27, 2013, 9:52 am

    so, LW, first off- i totally, 100%, absolutely get you. my grandfather and my dad had this stupid dream to be farmers, and they were crazy, so before y2k happened they bought a big 24 acre farm in minnesota, complete with a pony and a cat (they were in the real estate contract, lol). now, my grandfather was a biochemist, and my dad is a sort-of lawyer/book publisher/conspiracy theorist… so they had zero, absolutely zero idea how to run a farm. it was a fucking disaster. we had farmhands, of course, because we didnt know what to do, but to go from living in chicago (literally, right on lake shore drive) to living on a 24 acre farm was a culture shock like many people probably dont understand. i assume, because you “miss” living near people, that you once did and now living on the farm is killing you. i get that. i lived that. i understand that.

    dont feel bad for it. there are people who are NOT cut out for farm life. the isolation, the constant chores, the fucking SILENCE. its maddening. if you are not a farm person, please dont feel bad about that. your are allowed that.

    but now, where do you go from here? i like a lot of the suggestions above- renting an apartment in town you can “vacation” at whenever you want, hiring a housekeeper (we always had a housekeeper after my mom left), taking control of some aspect of the farm that would enrich you (growing prize winning roses, or like learning how to can stuff, raising alpacas- i dunno). if you search hard enough, i do think, and i really hope, there is a way to re-structure your life so that you can have the best of both worlds. i really do. it’ll probably be hard, it’ll probably cost money, but i think if you make it a priority to keep your marriage, just re-structured in a different way, you could achieve that. however, if that doesnt work, and if the thought of being on that farm any longer for any reason really kills your soul every time you think about it, i think you should seriously consider divorce. your husband might be a perfect guy for you in every aspect *except* the fact that he lives on a farm. and thats ok. my boyfriend would also live on a huge farm if he got the chance, but thankfully he works in an industry where he has to be near a good sized city, so that works in my favor. but i am like you, LW. i cannot do farm life. i tried. and you know, it is nice, for like a week. its nice to be near nature and to be able to calm down and slow down and everything… but for a week. to live there, day after day… yea, not for me. and i probably wouldnt have ever known that, at least not so strongly, if i had never lived it. you did sign up for this, but that doesnt mean you just accept this shitty reality. this is the reality, no matter if you romanticized it before or whatever- this is the reality you signed up for, now you know, and so now you can make a better decision.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 9:56 am

      The idea of renting an apartment so she can “vacation” there, in the same town, just seems crazy to me. I’d suggest it to someone who is absurdly wealthy, maybe.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 9:58 am

        eh, i use “vacation” loosely, but when i lived on a farm, if i had an apartment in town to stay at a few nights a week, it probably would have worked out better. i think its a good suggestion, personally (it wasnt mine- it was alice’s. i just copied it)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:04 am

        I know, it was mentioned twice at least. Even not for vacationing, the concept of having a second home in the same town is extreme to me.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 10:06 am

        well, to be fair, she doesnt live in a town. thats the whole point.

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        AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 10:09 am

        LBH, if you have “many, many horses” I can guarantee you can afford a small studio apartment in a small rural town if you get rid of 1-2 horses. Does it seem kind of silly to me? Yes. But even if they do it temporarily I think it would be worth saving a marriage. Maybe her renting a studio apartment would remind her of all the great things in her life. Or maybe it solidifies that the lifestyle isn’t for her. Either way it would be useful.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:15 am

        Its just weird to me. Maybe bc I don’t do the farm life. But if you don’t like where you live, the obvious solution would be to move to a different home, not get a second home for you to live at sometimes. Like would you stay there without your family? I get sick of my house too, and my SO and kid can be tough to deal with too. That doesn’t mean I should just go get a second place to escape from my family/responsibilities.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 10:18 am

        yea, if youve never experienced farm life, i dont think you could understand it…

        its not so much trying to escape, its actually more of trying to belong. this LW has to commute 80 miles round trip to do anything in town- if you run out of milk, its 80 miles away. anything for her kids- 80 miles away. having a place to go for a few days, where she doesnt have to deal with day to day farm life (which fucking sucks more then you would believe) and being able to just go, get some dinner, take her kids to somewhere fun, ect… i dunno, to me it would make all the difference in the world.

        honestly- if my mom had something like that all those years ago, she might not have left my dad. seriously.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:23 am

        I’m sure some families operate like that, and it might work, it just seems like it totally is escaping (or taking a break) from your real life. If you can’t manage your life as it is, I don’t think the solution should be running away half the week. I think the solution should be manage your life better and if you truly hate the way your life is, move somewhere, with your whole family. I can’t believe I’m the only one thinking this.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:24 am

        Take Wendy. We’ve all read about her life stresses, but rather than her live elsewhere from her family for half a week, she found solutions to make her life more manageable (hiring sitter, etc.).

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 10:28 am

        i think its probably because you are thinking of it in any other context, and id agree with you in any other context, but farm people just dont operate like that. they dont move. they wont move. its just a whole different lifestyle.

        i would hope that if it came to that, her husband would want to keep their family together/sacrifice something he likes/loves for the marriage, ect… it just doesnt usually work out that way in practice.

        and i dont actually think its taking a break from “real” life at all- going to town all the time is already a part of her life, having somewhere in town to stay would just make it easier. its a win/win- her husband gets to keep his horses/farm, she gets social interaction, her kids get their social enrichment/school that they are already trying to do at the expense of the LW’s sanity.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:32 am

        Yea, if its a second home or divorce, I guess go for it if you don’t want a divorce. But shouldn’t there be a more normal compromise if you don’t like the life you’re living? Like getting rid of the farm and moving? idk.

        How could you think its not taking a break from real life though? Her real life is living with her family on a farm. If she’s living alone in a different home away from then, that’s pretty much taking a break from real life. There are better solutions out there to make your life simpler.

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        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 10:43 am

        I live in a semi-rural area with a lot of farming. Granted a grocery store and soccer field are with in 20 minutes rather than 45 to an hour- I know of absolutely no one who has a second house. Even on my fiance’s side, where they are horse trainers in seriously rural SC (like an hour and half to a grocery store rural) they don’t have second homes. This idea seems completely foreign to me.

        It is quite common to take weekend trips to a hotel in the city/beach/mountains and have the hired farm hands man the farm.

        And I totally agree with LBH, you can’t get a second home to escape from real life. This LW would now have two homes to maintain, which solves nothing! And she is probably going to be staying in town while the husband stays on the farm…not practicle for their relationship or the children. I grew up on a 64 acre plot with an orchard. It was exhausting and the work never ends. My mom was frustrated beyond beleif- but it was never an option to split the family up.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:45 am

        GG, “It is quite common to take weekend trips to a hotel in the city/beach/mountains and have the hired farm hands man the farm.”

        Much better solution, imo.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 10:50 am

        because on a farm “real life” also extends to the trips to town. they are actually a huge part of farm life, planning them, executing them well, ect. i can remember going into town probably 4 days a week (my dad’s business included shipping stuff almost everyday, so we went a lot more then other people), and it was always a big deal. you had to have everything done- you had to be dressed on time, ect, you had to have your shopping list done and ready, you had to keep up with gas in the car (there arent gas stations just anywhere), you had to have dad’s shipping crap ready. i can only imagine how much it would suck having kids in the mix, and i guess how much it did suck for my dad having me and my sister in the mix, lol. and then theres the social aspect of it… being isolated on a farm is terrible for the right people. so then even though it sucks and is very expensive to go to town, you crave it and need it because thats the only social interaction you get with people.

        its a weird dynamic.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 10:55 am

        katie, Those are just time management issues. Yes, they’re slightly different being in a rural area, but they’re not terribly different from living anywhere with a family and a job. It’s just a difficult reality of any life that you have to plan for. Also, going to town is not the only possibility for social interaction. Surely there are other people she can make friends with between her farm and the city.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ February 27, 2013, 11:05 am

        You make “getting rid of the farm” sound so easy. I know next to nothing about farming and I can already tell you selling a farm is not like selling any other piece of property. And it’s also not just a piece of property they’d be leaving, but a lifestyle. I get the impression the LW’s husband cares deeply about the farm and his animals, and I can’t imagine he’d be thrilled about being asked to give them up – I can actually imagine he’d be incredibly hurt and resentful.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 11:23 am

        i agree about the time management, but i think her issues go deeper then that, just like my mom’s issues did. its fairly obvious, with the LW writing about the isolation and the social interaction she craves. its much more then time management.

        the farm life isnt for everyone, its just not. if this is slowly killing her soul, she needs to rethink things, up to and including being able to stay in town- that change could be all she needs. who knows? its an option, im just not discounting it, no matter how weird it seems to other people. it could help her.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 10:37 am

        No, I agree with you, LBH. I don’t think an apartment is a good solution at all. It’s not sustainable, and it’s just kind of ridiculous. I really don’t think the farm situation is any different from other situations either. If you don’t like it, you need to find a more sustainable solution. If they’re rich, maybe it would work, but I would personally never let that fly in my family regardless of the money. Just think: If there are all these chores to do, and she stays at her apartment for half the week, her husband is stuck doing everything! There are some things hired help cannot make up for. And is it really good for their marriage for one of them to be gone that frequently because they hate life at home? It sounds like a recipe for breaking down their family to me.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 10:53 am

        If you’re tired and hungry you still have to cook dinner because it is 80 miles to pick up something from town, if the town even has fast food. Then you have to still do the dishes. There is no break, no easy out on any day because of the remote location. The day starts extra early because if the kids ride the bus it comes early to make the 40 mile commute to town, and it is probably more like 60 to 80 miles because the bus winds around all over picking up other kids who are also very remote. So if school starts at 8:30 you are probably up by 5:30. Sometime in the morning, while getting the kids ready you have to get out and take care of all of the horses. So maybe you have to get up at 4:00 or 4:30, maybe even earlier in the winter if you have to break ice out of the water containers. So she probably isn’t getting enough sleep.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:00 am

        Does no one here commute?
        Tired, hungry, hour away from home and still have to cook dinner? Welcome to the life of the average American.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 11:13 am

        But grabbing dinner on the way home is probably an option for you when you’re busy or tired.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:21 am

        But if she’s in town (which is whats making her too busy to make dinner) she’s presumably capable of grabbing dinner on the way home too.

        Regardless, its a reality of life. You have to come up with dinner when you have a family. I really don’t feel bad that she has to do that too. Literally everyone does. Most people work a long, hard day and then go home to make dinner (before all their other chores).

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 11:21 am

        Skyblossom, if it’s all about the convenience of dinner, a lot of people freeze meals ahead of time and pull those out in lieu of fast food. That takes just a few minutes to pull out and reheat, or she can let it thaw out in the fridge all day and it takes even less time. It’s pretty pitiful if access to disgusting fast food is the point that makes or breaks a living arrangement.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 11:45 am

        haha, LBH, you are assuming that there are restaurants in her town.. particularly, restaurants that have takeout, and are open when she would need them.

        seriously, there arent restaurants in every town. there arent even grocery stores in every town…

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:49 am

        Ok, so cook your own god damn dinner. Or freeze it and make a week’s worth. Or get a crock pot. There are simpler solutions to having dinner than getting your own apartment.

        If I’m wiped after a long day, I don’t always have the luxury of take out, fast food or going to a restaurant. I assume most people are the same. Cooking dinner sucks. Get over it.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 11:49 am

        katie, for real, it sucks. I commute out of a small city into a very, very small town. The only thing in this town is a little Amish store that sells dairy and meats and a gas station. I’m just thankful there IS a gas station so I can get home! But it sucks because I never remember to bring lunch, and I just want something to eat during the day!

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:50 am

        Sorry, didn’t mean to start screaming at you. Not sure why I just got hysterical about this.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 11:59 am

        lol, theattack, living in a small town, or not living in a town at all, as is the case here, seriously sucks. like, little things you wouldnt ever think about and just take for granted make such a huge difference. its like an entire different world. and the people are an entire different breed of people. and the food sucks, if its there. and everything is slow. it just sucks, lol, there is no other way to describe it. i have no idea why my dad liked it so much.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 12:09 pm

        Oh, well I love small towns, and even better – rural areas OUTSIDE of already tiny towns. That’s how I grew up, and it just makes so much more sense to me than cities. That’s partially why I can’t relate to this LW. Even though I know she’s having a hard time, to me it all just sounds like “Boo hoo, I hate how perfect my life is.” haha. Cities are awful for me, and they amplify my depression. Even my small city of about 150,000 is soul-crushing for me. I hope I can convince my fiance to move down here, but then he would have to commute. The only reason I hate not having restaurants here so much is because I can’t go home for lunch, and I keep forgetting to bring something. I wouldn’t trade food for the sanity I get coming down here though. I can, however, walk over to the courthouse and buy some chips out of the vending machine. lol

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        Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 2:45 pm

        Multiply your urban wah wah angst by 1000x and you have country livin’!

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        bethany February 27, 2013, 11:14 am

        I know people who live in the suburbs who also have an apartment in the city to stay at when they feel like going out on the town or something. It’s not really that absurd of a concept. If you have the money, why not?

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:22 am

        That’s a bit different. The people you talk about are staying there together. That sounds more like a vacation home.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 11:28 am

        how is that different? its a way for people who live in the suburbs to have a convenient way to also live in the city, the best of both worlds. just like in the LW’s situation, it would allow her to keep her farm life and also have a convenient way to live in town, the best of both worlds. (or i guess, the best of her world and her husbands world together.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:33 am

        Because they go there together, as a couple.

        Imagine for a second someone writes in saying I’m sick of dealing with my wife, kids, job and responsibilities. Its all too much for me. I don’t get enough ME time. So, I’m going to get a place in the city because I really need more time to relax and hang with friends. Its cool to leave my wife and kids for a few days a week, right? They can handle the farm without me even though it was too hard for 2 people to handle, my wife should be able to.

        Hey like you said, if it prevents divorce and they are cool with it, go for it. It just seems weird to me.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 11:46 am

        LBH, Leaving him with all the work is a HUGE issue. I completely agree with you 200%.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 11:51 am

        eh, i think we are just seeing this from totally different angles…

        i see it as a way for her to do the “town” aspect of her farm life easier. and that includes her getting social interaction (and seriously, if youve never experienced the isolation, you have no idea how absolutely necessary that is, its not even a luxury). sure, it would give her “me” time by default, but only because she wouldnt be wasting so much time commuting. she would still be doing chores at the house, just not everyday, she would still be looking after her kids, it would make that job like a million times easier, actually, and then her life would just be generally more happy.

        your seeing it as she is escaping from any and all responsibilities and eating bon bons all day… i think. which is not what it would be. it would just be a good way to eliminate commute problems and let her have face to face time with other humans.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:55 am

        I’ve experienced isolation. That happens in life sometimes. It sucks, but so does life sometimes. Non-isolation is a luxury if you ask me. Anything other than food and a roof over your head is a luxury.

        But going with your idea, what if the husband decides he needs all that too? Then what?

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 12:14 pm

        i dunno, you live in the east coast- new york/new jersey area, right? i went to college on the east coast, and its like impossible to be isolated there. thats the countries population center. you cant walk a block without running into someone, you know? and not like you know everyone, but when you live on a farm, you literally dont see other humans. thats the big difference. its isolation in the very truest sense of the word. its not that she doesnt get to see her friends as much as she wants or whatever, its that she literally does not come face to face with another human being for hours and days at a time. her husband is probably out of the house for 12 hours a day. her kids are in school, presumably, so she is just alone. all alone. its starkly different, in my opinion, from experiencing both lives. i cannot tell you how deafeningly loud the silence gets after so long.. its like a paradox. im totally on the LW’s side on this, because i left the farm as soon as i could, because it was crushing my soul. i dont tell many people this, but my mom got so depressed when we moved to the farm that she told me once she was going to go lie down on the highway- thats the kind of shit that particular type of isolation can do to a person. especially if that person is one who needs human interaction.

        i assume that the husband is happy where he is. he has his horses to tend to, the nice slow country life- and thats the kind of life he craves.. if they lived in a large city, he would probably be the one writing in about how soul-sucking his life is.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 12:19 pm

        Well, I don’t really think you can disagree with me that I’ve been in isolation. Lol.
        “you literally dont see other humans. thats the big difference. its isolation in the very truest sense of the word.”
        You can live in a huge city, but if you never leave your house or have visitors, you are just as isolated. I hear you about it being deafeningly quiet, but quiet is different than isolation.
        Also, have an infant and live alone with no family and friends around and you will also see true isolation.

        And the end of the day, this couple needs to talk and compromise. Neither will have 100% satisfaction, but again, that’s life.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 12:30 pm

        lol, LBH, if you want your own isolation to be seen as valid, you cant discount this LW’s either…

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 12:33 pm

        ? I’m not trying to get it to be seen as valid. Or invalidate her.

        You were just saying maybe I haven’t experienced it, and therefore don’t “get” it, so I was sharing that I have experienced it and do get it.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ February 27, 2013, 11:26 am

        I think people are getting hung up on “apartment” like it’s really a second home. A studio apartment or a small office space in town would be a good idea for her if she’s having trouble getting her school work done at home. A desk & computer, a kitchenette, and maybe a couch or small bed for a quick lie-down would be all she’d need, and would likely do her wonders.

        I can’t help thinking, though, how much it costs to run a farm. I remember hearing or reading somewhere that many farm owners are in a TON of debt, because the income a farm brings in is less guaranteed than a paycheck from a “normal” job, and it costs so so so much just to keep the farm running. I don’t know for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this family really doesn’t have a lot of money left over for extras like housekeepers, sitters, or a rented space in town.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 11:30 am

        Well that’s true, but horses are expensive, and unless they’re paid to break horses for other people, or they give very lucrative riding lessons, or other people are paying to board their horses there, they’re probably not making any money off of them. Having that many horses is usually a sign of having money.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 12:03 pm

        Which is another reason why I think the husband is probably working off the farm. She doesn’t mention anything that generates revenue like crops, or dairy or beef cattle or lambs. Just four dogs and the horses and unless you’re selling them or boarding them or giving riding lessons, which isn’t likely as far out as they live, then I don’t see any farm income.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 12:18 pm

        do you think they are breeding the horses? that could be the income.

        i do wonder though. having horses means you have money, you have to have money to house them. horses are expensive. but then again, if you are using all your money to keep the horses… i dunno.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 12:00 pm

        I think over half of all farm income is made off the farm now. Which usually means the wife is making more at her job off the farm than the husband is with his job on the farm.

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        AmyP February 27, 2013, 11:56 am

        Ideally, they’d downsize from a big farm to a smaller farm with a smaller house closer to town, but it’s really hard to sell this kind of property. Also, if the property is inherited and has been in the family a long time, that makes it very sticky.

        Interestingly, in Texas in the 19th century, German farmers would have small second homes in town. They’d farm during the week, go to town on Saturday, do business, go to dances, and then go to church on Sunday and then go back to the farm. These were called “Sunday houses.”

        http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/fredericksburg-sunday-houses/

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 12:35 pm

        They sell them through a farm/ranch auction. It is publicized in the local paper and lots of people show up. You can set the minimum price that you need. Properties like this sell all the time where my parents live. People buy the property for the land, probably pasture on this property. Someone else might buy it for cattle instead of horses but pasture sells.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:18 am

        Also, I’m surprised anyone is suggesting getting rid of the horses. You guys are all such animal lovers and think of pets like family. Maybe horses are different? Not pets?

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle February 27, 2013, 10:28 am

        Haha, I thought the same thing—I don’t think selling the horses is actually a solution. I wouldn’t do it, if I were this guy.

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        Emsz February 27, 2013, 10:51 am

        I think people can get very attached to horses, but I don’t think they are so much pets like cats and dogs are pets.
        A friend of mine had a horse for years and years, but when she went to college the horse had to go. (It was boarded though, her family didn’t live on a farm). Horses are really expensive.

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        AmyP February 27, 2013, 1:13 pm

        Yeah, it’s not like your horse is going to sleep on your bed or cuddle on your lap.

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        Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 3:03 pm

        Same town? Try 80 miles away!!! And it is not so she can “vacation”, it is so she can get work done and the kids have time for homework and she has time for HER homework. Not absurd at all.

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    kerrycontrary February 27, 2013, 9:52 am

    I think you need to talk to your husband! I am sure you can find a compromise in this situation. A lot of your issues have practical solutions. So maybe you move 15-20 miles closer to town in a more moderately sized house and you sell a few horses. You hire a cleaning lady so you aren’t overwhelmed with the household chores. You have a designated room for everyone to take off their shoes (or maybe even for your husband to undress) so he’s not bringing as much dirt in. Also, wipe off your dogs feet every time they come in. They make disposable puppy wipes for this. So your husband can still have a rural-ish lifestyle, but you aren’t driving AS far. A lot of people who live a rural lifestyle don’t go into town often for this very reason. They plan their grocery store trips, activities, get togethers. Why can’t your girlfriends come out and visit at your huge house? You need to brainstorm some solutions.

    I also think you are struggling with your identity as a homemaker and a mother. You seemed overwhelmed by not having downtime or alone time. This is totally normal and you are not alone. I encourage you to search for some mommy blogs on the subject. You also need to express this feeling to your husband. Perhaps 1 day a month you could hire a babysitter for the full day and take some time to relax.

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    MISS MJ February 27, 2013, 10:05 am

    I think we may be being a bit hard on the LW. A living situation that seems workable in one scenario may just become unworkable once kids, school and other things are factored in as time goes by. My take on the LW is that she’s just overwhelmed. She feels isolated, stressed, is struggling with trying to go to school and take care of the kids and a house and all of it is complicated by the fact that she has to spend an hour to an hour and a half (minimum) driving every day just to get things done. There are only 24 hours in a day, and this LW needs more. I can appreciate that. So, LW, as others have suggested, you should talk to your husband about the fact that you have no time to yourself and you feel pulled in 100 different directions. I’m guessing that moving isn’t really an option, so, I would propose one or more of the following practical solutions to him as a way to make this work for you:

    First, the idea to get help with the housework is a great one. It’s not terribly expensive, and it’s totally worth it if you can swing it.

    Second, block off a set about of time every day for your school work. Then block off another bit of time each day for “me” time. Maybe for half an hour or so each day after the kids are in bed but before you are?

    Third, since your daily drive is a total time suck, can you get help with that, too? Maybe have a sitter who does the kids’ activities a couple of days a week or something like that? Or, if your kids are in school in town, and the activities are in town, can you have someone else drop them off at said activities, saving you a trip and waiting around? Then you can just pick them up? Or have that sitter bring them to you? And maybe take them to school, too? Whatever works, but you get the idea.

    Fourth, and this is obvious, but I assume you are going into town every day because of preset activities. If, however, you’re just going on some days for errands, consolidate and only do them one or two days a week. It takes a lot longer, but you’re only going once, so you free up hours of time on the other days.

    Fifth, even if you can do none of these other things for whatever reason, pick one day or evening a week or month or whatever you want or need and have time to do for a “me” day. And get a sitter and do whatever you want that day. Join a group or a club and meet up? Dinner with friends? Spa? Reading quietly in your house? Hobbies, shopping, whatever, just do it.

    Your living situation doesn’t really sound like the biggest problem. It’s just another factor in an already stressed and time-crunched life. Living in town might short-circuit your driving and housekeeping issues, but there will be other time-consuming activities that intrude and make the day disappear. So, no matter where you live, you have to make your 24 hours a day work for you.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:09 am

      Honestly, I’m sure you will all kill me for saying this, but if having a home, going to school part time and having a baby is that overwhelming, she needs to work on time management. This just doesn’t seem all that difficult to me, but if it is really that hard, then there are such simple solutions.
      Trixy Minx had some great solutions on how to very easily make it easier for the LW.

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        kerrycontrary February 27, 2013, 10:25 am

        TRUTH. My coworkers work full-time, own homes, have 45 min+ commutes both ways, and multiple children and they manage it.

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        Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 11:26 am

        But I will bet they kind of hate it. One statistic says that depression and lack of satisfaction in life is directly proportional to the length of one’s commute. I know that I would never sign up for that. That 1.5 hour commute could be spent exercising per day. These are the people that get old way faster than those with shorter commutes and time to exercise. You may not notice it in your 20’s or 30’s, but by the time you are in your 40’s and 50’s you really notice a difference in how people age.

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        kerrycontrary February 27, 2013, 12:05 pm

        They do hate it, but what can you do when houses/condos around the office cost 500K minimum. I hate my commute as well, but you do what you have to do. We just don’t all have a contest of whose busier or complain about it all the time, because what good does that do.

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        Christy February 27, 2013, 12:10 pm

        Sue, it’s almost impossible to live in the DC metro area and NOT have a 30 min+ commute. I have a 20 minute walking commute and that’s really, really rare. I only have such a short commute because I have two roommates and I live in an unheated basement.

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        BreezyAM February 27, 2013, 7:02 pm

        This is one reason we don’t own a house yet and when we do it will be in the countryside, like a cottage. Houses where we are that would have a reasonable commute (to me that’s under 30 minutes) would be about 5 times our combined income right now. This simply isn’t feasible especially when we’re still paying student loans. A lot of people our age with a handful of kids live in the burbs and commute in every day, a good hour drive, sometimes more. Yeah they have nice big 2K sq foot houses and yards. We have just enough space for us (2 grownups, 2 dogs, 4 kids, 1 cat). Three 9×12 bedrooms (one of which does not have a build in closet, the other two are tiny ones), 15×15 kitchen/laundry, one 5×8 bathroom, with one sink and a tiny vanity. Living room/common area is about 15×20. It’s enough for us. Although I know married couples with no kids who would consider this place way too small and wonder where on earth they would put all their shoes and handbags (I vomit watching househunters).

        But it’s clean, it’s neat, it’s cute, it’s on the ground floor, it’s about 30% under market value, my landlords don’t give a rat’s backside what we do here as long as we don’t destroy anything, I can garden in containers, I’m across the street from a subway station, a 30 minute walk to downtown, there’s nothing I could want for except of course more space. But the reason we stay? It’s 20 minutes door to door to get to work for either the husband or myself. That is beyond priceless. Ten minutes if we take the car. I can’t do that hour long commute each way crap. I’ve done it before and I won’t ever lose that much of my life again. It’s not worth the big house to me although I know many people who would be appalled we live in such a small space, and how “unmodern” it is. Whatever.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 12:17 pm

        One big difference is that they commute for work but probably not for everything else. My husband and one of my friends both commute an hour each way for work but everything else is usually within ten minutes. The library, post office, favorite restuarant, coffee shop, grocery store, school and church are all within ten minutes so the only commute is for work but nothing else is that long haul drive. Small towns also have limited hours so the grocery store probably closes at 5 pm and is closed on Sunday so you have to be there when it is open. The library in my parents town is open two half days per week so if the kids need a book for a paper you better get there when it is open and it is tiny so not much to choose from and the other towns in the area don’t have a library at all. The grocery store not only has limited hours but it is tiny, it has three short aisles and so my mom keeps separate grocery lists for different towns. She buys what she can locally to keep the store open and puts things that aren’t available on other lists. There is no fast food in the county and no clothing stores or appliance stores either. There is one bank in each town but no ATM so if you need cash you must go to the bank while it is open. Sometimes there is a restaurant and sometimes there isn’t. There isn’t enough population to keep a restaurant open so they come and go. The only gas station is through the CO-OP and you have to have a CO-OP card to pump gas because there is no attendant working and it doesn’t take credit cards but if you have the card you can get gas whenever you want.

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        MISS MJ February 27, 2013, 10:44 am

        Time management when you live at least an hour and a half away from anything is a whole different animal than time management when you’re right by the grocery store. Taking care of a 5000 square foot house is also a lot different than taking care of a 2000 or 3000 square foot one, too. That stuff simply takes time, now matter how carefully you try to manage it. If this woman is taking her kids to school in the morning, trying to run some errands then, returning home to do housework and chores and squeeze in some school and course work, then going back into town to pick the kids up and take them to their activities, then drive them home, then make dinner and clean that up, then do bedtime things, I can see where her day gets eaten up. That’s probably 3-4 hours of driving in and of itself. Add in the housework, cleaning up, routine things that have to be done throughout the day, and you probably use up another 4 or 5 hours. (Hour for a.m.; hour and a half to make dinner, eat, clean it up; hour to an hour and a half doing laundry, light cleaning, straightening, whatever; another hour or so to do the getting kids to bed routine.) Now figure that her errands take an hour or so to do, too. And kids’ activities/homework whatever maybe add another hour or so. So she’s just spent possibly 12 or so hours out of her day doing routine stuff and hasn’t even gotten to her schoolwork or “me” time or spending any real time with her kids or husband. Add in kids and husband time, plus 8 hours to sleep, bathe, etc. and you used up another, maybe 10 hours. I can see where she’d feel like she’s got no time for herself or her needs. She needs help.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 10:52 am

        Time management is time management. Period. Regardless of your circumstances, whether traditionally easy or not, you need TM. If town is 45 min. away, and you find yourself needing to go to town 4 times a week, you are not managing your time well.
        Of course her day gets eaten up. Everyone’s does! Most everyone has to do the things you mention in a day and it is a lot, but that’s life. I won’t bore you with my daily routine, but its not that different from what you spell out. When I feel swamped, I work on time mgmt or find a reasonable solution. In fact, I just started considering a weekly or biweekly housekeeper bc I got sick of massive cleaning on the weekends. Take it a step further, when I move out of this place, I know I’ll go to a smaller place bc I’ve decided bigger is not better.

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        kerrycontrary February 27, 2013, 10:56 am

        Agreed. Whenever I feel totally overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have to do my boyfriend can usually figure out a solution for me, or a way to help me out. Plus the LW has a husband to help her do stuff!!

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        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 11:15 am

        Seriously, I’ve lived semi-rural and I live in the center of a mid-sized town now. Time management is an issue for every single person no matter where they live. Also, sometimes people who live in/near a large city have it worse. Ever try to go anywhere in DC around say 5 on a weekday? Hello gridlock. So, no I don’t feel bad for this LW because of her location.

        (Also, small places are the best. My fiance and I live in a 750 sqft apt and it is so easy to keep it clean!! I’m at my parents 3000 sqft house for work right now and it’s daunting!)

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        kerrycontrary February 27, 2013, 11:27 am

        DC at 5pm. Yes. This is my life. I have to metro because it would take me an hour and fifteen minutes to drive 8 miles home from work. But the metro plus bus take an hour (if nothing goes wrong).

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ February 27, 2013, 12:19 pm

        Isn’t getting help (like a housekeeper) what everyone here is encouraging her to do, me included? No one is saying her life is harder than yours or anyone else’s. I’m simply pointing out that it isn’t ridiculous for this woman to feel stressed out, even if we don’t think she should be or we do the same things or we do it better or whatever. It isn’t a contest. The tone seeping in in places – in general not pointing to anyone specific – seem to be “wah, wah, wah, the LW has to do what we all have to do, only I do X, Y, and Z also and I manage it so spectacularly, so why is she so stressed, suck it up!” and that’s not helpful to her.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 12:25 pm

        I hope my comment didn’t come across as competition. Its just a fact of life, its hard. Try to make it easier.
        So, I’d cut your sentence in half. Yes, “wah, wah, LW has to do what everyone has to do” (not just me by any means!). (end it there) I’m sorry if I sound unsympathetic, but I don’t really feel super bad for someone who has to do the same thing as everyone else.
        She needs to manage her life better if she’s too stressed. Yes, you and the rest gave some good ideas, like a housekeeper. My advice was time mgmt.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 12:41 pm

        thank you for this.

        people are seeming to go to the “my life is just as hard as yours/deal with it” route and i dont get it. first off, in my opinion, you cant compare them. its apples and oranges. city life and city commutes and farm life and farm commutes are just so different. and even that notwithstanding, does it matter? this LW hates her life, is super unhappy, isolated, and seems to not have an idea what to do? id love to see these same responses to a new mother or a new wife or something. she doesnt need people just telling her to suck it up, it goes way deeper then that.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 12:53 pm

        Saying deal with it is good advice though I think. Its not saying suck it up. By dealing with you, you are finding solutions that make your life easier.
        Regardless of where she lives or what her daily duties are, like you said, she’s not happy. So the answer is find a way you will be happier and less stressed. That might be moving, getting a cleaning lady, making more efficient to do lists, whatever. Just deal with it.

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        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 1:00 pm

        I know I’m not telling her to suck it up. She needs to do things to help her stress, definitely. She needs to talk to her husband, figure out a better schedule for chores, her school, driving the kids, time with friends so her life is more balanced. But it’s never going to be stress free.

        But stress is a part of life, that is a fact.

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        kerrycontrary February 27, 2013, 10:54 am

        I get that she’s overwhelmed and busy, but who isn’t? I commute 2 hours total a day. I live by myself, with a dog, with no dishwasher. So a lot of my night is walking the dog, cooking dinner, doing dishes by hand, making lunch for the next day, paying bills and cleaning up, and before I know it its 9pm. I understand that rural life is very different from city-living, but everyone’s busy. There’s no contest of who’s busier. But there are things we can all do to make our lives easier. And maybe if she used some time management skills (blocking out time, not going into town as much, getting a cleaning lady, etc…) she would feel less overwhelmed.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:04 am

        I’m so glad you keep piping up. I was starting to think I just never realized my life is harder than everyone else’s. Lol. Its not. At all. I assume the average person does not get to sit down and relax until 9 or 10 at night.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 11:12 am

        That’s on a good day for a lot of people. My parents don’t get to do that until about 11 at night, and both of them have to be up around 4:30. Some nights I don’t get home from work until 9, and then there’s still a long list of chores I have to do before eating, going to bed, and getting up in time for my hour commute. Those issues are all typical issues.

        Now I definitely agree that a lot of things are harder on the farm. You have to get up early to take care of your animals before anything else, the wood-burning issue, there’s frequently no internet or phone service, etc. But it’s all part of time-management and being realistic. If she can’t do all of it, hire someone to help her with what’s possible. Put your kids on a bus instead of driving them. Don’t take them to activities that frequently. She also needs to accept that going to school is something extra she’s putting on herself, so it might not be plausible right now if her life doesn’t allow it. She isn’t doing anything to control the things she can right now.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 10:57 am

        But that isn’t all she is doing. She has horses to care for twice a day which probably takes at least an hour each time. If they have alot of horses, maybe more. Her 80 miles round trip commute is on rural roads, which probably means rock or gravel for a long distance, which is much slower than a highway. We also don’t know if her school is in the same town as the kid’s school so she may be making a long dash between towns to pick up the kids on time. Distance and poor roads begin to factor into everything you do when you live in a remote rural location.

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        AmyP February 27, 2013, 1:15 pm

        You’re forgetting all the farm-specific stuff.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 1:28 pm

        Not really. I just didn’t name every single thing in a day’s work.

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  • avatar

    BreezyAM February 27, 2013, 10:09 am

    I grew up in that kind of life. The thing that struck me that no one has hit on yet: the gas money! When we lived like that going to town was maybe a once a week thing at most. Usually more like once a month. (I did have to crack up tho at the suggestion above about online shopping and delivery for groceries… LOL! As if they deliver in those kind of areas!) You mention being in town every day for the kids’ activities… are you homeschooling? OMG if so stop that right now. No really, STOP IT! Homeschooling can be awesome and fun and totally a great experience for the family, or it can be an emotional and physical energy drain from hell that usually falls solely on mom’s shoulders (in addition to all her OTHER duties). I think the only way most of the rural women who were mothers where I grew up survived each day was by joyously waiting for the school bus to haul our butts off every (early) morning. And if your child is not yet school age, sit the hell back down on your farm because despite what you read all over the net there is no reason your preschooler needs to be in organized formal group activities, or even “playdates.” Watch the Stella and Sam cartoons if you don’t believe me.

    The other thing that struck me was wondering what your family does for income. You speak of moving to the city like it’s no big deal so is the farm the source of income? Or does your husband have a job he goes to each day in the city leaving you home with all this? Figure out what you actually *need* to feel better, like staying in town one day, maybe on a weekend, so you can do school work and such in peace and quiet. I don’t even mean staying the night necessarily (our rural families could never have afforded that!) but just you alone the whole day.

    Alternately, you maybe need to accept this is just how life is for right now. I had a bad burnout a few weeks ago. Felt I wasn’t able to get a thing done, had no me time, house wasn’t in a condition I felt appropriate, couldn’t get to meetings I’d committed to thanks to husband’s insane work schedule and no childcare, etc. And I live majorly urban now. In one of the biggest cities in North America and a 30 minute walk from our equivalent of Times Square. My house is small, barely big enough for just us. I tried to get my husband to change his schedule to commit to being home X hours or at Y times per week, and we were just massively butting heads and finally I just breathed and said to myself “this is my life, right now. This will not ALWAYS be my life. In a year I won’t remember the details but I’ll be glad I did it. In six months the youngest will be in preschool and then I can have days. But this, for now, is my life.”

    I fantasize what those days will be like, plan them out, try to steal time for me here and there, and also try to remind myself to appreciate what time I have left like this. Maybe it would help you to just let go as well?

    Reply Link
    • katie

      katie February 27, 2013, 10:15 am

      “LOL! As if they deliver in those kind of areas!”

      lol- those city folk just dont understand….

      Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 10:39 am

      I wonder if the LW is getting stuck with all the horse chores because the husband is working at a job off the farm and commuting a long distance to do that so she is stuck with all his horse chores.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson February 27, 2013, 10:44 am

      Man you have come out of nowhere and I am digging your comments lately! Keep on keeping on.

      “this is my life, right now. This will not ALWAYS be my life. In a year I won’t remember the details but I’ll be glad I did it. In six months the youngest will be in preschool and then I can have days. But this, for now, is my life.”

      I feel like this is good advice for married people in general. The great thing about dating is that when life circumstances occur you can breakup, but this LW is married. I also try to remind myself that not all day everyday of my life has to be happy. It’s fine. I don’t need to freak out that I’m not happy for one day. (Tangent – I think facebook leads people to believe that everyone around them is happy all the time and so they need to be too. It creates a really toxic view of other peoples’ lives that aren’t really what their lives are at all.)

      For this LW – I think hiring a house cleaner weekly is a necessity. Like do it right now. If her husband doesn’t think they can afford it she should mention getting rid of one horse. That’s a compromise. The kids will get older and be able to help out more or at least be in school 7 hours a day. The LW needs to pick up hobbies and make sure her husband knows she needs this alone time to cultivate her hobbies. She could pick up running – I bet there’s awesome views on the farm. She could start a garden. She could start painting or drawing. She could buy some yoga dvd’s and do yoga. All these hobbies are hobbies I have in the city.

      Also she should start only going to the city once a week if possible. Commuting is a soul suck. Maybe try to have school be online.

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    • avatar

      quixoticbeatnik February 28, 2013, 12:10 am

      Yeah, my parents moved to a small town in the Texas Hill Country about half a year ago, and while they love it out there, it is different from city life. Like, delivery out there isn’t as easy as you think. Because it’s small in rural, deliveries aren’t made to the actual residences themselves. Instead. everyone has a P.O. Box “downtown.” Which is really just a small little square, not a real downtown. A LOT of businesses and places do not deliver to P.O. Boxes.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        quixoticbeatnik February 28, 2013, 12:11 am

        Damn, I meant **small and rural. I wish I could edit!

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  • avatar

    Beth February 27, 2013, 10:09 am

    I live in rural Montana, this happens a lot. Women think marrying the farmer with lots of land and money will make their lives easier.

    HA!

    All those critters poop. The land needs maintenance. And once you add kids to the mix, you are screwed.

    Basically, if you don’t want to deal with shit and farming, don’t marry a farmer/rancher. It’s a lonely, isolated life.

    Because you have kids, please try to discuss this with him. Many families, once the kids get older, have places in town they can stay. See if you can get an apartment in town, stay there on the weekends. You have to realize, he cannot just leave the farm though, and may resent you being able to leave on a whim.

    Oh people, please do your research when you marry someone.

    Reply Link
  • FireStar

    FireStar February 27, 2013, 10:36 am

    Talk about wanting to shut the barn door after the horses leave…no? No?
    Clearly farm life is something you sign on to. Or you should have done before. But it’s clear you aren’t happy now. So look for compromises. What about a smaller farm, closer to town? What about restricting some of those chores or outsourcing to farm hands? What kind of life on a farm CAN you sign on to? Having a kitchen garden and making lemonade? You don’t want anything to do with the horses but you’ll look after the dogs?
    I generally think bait and switch is unfair and if you told your then boyfriend you were happy to be a farmer’s wife then I think he was within his rights to believe you. So figure out what you need to make farm life work for you. If its another pair of hands around the farm helping or landscaping around the home to make it more appealing to you. Make a list. And include what ways you are willing to help pay for some of the changes you want.
    If your husband was all about town life before you married then all of a sudden he wanted to wear cowboy boots every day then that would be unfair too. And he would need to compromise with you. So go into this holding a sense of fairness. But figure out what is most important. Is it where you live or who you live with. Start there and think of practical things that would make your life easier and more enjoyable that still allows your husband his country living. I think there is plenty room to meet in the middle here.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr February 27, 2013, 11:56 am

      “Talk about wanting to shut the barn door after the horses leave…no? No?”

      Love this! No one ever gets this saying when I use it.

      I do think, though, that it’s like with pretty much everything about marriage, even if you knew what you were getting into, sometimes it doesn’t work out — despite everyone’s best efforts. If she thought she could be happy and now she’s not, or jeez, even if she didn’t think she’d be happy on the farm and she unwisely married the guy anyway expecting to “grin and bear it” for the rest of her life, the fact remains it’s not working now. Idk. Marriage is scary and hard, who can really judge her for this? I agree with you that there are compromises they should try before throwing in the towel, but she shouldn’t be dishonest with herself or her husband about her needs even if she agreed to this originally.

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      • avatar

        ebstarr February 27, 2013, 11:57 am

        And I think she’s asking us whether she SHOULD be dishonest about her needs – i.e. now that she’s on the farm, is it her job to be unhappy for the rest of her life? And I say, even if you knew this was what you were signing onto, no – it’s not your job.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar February 27, 2013, 12:46 pm

        Agree. Be honest and find something that works for both. It might not be perfect for both but enough so that everyone has a little bit of what they need.

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  • avatar

    Sophronisba February 27, 2013, 10:43 am

    Dude ranch! Have the people and the action come to you! You’ve got plenty of space, rearrange it to make kind of a lodge and work with what you’ve got. City kids of all ages could benefit from time spent with animals and doing useful work…you guys could change lives.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 1:18 pm

      Why has no one else suggested this?! https://www.airbnb.com/ True it makes more work for you on the farm, but could help with your social isolation feeling and more income that you could divert to hiring more help. Especially if you live somewhere beautiful!

      Reply Link
      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid February 27, 2013, 3:11 pm

        I was kind of thinking the same thing. Riding lessons or therapy horses or something could bring in the cash and some socialization. In Italy (especially outside of where my family is) there’s this whole agritourismo movement–which is basically like bnb’s on farms where city people pay you to have a working vacation on your farm–you just feed your guests and provide a “farm experience.”

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 10:47 am

    In my mind if you are living there just so that he can have all those horses then they are his horses and he should be the one taking care of them. If he got in over his head with horses then he should find the solution, whether it is fewer horses, a hired hand, or whatever lets him take care of his horses. His solution shouldn’t be that you take care of his horses. He shouldn’t be a burden to his spouse. He should also be taking care of the mess that is associated with the horses like the dirty chore clothes and if mud is getting tracked in from chores then he should be cleaning it up. In my mind, if it exists because of his wishes, then it is his to own.

    I think a compromise would be to move much closer to town. Say within ten miles of town so that the commute is much, much shorter and yet he can keep his livestock. You should be able to watch for a property that meets the needs of both of you. One with a house that isn’t too overwhelming but with enough space for the horses. Or are you that far out because that is where you could afford a property? If so, your husband may have to choose between his love for his horses and his love for you.

    Tell him what is bothering you and why. Take some time to think about what you want and need and jot those things down if it helps. Then talk to him. Make sure he understands that you can’t continue this way indefinitely.

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  • avatar

    feelingroovy February 27, 2013, 10:50 am

    This is the best LW name ever.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Sheryl February 27, 2013, 10:51 am

    I’m going to assume this was a mutual decision and you thought this would be something you could handle, but now find out, it blows.

    A couple of suggestions:

    I am not sure what your financial situation is, but is it possible to get some help for the house, so you have ‘me’ time? Hiring a cleaning service 1-2x per month might be worth your sanity for bit of tightening your belt financially.

    Try to maybe swap some responsibilities with your husband to make HIM go into the town with the kids/errands (i’m not sure if this is feasible given the skills required to running a farm?)

    How is your friend situation? Being so ‘isolated’ do you have an opportunity to make girlfriends for support? Having the internet means you don’t have to stay isolated. Make some more friends, maybe there are other rural wives around you can share duties with. Also, what about your kids friends? If you are close with any of those families? Let the kids have sleepovers in ‘town’, and offer to host a kids weekend to reciprocate (Kids love farms!!) Any family you can ask to come in for weekend support 1-2x per year and give you some time away?

    And finally… This has been said by everyone else already, but talk to your husband. He has a right to know you aren’t happy. If it ultimately comes to one person’s happiness over another, you might need a counselor to mediate. Please look into this option if just talking it through doesn’t work.

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  • avatar

    T_explainsitall February 27, 2013, 10:54 am

    Same old question, why did you marry this man if you cannot deal with the lifestyle? You’re going off, naming all these things about your life you’re hating, but sounds like you signed up for it. Honestly, I am born & raised in the city, a big city, & would never even consider living out on a farm. Yeah, it’d be nice to visit & stay a few days, but after that, I want to come back home. If I was dating someone who was/wanted to be a farmer, I’d 100% re-think staying with him. I guess at this point that’s neither here, nor there…
    Things I’d suggest, first & foremost TALK to your husband, see if both of you can set aside some time to be with each other, talk, etc… so a) you don’t feel so lonely & b) your resentment for him may fade away if you can re-connect. Next thing I’d suggest, hire a house keeper to come twice a week or something, I’m sure that’d make a major difference in your weekly chores that keep you from having “me” time.
    I can sit here & suggest all day long, but the person that knows your life/family best is you. The one thing I know for sure, as does everyone else, express your feelings. Sit down with your husband & have a heart to heart. If you guys can’t agree or are unwilling to make changes to make your marriage work, then that’s something you need to sit with yourself & think about how you want to go forward.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay February 27, 2013, 10:57 am

    I’m just very confused, like everyone else seems to be. Have you talked to your husband about this? You don’t mention it, and that’s sort of the first step. Did you guys discuss this before you got married? Not just where you’d be living immediately, but whether you guys planned to live there forever? I’m not necessarily with everyone who assumes that you “should have known,” because I think most people think they know what a situation will be like until it actually happens. I mean, living on a farm sounds pretty innocuous, but then you factor in the emotions that you start feeling (like being lonely or isolated) and it’s a lot different experience. Anyway, it’s hard to give any advice but to talk to your husband, not only because that’s sort of the only thing you can do, but also because we don’t know what his reaction is or would be.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 11:14 am

    How about you living separately during the week. Rent an apartment in town for you and the kids to stay in during the week so they do not have to go back and forth so much. Then spend time on the weekends on the farm. It will cost more money, it will certainly be unconventional, but you can explain to your husband that the time has come with all of the kids activities and the importance of everyone’s education and your schooling that you need to simplify your lifestyle to focus on other things. He will find a way to manage during the week without you, and you can still maintain a marriage and an intact family. It doesn’t have to be either/or , but it can be yes/and.

    Many people do this at times before they get married, etc. For some reason it seems taboo after marriage to live separately, but sometimes it is the best compromise. For myself, I lived in the country for a period of time and I was also miserable and isolated. I live near the mountains and I see this pattern. The men LOVE the isolation of the mountains, the women, especially once they have kids HATE it. Often once the kids come they end up either moving to town, or they rent an apartment /condo where they stay during the week. A more common arrangement than you would think.

    Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 12:23 pm

      Considering how much they are probably spending on gas and how cheap it is to rent in rural areas it might not be much more expensive.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 1:20 pm

      Love this idea. Yes unconventional, but if it satisfies everyone’s needs I don’t see why not!

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      • avatar

        MrsRainey February 27, 2013, 2:21 pm

        This sounds like a great option Sue!

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    • avatar

      Nadine February 27, 2013, 6:08 pm

      Perfect idea. My family did something similar when they lived on an island, and their kids grew old enough to need to go to a better highschool than the one crappy option on the island. It was affordable, so they bought a flat and lived there part time. It was never their main house, just their weekly ‘school and jobs’ house.

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  • avatar

    Turtledove February 27, 2013, 11:18 am

    With the problems you are currently experiencing, I don’t think divorce is going to solve anything, so I’d take that off the table. Because, if you’re overwhelmed and having a time crunch, it’s not going to be made better by living in town, working 40 hours a week at a desk job, while still juggling schoolwork and childcare and visitation schedules and a 2 bedroom apartment you can still never seem to find time to clean.

    So, I would first sit down with myself and/or a therapist or life coach (thanks Regina!!!) and try to clarify what it is that you need in your current life to make you happy/make it manageable. What I’m able to pick out of your letter is that you need more ME! time, less drudge labor chores, and more human interaction. So then you come up with a couple of ideas on how to get some of those things in a context that the farm can support (I’m assuming this is your primary source of income)– it’s not impossible, you’ve just got to get a little bit creative.

    See, if this were me, because most of my friends are artists, I would find myself with an artist’s retreat almost by accident. Because I have 5000 square feet, eventually every out of work or burnt out friend of mine would ask to come and live for a while. And I’d say yes. And then I’d have a houseful of working artists so, of course we’d have to invite everyone within a 500 mile radius to come and visit on the weekends and see and buy artwork and canned preserves or honey. And in this way, my housework would get done (by artists who aren’t paying rent, because they never pay rent) and my garden would get weeded and I would have people living with me to talk to. And some time for my own pursuits. But even if all your friends aren’t artists, you could set something up where you trade away some of that square footage in exchange for some light help around the house and farm. What kind of thing would interest you? Who would you talk to about setting something up? What grant money is available? With artists, I know, you can get a grant from the NEA to set up this exact thing. Don’t want oil painters? Set up something for fiber artists or watercolors or paper makers. I’m sure you could find a grant to set up just about any idea you might have.

    The thing is to come up with some compromise ideas that would sustain you and then talk to your husband to see what the farm can support both physically and financially. The point is not that your needs are subsumed by his, because they absolutely aren’t, but that you work as a team of equals to find a solution that works for your whole family. If he won’t compromise at all, then that tells you something too.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones February 27, 2013, 11:39 am

      I am sure there are TONS of artists in the middle of nowhere…. you do not know where she lives. It could be a place like Wyoming, or South Dakota which is not exactly artist colony central… great for thinking outside the box, anyway…

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      • avatar

        Turtledove February 27, 2013, 11:49 am

        I don’t know where she lives, it’s true. But I do know that artist retreats and colonies are found in very odd places because it’s one of those, “if you build it, they will come” type things. If you start a program, people who want to participate come to you, you don’t go to them. I imagine it’s the same with a lot of the different demographics that the LW might consider working with. I just bring up artists because it’s where I have the most familiarity.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 12:23 pm

        if she reaches a compromise of anything less then selling the farm, she needs to exhaust any and all options- no option is too ridiculous, in my opinion.

        i think its a cool idea! open a bed and breakfast thing? a writers retreat? artists retreat? that sounds interesting!

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 1:24 pm

        There are quite a few of these in rural WI, and it really is a fantastic way to supplement income and form really interesting/lifelong connections in a rural place. 🙂 I am jealous LW! Set up an artist’s retreat!

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      • avatar

        Lindsay February 27, 2013, 1:40 pm

        I lived in North Dakota for a while, and yes, there are artists in the middle of nowhere. Several of the artists I knew while there lived in towns of a couple thousand people. Rural states may not be big hot spots, but they aren’t barren wastelands either.

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  • Lyra

    L February 27, 2013, 11:18 am

    LW, I understand where you’re coming from. I grew up on an 8-acre hobby farm (no livestock or fields) which was fairly close to civilization so I got the best of both worlds. I consider myself a country girl and my dream is to buy my parents’ farm from them when they move. However, right now I’m in a similar situation as you. I live in a TINY town in the middle of nowhere where the nearest larger town is 50 miles away. It drives me crazy being so far away from everything.

    As many people have said already, your first step is to talk to your husband. Tell him how you feel. My guess is that if you lighten your load a little bit things will be better for you. See if you can maybe sell one or two of your horses, maybe hire a maid and/or someone to help out around the farm. Is there a nearby small town? If so you could probably find a high school boy looking to earn a few extra bucks on a farm. Is there any possibility that you could get a babysitter one night per week? If that if the case, see if you could spend a night out with your husband once per week to get away with him for even just a few hours. I think that would be refreshing for you.

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  • lynn

    Lynn February 27, 2013, 11:24 am

    I haven’t read many comments, and I kind of skimmed the letter… and I also have no idea where you live… BUT to give some hope…

    My hometown is in the suburbs of a large city, and lots and lots of people own many horses and cows and the whole shabang out there. And we’re only about 40 miles from the city, but there’s no reason to go to the city because we’re in the suburbs so there are tons of stores and malls and whatnot around us. So if that’s possible, maybe you guys can move to a rural-ish suburb to where he wouldn’t have to give up his lifestyle, but you can also enjoy yours? I mean, I know it’s harder to come by these days since so much land is being developed, but out the in the South and Midwest — you’ll have an easier time finding something like that.

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    • Lyra

      L February 27, 2013, 11:30 am

      What you described is exactly where my parents live in the Midwest — my dad works in a major city and commutes 35 miles each way, but they have the space and they love it.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland February 27, 2013, 1:26 pm

      That’s basically the way the farm I will be moving onto is. Best of both worlds, and I am infinitely grateful that we will have lots of land AND be close to town and an amazing school district. However buying land in this type of location is INSANELY expensive and really not worth it’s weight as pasture, etc. If you aren’t inheriting it, it can be hard to get in on that sort of a place. However it is an idea!!

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 11:35 am

    A lot of people are giving LW crap for marrying a farmer in the first place – a “you signed up for this!” sort of response. Well geez louise people change. And it seems to me that they should be able to find a happy balance. I grew up in a small(ish) town (about 100,000 people), and I knew plenty of kids who lived 5-10 miles outside of town with horses. … 85 miles from town is SUPER FAR AWAY! I’d go nuts too. But it doesn’t matter what I or the others would be able to put up with. You’re clearly not happy so you should talk to your husband.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 11:42 am

      That’s true. But that’s where compromise needs to come in. If they can’t do that, then their marriage won’t work.

      Reply Link
    • theattack

      theattack February 27, 2013, 11:44 am

      100,000 people is SMALL?!?!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 11:53 am

        Well it’s not big! We only had 5 Taco Bells for crying outloud, and I couldn’t go to the mall without running into 10 people I knew. (Ugh, I hate malls so much. I even hate the word “mall”. It’s such a boring sound- maahhllll.)

        Ok, here’s how I view things:

        1-1,000: A large family that lives near each other
        1,000-50,000: A tiny town
        50,000-100,000: A small town
        100,000-200,000: A medium town
        200,000-500,000: A big town
        500,000-infinity: A city.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 11:55 am

        lol, the closest town to us when i lived in minnesota had 250 people. the closest one in the other direction had 300. and no, it wasnt just one family, lol

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 11:59 am

        hahaha, Wow. You will be very much entertained by all of our “tiny towns” and “large families” when you come down to Tennessee then. 20,000 here is a very well-established town, and going into town is like going to a family reunion every. single. time.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary February 27, 2013, 12:03 pm

        I lived in a town of 18,000. You ran into people a lot, but you didn’t have to worry about gossip spreading like wild fire. I figure a small town is anything under 5,000, a really small town is anything under 1000. I once saw this contestant on american idol (when drugged up paul was on!) who was from a town of 40 people! 40!

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle February 27, 2013, 12:17 pm

        So all of this made me Google how many people live in my town…it’s 100,000. And if asked, I’d probably say it’s a “medium-sized town” but I guess I realize that’s ridiculous now, haha

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 11:54 am

        haha that was my first thought too.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl February 27, 2013, 11:57 am

        Yeah…not in my book. The mid-sized city/town I live in now is 100,000. The township I grew up in (which doesn’t have a town) is 856 currently. And about 50 of them are my relatives.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 12:02 pm

        YES. It’s small. My hometown has like 115,000 and I swear everyone knows everyone and there’s nothing to do and they only have chain restaurants and only one mall and one Target (but 3 Walmarts?? Come on) and no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, and none of the movie theaters play quirky indie stuff or old cult classics, and it’s not set up for walking, and bands never come play there, and it has an airport but there aren’t really any commercial flights that fly out of there, and blah blah blah I could go on and on. But my stepfamily came from a much smaller town (~5,000) and they called it “the city.” Ha!

        Then again, I live in St. Louis and used to live in Las Vegas and I consider them to be pretty smallish.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 12:11 pm

        Oh woww….. That sounds like a city to me, CM! Chain stores exist?! You have a Target AND a movie theatre?! haha

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 12:20 pm

        Haha, ok, so maybe it’s like… medium-sized. But it FEELS really small, ok?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 12:28 pm

        No way it’s small. I know your home town and it’s small.

        Ok, here’s my new rule for gaging what’s “big” and what’s “small”:

        1. Does your city have at least 2 professional sports team? Then it’s a big city.

        2. Does it have just one? Then it’s a small city.

        3. None? Then it’s a town. Might be a big town or a medium town or a small town or a cloister of relatives, who cares. It’s not a city.

        Ta da! I think this test will meet everyone’s approval. And it means your hometown, Cats, is just a town.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 12:30 pm

        Now, assuming you live in a town (No. 3) and want to figure out if it’s big or medium or small, now we can gage that by figuring out how many movie theaters / taco bells / target it has:

        A. No movie theater, taco bell, or target? That’s just sad.

        B. One of each? Small town.

        C. Two of each? Medium town.

        D. At least 3 of each? Big town.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 12:31 pm

        *gauge

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 12:32 pm

        haha… i love this

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 12:34 pm

        I think it’s foolproof! And objectively perfect.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 12:59 pm

        oh! oh! can we add in something about how far away the next town is? i think that matters.

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        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 1:02 pm

        Oh that’s a good point, Katie. I think it matters too.

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        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 1:03 pm

        lol, katie. Its like you read my mind. I just looked up my population, but its not too accurate when you consider all the towns right next door.

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      • katie

        katie February 27, 2013, 1:06 pm

        ha, exactly!

        “clusters” count as one, in my opinion. so, basically all the east coast counts as one. chicago and all its suburbs count as one.

        what should the standard be for seperation? im no good with miles and what they mean. i cant imagine that stuff in my head.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 27, 2013, 12:35 pm

        With this test, some of our biggest cities are only small or medium towns. haha

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 12:39 pm

        You know what, first the big thumbs and then these forever-loading stars and then you people pooping all over my city v. towns, big v. small tests!!??!! Why is the world conspiring against me. That’s it, I’m calling it a morning. Time for lunch.

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      • avatar

        Sunshine Brite February 27, 2013, 1:34 pm

        My town of 2300 had a movie theater but no taco bell or target (ha, that’s a weird thought). That makes it sad, right?

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      • avatar

        MMcG February 27, 2013, 5:38 pm

        I’m loving all of this AP!!

        I would only edit because it’s not sad: no movie theatre, fast food or gas station (DC just got a target, not a good measure) = outpost 😉

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 12:34 pm

        But! Las Vegas doesn’t have any sports teams. And their population is like, 2 million.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 12:37 pm

        Geez, Cats, why you gotta be so difficult, eh? EH??!!

        But I’m sticking to my rule. Las Vegas is a really big town.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 12:51 pm

        Interesting. So with your rules, St. Louis is a big city but Las Vegas is a big town?

        Eh, who cares. I’ll just move to Chicago. 😀 (Or Texas. Wait, what?)

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 1:05 pm

        Eh, name one time a rule of mine has actually worked? Zero. My new rule is you can call things whatever you want. 🙂

        Move to Texas! But follow Wendy’s guidelines for things you need to discuss before you move. I know she made one – do you know where to find it?

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 1:35 pm

        Sighhh I’m not moving to Texas. If I did, I wouldn’t meet ANY of Wendy’s guidelines. I’d just be like a sad stalker.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 1:46 pm

        Oh and btw I love your rules. Don’t stop making rules!!

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 12:11 pm

        But at the same time, I know I couldn’t handle living anywhere huge. I’m weird like that.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 12:26 pm

        I’m kind of the same. That’s why I like Chicago so much. It has all the fun stuff that big cities have to offer, but it’s affordable and there’s so much space and it’s easy to get around and in and out of.

        I just wish winter would fucking end.

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      • avatar

        Christy February 27, 2013, 12:56 pm

        Addie, are you high? Chicago is the 3rd biggest city in the US.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 1:03 pm

        I’m starting to think I might be.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 12:44 pm

        Our small town had 400 people when I was a kid and we lived ten miles away. Now it’s down to about 230 people.

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      • avatar

        findingtheearth February 27, 2013, 12:57 pm

        I live in Montana. Our biggest town is 100,000. My current town is 10,000, when college is in session. We have a walmart, only because we are close to 2 reservations and the hub for about 5 other littler towns (maybe 1000 each or less) along the area.

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    • avatar

      Oldie February 27, 2013, 11:49 am

      I’m not sure why everyone simply assumes that she hasn’t talked to her husband about this.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar February 27, 2013, 12:19 pm

        Because there was no “when I raised this with my husband, he said…”

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      • avatar

        Lindsay February 27, 2013, 1:44 pm

        I’d assume she’d have told us because his response would likely have been the main problem. If she talked to him and it went well, she wouldn’t have written in. If it hadn’t, his response would be what she wanted advice on.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant February 27, 2013, 12:29 pm

      I had to laugh at a town of 100,000 being considered a small town. I know you live in Chicago now, but in the state I grew up in my hometown of 10,000 was one of the larger towns in the state.

      I now live in a major city, but 100,000 still seems like a pretty big town, maybe even a small city, to me.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 27, 2013, 12:33 pm

        Small city? No way jose. But see my new test above and see if you approve.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant February 27, 2013, 12:47 pm

        Those are some nice guidelines…but I don’t think the US census bureau necessarily agrees on all those points.

        In any event town/city or whatever othe label you want to us, 100,000 people is a lot of people living together and can’t really be considered small or rural in my opinion.

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    • Lyra

      L February 27, 2013, 3:38 pm

      Oh man. 100,000 is huge. Right now I live in a town of 800 with the nearest “city” being roughly 60,000…and 50 miles away…

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  • avatar

    Anna February 27, 2013, 11:55 am

    I grew up shoveling horse and cow poop on a farm, weeding the giant garden, etc so I understand that it’s a lot of work. It’s far more work and expense than some people realize, and you can grow to resent it if it’s a life you didn’t choose. There was a time when I was a tween/teen when I started to get really angry that I spent so many hours every day working and got no allowance or pay of any kind, plus I was stuck there 24/7 except for going to school and church. You do have to have some kind of social life away from the farm or you’ll go crazy. However, it sounds like you agreed to this lifestyle when you married your husband so if you want to change it now you will have to come up with a compromise together. It wouldn’t be fair to say “Honey, I’m miserable and the only way I will be happy is if you sell the farm and all the animals and buy me a house in the city.”

    I have to agree with LBH that renting a 2nd home just as a “getaway” isn’t realistic unless you are richer than you let on. But maybe a few small compromises would bring you happiness, like the idea of hiring a part-time housekeeper to come in a couple days a week or even going on weekend trips away from the farm by yourself once in awhile. Do you have family or friends in other parts of the country that you haven’t visited in awhile? Sometimes you just need a change of scenery temporarily to get yourself back together.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 12:30 pm

      Maybe this lifestyle worked for a while. Maybe it worked until they got so far from town or until they got so many horses or until they had kids and then it didn’t work any more, at least for her. I think the LW needs to think of when it did work, if ever, figure out what is different and how that could be changed. Maybe they need to move closer to town and keep fewer horses if they want to stay together. Or maybe the husband does more of the chores and picks up the kids more so that he can have the horses way out in the country that he wants.

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  • KKZ

    KKZ February 27, 2013, 11:56 am

    LW, I just want to say I admire you for doing everything you do already. And I have a lot of sympathy for you in the situation you’ve found yourself in right now.

    The other commenters have offered up some practical tips, but reading between the lines, I get the sense that even a housekeeper and a babysitter and farmhands and a place to escape to in town (if you can even afford such luxuries) aren’t going to make you happy. They may ease the burden on your time, but what about the burden on your happiness? Your problem isn’t simply that you’re too busy, it’s that you’re unhappy with this lifestyle. Maybe you were happy in it at one point – I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you went into this arrangement willingly – but it has proven to be more taxing than you can take.

    Before you take any of the other steps mentioned by other commenters, it’s time for a heart-to-heart with your husband. All those other steps? In my opinion, they’re just delaying the inevitable: a decision about whether you can happily and peacefully sustain a farm wife’s lifestyle for the long term. The answer might be a qualified yes – you can handle it, IF you and your husband agree to some compromises and arrangements to help you better manage it.

    But if the answer is no, it’s going to involve some really huge, really painful sacrifices: either your husband sacrifices his farming investment and dreams so your family can relocate, or you both sacrifice your marriage so you can each pursue what makes you happy without falling into a pit of resentment at what the other one has made you give up.

    I’m not going to pretend this is an easy discussion to have, but it must be done before you take any other action.

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    • Lyra

      L February 27, 2013, 1:52 pm

      You have some really good points. I agree that there’s a lot more to this than just being overloaded with chores and housework. Unfortunately, love alone isn’t enough…you have to agree on the important issues such as where you’ll live, finances, religion, kids, etc. etc.

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  • avatar

    MMcG February 27, 2013, 1:28 pm

    LW, it seems like you are emotionally detached from your husband. I’m not sure if your relationship has always been this way, or what conversations you’ve had previously… but it is time to start talking! I wonder, based on the limited information provided, if your husband does work someplace away from the farm… so maybe he gets to interact with other adults, make friends, have things away from the homestead and that’s what you are missing. Maybe things were ok and you were plodding along and then the baby (or babies) came and you’ve gone down a bit of a post-pardum or depression spiral that you can’t get out of, and you’re lonely and isolated.

    You don’t mention anything your husband does to help with the kids, so maybe start there in your conversation. List out what the chores are and how you divide them. Have there been changes recently (aside from kids) that are also adding to the stress and detachment? Just some things to consider… I feel really sorry for you that you asked whether your husband’s needs supercede yours. Maybe that was the way you were approaching your marriage and instead of being fulfilling it’s made you miserable. I don’t know, but I can say that you are entitled to your needs. You need to talk to your husband about what his needs are and where there are areas of compromise. Good luck!

    Last point – having lived in a variety of different situations. I think the level of density that you grow up around greatly impacts where you are comfortable in your life. I’m from the megalopolis NE and am used to the convenience and crazy, and would basically hate being in the country for longer than a vacation. It just seems so damn empty and boring, but I know people who are the exact opposite. There’s nothing wrong or right either way. And there’s nothing wrong with being willing to try someplace different and then admitting that you can’t deal… you just have to talk about it with your partner!

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark February 27, 2013, 1:32 pm

    You know what? If you don’t want to live on a fucking farm. Don’t marry a farmer. If you want a life less complicated. Don’t go out and buy four dogs when you already have many, many horses… If you want less housework. Don’t live in an absurdly large 5000+ square foot house.

    Also, if you’re overwhelmed by your spouse, your kids, and your schoolwork… Then school is the thing that really ought to go. (For now.) And I’d say this if it was a man or woman who was writing in… notice the above deliberate usage of the word spouse.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 1:47 pm

      Duh. LW, just invent a time machine and travel back in time and make different decisions. Voila! Problem solved.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 27, 2013, 1:55 pm

        No, but is is rather unfair to marry somebody and THEN later decide you want to change their entire life. Especially, when, you know, you initially agree to everything about that life. It’s a huge bait and switch that is one of the biggest things that fucks up a marriage. And that was the point I was making here.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 27, 2013, 2:42 pm

        I don’t think she agreed to everything about that life. They have always lived in rural locations but she doesn’t say if they were all this remote. She also says he has many, many horses but doesn’t say they always had many, many horses. There is a huge difference between living ten miles from town and 40 miles from town. Also, two horses is very different from 20 horses. Most people don’t start with many, many of anything so she probably didn’t marry him when he had as many horses as he has today.

        The bottom line is she is miserable in this life and can they find a compromise that makes them both happy. Can they live closer to town but still keep horses? Can they keep less horses? If the horses are her husband’s why isn’t he taking care of them. Horses don’t usually generate revenue so they are usually more of a labor of love or hobby. Unless they are breeding racehorses or live near an Amish community and can sell horses to them, or compete in horse shows or sell to people who compete in horse shows these horses aren’t generating any money. They are a huge money pit and she mentions no real farming so I doubt her husband is a farmer. A farmer generates revenue from the farm and it doesn’t sound like there is any revenue here, just horses and dogs costing money.

        So the question is does she have to remain miserable so that her husband can keep as many horses as his heart desires in as isolated a location as his heart desires and I think the answer is no. Not if it makes her miserable and there is no end in sight.

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      • avatar

        rachel February 27, 2013, 2:48 pm

        wsbs

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 2:46 pm

        I sorta agree, but here’s a questions: life is great, you marry, then life changes. We all know that happens. So one day you may love X, and now you don’t. What then? She can’t control the fact that she no longer wants this life, so what should she do? Accept that she agreed to it, or try to compromise?

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Compromise.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 3:12 pm

        lol, I know. 🙂 I was just curious to hear what bgm would say.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow February 27, 2013, 3:24 pm

        Haha.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 27, 2013, 3:27 pm

        If there are kids involved, you stick it out. If not, file for divorce. People has unrealistic expectation of love. Shallow, vapid expectations that are impossible to maintain…

        Oh, and I do love how on here the go to answer is often compromise when it’s the woman who wants change. When its the guy who wants change, his wants are often labeled as unfair.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 27, 2013, 3:32 pm

        Typos galore… Sorry. Damn phone. Done here for the day probably as its too hard to type well on my phone. Doing so drives me batty…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 3:44 pm

        Hmm, I don’t disagree, but then it sounds as if a marriage is “less” than one with kids. Like you don’t really have to stick it out in a marriage without kids.

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      • avatar

        oldie February 27, 2013, 5:53 pm

        Of course it’s easier and better to walk away from a bad marriage, when there aren’t kids yet. You seem to think this is a bad thing. Why? Nobody should have to spend the rest of their lives in a marriage which makes them unhappy. When there are young kids, that is a consideration, but often divorce is still the best choice.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 27, 2013, 7:00 pm

        You know what? Maybe if more parents who did this actually focused on being BETTER parents post divorce, I’d be more forgiving. But more often than not, their new main focus is on finding new love. Oh, and (of course!)making STILL more babies with some one else. Sorry. But, frankly, I find such a casual view of parenting rather harshly.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson February 27, 2013, 8:20 pm

        I actually agree with working harder on it for the kids. So yeah to me I judge people that seem to throw in the towel when the have kids. At least try! Suck it up and try. And when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your yeeeeeeeeeear – I’ll be there for yoouuuuuuu. Okay fine. No more friends references for the day. But seriously. Marriage isn’t all rainbows. If you don’t want to suck it up and occasionally be miserable and selfless don’t get married! It’s no longer only about her. Being selfish is (awesome) and for single people. The main thing of getting married is loving another equal to how much you love yourself. And your kids.

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      • avatar

        oldie February 27, 2013, 5:56 pm

        I don’t see what you find unusual about saying the guy must compromise in this case. It seems the couple is now living exactly the life that he wishes to live and very much not the life that the LW wants. When one partner has gotten the life setup to his desire and the other partner has had to compromise what she wants so he can have all of that, of course it is he who has to compromise. She has nothing left to compromise. He has made all of the big decisions.

        Even if there are strong economic reasons why this guy has to make a living working this remote farm, that doesn’t mean he has to have all of the horses he wants to have. They are an expense and hobby, not a source of income.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant February 27, 2013, 3:14 pm

        That’s not fair. Maybe dating a farmer is very different than being married to one and she had no idea the gap in the experience. Maybe she enjoyed her life but changes and additional stressors (children, school) have over burdenered her. Maybe she’s changed as a person since when she first got married – that happens – we all change and evolved over time.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ February 27, 2013, 1:51 pm

    Did you always know he wanted to live on a big farm? Did he come complete with these items when you married him, or did he get these things after you two were married? If it was after, why did you go along with it if you didn’t think you’d be happy? Did you have a say in it?

    The thing is, country living is a lifestyle. Seriously. If you aren’t happy with it, then you won’t ever be. It takes commitment to live the life, and you just don’t sound like the type.

    You also sound very overworked/overwhelmed. You’re doing the driving to and from town everyday. Why isn’t he? With all those animals, why don’t you have help? Can’t afford it? Then how the hell can you afford the animals? How are you supporting said animals?

    Time for a come-to-Jesus meeting. You aren’t living on the set of Green Acres, but sometimes, a Gabor-like fit isn’t all that out of line. You are going to school, taking care of the family, AND a farm you really didn’t want. Time to insist that your needs be met now. If he can’t handle it, then maybe the menagerie comes first for him and you’ve got your answer.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark February 27, 2013, 1:57 pm

      The fact that she doesn’t give the back story implies strongly to me that he lived on a farm all along… If it was something that he later sprang on her — well, I simply don’t see how that wouldn’t have been brought up in the letter. I don’t see how that could have been left out.

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      • avatar

        AmyP February 27, 2013, 2:50 pm

        Yeah, I’m really interested in the question of where the farm came from. Also, are they in a financial position where they can afford to dispose of it? They may be mortgaged up to the eyeballs.

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      • avatar

        Ammie February 27, 2013, 8:41 pm

        If they weren’t in a financial position to give it up, I think the letter would sound pretty different (like, “We’re now trapped by the mortgage into this house for the indefinite future, and I’m miserable” rather than “I’d like to live in a smaller place, but he and I don’t see eye to eye”). It sounds like more of a difference in lifestyle preferences.

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  • avatar

    csp February 27, 2013, 2:21 pm

    This reminds me of the Reba McIntire song “Is there Life out there”

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  • Northern Mermaid

    Northern Mermaid February 27, 2013, 3:19 pm

    With all the “my commute and life is so much busier than the LW” going around, I really just want to say “Well, if I want to go to the hospital or the grocery store I have to fly to Kotzebue/Nome/Anchorage/Whitehorse. Stop complaining and remember that your rural life isn’t as hard as my rural life.”

    But, I live in downtown Anchorage, so I can’t.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 3:49 pm

      I don’t think one person said they were “busier” just that they were ALSO busy.
      Saying you’re also this or the same as that is not competing. Its commiserating and telling her know she’s not alone, and that many people have found easier ways to deal with it and here are some suggestions.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid February 27, 2013, 4:20 pm

        Sorry LBH, I think I need a sarcasm font. I was just teasing.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 27, 2013, 4:24 pm

        I guess that was directed toward people who were saying it seriously. Sorry!

        And have you learned nothing from DW. Saying Amiright?! is the sarcasm “font” 🙂

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    • avatar

      bethany February 27, 2013, 3:55 pm

      Unrelated, but is downtown Anchorage like all parking lots?! I was just looking at it on the map (huge map geek), and it looks like it’s all freaking parking lots. You’d think there would be more garages, so you’d be protected from snow.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid February 27, 2013, 4:21 pm

        It’s pretty much all parking lots. I imagine that the amount of earthquakes around here leave builders parking lot shy.

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      • avatar

        bethany February 27, 2013, 4:34 pm

        I didn’t realize you guys had a lot of earthquakes! Makes sense not to have garages then!

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  • avatar

    silvermoonlight February 27, 2013, 4:20 pm

    First time commenting, though I’ve followed Wendy since she started on The Frisky. I tend to veer toward the pragmatic, succinct, blunt, tough-love approach to giving advice–and I love lists. With that in mind, here is what I’d advise you to do, LW:

    1) Pick your battle: Rank the importance of resolving these issues from your letter
    – Not living on a farm anymore, period (e.g. You just want a typical small house suitable for a family with no animals to take care of)
    – Not living in a remote area, period (e.g. You can deal with living on a huge farm if you’re only X miles from a more urban area)
    – Getting help with the chores and errands, or doing fewer of them
    – Having the opportunity for ME time

    2) After ranking them, come up with 3 viable alternatives for the #1 most important issue and 2 viable alternatives for the #2 issue. I suspect no longer living in an isolated area would be your #1 issue, so think of how you can change that–permanently move to somewhere less isolated, get a “timeshare”-type home in town as some have suggested, etc. I have never met a man who wasn’t pragmatic when it comes to dealing with problems and it will only help the conversation if you come prepared with possible solutions.

    3) Only after you have done #1 and #2 should you sit down with your husband and discuss all this. Make sure the kids are away and there are no pressing tasks to do. Budget 1-2 hours for this discussion. Maybe pour yourselves a glass of wine, if that will help. Then discuss. Good luck.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle February 27, 2013, 4:33 pm

      This is a good comment, especially because in the letter, she seems to be morphing each separate issue into one. Your method should help her come up with a plan, at least!

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  • avatar

    painted_lady February 27, 2013, 4:36 pm

    LW, I think right now what you need to do is twofold.

    First off, find a therapist. Spring break is coming up, so you won’t have school. Take yourself to the nearest large-ish town that is likely to have several therapists. Sliding scale if money is an issue, or go through the school. You sound very, very depressed, and whether the chicken or the egg came first (your depression or your living situation). If you must, leave the husband with the kids for a few days. If you don’t, you’re going to make yourself sick and he will have them anyway. If he won’t or feels like he can’t, then hire a babysitter to make the drive, but this needs to be another issue you address if this is the case. Between you and your therapist, you come up with what you absolutely cannot negotiate on to be happy, and figure out what else you would like. Address your depression and its causes, and come up with a way to approach this with your husband that he will receive well and also that he can’t argue you out of if you feel like that might be a problem.

    But then you need to speak to your husband. He needs to help you figure out how to do this – not whether you should get the things that make you happy or not, but how the two of you work to make at least one half of your marriage happier and healthier. That’s what you take on when you marry someone – not that it’s their “fault” if you aren’t happy, but it certainly isn’t yours, either. Figure it out together. You promised to take care of each other. Give him the chance to do it.

    Another small thing I want to add: I can’t tell whether the farm thing is a newer development although it doesn’t sound that way, whether this was something you “signed on for” or if he had a farm but something in your situation has altered to make your situation untenable for you. But if something changed, a word to the wise from someone who’s moved a lot and been around other people who have moved a lot, and the ones who are miserable in their new situation have one thing in common: they’ve all decided not to like where they are, and mostly it’s due to resentment of the person who brought them there. One of my good friends and co-workers recently moved here, and she hates everything about this place because it isn’t where she moved from, and it was her husband who caused her to leave. The food is terrible, no matter what restaurant, ALL the people are “boring,” the beach is ugly and she goes regularly and complains each time like it’s something new that changed overnight, downtown is lame, our traffic laws are stupid, the job is terrible, every single building is ugly…I could go on forever. But when she’s using her hometown as the standard for “good” and everything that isn’t like that is bad, it’s all going to seem bad. If she stepped back for a moment, she would realize that it is statistically impossible that ALL of that is true without exception. I’m not a huge fan of this town, but I have found a couple of restaurants that are great, I’ve made some great friends, the beach is hideous but I don’t go often and I stick to downtown which is weird and funky and not everything I want but ALWAYS entertaining…and when I need a break, I drive an hour and go get Malaysian or see a play or go to a museum…except she complains that the drive is too long. I love her, but it’s exhausting being around her, and she isn’t making herself happier by nitpicking every single flaw. My point is, you need some change, absolutely, and you need to find what’s important to you. But take care that you’re not locked in a pattern of negativity that you’ve made it impossible to be happy – therapy helps there.

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  • avatar

    Ammie February 27, 2013, 6:35 pm

    My friend loves her horses too. They live out with some other horses on someone’s farm, where she pays for them to board and then visits them nightly. She’s an equestrian, so she takes care of the older one and enters competitions with the younger.

    The point being, it’s not necessary to have huge amounts of acreage and a full-fledged farm to have horses, it’s just necessary to know the horse community in your area. Maybe your husband could open up his farm to a partner, and together they could board people’s horses and make a business out of it, while the two of you had a small home together in town. Maybe your husband could sell all but two of his horses, and the two of you could have a larger home closer to town that isn’t a full-fledged ranch.

    There are some in-between options that allow his love of animals and your love of human companionship, and it seems like y’all could come to some sort of compromise here. Otherwise, it seems an untenable situation… one in which you’re miserable, he’ll eventually be miserable, and the two of you will divorce. That may be best for both of you, but you have kids, so it’s absolutely not ideal. I would sit down with him and ask if it would be possible for you two to downsize your farm so you can live closer in to town. You really shouldn’t have to live 40 miles out just to have some horses, and if you do, maybe it’s time to move to a different region.

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  • Historigirl

    Historigirl February 27, 2013, 7:06 pm

    Here’s what we don’t know:
    1/ Whose idea it was — hers, his, theirs. We just don’t know. Without knowing that, we don’t have enough information to say anything. We can’t pass judgement, we can’t say he’s being male-dominant or she’s being passive or whatever. If they made this decision together and she’s now changed her mind, that’s something she has to take up with her husband. She says she’s been trying to do it for “years” and it’s getting to her. That tells us that, whoever made the decision, she’s now changed her mind.

    But if she has kids who are old enough to have activities that they need to be shuttled to, why aren’t they doing chores? How many horses are “many, many horses”? Why “must” he have those horses? Are they a source of livelihood for the family? Are they therapy horses? Are they racing horses? Are they the Budweiser Clydesdales?

    Bottom line: This is an “I just want to bitch about my husband” letter and without more information and a specific question, we can’t say anything useful short of “Talk to your husband.”

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      AmyP February 27, 2013, 8:11 pm

      That’s right. Also, how much does her husband do on the farm? Where is he all day?

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        AmyP February 27, 2013, 8:13 pm

        Also, how do the kids feel about the farm and the horses?

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    Boosker February 27, 2013, 8:49 pm

    Oh man, just a 5,000 sq. ft. house alone is enough to make me shudder. The cleaning and maintenance involved with the house, the land, and the animals is certainly not for everyone. I would never choose that for myself. But at some point, you and your husband did choose this, but that doesn’t mean you have to make it a forever choice.

    Are the horses part of his livelihood or are they just recreational? If he’s a breeder/trainer, maybe talk about keeping the land out there, but renting or selling the house. That way you can either move into town or halfway, and he can still maintain his horses.

    If he just likes having horses, that’s another story. You don’t like living where you’re at. You’re not happy. And if you feel like changing your living situation would lead to you being happier, then that’s a conversation you need to have. Can you not find a more manageable home closer to town with less land? It’s worth a conversation and checking out your options, real estate-wise. I think your husband might be just as miserable as you are now if you try to move him all the way into town, but that’s why God made the suburbs. (Or in your case, the edge of town with some acreage).

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    I'm YOUR TURN March 5, 2013, 2:09 pm

    I’m the “YOUR TURN” submitter here. Jeez. I would NOT have guessed there would be so many responses to my submission on such a huge variety of opinions! I guess more detail might have been best here as so many of you jumped to some pretty wild conclusions. I’ll fill in and, in response to Wendy’s request that I leave an update, here goes: Husband does not work on the farm full time. In fact, he only “works” there minimally over weekends. He works full time in town. We have a hired hand who does a couple hours in the mornings during weekdays. We have been seeing a therapist together for about a year and as of December 1st, I found a rental home in town that I’ve been staying in a few days a week. He’s not happy about it, but this is allowing me to get some much-needed perspective. I’ll be downsizing this rental to a smaller place in June — my get-away. He and I have agreed to work on a 3 year plan to fix up the ungodly huge house and prepare it for sale or for renting out. We will search for a smaller farm closer to town. Some of you were correct in assuming that I initially believed that this life (farm life, country living, bucolic environment) was going to be wonderful and romantic, etc. But in fact, after twelve years, I had relinquished my own needs for his, not because of any intimidation factor on his part, or bullying or manipulation, but because I sincerely thought the things he was bringing to the table were totally going to be great. Little did I realize as the years passed that I was missing more and more of myself and just became resentful, unnecessarily. I could have had my say all along, but it’s kind of hard to disagree with the fact that if one person is determined to make a go at a horse breeding facility, one must have acreage. It is close to impossible to find a large tract of land within the town limits where our kids go to school. Therefore, we settled for the next district over — in farm country. I wrote my initial letter when I was at my wits end and had not really discussed my needs with my husband in detail. I blew up and insisted that separation was the best thing for me, and it has been really good for me…for us. We’ve been able to discuss things without getting overly defensive, emotional or angry and are actually working toward clear-cut solutions. I’m expressing my needs more fluently than ever before and I think it’s safe to say that, in my case, separation was not an avenue that lead to divorce, but rather it was the key to our marriage’s survival.

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