We have just started full-time RVing. There has been a lot more adjustment than I expected. My husband worked in an auto plant in Flint, Mich., for 32 years. Before the industry caved in, and he took a buy out, he was working 60+ hours per week. Then when he was home, most of that time he was sleeping.
Now we live in a 30-foot 5th wheel and he’s awake. I think I still like him, but after 30 years of me running the ship, he now thinks he’s the Captain all of a sudden. When I’m cooking, he’s over my shoulder; when I’m balancing the checkbook, he’s double-checking my math; when I’m doing the laundry, he’s measuring the soap. Bottom line, he’s driving me crazy. I know it’s not right, or normal, but I keep having urges to pull away from the gas pump while he is in paying for the fuel. Can you help me with this stressful transition into a lifestyle we have dreamed about for 25 years. —Stressed in Stuart, Fla.
This is one of the most common ailments I deal with in my practice. You must approach it with simple management skills. Being blunt with your husband will only cause resentment. What your husband needs is a job, and he needs to be closely managed without it feeling like supervision. Whether he is handy with tools or not, start finding things wrong with the 5th wheel that you know he could fix if he tried long enough. If there is nothing wrong (fat chance) start breaking stuff.
You have to think outside of the box in these situations. You can even make up problems that don’t exist. Those will be the hardest for him to fix and easiest for you to control. You also have to continually think ahead to the next project just in case he actually fixes one. You will find that after a short list of these projects he is going to avoid you like the plague. You will soon represent management to him, and he already realizes that the less contact he has with management the happier he is. You will know you’re making progress when he starts putting in a grievance. That’s when you explain to him that domestic engineers have no union protection. —Keep Smilin’, RV Shrink
The RV Shrink is not really a psychologist (or professional RV technician). But he does know a lot.