We’ve all been told at some point to not judge a person based on what we see, because there are inevitably things going on in their life that we don’t know about.
But does this concept apply also to the people we live with, questioned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor bejigi began to discuss improving the financial situation in his home with his wife while knowing her life story and work history.
But when she accused him of trying to control her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he could have handled the situation differently.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for wanting my wife to have some extra income for herself?”
The OP handled most of the responsibilities in the home while working.
“My wife (woman 34) and I (husband 42) have been married for 12 years. We have 3 kids (6, 8, and 10).”
“She married me young (22 female). She never really had a job and did not do well in school and did not attend university. These things don’t really bother me.”
“I have been a work-from-home dad since day one. Very flexible schedule. I wake up early and make breakfast for the kids (my wife sleeps in). Then I would send them to school most of the time, send them to sports practice, and cook dinner sometimes (otherwise it’s takeout as my wife doesn’t like to cook).”
“I also hired a maid who takes care of the daily cleaning, laundry, ironing, etc.”
“My wife does have mild OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and cleans it again (mopping and vacuuming) daily despite us trying to tell her not to.”
The family was comfortable, but the OP wanted to plan for the future.
“We live in an upper-middle-class neighborhood and we make decent money, but we could save more. Especially with the kids growing and we are not getting any younger.”
“I say ‘we’ as we are a family but I am really the sole earner in 12 years.”
“Despite my wife’s lack of education and work experience, over the last 12years, I (and her own family) have always asked her to find a working hobby outside the family circle so that she can have something of her own.”
“She always resisted the idea and confronts me with ‘I am toxic and unsupportive for not wanting her to be comfortable.'”
“My wife is very insecure about her background or education and if pressed, it often results in negative outbursts with huge defenses.”
“Currently, I give her a monthly allowance (to spend on herself). I pay for groceries, mortgage, bills, and everything, including her insurance and monthly investment funds.”
“She refuses to have her own credit card and uses mine with my permission to manage and spend but still, there is a lack of accountability from my point of view.”
“But again, when I suggest getting her own card, it’s always a big fuss and I am called ‘controlling and toxic.'”
The OP tried to broach the subject of the future again.
“So come 2022, I had a chat with her that as much as I can provide, there has to be a plan B and if we want to plan for retirement and save for better educational options for the kids, we gotta start now. Together.”
“Instead of a full-time job, we decided (after much drama) on joining her friend selling mutual-fund and healthcare, which is something she can do on her own time and the money is hers to keep.”
“She hates me for it. She has to study and do something outside her comfort zone. She keeps telling me that I am toxic, unsupportive, and can’t see her be happy. There is real anger in her voice.”
The OP felt desperate.
“For me, as much as she wants to relax and be comfortable, I want to grow and provide the best education and future for my kids and our retirement. But I can’t do it alone, especially if my very capable wife (very charming and approachable), instead of trying to contribute and work together, just wants to let things be.”
“So AITA for wanting my wife to have a side gig income so that we have provided a better life for our kids, retirement?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said it sounded like the wife didn’t want to have to start being responsible.
“NTA. Not to be cruel, but what does your wife actually do all day? Sounds like she sleeps and lies around while you take care of the kids and work at home. You even hired a maid for her.”
“She is being a baby and needs to contribute. A marriage is a partnership and is supposed to be equal support and effort.”
“It seems to me you are giving way more than she is. You seem like a great dad and provider, and she seems like she is lazy and unsupportive of your family’s future.” – GreedoTheFett
“OP’s wife is going to be in for a very rude awakening if something ever happened to OP. He’s very kind, patient, and takes care of her, and he brings in all their money.”
“It would be difficult for her to find another man like him, and she would go through his money very quickly on her own. Working allows her to learn how to earn money and appreciate how much hard work goes into every dollar she gets.”
“And that way, if something happens to him or their relationship, she’s capable of standing.”
“Nothing toxic about that, and it is VERY SUPPORTIVE of him.” – elvaholt
“Now that they have several kids, and need to plan for retirement things have changed. Shit is always changing, so there shouldn’t be a ‘contract’ that makes sure she never ever has to lift a finger.”
“It sounds like he found her a pretty sweet part-time gig instead of trying to make her work for minimum wage. She could also develop a hobby that could bring in extra cash.”
“But she either needs to grow up, or he should move on. I doubt she’ll ever agree to work, so it seems like they’ve hit a dead end.” – MrAvalanche1981
Others admitted it might be difficult to change a lifetime of behavior.
“At some point, OP has to step back and ask himself what kind of behavior they are modeling for their children. This isn’t a healthy partnership and may require counseling for them both to set healthy goals for their relationship.” – Clove_707
“Wow, NTA, but your wife. She has to do something with her life and contribute to your family.”
“And I don’t mean that she didn’t do anything with her life. Raising children is a lot of work.”
“But it would be good for her to have something on her own something for herself what she did or created etc. It would be good for her self-esteem but also for their relationship as he clearly wants her to work and contribute.” – Ok_Possibility5715
“So… you are the sole provider for the family, you also tend to the children’s needs, you take care of the cooking, and you’ve hired someone to care for the house.”
“Financial, childcare, meals, and housekeeping are all on your plate.”
“What is it your wife actually contributing to the family?”
“One thing you can start with: let go of the housekeeper. Your wife already redoes it anyways, and you’re just wasting money.”
“If she wants to be a housewife, that’s okay… but she actually has to be a housewife! Childcare, cooking, and cleaning would fall under that.”
“Have a conversation with her about what she wants to do… if working is not an option for her, don’t force her to (that’s just going to create stress and arguments). But also let her know that she needs to contribute more in another way to make the family successful.” – AbbyBirb
Some said the OP might have also done this to himself.
“She’s being a baby, because he married someone barely out of adolescence and kept her comfortably there, so she didn’t have to mature.” – cafesaigon
“Gentle YTA, not because what you want is at all wrong or toxic or controlling as she claims, but because you are the source of this situation that you are now upset about. You basically set her up to fail, and are now complaining about it.”
“You were a 30-year-old man who married a much younger woman who struggled with her education and had no work experience.”
“Instead of encouraging her back then, when she was still young and in a better position to learn (because objectively speaking, it only gets more and more difficult as we get older, both in terms of neuroplasticity and our ability to learn new things, and in terms of being absent from the workforce and classroom, making both far more anxiety-provoking and difficult prospects), you spent 12 YEARS telling her she didn’t need to do anything for herself, providing for her financially, and letting her basically live a life of leisure.”
“And now over a decade later, when she was older, and everything would be FAR more of a challenge, you announced that she had to re-enter the workforce.”
“Besides the absolutely understandable fact that she feels embarrassed by her lack of education, she is now a 34-year-old woman who has been a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom) for over a decade. No work experience, no skills to speak of.”
“Even if you found her work to do, do you have any idea how much that can damage someone’s confidence? Especially someone who didn’t do very well in school, to begin with?”
“Have you ever been a woman going back to work in her mid-30s? Because I have, and answering the questions about ‘What you did before this’ is SUPER FUN. In my case, I wasn’t a SAHM, I was disabled and not working. Even when you know it shouldn’t be shameful, it really, really feels that way.”
“You’ve presented this entire post from YOUR perspective, and I suspect that most people are going to see ‘she’s had years at home being supported by you,’ and they will approach it as, ‘well, it’s about time she contributes.’ But you haven’t taken one moment to think about how SHE feels, or how you’ve set her up all these years and then changed her whole life drastically on a dime, based on YOUR wants.”
“I get that you mean well, but this is all about you you you. If you love her, you need to sit down and work out TOGETHER how she might find her way back into the workforce or maybe even retrain in a way that feels meaningful to her, and isn’t so sudden and overwhelming. Until then, YTA.” – FoolMe1nceShameOnU
“I’m not advocating for people to not change and not contribute, but it sounds like OP has orchestrated her life their entire marriage. She already cleans the house, but OP for some reason, got her a maid when he’s already handling most of the childcare.”
“She is what she is because OP married her when she was 22, told her he didn’t mind that she didn’t work and doesn’t have an education, and then 12 years later, tells her it’s not good enough anymore and wants her to start working at the age of 34.”
“Did OP not know that the children are going to grow up and one day he’s going to have to retire when he married her?”
“It’s not going to be easy getting her to take financial responsibility when he’s made sure she’s never had to. I don’t think he’s TA for wanting her to financially contribute now, but he is for unilaterally deciding it’s time and she’s going to do it.”
“It doesn’t sound like he wants a divorce and I don’t think wife can even if she wanted to, but he’s setting them up for an unhappy marriage. His wife possibly needs counseling to work through her feelings of inferiority before she’s ready to up-end her life with a job.” – emi_lgr
While the subReddit could agree that there was nothing wrong with saving money for college funds and retirement, they did question the OP regarding what he had done up to this point.
The wife seemed comfortable living her life the way that it was, probably largely to the way the OP had set it up for her. To suddenly change it would be unsettling for anyone, whether or not the intentions behind it were reasonable.