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How has the hobby affected your relationships?

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My Mrs took Interest in the hobby, but then it kind of died down and she began to get annoyed when I used to spend time on the cars...

Now (fortunately) she saw the light and wants ‘a fast pink RC car’ with a ‘yellow smiley face sticker off a Hilux’ :lol:

I thought she was joking but then I received this yesterday for my birthday 


Looks like i better get the pink spray can rattling :wub:

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I got back into RC in the mid-00s when I had been single for a long time and was destined to be single for a while longer.  I had a few short-term flings who really didn't have much to say either way about the hobby, although one girl came with me to a local beauty spot with some rally cars, and we spent the afternoon racing each other around the dirt.  It's a fun day I'll remember for a long time.

I met my wife over a decade ago when I was already very much into the RC hobby, and she didn't really care.  She told me she'd got tired of meeting guys whose hobbies were "watching football" and "going down the pub."  My hobbies then and now are writing science fiction, writing electronic music and tinkering with RC cars, and that made me interesting, apparently.

She has loads of hobbies too, mostly crafty/creative ones.  She loves to paint and draw, she also does wood turning, silver-smithing, jewellery making and things of that ilk.  So we were both always supportive of each other's hobbies and spare time.

The way I see it there are four basic issues.  One of them is the perception that RC specifically and hobbies in general are weird, geeky, unusual, not cool, or whatever.  We've never suffered that and never judged each other on what we do.

The second is space, and that's always a tough one when both parties have space-dependent hobbies.

When we first met she lived in a tiny flat and I have a two-bed with a little workshop and paint booth in the loft.  When she moved into my flat she had part of the lounge for doing her crafts but I still had the loft for messy jobs and the spare bedroom for my music and writing studio.  That caused a bit of tension, so we looked to buy somewhere big enough for us both to thrive.

We bought a house with a very large workshop - big enough for her classic Mini, both of my motorbikes, her wood lathes and workbenches and tools and all kinds of other stuff.  The workshop became 'her' space and the master bedroom became my RC / music studio.  I had a corner bench for RC tinkering, shelves full of cars, two easy chairs that I made out of Mitsubishi sports car seats and all my music equipment.  That was my happy home for a few years.  Our personal bedroom was the middle room.

When our daughter came along we originally planned to put her in the 3rd bedroom out back, but then my wife decided she wanted the bathroom moved into the 3rd bedroom - originally it had been on the ground floor.  That meant our daughter had to go into the middle room and we had to go into the master bedroom.  The studio got moved down into the lounge, the lounge got moved into the dining room, and we didn't have a dining room at all.  It felt OK for a while but soon the house started to feel really cramped.

So we turned a corner of the workshop into my studio.  I had planned to have my music setup down one end and an RC display / relaxation area the other end with some nice lighting, a full wall of shelves and my easy chairs.  But she decided that since I was invading her workshop, she wanted a warm, cosy place to do her crafts.  So my nice relaxation area is now her own personal workbench with all her paints and things laid out.  To start with I hated it - I almost felt like I'd been cheated out of everything I had just because she changed her mind on a bathroom - but it's worked out quite nice.  Some nights we actually spend in the studio together, her painting and me writing or playing video games (which is only a casual hobby for me) or tinkering with RCs.  Now she rarely uses the workshop at all - in fact the main workbench is now where I do all the more involved custom fabrication that she has encouraged me to do.

The third issue is money.  When we first met I had debts and she had low income, so we didn't spend a lot.  We would sometimes argue over spending money on our hobbies or spending it on time together, like going out for a meal.  At times it was stressful but as she loved to spend money just as much as I do, it was never one-sided.  Once we'd settled in our new home and paid off some debts, things were easier.  In fact I was so busy spending whatever money I had on RC stuff that I never stopped to think about how much money I actually had.  I could have saved so much, or put it into a pension, but I just spent it.  We both did.

It was only when our daughter came along that I realised how much I was going to have to sacrifice and started to have regrets about how I'd lived my life until then.  My wife had good maternity pay and we'd saved enough that for the first year, we didn't really have to stop spending that much.  We just had to keep a closer eye on it.  When she went back to work after 12 months off we set ourselves some new budgets and life was pretty good, way better than I'd have expected it to be.  We were paying money back into accruals for various rainy days and still had plenty to spend, so it was never an issue.

Then my wife decided she didn't like working part time, and decided to give it up to be a stay-at-home mum.  I earn a reasonably wage and our mortgage is low, so we re-did our budgets and still had enough to do our hobbies as well as maintaining the family, although we were to sacrifice things holidays and replacement vehicles.  My wife has now been off work for nearly a year and things have started to get tough.  Our car should have been replaced by now and is starting to cost money we don't have every month to keep it running.  More and more of the surplus income is going into price rises.  We both want new stuff that's beyond our means.  And to top it all, she's desperate for another baby, which means loaning more money for an extension.  The only way we can do that is either if she goes back to work or we sacrifice our entire hobby budget.  So she's looking for work, but there's not much out there at the mo.

The problem we have right now is that all the good RC events are 3+ hours drive away, and that's costing a fortune in fuel.  My employer recently lost a contract through which I was able to claim travel expenses at a fixed rate - which worked out enough to cover my RC event fuel once a month - now I don't have that additional income, I can't afford to go play any more.  Yet my wife is still going out once a week with her caving club, using fuel in the family car that I can't use on my RC jaunts because we can't afford it.  This could well become one of those breaking-point conversations that every couple needs to have from time to time.  We talk about stuff, that's why we work so well together.  We talk about it, work it out, make it work for both of us.

I really need to stop talking about setting up some local bashes and actually start setting up some local bashes...

The fourth issue is time.  That's a tough one for any relationship and more so when children come along.  I was terrified that the arrival of a child would mean no more playtime for daddy, but that hasn't been the case.  Originally we each had one day per month to do whatever we wanted.  One goes out, the other stays in with the child.  Sometimes I wanted to go away for a weekend event, so we changed it to two days per month.  My wife now does a caving weekend every month, so I don't feel guilty any more about doing a weekend RC event every month.  Problem (as above) is the fuel cost, plus rising campsite fees.  I've got a fuel budget up until the Revival at the end of July, at which I don't know what my spare weekend will involve.

What has really worked for us is splitting up our evenings.  We each get two nights per week to ourselves to do our hobbies.  My wife also gets two whole weekdays while the child is in childcare but I get up early so I get an hour or two most mornings.  It's surprising how much I can get done in that time, although I hate not having a long, solid day to myself unless I take off out somewhere (with fuel I can't afford ;) ).  Doing things in fits and stars isn't conducive to a cohesive finished product, whether it's a sci-fi novel, a piece of music or an RC car.

I'm sure things will change once our daughter starts school and stays up later, needs taking to after-school clubs, weekend sports events, needs help with homework etc,  which is one of my biggest parenting fears.  But on the flipside, maybe one day she'll be able to come with me on my RC jaunts, so they won't be "personal time away from family" any more but "important family time together" instead :)

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