Unresolved Conflicts

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Oct 112014

In a blog about being two-gether that I wrote few months ago, I said that communication and compromise are necessary to work out problems in any relationship, and especially for an RVing couple. I think that many times problems arise because someone doesn’t understand what their partner needs or wants, and this may be because of a lack of communication.

Is the person who isn’t getting what they need telling their partner what it is? Sometimes I tease Miss Terry and tell her I can read books, magazines, and even internet porn, but I can’t read minds. I can’t do what you want unless you tell me what it is, right?

But what if they do express their needs or concerns and the other person refuses to change or compromise? Then you get unresolved conflicts, and sooner or later something has to change or there may be an unpleasant explosion.

Here are a couple of examples from recent e-mails I have received.

The first was from a woman who said she and her husband have not sold their home yet but it’s on the market and they have been on the road since Memorial Day. She wrote that she wants to love fulltiming, but her husband is spoiling it for her because he (in her words) “won’t spend a nickel.”

She said that even without selling the house they are very comfortable financially, but in the almost five months they have been on the road, they have never spent a night in a campground. Several weeks were spent in driveways of various friends and relatives, and the rest of the time it’s been truck stops, rest areas, and WalMart parking lots. She said she is tired of living on 15 amp electric, or no electric if they are blacktop boondocking, tired of quick Navy showers, and would love to sit outside under their fifth wheel’s awning and enjoy campground life.

Her husband’s position is, why should he have to waste money on a campground when they have a self-contained RV and that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” She said she has told him she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life living like that, but that he is delighted about not spending any more than they have to. He is looking forward to getting out to Arizona to boondock in the desert for months on end and she is dreading it.

In the second scenario, it was the husband who was frustrated. He wrote that they have been fulltiming for two years now, and that a few months ago his wife decided she wanted a dog. Actually, two dogs, and she acquired a pair of small ones.

He said he is okay with the dogs, even though he would prefer not to have to worry about cutting day trips short to get home to take care of them. The problem is that his wife was the one who wanted the dogs, but he is the one who has to walk them and clean up after them.

As he wrote, “She can spend hours walking through a flea market or shopping with no problem, but every time the dogs need walked she is suddenly too tired or her feet hurt, or she’s too busy. I didn’t want the dogs, but I’m the one up at 5 a.m. walking them in the rain or cold or whatever, while she’s still in our nice warm bed. I’m the one slapping mosquitoes while the dogs take their time finding just the perfect spot to do their business and picking up after them/” He said that he has told her he’s not happy with the situation, but her reply is they are his dogs too.

I did not know what kind of advice to give these people. I don’t see the RV lifestyle working out for either couple as things are now. What are your thoughts?

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  12 Responses to “Unresolved Conflicts”

  1. Sounds like they should switch partners with the other couple.

    I would bet in the rest of their lives they are both bored or tired of the other person. The one with the boon-docking fetish should be left by the side of the road and since he like its so much. This would also be inexpensive to his pocket book and save him money.
    The one with the dogs must of thought he needed a friend or exercise because she wants to sleep in. Maybe also to extend that thought, she saw this RVing thing coming in her mind and paniced that she would actually have to communicate with him and she realized they never really talk to each other.

    We have 3 cats that travel in our Bus. Our only problem is asking them where we can sit. They generally tell us to go outside, that we have our own chairs!….

    Dogs have owners-Cats have staff!…Purrrrrrrr

  2. There are always two sides to every story. My advise Nick, is tread lightly.

  3. The problem is not the RV lifestyle, the problem is in the marriage. And one rule to live by is never get between two feuding marriage partners. You can’t win. The only thing I would tell them is to see a marriage counselor. After all the counselor is paid to listen to BOTH of them and help them resolve their issues..

  4. You are absolutely right when you say there can be an unpleasant explosion. Years ago fulltimer friends of my aunt and uncle (Howard and Honey), who were also fulltimers for 25 yrs, left Thousand Trails in Houston, Texas to go to Indiana to trade in their motorhome for a new one. They returned to TT in Houston and threw a party so all their friends could see their new coach. After the party and everyone went to bed there was a murder / suicide in the new motorhome.

  5. you all are so right, it does not seem to be a lifestyle problem but one with their marriages, things seem to come to ahead when you are in very close quarters 24/7. No advice can be given in these to incidents.

  6. As you said in your earlier post communication and compromise is the key to fulltime RV living.
    Connie stated recommending they seek marriage counselling is the best advice you can give which I agree. These are situations where no matter what you say the advice will fall on deaf ears and you will be blamed for whatever transpires.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time.

  7. We just transitioned into the full-time RV lifestyle. Prior to retirement I worked as a family and marriage counselor and just from what you shared here I think that both relationships had problems long before they began living in an RV. My first thought about the woman with the two dogs is that it is her passive aggressive way of punishing her husband for taking her away from children and grandchildren.

  8. I agree with Connie, it’s the marriage not the lifestyle. Full-timing just means you haul your troubles to new locations and have a smaller boxing ring. But, that being said it can be a marriage saver. We came close to divorce last year and since there was no place for me to retreat I blew up and we opened up topics for discussion that had been shelved for decades. Our marriage is now stronger and better than it was 30 years ago due to this lifestyle. You certainly get to know yourself and the other person in your life much more intimately while on the road.

  9. Living in an RV brings all your relationship challenges to the surface. But, like any challenge, the first step in dealing with it is to admit that there it’s a problem. The attitude that “it’s my way or the highway” is a recipe for disaster.

  10. We have been married 42 years now…and are not living in an RV yet…but we are in an apt that is no bigger than the big rigs anyway. It does take adjustments in smaller spaces. But I think most conflicts could be solved by treating the other as we ourselves want to be treated. And there is ebb and flow to a marriage I have found. I personally prefer things be constant, even if dull…but most of our lives it has been like a dance…drawing close, pulling away. In our later years, the last 5 especially, it has more constant. I think it is something we will always need to work at to some degree…yes, we know each other quite well…but every so often he will tell me something I never knew in all these now 45 years since we met. And what we learn helps us to draw closer together. We did almost split some years back, but finally found a good faith path which helps a lot…and I think just simply time helps…if you communicate as you told Nick.

  11. Well I don’t think the RVing has anything to do with it. I suspect they would be just as unhappy in any lifestyle.

    With many of us one is happy while the other is content…

  12. Sorry it was The Rally that changed, had a brain fart and it hurt. See you at them both.

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