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You Asked: My Husband Wants Me to Be a Stay-at-Home Wife!

Dear Sugar,

I just got married to the man of my dreams (YAY!!), but now that the wedding high has worn off, settling into married life has been different than I expected. Both my husband and I are very career oriented but all of a sudden, now that I have a ring on my finger, he wants me to be a stay-at-home wife, just like his mother! We talked about our future before getting married and we were on the same page, but my husband has done a complete 180 and I don't know what to do. He says that he makes enough money to support the both of us, but I don't want to quit my job! He expects me to stay home to "run the house," but I'm not ready to be a housewife! While I don't want to knock those women that love being a stay-at-home wife/mom, it's just not what I want for myself quite yet. Do you have any advice for me? — Career Woman Wendy

To see DearSugar's answer


Dear Career Woman Wendy,

Agreeing on how your lives would change after getting married really should have been discussed before saying I do, but since your husband clearly had a change of heart, a serious talk is in order. Explain to him that you had every intention of keeping things status quo, including your career. For some women, working is what keeps them motivated and empowered so while your husband's offer is very generous, you're bound to resent him if you feel held back.

I think it's natural for him to try and replicate his parents relationship, but times have changed. Being a housewife is no longer a woman's automatic role; it's now a decision. Hopefully a good talk about your future will help bring you two back to the same page, but Wendy, even if you can't come to a complete agreement, you need to do what's best for you because if you aren't happy, your relationship is bound to suffer. Good luck and congratulations!


Join The Conversation
tinabeana tinabeana 8 years
Depending on the situation I would jump for joy. If we could afford for me to stay home, there are so many things I would love to do with that time. Things I can't do right now juggling a job and running a household. I would love to devote more time to my community service.
nv27 nv27 9 years
I thought exactly what j2e1n9 did. I would be thanking the Gods.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
"Most women like to explore the world outside their home." Lol, definitely an understatement. No matter how much money your husband makes, at the end of the day, it's money HE made. And I don't care how much money he makes, unless he's Bill Gates you can always use more money. You can save the extra for retirement, for your future kids' college funds, in case he loses his job, in case there is a major illness in the family, in case some investments go bad, the list is endless. Everyone could always use more money! This is, obviously assuming that you like your job. Also, 50% of marriages end in divorce, and it's possible for spouses to pass away. Wouldn't you rather have kept working on your career, and making your own money than staying at home, arranging flowers? Hey, it's not a happy thought, but be realistic! One thing that really worried me about this question, is that even if the wife does go out and work, every time the breakfast dishes are still in the sink when they come home, or when they forget to send flowers to his boss' wife for having a baby, the wife is going to be blamed. Clearly, the husband doesn't think about work at home as being his responsibility at ALL, so I wouldn't be surprised if the wife is going to be expected to do BOTH if she chooses to keep her job. I just get the feeling that even if he "allows" her to keep her job, he's going to be pissed if dinner isn't on the table by 7 every night, ("see I told you you couldn't do both!"). So, if the asker keeps her job, she needs to make it clear that she can't do 100% of the housework, and either the husband will need to pitch in, or she'll have to hire a house cleaner, etc.
Rose-Cullen Rose-Cullen 9 years
You should so keep your job. I'm come on say you go out and you want to buy a beautiful new pair of heels, then he could be well he's the one making money and paying bills so he decides where the money is spent. Sure my mother did it but that's because she prefers to stay at home. Most women like to explore the world outside their home.
tio tio 9 years
Well,your husband must wake up and realize it's 2008. I think you should keep your job. Women should be financially independent.And i guess your husband wants to find a way to control you.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 9 years
interesting. There could be 2 things going on here: He might be very old fashioned and feels like he's less of a man if his wife has to work, since he is supposed to provide for her and give her everything she needs. Since you don't HAVE to work (according to him) maybe he's afraid of appearances. This is just sad cus really, who cares what his friends or mother or whomever think? He's a jerk and is trying to control you, now that he has you. TALK. lots.
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
I think that you need to open up the lines of communication more here. Ask him why he suddenly thinks this when before he was fine with you working. Tell him once again that you want to continue working and ask him why he has changed his mind on this issue. I don't think that you should react with anger, because some women would be happy that their hubby is ok with this idea. To other posters who have said that this is manipulative, I am not sure that is. Maybe he justs wants to feel that he is taking care of you, as a good husband should. Obviously he has some traditional ideas about marriage that he has never communicated to you before, which is unfortunate. But the only way you can change this situation or gain some insight into why his ideas have changed is by talking, talking and talking with him. If it were me, I would at least be happy to think that he makes enough money and is comfortable with you being able to stay home for awhile when you have babies.
richandfamous10 richandfamous10 9 years
Wow, he is extremely old-fashioned in his thinking. I am not sure how stubborn he is regarding you staying at home, but if he makes it seem like you need to, as opposed to simply offering since he makes enough money, that is a red flag. Actually, it is a red flag that he pulled a 180 on you after getting married - yes people can change their minds but when you are husband and wife, on the same team, and ready to be there for each other, you can't agree to huge life choices before the marriage and then change your mind after the marriage and expect the other to just comply with no complaints! Talk to him and tell him you want to focus on your career and both of you can pitch in to "run the house." If this doesn't work, get counseling in the picture. If he doesn't budge or tries to control other areas of your life, you may face a bigger problem. Good luck.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 9 years
Manipulative, unfair,sneaky,either way Asia, my point is he's in the wrong on this one.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
why is this considered an insult? he's a bad guy because he changed his mind? if you just tell him that you appreciate the offer but want to work for now and save for retirement, travel, a home, that should be enough of a comment. unless he's a bully who won't take your word for it thatyou like working there is no issue. as for what a stay at home wife does, all the things a working wife does but with more time to enjoy it. sounds good to me but to each his own. i don't think it's necessary to put down someone elses choice. as women we should be supportive of whatever each of us picks for our family. married, single, parent, employed, stay at home, whatever. women have options and we shouldn't feel guilty about them.
hope2be hope2be 9 years
Geez. How big is this 'house?' A mansion? Does he expect u to be like 'the lady who lunches' type of woman? How come you don't even notice this at all b4 getting married? I know my fiancee is the traditional type 'n he already told me he wished I'd be a stay-at-home mommy WAY before we get married, and I say 'SORRY, honey, no can do." And he UNDERSTANDS. Just say NO, sorry. Don't be stupid here. Make a stand. Tell him, honey, I love u but I want to keep working. Then hire a reliable housemaid and cook and personal assistant, etc (if he's this rich and the house you guys have is a mansion, surely he can afford it, eh?). Always KEEP your pink slips. There's nothing more orgasmic for me than reading my name next to 'Pay to the order of..." And there's always my next fave thing: scrutinizing my pay stub...
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Quit your job = Govt. Cheese when he leaves you ...for a woman who is DRIVEN and intelligent, and has a CAREER! Irony and Govt. Cheese should be synonymous.
designerel designerel 9 years
Unfortunately he has an old-fashioned mindset. It wouldn't be smart for you to quit your job for him, god forbid the marriage goes sour (esp. since you two clearly have different ways of thinking). Then you'd be left without work. Just remind him that you had agreed before the wedding that you were going to continue working, end of discussion. If he still has a problem with it, go to counseling and see if you can iron things out. Besides, extra income never hurt ANYBODY (if he tries to say again that he makes enough money for the both of you).
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
It's hard depending on someone else for money. Call me prideful but i haven't ever asked to borrow money, it was difficult having to get $20 from my mom. The thought of going back hurts.
lawchick lawchick 9 years
vsugar made a good point --- even if he won't go with you to a therapist, you should go alone to get some insight from a professional
lawchick lawchick 9 years
Gosh, I literally cannot imagine my husband saying something like that. Not that there is anything wrong with not working, but because we have a shared idea of what married life should be like (for us)that entails both of us working. It makes me wonder if you weren't together long before you got married, because surely you could have intuited his feelings about this issue. Anyway, that doesn't really matter now. You need to talk to him about this ASAP, and you need to keep working if that is what you want to do. If you can't resolve this amicably, see a therapist.
Vsugar Vsugar 9 years
This sounds really weird to me. Were you firm in the talk? Did you say you "thought" "maybe" you'd like to keep working but weren't sure? Or did he literally pull a total 180 (as you said) and is now trying to pressure you into changing your mind? This sounds worse than a disagreement. This sounds like he is trying to really control you, and that is the first step towards abuse. Go to couples therapy - do not pass go, do not collect $200, GO TO TALK TO A THERAPIST. Even if you don't want him to come with you yet, or if he refuses, YOU need to talk to a therapist to learn how to talk to him about this, and to help you figure out how to be assertive and how to know when it might be time to cut your losses and get a divorce. I hope that's not what happens, and I'm sorry to give you scary advice, but TRUST ME, I've seen this happen with a friend. It was BAAAADDDD. If you did actually make your intentions really clear before you were married and now he's disrespecting what you want to do in your life, and is expecting you to rebuild your identity as His Wife, this is not a healthy relationship for you to be in. You need to be married to someone who loves you for who you are, who you hope to become as your lives move forward, and if he's not going to be that for you, you need to let go and move on.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
not unfair, Krradford. it's manipulative. i wonder what else you guys talked about but he'll change his mind on later???
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 9 years
Wow - lots of harsh comments on here. However, it's unfair that he's now asking you to be something that you don't want to be after the fact and never discussed before. REALLY unfair.
sourcherry sourcherry 9 years
Ha, just say no! You don't even have kids to take care of yet, why would you quit your job now? And even then, it's up to you if you want to be a stay-home mom! He has no right to ask you to that, specially since you discussed the subject before getting married!
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Do you know how much school i went through JUST so i can be a candidate for the work I do?!!?? I busted my A*S to keep a 4.0 GPA in college, and almost had to sell my soul to get in where i can, and THIS muthaf*cka gonna ask you to quit your job because HIS mom stayed at home?! j2e1n9 asked why would a person work if they don't have to. okay, if i worked in a sh*tty cubicle at a company that didn't let me have my snacks at my desk, and I was unfulfilled....then yes, I wouldn't want to work. I would take the opportunity to pursue things that I wanted to do, while hubby earned the big money though. But when you have a CAREER, you feel differently. Customer Service girl who isn't even invited to the company meetings? JOB Junior Product Development girl who gets the good stapler? CAREER
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
I like Rock and Republic's answer, tell him the same thing he told you. See how he feels, and if he has a problem with it, well pull the sexist card on him, b/c that is exactly what he is doing. Even if you had children why can't he be the one to stay at home!? So the problem here isn't that he wants you to stay at home so much, its the fact that he obviously feels like he can get you to do whatever he wants all of a sudden b/c your married and that he lied about what he wanted before you got married (yeah like others said, it wasn't a 180 for him, he was thinking this all along!!!!). So obviously you can keep working and doing whatever you want, he can't force you to do anything you don't want to...but how to handle the problem of him wanting to control you now...thats really hard. I guess I would talk to him about how his actions make you feel first (use rock and republics line, lol) and if that doesn't put him back in his rightful place (which is beside you, not in front of you!!!!), then maybe counseling would help to get him to listen and realize what he is doing is wrong.
bnr09 bnr09 9 years
Is it possible to compromise by working part time. I understand that he grew up in a certain atmosphere but it's a different world now. If he knew what it will cost for your kid(s) to go to college by the time they get there he'd probably change his tune. I'm not sure what your job/career is but I would highly suggest keeping up your professional skills because if you drop out of the workforce for the next 15 years and then decide go back you may find it really hard to break back into your field. My FI and I have been together for about 4 years and I have witnessed a different generation with his parents. Even though his mom worked part time she catered to his father to the point that a couple times as a last minute thing we have said we'll take her out for lunch/dinner etc and she turns us down because his father won't know what to do about the meal that she's not there to cook for him and she doesn't have time to prepare him something so we have to ask days in advance. I have told my FI - 'no way' is that going to be us. I understand it's a different generation but I make it clear to him that we split household responsibilities right down the middle.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Ha!!!! He trapped you...just like a groupie at a Dallas Cowboys after-party with faulty condoms.
Da-Ly Da-Ly 9 years
Currently, I am a stay at home wife not by choice. I recently moved to be with my fiancee (now husband) but my work papers and residency papers haven't been fully processed, so I'm stuck at home, I can't legally get a SSN# and I'm losing my mind. If you have kids, stay at home mom is all right. Stay at home wife... if you're not comfortable with it, you shouldn't have to, especially if you have a job and especially if you have the choice.
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