You know what they say—two of the leading factors in breaking up a relationship are sex and money.
Discussing someone’s income or debt, especially too often, can really hurt a relationship.
A guy discovered this on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit after having a falling out with his wife.
Redditor AITA_wifejob finally had enough of it and may have made the situation worse.
After the fact, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was in the wrong.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my wife that my job is harder than hers?”
The OP and his wife have been together a long time.
“My wife and I have been together for 10 years. We both turned 30 last week (birthdays 3 days apart) and met in college just after we turned 20. We are childfree by choice.”
“My wife is a social media/ad sales manager, and I am a computer scientist. I was promoted just before the pandemic and now make about 3x what she does (we both have Bachelor’s degrees from the same school).”
But recently there’s been tension around who does the most work.
“Once we began working from home, my wife saw that I ‘do a lot less work than her.’ Essentially, I am given projects and deadlines. If I finish a project prior to the deadline, I spend my extra time playing Xbox, taking the dogs to the park, and keeping the house tidy.”
“Her job is different—she works 8-10 hours a day and is often roped into helping co-workers with projects when she isn’t working.”
“During my downtime between my projects, I do nearly all of the cooking/cleaning/chores. I don’t mind this as I like having something to do. My wife has expressed that she is grateful that I don’t ONLY play Xbox during this time.”
The OP’s wife has started acting out.
“She’s recently been frustrated (jealous, in my opinion) that I ‘work less hard’ (her words) than her, yet get paid much more than her. We’re both 7-8 years into our career and she feels I’ve come much further than her.”
“I could see these conversations weren’t going to end well, so I always tried changing the convo. I’d say things like ‘our worth as people isn’t measured by salary’ or ‘we just have different skillsets, I couldn’t do what you do’ (which is true, I know nothing about marketing, ad sales, social media engagement, etc).”
“Regardless, every time she sees me playing Xbox or something, she has to make a snide comment about how I don’t deserve my salary, how she wishes she got paid to sit on her a**, etc.”
The OP finally had enough of it.
“Two days ago I finally snapped and told her that while I may not work as many hours, my skillset is much more difficult than hers and far more desirable.”
“I said that if she was unhappy with our COMBINED household income (just over $200k) that she could go back to school and get a computer science degree, and that I was absolutely sick of her trying to make me feel bad because she’s unhappy with her career.”
Now the couple isn’t really talking.
“Well, she’s been ignoring me for 2 days, and her mom called me and told me off for belittling her. Of course, my wife didn’t mention that she’s been giving me s**t for over 6 months now.”
“I’m genuinely curious if I’m an a**hole and should have kept my mouth shut, or if I was justified in finally giving her a piece of my mind.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some debated it as a factor of the ongoing pandemic.
“[The pandemic] is the AH. This fight is only happening because you are both working from home with not enough to do.” – devlin94
“No, [the pandemic] just exposed the wife. She acted poorly here and should own up to it.”
“If she is not happy with her job, she should not be rude to her husband about it. Imagine seeing your spouse earning a great paycheck and being happy doing it and enjoying the freedom to do chores to make your own life easier, then s**tting on them because you are frustrated with your own work.”
“That’s on her and she needs to address it. Being p**sed off at your spouse for having something good is not healthy.” – nataxradiator
“No, wife is the AH for taking her [pandemic] frustration out on her partner who does f**king everything. This is only happening because wife can’t manage her stress in a way that doesn’t harm her partner.” – SoCalThrowaway7
“She’s still the AH though regardless of [the pandemic]. Some people get paid for knowing things others don’t. She needs to understand that and not be jealous or comment that her husband is undeserving of his salary.” – Old_Thrashbarg
Others thought the wife was being petty.
“Sure it’s the situation but she is jealous of him and his salary, and when told the reason why he makes more money than her, she’s now ignoring him.”
“This wouldn’t be an issue without her jealousy which is unreasonable. OP does his work to the deadlines. He has no reason to be picked on. They’re both in different lines of work with different duties and expectations.”
“OP told her the truth. May have been a little harsh but she seems to have deserved such a response with her jealous comments.” – sketchesofthemadcap
“To be honest, it’s never a good idea to contextualize who works harder or who has more work. Keeping score only leads to frustration” – geegeepark
“Yes. Once I realized that ‘keeping score’ ALWAYS leads to disagreements and resentment, I started to notice and avoid it in my relationships.”
“It can be over doing dishes, cooking, or cleaning. It can be about body count, sexual willingness, or outside attention. It can be about salary, success, or experiences.”
“Anytime I start comparing something I do to what my partner does, I step back and ask myself if it’s because I’m *expecting* something from them. Or if not that, is it out of personal reasons, that I am not good enough in some area, and they are the nearest to compare myself to?”
“A relationship is not a constant competition. I shouldn’t be doing things for someone because I want them to give it back to me equally.'” – Pistachio_Queen
“I’m sure everyone’s felt this and I see it all the time, but people have a habit of fixating on things, then frustration piles up to the point where the emotional reaction outweighs the situation. The only way to fix it is recognizing it and confronting yourself and figuring out why you feel this way / starting a healthy conversation with the other party.” – b0n_ni3_c
A few said everyone was at fault.
“This is so true.”
“It’s also not true that a more difficult job automatically translates to a higher salary and it’s probably not a good idea to go there especially with a spouse.”
“She’s jealous op doesn’t have as much work to do. That’s understandable. He’s annoyed she’s bugging him about it. Also reasonable.” – Creative-Training175
“ESH. She does spend a lot more time working than you. You’re being horribly obnoxious about your income. Both of you need to be more understanding.” – Sonja_Says
“Yes she’s being jealous but you are also being an AH in how your respond”
“Get some couples counseling, you can obviously pay for it”
“You both need to learn to respect the other” – Chaliskis
“Implying that because you get paid more you work harder and are cleverer/better educated is a bit of an AH comparison.”
“He said all the right things right up to the point where he snapped and said ‘my skillset is much more difficult than yours’ and told her to go back to school.”
“It’s not necessarily the case that people get paid more for more difficult work, this is a fiction that well-paid people like to tell themselves.”
“His irritation is understandable but he could have expressed it better.”
“ESH” – Signature_Sea
It probably is frustrating to see someone finish their workday before you and to be able to do other things you enjoy while you continue working, but there’s a way to go about discussing it. And of course, there’s an appropriate way to respond, too.