What’s Next?

It seems like life has been a little bit “two steps forward, one step back” here lately. I’ve been working for the past year (+) to get my house ready to go on the market. I’ve made a ton of progress, but I’m not nearly as far along as I’d like to be. It seems like the harder I try to push ahead, the more push-back I get from the boyfriend.

The problem? He has reservations. Not about the relationship, or us living together; I’m pretty much living there now, and he has absolutely no problems with that. Actually this past month we’ve finally found our groove as a couple, where we’ve learned to work together, and both feel like we have a place. I know, that sounds weird. But, when you take two very independent people who have lived alone for a very long time, it’s sometimes hard to figure out how to work together as a couple. I didn’t feel like it was my place to just do things around the apartment, so most of the time I’d just hang back and watch. And when I’d try to do something, he’d usually come and take over, or hang over my shoulder, critiquing my every move. It’s taken us some time, and conversations, and admittedly a few harsh words, but we’re finally starting to get to the point where we both feel comfortable working together, or around each other.

His reservations come from what we’re both giving up. If things go according to plan, we’ll both be selling our houses. I have a little house on the edge of town, he has a house in the northern part of the state, and we’re currently staying in an apartment (actually, a tri-plex) that the company rents for him. The idea is that we’ll sell our houses, pay off our remaining debts, and then save money towards buying our “forever home” together. It makes sense, since neither of us is actually living in our houses right now. We’ll save a ton of money, even with picking up the rent payment at the apartment.

But, he’s 55 years old. To him, being an adult means owning a house. He feels like when we sell our houses, we’ll each have nothing, and be starting from scratch. To me, we both already have nothing. Actually, with very little equity in each of our houses, and other outstanding debts, we have less than nothing. And those house payments (that are currently going mostly towards interest) aren’t getting us anywhere. I’m ready to get rid of the illusion, and start building something real. He likes the plan, but it’s a big change for him, so he wants to take things slowly. So lately, I’ve been trying to back off a little, and let things move more at his pace. Yes, I’d prefer to be putting my house payment towards debt repayment. But, life isn’t a marathon. A few extra months isn’t going to kill me!

And then, my neighbors happened.

My neighbors and I got along great for many years. But the past couple of years, something has changed with the couple next door. They’re unhappy about everything, and each time I see them, it’s a new complaint. I’m trying to be a good neighbor; I’ve made major improvements to my house, inside and out. I try to keep things cleaned up and looking nice. The boyfriend does a better job keeping the lawn mowed than I ever did. Honestly, I’m trying the best I can!

Maybe they don’t like that I’m never home? Maybe they don’t like my relationship with my boyfriend (they’re in their mid-30’s, like me)? Maybe they think I’m “living in sin”? Maybe they’re mad that I hired another company for some work last year, even though I could never get them to agree that their company would do the work? Who knows! But things have been mighty frosty here lately. And when they started complaining about the trees* (again!) this weekend, the boyfriend decided he was done!

The last few days, we’ve been talking more seriously about selling my house. And he finally seems to be fully on-board with the idea. My plan is to slowly start moving ahead on this, but not push too much. Like I said, two steps forward, one step back. But I think knowing that we’re going to be met with complaints every time we go over to do something at the house is starting to wear on him. He’s finally starting to see my house as more of a hassle than an asset. And to me, that’s a good thing.

I’m hopeful that things are finally going to start rolling forward!

– Cindy W.

*I live in an old neighborhood, with lots of big old trees. The couple next door to me, who bought their house years before I bought mine, have come to see trees as a bad thing. Over the years, they’ve removed almost every tree from their lot, and have tried to encourage me to do the same. I understand that big trees pose some risk (falling limbs), but personally, I love the trees, and see them as more of an asset. Plus, at $2,000+ per tree for removal, I can’t afford to be cutting down perfectly good trees. I have 13+ large trees on my lot! The neighbors had plans to remove 2 more trees, until a survey revealed that they were actually my trees. I’ve gotten numerous complaints since about the trees. They’ve turned a large portion of their back yard into a parking lot for their company box trucks, and are now expressing concerns that limbs may fall out of my tree and damage their trucks. I’m not blowing off their concerns, and I do take my liability seriously. But it’s probably going to take a week or so to address, and it’s probably going to cost me a pretty penny. I don’t think asking them to be patient is too much to ask, especially considering they didn’t bat an eye at turning their yard into a parking lot to begin with, regardless of how it affected their neighbors views and property values.


  1. I really hope it’s not that weird to run the numbers constantly; I’ve been doing it for the last few months myself! It soothes my anxiety to know the facts, I guess.

    And your neighbors sound awful. If they wanted to have box trucks in their back yard (super ugly to look at for everyone else) then they should accept the risk of damage. If they want to avoid damage the trucks should be in a guarded, insured lot. For heaven’s sake.

    Good luck!

    1. Glad to know that I’m not the only one! It is somehow calming though, isn’t it?

      Oddly enough, I ended up having a really nice conversation with the wife this past weekend, and for once, everything seemed back to normal. I’m kinda starting to feel sorry for them, like maybe things aren’t going so well in their marriage, so they’re both displacing their emotions. Of course, that’s just a huge assumption on my part; They could actually just be jerks, and I’m inventing reasons to feel bad for them! Who knows?

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