Advice from Amy: Resentful Husband Is Undeserving
Homemaker’s devotion was wasted on this husband
Advice columnist Amy Dickinson addresses a resentful husband who is complaining of his wife’s 20 years of homemaking, making decisions for the children’s welfare, and taking “low-paying, ‘do good’-type positions in the community. See what Amy has to say.
My wife and I got married right after college and quickly welcomed our first child.
I knew that having kids would take all of my wife’s attention, therefore, I did not want any more children.
But shortly after the first child came baby number two.
At that point I got a vasectomy.
Twenty years later, I have built a very successful career, while my wife chose to take jobs that would allow her more time with the kids.
She has taken the lead with the kid’s activities, housework, cooking, etc., which I never asked her to do.
She has held various low-paying, “do good”-type positions in the community.
She has a lot of skills and did not have to compromise her career for the children. There are a lot of successful women doing it all. My wife has nothing to show for working year after year.
I am very resentful of her career choices and have expressed this many times. I think she is lazy and used the kids and house as an excuse.
Our kids are both in college now, and I am paying for all of it.
My wife now has decided to pursue a second degree so she can increase her skills.
I told her that I would help her start a small business if she abandoned going back to school.
I do not feel obligated to pay for her education, which I could easily do. She is taking out student loans, but she will never be able to catch up to my salary.
Am I being unreasonable for not helping, and for feeling so resentful toward her?
– Resentful Husband
Your anger over your wife’s choices seems to have affected your cognition.
She has maintained the household and has raised (your) children, and yet because she has been under-employed outside the home, she has “nothing to show for it?”
How about healthy children and a husband who doesn’t have to iron his own shirts?
According to an oft-quoted report by Salary.com, in 2021 a stay-at-home parent works over 100 hours a week and would earn an annual “…fair market salary equivalent of $184,820.”
The question is: Do you owe this amount to your “lazy” wife, or do you two have a zero balance, because she was living the life she chose? (From your account, you have done the same.)
You obviously feel trapped, stuck financially supporting a family that – according to you – takes your hard-earned assets and returns nothing.
Your wife should not be taking out student loans. These loans are the worst bet in the world and paying them back will deplete the gains she might see from her additional degree.
You two should immediately seek the help of a marriage counselor. Additionally, you could investigate a post-nuptial agreement to outline the financial terms by which you quite obviously define the relative success of your marriage.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2021 by Amy Dickinson