Navigating a life together as partners is difficult—one of the areas where resistance can easily be met is in clashing career goals.
For example, would you be able to ask your partner to do things like switch jobs and move, or would you be open to them asking you to do that? How do you navigate respect for both people’s careers?
Redditor ThrowRa67129ka90ma found herself in a sticky situation where she was asked to choose between hers and her husband’s career…and she picked hers.
Unsure if she’d made the right choice, she headed over to “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” on Reddit to ask some questions:
“AITA for asking my husband to turn down his dream job for my career?”
This conflict started because of the specific industry in which the couple works:
“I (33F[emale]) am the breadwinner of our household. I have multiple, highly specialized degrees for a niche industry. I make 200k+, with potential to get in the 600-M’s range. My company has not been hit that badly by COVID, so most of us have kept our jobs, but we’re held to strict standards.”
“My husband (36M[ale]) has a broad degree/work experience. He quit his job right before COVID hit, hoping for a better job in the meantime, and I was supportive. He spent a ton of time applying to various jobs, and finally landed an interview at Organization X.”
Organization X represents a conflict of interest to our original poster’s, or OP’s, job:
“This is his dream job, in almost every imaginable way (I can’t be detailed). However, it’s paying about 65k a year, which would be fine except this job directly puts my job stability at risk.”
“My company and this org. are adversarial, at best. My field is extremely secretive, and if clients discovered my spouse was working for a competitor, I would be permanently tainted. I wouldn’t be able to get a job in the industry forever. I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but I promise you, it absolutely is not.”
“It’d be like if I worked in protecting the privacy of celebrities, and he worked for TMZ. If he tapped my car, got into my work devices, he could use that to advance his career, and any trust I have in this field will be gone. Even if I trusted my husband not to do that, my clients and company don’t. Worse, b/c my background is so specialized, this is the only field I can work in.”
And then came the serious conflict between husband and wife:
“I asked him to drop from consideration for this job, since if he got it, we’d lose my income. 65k a year cannot support us in this city. Plus, he does not have to work for this organization. Even if the job market is awful right now, his background gives him access to a wide range of jobs, but I only have this one, niche field.”
“He was extremely angry, and said I was ‘selfish and only cared about money.’ I told him that if he wanted to go back to school for an advanced degree or just be unemployed for a while, I would support him, but taking this job isn’t possible.”
Worse is that after the conflict, OP’s husband continued the interview process behind her back:
“He continued the process behind my back, and got the offer. He wants to accept it, b/c he says his career needs to take priority and that I wasn’t being a supportive wife.”
“I feel so betrayed, and I’ve contacted all relevant higher ups in my company to inform them. I notified them as soon as he got the interview, b/c it’s better coming from my email than from a background check.”
She was forced to give him an ultimatum:
“I told him he could decline the offer, w/me watching him physically decline it, or he could accept the offer and move out immediately. I would pay for him to stay two weeks at a hotel, and we would begin divorce proceedings. My company is willing to take care of all of my legal fees.”
“I feel f**king awful. I still love him. I moved decisively, b/c this was the best way to cut my losses, but it still hurts. He called me heartless and cold. It’s true that I was prioritizing my career over his, but it felt like the only option at the time.”
So OP was left with one question.
Did she do the right thing?
Redditors decided where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors were not shy about telling OP she was never in the wrong.
OP’s entire career is at stake:
“NTA Some are saying you’ve decided your job is important than your husband. They’re ignoring that he seems to have decided a job offer is more important than your entire career.”
“I was ready to call you the a**hole considering we frequently see people unnecessarily prioritize their career over their spouses when compromise is possible. However he’s refusing compromise.”
“To address the people calling this a trust issue – it doesn’t matter if she trusts him. Her company and her clients don’t. He knows this and chose to pursue this job anyway. If she doesn’t trust someone who’s willing to destroy her entire career for a single job I don’t blame her.”
“Men aren’t usually the spouse making career sacrifices for the greater good of the couple. I don’t know for sure but that could be something he’s struggling with.”~FirmCampaign8221
“I think the fact that he’s not considering the fact that his wife makes more than 3X what he will is stupid. It’s like cutting off your entire face to spite your ears.”
“Be happy that your wife is successful in her career and is willing to support the both of you. This is the 21st century get that macho bull out of your head.”
“Either find a job that doesn’t conflict, or go back to school so you can.”
“I couldn’t imagine throwing away my marriage for a 65k a year job. Maybe if it was 650k he MIGHT have some justification but even then it would be sh*tty.”
“I hope he figures out this job and it’s pathetic 65k a year is worth his marriage. Time for him to get head out of his own a** but it might be stuck at this point.”~Millennials_RuinedIt
“NTA. You aren’t choosing between your husband and your career. You are choosing to not be with a man who is willing to sabotage your future over a job offer. He has the time to continue looking for another job.”
“He is choosing a job offer over you and your livelihood, not just for now, but into the future. As a nice topper, he is gaslighting you and making you believe his choices are your fault.”
“I am so sorry. He has put you into an awful situation. You are not being heartless and cold. You do not only care about money. You are protecting yourself from someone who is not currently making you a priority or giving you any consideration.”~3m2coy
“NTA – you told him from the beginning that if he took this job it would end your specialised career. He went ahead with the application behind your back.”
“Regrettably, he put you in the position of choosing between him and your career. I think you made the right choice, you clearly resent what he’s done and I can’t see that getting better if you lose everything you worked for.”~Mahliki
And not only that, he went behind OP’s back and betrayed her trust to get ahead on this job:
“He knew the reasons why he shouldn’t pursue this job, yet he went for it anyway. If that’s not selfish, I don’t know what is. HIS new career needs to take priority? Why?”
“If it’s possible for you two to just separate for while, maybe that’s something you can do before actually filing for divorce. Or you can file and drag it out until he realizes that he cannot support himself on that income, let alone the both of you, since you wouldn’t be able to find another job in your field.”
“Either way, if he’s refusing to compromise, you two cannot live together anymore. NTA”~hisnameislenny
“NTA. Your husband did this, not you. He went behind your back and forced this position even though you explained in detail why it wouldn’t work and it would torpedo your career. He chose this. He chose a potential job that he hasn’t even started yet over his marriage.”~WonderTwinkles
“Op, l used to work in IT in environment with similar sensitivity: government projects, crucial infrastructrure projects, we all had to have security clearance during which even our families social newtork had been checked…”
“The point is: your husband is a decoy, a gateway to your know-how, and/or their way how to discredit you and your company. They knew who was he married to from a very first second. If he can’t see it, he is delusional or incredibly naive. (I would add “or maybe idiot” but l won’t do that).”~panlevap
“NTA. You’ve been in your career field longer than he has, he is straight up moving on with taking a job with your direct competitor, which will ruin your career. He’s calling you heartless, only caring about money and your career, but he’s only caring about his POSSIBLE career, not thinking about you and yours at all. This is bigger than just career and jobs, he has very little respect for you.”~Cocoasneeze
So their advice to her? You did the right thing. Now, will he?
“NTA. Absolutely and totally. Your husband is willing to destroy your career and your future prospects for a job that he does not yet have, that he does not have to take, and that may or may not work out.”
“He’s insisting that you are selfish for not wanting to torpedo everything YOU’VE worked for so that he can take this job. If he is willing to do this kind of damage to your reputation and your financial security, he’s honestly not worth keeping.”
“Of course you are prioritizing your career over his! If he takes that job, you HAVE NO CAREER. Everything you’ve struggled to attain is gone in an instant and now you’re dependent upon HIM.”
“Guess what? I quit a good job because my spouse had a decent job and told me we could afford for me to be home more, with a part-time job. Guess who left me six months later?”
“The financial damage to me and my children was enormous. I lost my house to foreclosure. People who tell you that you’re being selfish and prioritizing your career over your marriage are 100% wrong.”~Mirianda666
“NTA I (F) am also the breadwinner and have held positions with a very high security clearance in the past. To get my clearance they evaluated not just me, but also my husband and the political and career ties of my immediate family and my in-laws as well. If any of them had taken a role like your husband is attempting to take, my clearance would have been revoked.”
“Like other posters I would guess that your husband is struggling with not being the breadwinner due to expectations of traditional gender roles. Given how secretive he has been about pursuing the job and his apparent level of disdain for your career, I agree that trusting him not to sabotage you even if you were allowed to have a spouse working for a competitor would be difficult.”
“Even removing the money factor from the equation, you had a discussion about this. Even if he still felt differently than you, he didn’t continue to try to work it out with you, instead he continued the application process and lied to you about it. That’s not conducive to a healthy marriage.”
“Good luck OP, as much as you may still love him, he doesn’t seem to respect you – and you deserve a partner who will give you both.”~obscurewittyusername
“NTA. you were open and honest with him. You explained things to him and gave him the option of helping with his advanced degree (which in his resume will show as work experience).”
“He is being a misogynistic AH. He is literally expecting you to play housewife while he goes to work. This is what happens to women all the time, they have to give up on their earning potential to appease the ego or a fragile man. Do not fall for it, stand your ground.”
“And by the way, I am a male.”~GualtieroCofresi
“NTA. If he loved you he’d never have put you and himself in that position and not even applied for that job. He could have and still can apply for plenty of jobs.”
“Even leaving aside that you make triple what he does it’s insane that he would expect you to sacrifice you entire career for this one job that he has chosen to apply for. You are not unsupportive, you’ve supported him financially and have supported him when he quit his previous job looking for a better one (normally people don’t quit a job till they have a new one lined up).”
“The bald fact is, you having your job or any job in your industry is incompatible with him taking this job. So the options are you get blackballed from a highly lucrative and specialized industry you’ve trained for probably over a decade in and lose an existing job, or he doesn’t take this one particular job he hasn’t even started yet and which doesn’t even pay well. This isn’t just about money.”~aitathrowwwwwwwww
While on the surface this appears to be about a job, Redditors agree that it points to something much more sinister under the surface—whether that be gender roles, misogyny, or insecurity, all are in agreement that it was incredibly inappropriate of OP’s husband to do what he did.
Hopefully some sort of understanding can be reached—but if not, it will be a tough moment for both parties.