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So jealous - how do we stop this wrecking our relationship and friendship?

(95 Posts)
CambridgeBlue Tue 28-Jan-14 08:30:02

I've recently found out that a good friend has been given a very large sum of money that will enable her to do many of the things that we would love to do but can't afford - house extension, nice holiday, new car etc.

DH and I have ticked all the boxes - worked hard at school, got a degree, fairly good jobs - but we don't seem to have much to show for it. We own our own home but haven't a hope of ever extending even though it's getting too small for us all and we can only afford to do essential jobs by sacrificing something else. There's no way we could do anything 'nice' like a new kitchen. We run one not very new car and just about manage a week away in the UK each year.

I know this is all first world stuff and we're so much better off than many people but jealousy of what other people have/do seems to be eating us up - we had a huge row about it this weekend, one of the worst we've ever had.

DH just doesn't see the point in us working as hard as we do or teaching our DD to work hard because he doesn't feel we've got much to show for it. I am more positive natured than he is but I do feel rather the same way and this latest news about my friend is just the icing on the cake - I haven't dared tell DH yet because he is going to be so bitter.

I don't want to go on like this - it's threatening our marriage. I also don't want my friend to know how we feel but I am going to find it so hard to see all the plans being carried out right under our noses.

How the hell do we get over this envy and make the best of what we've got? I feel that's all we can do because there's no chance of any large handouts for us, I think 'comfortable' or 'managing' is the best we can ever hope for.

desperatelyseekingsolace Tue 28-Jan-14 08:36:01

You just have to deal with it like adults. There are -- always have been and always will be -- massive inequalities in our society.

If you want to do something about it at a societal level get involved in politics or charity. But you can't take it out on individuals.

If you look at your own life you will realise that while you may not be about to inherit a large wodge of cash you are massively more fortunate than many people. You have a stable home, jobs and own your own property.

If you go through life expecting total parity of circumstance with everyone you know you are going to be in a permanent state of bitterness.

I am afraid you are right: this is a first world problem and you need to grow up.

saintlyjimjams Tue 28-Jan-14 08:44:07

You count your blessings. Trite, but true. You sound rather as if you've lost track of what you have. Most people work hard to just about hold everything together at the moment, - that's not unusual - very few have the good fortune of your friend (& the vast majority of people who do come into a large sum of money lose something fairly major in return - such as a parent).

LadyFlumpalot Tue 28-Jan-14 08:45:44

YANBU to feel a bit jealous - I have a friend who has landed on her feet with a fabulously wealthy husband who is lovely, kind and handsome to boot who I occasionally feel twinges of envy and "it's not fair" about. It's only human.

However, YABU to allow the jealously to get in the way of life. Jealously is an insidious and nasty emotion. Ultimately the only person it will harm is you. I suggest you and your DH take some time out to re-evaluate everything you DO have, material and non material and be thankful for it. It's much healthier for you than resenting what someone else has. smile

Bl00dyhell Tue 28-Jan-14 08:46:40

what Solace said.
It's very easy to look at others with more and get jealous and yet forget how much better off you are than a large percentage of the population who would love to have their own home.

Change what you can't accept and accept what you can’t change.

Sitting there getting bitter isn't going to do anything apart from alienate you from your friend, how about trying to be pleased for them?

LadyFlumpalot Tue 28-Jan-14 08:48:22

Also my mum always says - Don't wish for money as it usually comes when someone dies. Another friend of mine was recently buying a house and a mutual friend remarked that she was lucky to be able to afford a deposit so young (23 at the time). My friend replied that she would much rather her dad was still alive and she couldn't afford a deposit. sad

Lovingfreedom Tue 28-Jan-14 08:50:09

I was married to a guy for which nothing was ever good enough. Once I ditched him I've never really felt jealous or envious of anyone or anything. Just saying...might be different for you

saintlyjimjams Tue 28-Jan-14 08:50:31

And tbh what's to say having your friend's money would make you happy? There will still be people with a lot more - chances are your expectations (& bitterness just ratchet up a bit).

Yes it's dull not bring able to afford extras, or living in a way that means that every unexpected bill induces a panic attack - but lots of people are living like that at the moment - you're not unusual.

FuckyNell Tue 28-Jan-14 08:51:49

This thread will give you some perspective.

akawisey Tue 28-Jan-14 08:54:22

I lost my DM two years ago this month. Her estate passed to my DF who has taken steps to make me the sole inheritor. He's also in the process of cataloguing everything to make it easier for me when he dies. One day, probably in the not to distant future, I'll be mortgage free and able to do things I simply can't do now.

But I'd give anything not to be facing that reality. Relationships and connection are priceless OP.

Arcadia Tue 28-Jan-14 08:59:49

If you are having huge rows about something that has happened to someone else, then maybe there are other issues going on between you?

ALittleStranger Tue 28-Jan-14 09:01:34

Also it is worth teaching your daughter to work hard and working hard yourself. You say this are first world problems but even by UK standards you are very, very lucky. Owning your own home is a fast disappearing dream for young families. To be able to do this off your own back is am immense achievement. Be proud, teach your daughter to be proud.

HettySunshine Tue 28-Jan-14 09:09:37

I know how you feel, I have friends who have so much more money than me. They're all booking holidays and planning weddings which I know my dp and I could never aspire to. But we are in love, we have a perfect 4 month old dd, and we manage.

Wanting more than you can have will only lead to unhappiness. Perhaps you should both consider doing some voluntary work at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen. Perhaps seeing how much you really do have in real terms will help you be happy with how your life is.

Cabrinha Tue 28-Jan-14 09:13:06

How "too small" can your house possibly be when there are 3 of you? Is it a bedsit? I suspect not.

Try volunteering at a foodbank for a while, and get some perspective. That sounds sarcastic, but it's not.

When I was a child, I was the only one of my friends with no car, and though not the only one with no holidays, no holidays either. And my dad shopped at reduced food time long before there were Internet forums suggesting it.

I'm not rich now, but I still feel grateful for the combination of luck and hard work that has me now in a position where I can grab a sandwich from a shop and not think about the price.

I totally understand why you feel jealous - that's natural. But to the point of bitterness and rowing with your husband? Something odd going on there.

Comparison is the thief of joy. You need to look at what you do have. And that's not just material things. You have a daughter, that should bring you happiness every day.

If you're frustrated about money, why not channel your thoughts into overhauling your budget, instead of wasting time worrying about what other people have?

OvertiredandConfused Tue 28-Jan-14 09:22:53

I know how you feel. My sister's husband inherited a lot of money and few years ago and they now have a stunning home, two amazing holidays abroad each year, great cars and private schools. Their combined salaries are less than me and DH. Like you, we do okay but life isn't particularly easy. We'd love to go abroad next year but just don't see how we can afford it. Have only left the UK once in DS's memory. He's nearly 11.

My sister is generous and thoughtful with us. So we do things within our budget most of the time and occasionally she says that something is her treat.

I focus very much on what's good in my life. I prioritise seeing friends - not easy as I'm out of the house for 12 hours each day - making it to church on Sunday mornings, helping some other friends who are having a really tough time (mum died a year ago leaving a husband and 3 teenage children), and appreciating the small things with my children and DH. So all the things that money can't buy.

It's not always easy, and I'm no saint, but I wouldn't change places with my sister.

Contrarian78 Tue 28-Jan-14 09:39:40

I can sort of understand the situation you're in op

Without sounding patronising, I'm afraid that life isn't fair. We found ourselves in a similar situation whereby (pretty much without exception) all of our cohort inherited (or were gifted) money which enabled them to buy property. The amounts involved ranged from £110,000 - £270,000. Although neither my wife nor I come from VERY poor backgrounds, our grandparents were not property owners.

Anyway, we (or I) felt similar to how you do, but instead of letting it eat me up, I used it to push me on. It's now us that has the largest house, drives the nicer cars, takes the exotic holidays. And do you know what, it's all the sweeter for the fact that we've done it off our own backs. I don't rub their noses in it not even I'm that much of an arsehole but I do take satisfaction in having done it on my own.

What changes can you make to your jobs to enable you to get where you want to be. If you're happy with your jobs, take comfort from that and don't worry about what everyone else has - as you're happy in other ways.

Lastly, be careful what you wish for. When you get into the mindset that I'm in, it becomes corrosive. It eats into every facet of your life (that's how I ended up here), and nothing is ever good enough.

CuntyBunty Tue 28-Jan-14 09:51:30

I don't compare us to anyone else OP; I always wanted to work in the public sector and now I have worked in it for more than 10 years, as has DH. That has been my ambition. My friend is in banking and has much more materially than me, but that's fine; I'm not into Mulberry hand bags. The only thing that does fuck me off is DH's job title is far more impressive than his pay cheque, but even that's not too bad. I like to blame it on the current government; they are crushing the public sector as they are idealogically opposed to The State. But yes, it twinges now and again. At least we have enough to waste on wine and a bit of weed now and again.

I know I could do better, but am quite lazy and like life in the slower lane. We have a nice life that way, rather than what riches may bring.

CambridgeBlue Tue 28-Jan-14 09:53:17

Thanks, you all make a lot of sense. I know I sound spoilt and that we're very lucky really. I'm usually not bad at looking on the bright side and appreciating things other than material stuff but this has really got to me for some reason.

I think it's because they're getting exactly what we would like to do but can't afford - no our house isn't a bedsit but it's small enough not to be particularly comfortable with 3 people in it - and there are so many jobs that need doing which we continually have to patch up because we can't spare the cash to do them properly. It shouldn't matter - at least we've got a roof over our heads - but it does and I bet it bothers other people too. I am going to find it really hard watching (literally, they live opposite us) my friend's dream home being built and them jetting off somewhere exotic - I think it's only human nature to feel a bit pissed off in that situation.

The other thing is, as I said I'm normally fairly positive but DH really isn't and I'm sick of being the one who cheers him up all the time and points out the good things in our life - nobody does that for me.

As far as our jobs go, DH was made redundant and is lucky to have the job he's got so I don't think there's any scope for change there. I'm working like mad to build up my own business on the side of 2 other jobs so I don't see how much more I can be expected to do to improve our situation.

I agree that jealousy like this can become corrosive which is why I want to find a way of managing it.

Jan45 Tue 28-Jan-14 10:01:42

But this is materialism and there's always going to be friends who have more than you, of course you can feel envious but don't let it take over your thoughts, it's really not worth the head space. What is important is your relationships, that's what brings real happiness, not the short lived high of seeing a new kitchen.

Saying that, it's no wonder we feel envious living in this consumer lead society so accept that your feelings are normal but put them away and smile through gritted teeth when your friend shows you all she has bought.

Contrarian78 Tue 28-Jan-14 10:09:29

Focus on your business and set realistic targets for stuff you want done. Try not to set your sights at building an extension, but rather by comitting to save say £2,000 towards it. Trust me, you won't look back. The sense of achievement will be massive - even if the goal isn't.

Good luck.

cuntybunty biscuit

CambridgeBlue Tue 28-Jan-14 10:10:53

I think that's half the problem actually. I don't want to give a toss about material stuff but it's seen as so important and I find myself in the cycle of wanting to have all the right things to show that we're successful too.

I'm not actually sure that many of my relationships are really all that happy, maybe that's why I care so much about this sad

Jan45 Tue 28-Jan-14 10:13:01

I think if you're not happy in your personal life then things like that bother you more. I know of a couple who have nothing much in the way of items but they are the happiest couple I know and really don't care that the Jones's have more than them, the Jones's are a miserable pair of gits.

saintlyjimjams Tue 28-Jan-14 10:14:59

Your dh sounds a bit of a dementor - by which I mean energy sapper. Some people are like that - and it's hard to remain positive when they're around sucking the life out of everything.

I'm not going to say LTB as obviously that would come with it's own set of problems but it does sound rather as if the issue may not the the neighbours luck and good fortune, but rather sharing your space with a misery guts. Has he always been like this or is it recent?

CambridgeBlue Tue 28-Jan-14 10:26:07

He's not naturally a very positive person but he has got lots of good qualities. I think he just feels as I do that we've always been 'good' and done all the 'right' things but it doesn't seem to have reaped the rewards you're led to expect.

We are going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment for various other reasons and I'm sure that's contributed to my feeling so crap about this, it's just the last straw really. After the massive barny at the weekend we'd come up with some ways of moving forward but I just feel if I tell him what I found out last night about the friends/money we will be back to square one.

Cabrinha Tue 28-Jan-14 10:31:03

So don't tell him?
Try talking about good stuff, like your weekend plans with your child, not boring stuff like which friend is buying what!

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