This guest post is by SurvivorDan and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .
Quite a few preppers have had to deal with the strain on a relationship from one-sided prepping commitment. Often one person in a relationship does not share the zeal, the sense of urgency that drives the other partner to prep vigorously. Sometimes the other partner does not believe in the need to prepare for a major disaster at all. Many of us have had to deal with that very situation. It has been suggested on this blog and others that the prepper should make every attempt to get the ‘other half ‘ involved. I think that’s sound advice though I may have come to that conclusion a bit too late.
Firstly, you may believe in an imminent polar shift disaster, super tornadoes, coming comet/asteroid impact, a New World Government takeover and ensuing social enslavement, the total Collapse of the U.S. Government, world monetary collapse and world wide depression, global warming, global cooling, ad infinitum. There is an element of reality in all of them. Rather than trying to convince your partner that such is the case, try pushing the more comprehensible rather than the extreme.
Such beliefs, right or wrong, are hard for the average person to embrace. So hedge a little… …you are mainly preparing for natural disaster, economic depression and possibly a temporary loss of services such as power and water, civil upheaval (rioting etc.). These are ‘reasonable’ and foreseeable crises which most people (and your ‘better half’) can agree are possible. Acquire some videos on the tsunami in Indonesia, the flooding and rioting at Katrina, the earthquake generated devastation of Haiti. Make it real for your spouse/sig-other.
Next involve them in prep related activities. What are their interests? Do they love to cook? Experiment with dutch oven or solar oven cooking. Do they like to garden or have they always wanted to garden. Encourage him/her to start or enlarge a garden. Get involved as much as you can. Expand the gardening activity to include composting and canning. You can learn to can together. Get it? Together. Mutually shared activities (prepping related) and interests.
Bring the other half into your related hobbies such as shooting, hunting, fishing, ham radio, etc. Take CPR classes together. Maybe even EMT courses. Go camping. Teach them primitive fire making techniques and make it fun. I showed my wife how to make primitive powered traps and she really got a kick out of it. Naturally I taught her to look for sign and scat so she could site her traps if necessary. She now has a basic capability (and confidence) to make traps to acquire food if needed. I taught her how to track someone with the reasoning that one of the grandkids could get lost when we’re camping. She took an immediate and avid interest. Now she at least has the rudiments of tracking and interpreting sign at her disposal. Could come in handy in the event of TEOTWAWKI.
Often the non-prepping wife/girlfriend or husband/boyfriend tolerates a certain amount of disaster preparations. Bur occasionally, the ‘crazed’ prepper spouse/significant-other drives them over the brink.
I’m afraid I’ve driven MrsSurvivorDan over the precipice. It’s not that I did anything different or on a grander scale than I have ever done heretofore. It is merely that the cumulative effect has driven her ‘sane’. Sometimes your loved one has a different vision and you can’t change them. You can’t make them see the ‘wisdom’ of your parsimonious, TEOTWAWKI focused lifestyle as you make adjustments prior to what you see as an inevitable Collapse. She says that she thinks I’m a good man but a little ‘nuts’. And indeed, I am a little nuts, I just think the Collapse is coming. Being a nut doesn’t make me wrong.
Recently, I bought her a new loaded Mazda3 to please her but I did it with much reservation about the ‘unnecessary’ expense. Our home is paid for. Our vehicles are 5-10 yrs old but in good condition and more importantly – sans payments. She was pleased….but her new car wasn’t enough. At one time we took several expensive vacations per year. We leased new vehicles every three years. We bought what toys we wanted with little thought to the expense. Even though we closed our stores I still bring in a good income but I am resolved (more than ever) to convert the excess funds into preps as opposed to financial investments. I don’t spend much on frivolous things. I quit being a reserve deputy last year because in this county we bear all our own expenses. Even the bullets needed to qualify yearly with! I can no longer afford to do what I used to consider a civic duty. I seldom go out on the town and only do so to please Mrs. S.D.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not cheap. But I don’t splurge on the scale at which I used to and Mrs. S.D. misses the restaurants, clothes and travel. I don’t blame her as she doesn’t believe that any Collapse is coming. She was willing to humor me as long as preps were only at a natural disaster scale. Emergency preps for a year, etc. As we have once again passed that mark she has rebelled more and more. She thinks that cases and cases of water in all the closets is excessive. Imagine that! Questioning the wisdom of all of my prepping. Refusing to convert our savings into preps. I truly believe that our savings won’t be worth ‘spit” in a few years.
Yeah…I know there should be a balance between prepping supplies and investments/savings but I don’t believe that my money will be worth a plug nickel after a world wide economic Collapse. I’d rather have ammo, food, medical supplies, water filters, tools, etc. Things that are useful will always be worth something. I can trade them for other things that I need. The former Mrs. SurvivorDan would rather buy some Petron and go to Vegas for a getaway. That’s okay. She’d rather go to a nice restaurant than B-B-Q a marbled ribeye at home. She’d rather go to Hawaii than spend a week training at Gunsite. That’s her choice.
And so sadly, we amicably go our separate ways. I was too late getting her more involved. I put my head down too often and ‘bulled’ my way to get the preps I wanted. If you value your relationships…. compromise more my friends. Get the ‘better half’ involved in prepping related activities earlier and more often. Play down the looming threats as you see them. Don’t be as vociferous in your declarations of impending doom. Paint a more ‘reasonable’ picture they can get their thoughts around as to why you need to prep.
Or like me …… you’ll have to pony up for that bachelor bunker.
This contest will end on August 7 2012 – prizes include:
First Place : 1 Year Subscription to AlertsUSA, 1 Radiation Safety Package consisting of the following; (1) NukAlert Radiation Monitor and Alarm (5) Radsticker Peel and Stick Dosimeters (1) Box Thyro Safe Potassium Iodide. All courtesy of AlertsUSA. A $150 gift certificate for Federal Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo. And a British Berkefeld water fillter system courtesy of LPC Survival. A total prize value of over $700.
Second Place : A six pack Entrée Assortment courtesy of Augason Farms, a Nukalert courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply and a WonderMill Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $550.
Third Place : A copy of each of my books “31 Days to Survival” and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of The Survivalist Blog dot Net and “Kelly McCann’s Inside the Crucible Set” courtesy of Paladin Press. A total prize value of over $200.
Contest ends on August 7 2012.