Financial incompatibility, or money disagreements, is the fifth major cause of divorce according to DivorceNet.
And those couples involved in this particular struggle are usually those with lower incomes. The high stress about being able to pay bills and afford family needs often results in frequent fighting, which leads to divorce, where there is further squabble over money and property.
Is divorce the answer to this man and his wife’s situation, too?
Under the account name u/Agile_Creme2395, OP posted this story on Reddit’s r/AmITheA**hole forum — a conflict that now involves his own mother and sister, who support his wife. Redditors pretty much unanimously declared that this individual is NTA (not the asshole) in the situation.
According to OP (original poster), before getting married, he and his wife had discussed kids and their work/home arrangement and agreed that they would both work before having a family. Then, once they had children, they would take turns with a “stay-at-home” arrangement in the first year or two, with both of them returning to work afterward.
“Now she wants to do away with that and wants to be a stay-at-home wife until we have kids and then be a stay-at-home mom,” continued OP. “I don’t want that, I never wanted that, and I made that clear from the start when we got serious. I enjoy my job a lot, but my salary can’t sustain a family, and I don’t want to go back to school and change careers like she wants me to to make it happen. I don’t want to take up a second job either, knowing I’d still be doing half the housework and childcare (not that that’s a bad thing), whereas both my mom and her parents are local, she’d have plenty of help during the day and able to get downtime.”
The trouble heated up when his wife brought up the subject while having dinner with OP’s mom and sister. His mother and sister sided with his wife and rebuked him for refusing his wife’s request to be a stay-at-home wife.
OP asked his mom and sister if they would support his wife should she need help at home, to which they answered positively because it is what family was all about. Then OP asked them if they would pay the bills so he would not become overly burdened as a lone breadwinner. That was when he got berated by his own family, with his wife accusing him of being too harsh on his mother and sister.
OP decided to turn to the AITA community for enlightenment regarding whether he was really wrong for the response he gave to his mom and sister when they were pressuring him to give in to his wife’s desires.
The overwhelming response from the AITA community? Divorce her!
“This. OP, sit down with your wife and tell her that if she wants to be a stay-at-home wife, then she picked the wrong partner. That you were clear from the beginning. And that it was also clear your career meant she had to work too. Then ask her if she wants to stay married or if this is a dealbreaker. All the cards need to be out on the table if this isn’t what you two want. And tell her that she is not to bring family into your arguments. That it’s immature and that her trying to get family to bully you is not going to make you just cave to what she wants,” advised one commenter.
“NTA, I’ve been here, and the divorce will be horrible once you have children. Get out now. She’s shown her true colors, this is the warning sign,” commented another Reddit user.
“NTA. Agreed. Get out. Suddenly deciding to make you the sole wage-earner after long-term discussions to the contrary is a huge red flag. Roping your mother and sister into the debate to guilt you into acquiescence is another huge red flag. This person does not view your marriage as a partnership, and her manipulations will only escalate,” said another concerned individual.
And another commenter backed up OP with a warning, “NTA. And your wife is manipulating your family to make you seem like the as–hole. Tread carefully before you introduce kids into this marriage.”