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'AITA for letting my husband feel emasculated, and refusing to be a SAHM?' UPDATED 3X

'AITA for letting my husband feel emasculated, and refusing to be a SAHM?' UPDATED 3X


It's important you're honest about your feelings with a partner, even if those feelings are embarrassing. But feelings aren't facts, which means they shouldn't always steer the ship.

"AITA for letting my (33f) husband (31m) feel emasculated?"

I'm currently on maternity leave for our second child (f). Due to a complicated delivery and my status as a junior associate, my firm extended my leave to 90 days, concluding next Friday. My libido has been nearly nonexistent. I also had a drop of libido after our first child (3f) was born. I've unintentionally neglected my husband, who values physical intimacy as a love language, and I haven't been receptive.

My concerns intensified when my husband, Derek, suggested I become SAHM instead of returning to work. While we both earn six figures, my income as a corporate lawyer surpasses his salary as an engineer.

He proposed he will apply for a promotion and, by eliminating the need for daycare and a nanny and making budget adjustments, asserts he can adequately provide for our family under this new arrangement. Initially, I declined his proposal. I'm also in line for a promotion to senior associate at my job.

In our eight-year relationship and four-year marriage, he understands the importance of my career to me, just as I respect his career aspirations. I emphasized that with both our anticipated promotions, we could secure a better future for our daughters. He cautioned me against rushing my decision and attempted intimacy, but I found his approach off-putting and declined even cuddling.

Consequently, he spent last night in the guest room. After a challenging night with the baby, I confronted him this morning about his lack of assistance. To my surprise, I found Derek trembling and sobbing, expressing feelings of abandonment and emasculation. He referenced our diminished intimacy since our first daughter's birth and a perceived power imbalance due to my career success.

He feels redundant in our family, amplifying his feelings of inadequacy. He eventually composed himself and left for work, visibly upset and distant. He barely acknowledged the breakfast I prepared and didn't kiss me goodbye. As of now, he hasn't responded to any texts or calls.

I recently received a message from my MIL inquiring why Derek is at her house, as he arrived with the intention of spending the night. She's concerned there might have been a dispute, as he hasn't communicated with her either.

The internet was quick to share their opinions.

Kitastrophe8503 wrote:

NTA. If he's feeling redundant in his family then maybe he shouldn't be neglecting his duties as a father. You can only be made redunant if you're not contributing in areas where your participation is necessary, and a great way to make sex an impossible goal is to exhaust your spouse by checking out of baby care.

You have not failed in any way as a partner by having a temporarily diminished desire for physical intimacy, and respecting his "love language" doesn't ever require *you" to give up your bodily autonomy. There's something wrong in your marriage. It won't be fixed by you giving up your career and independence.

He is trying to manipulate your feelings and decrease the success and earning potential of your childrens' parents so he can feel like a big man. Really think about what he's trying to take from you and make your family sacrifice to service his ego. Its not rational. Its nonsensical. You guys need therapy together and he needs therapy by himself, cuz this isn't ok. NTA.

OP responded:

Derek didn't help last night, but he is usually helpful in carrying the baby when she is crying or massaging my back before he falls asleep. He also helps with minor household chores.

MyCouchPulzOut_IDont wrote:

NTA reality check: his feelings are valid, but they're also his responsibility. He needs to own up to his emotions and figure out how to deal with them constructively instead of letting them consume him. You're juggling a newborn, a demanding career, and your own emotional baggage. It's a lot to handle, and it's okay to feel overwhelmed.

But here's the thing: you need to cut yourself some slack. You're doing the best you can, and that's all anyone can ask for. Your best bet here? Sit down with your husband and have a real talk. No blame, no judgment, just honest conversation. Listen to each other, validate each other's feelings, and figure out how to move forward together.

Spirited_Rip_201 wrote:

NTA. Do you also think your intimacy decreased? Does it also bother you? Maybe you guys can work on it, spice things up idk. But him wanting you to quit your career because you earning more than him makes him feel emasculated is nonsense.

Thorazine_Chaser wrote:

ESH. This honestly reads like a description of two people who aren’t communicating and haven’t been for a long time. Your husbands responses are extreme if they are simply a response to what you have described, I suspect that there is much more behind this story on both sides. Alternatively your husband has lost his mind (but somehow manages to find it for work).

Having a new born can be a time when adults forget each other with the pressures from round the clock care. Is it possible that three years ago you both stopped talking and are now at breaking point?

OP jumped on with a comment clarifying the conversation about emasculation and being a SAHM is new.

This is the first time he has complained. He had been a very supportive husband before, genuinely interested in my career. The first time he proposed I become a SAHM was a week ago, and he only mentioned feeling emasculated this morning.

Kris82868 wrote:

Did he not marry a woman who was a lawyer or on track to becoming one? I mean I'm taking it that this isn't a new career.

OP responded:

I was still in law school when we met. Derek even helped me with my student loans, so that we were both debt-free when we got married.

A day later, OP shared another update.

Last night, I wrote a post regarding a situation that was bothering me. Two nights ago, we had a discussion and he threw a tantrum. That night, he slept in the guest room, and yesterday he went radio silent and finally spent the night at his parents'. He said nothing to me; it was my MIL who told me. I was a little pissed by his attitude but also concerned if I was in the wrong.

I (33f) am on extended maternity leave. I am doing well, and I have an opportunity to become a senior associate at the firm where I work. My husband (31m), Derek (not his real name), is an engineer. We are doing financially great, with both of us earning six figures, although my current earnings are slightly higher than his.

Derek has been very supportive of my career, and while he is not an equal partner in parenting our two daughters (3f and 12w), he has been very helpful at home. Last week, he proposed that I should not return to work (my leave ends next Friday) and become a SAHM. At first, I thought it was a joke.

But he kept mentioning it, bringing up arguments such as applying for a promotion himself and saving on daycare and nanny expenses, along with other adjustments to make it financially feasible. Again, I didn't think he was serious. Two nights ago, he brought up the topic again. He also talked about traditional gender roles and how our daughters would benefit from a stay-at-home mother.

I felt disgusted by his words, and when he tried to approach me, I rejected his advances and didn't let him even hug or cuddle me. That's when he went to the guest room. I couldn't sleep well that night due to attending to our infant daughter. When I went to complain yesterday morning, Derek was shaking and sobbing. He expressed that he has been feeling redundant and emasculated.

He then left for work without saying much and didn't come home. This morning, he finally wrote to me, apologizing for his tantrum and promising we would talk this evening face-to-face (he told me not to call, and he has been brief and monosyllabic in his texts). Many comments on the original post labeled him as a massive red flag. He isn't.

He has been a very supportive partner and a helpful parent. This tantrum is out of character for him. Derek is not a momma's boy. Other comments suggest that I might have neglected him. There is some truth to that. His love language is physical, but my libido has diminished since my first birth and halted during the second trimester of this last pregnancy.

He has expressed some dissatisfaction, but we have compensated with other forms of intimacy. Some advice suggested that I should not quit my job: I won't. That's non-negotiable. There are suggestions that this is a mental health crisis. I think this could be the case. I certainly haven't checked on Derek seriously to see how he is doing.

This could explain the meltdown but not his proposal.

I am not sure if I am asking for any advice. I am hopeful that this evening we can at least solve the immediate problems and agree on seeking therapy.

The comments came rolling in.

PerfectionPending wrote:

It kind of sounds like he's having some kind of mental breakdown. He needs to see a mental health professional. And then he needs to keep seeing someone to work through his idea that having a wife with a career is emasculating.

elgarraz responded:

Getting redpilled is basically the same thing as having a mental breakdown. It sounds reality-warping.

TionYart wrote:

I think your husband is trying to regain his power by undermining you: financially: professionally. He will be strong, and you will live your life under the threat of financial crisis at his will. I would be very suspicious.

activelurker777 wrote:

Sounds like hubby has been consuming some social media about tradwives.

Soon after posting, OP shared yet another update.

OMG!, OMG!, OMG! Those of you who commented that Derek might have been influenced by red-pill ideology, you were spot on. Last night he had a talk with his parents. This afternoon, my FIL called me to check on me and give me a heads-up on what they discussed.

FIL recognized some talking points from manosphere videos and asked Derek directly what kind of content he had been consuming lately. He scolded Derek for the absurdity of wanting to be a "manly man" and running to his parents' house for what was essentially a tantrum. (I would have paid to see that.) Anyhow, it was unacceptable that he wasn't home with his wife and kids.

For context, my in-laws (62m, 58f) were a "traditional" family. FIL worked in the trades, MIL was a secretary but became a housewife when my SIL was born. MIL volunteered at church and in the community and had many side businesses. They encouraged SIL to seek a career and taught Derek to seek an equal partner in his relationships.

I had no problem fitting in with the family as I was what they expected for their son. Anyhow, Derek finally came home early in the evening, very apologetic, and claiming to have been misguided by certain content. I could sense that he wasn't genuinely remorseful and sincere. I decided not to confront him but rather ask him how he really felt and how neglected he truly felt.

Even if the specific ideas about a tradwife came from red-pill videos, he might have been influenced by being vulnerable. I opened that door, and he tried to follow it, but I realized he wasn't sincere. I mean, he does have issues, but he isn't just a victim of those circumstances. Some of you suggested that I might have prevented Derek from taking a more active role in running our home.

We agreed that we should both go to therapy to address our individual issues and seek couples therapy to keep our marriage afloat. Derek also promised no more tantrums, and we agreed I would return to work when the leave is over. I am cautiously optimistic that this will work. I think Derek is sincere in his compromises, but he is not sincere in his remorse. This could go either way. For now, he will stay home.

A little bit later, OP shared another update.

Not much of an update, as there have been no recent developments. We are trying to return to the normalcy we used to enjoy. I will address some questions and comments. Some have accused me of dismissing Derek's concerns and referring to them as a "tantrum." In reality, it was Derek who used that term in his text apology yesterday morning. I simply continued to use it, even though I know better.

I was asked if he is still consuming those podcasts. Short of confiscating his phone, which I can't do, it's too soon to confirm a change in his habits. I haven't caught him watching those videos, but it's not something I had noticed before. Regarding red flags, up until recently, Derek was an ideal husband. I don't know when he changed.

I was dealing with my own postpartum issues and couldn't tell if he had changed or if I was overreacting. So yes, he has exhibited red flags lately, but he hasn't always been this way. Some have suggested that Derek might be cheating. While I don't think that's the issue, I can't be certain. A couple of months ago, I would have sworn that was impossible. However, it's not my main hypothesis.

A few of you have suggested that having a stay-at-home parent, specifically the mother, is beneficial for our children and that I shouldn't reject that idea so vehemently. Both Derek's job and mine allow us to work from home a great deal of the time, and we are financially able to hire a permanent daytime nanny or secure good daycare.

My promotion will reduce some of my home office time, but I could still be home for nearly two weekdays. Derek's potential promotion would require full-time office hours. The first time he mentioned that possibility, he was against taking it because his salary increase wouldn't compensate for his time away from the girls.

That's one of the reasons I was so dismissive when he first proposed that I quit my job and he take the promotion, as it contradicted what he had expressed before.

The comments kept rolling in.

littleharissa wrote:

How is it ok for a father to leave home and request his wife not to contact him when he has very young kids in her care?

OK_Direction_7624 wrote:

Men like this fascinate me. When they're dating a woman, they don't want a gold digger, she better have her own income and independence so he can spend his evenings playing video games and go 50/50 on the bills. But then they get married to their independent career woman and suddenly feel betrayed she doesn't morph into a submissive wifey at the snap of his fingers?

Opening-Variation13 wrote:

I stg it's because a bunch of them change their entire personalities while dating and then fall back into gender roles once they feel comfortable and they assume that independent women are just pretending and will also fall back into their specific gender roles. And then it doesn't happen so it feels like betrayal.

IceCreamCakenCake wrote:

It's so weird, bc I've literally seen women *complaining* about being on dates with men that insist on being traditional and wanting SHW and then getting actively angry when their date agrees.

As in, the dude will have a whole long diatribe about looking for a "traditional woman" but when the woman they're with *literally agrees with them* that they ALSO want a "traditional man"/setup where the dude pays for every date, and then when married, pays for his wife's every need and whim, and pays all the bills, they're genuinely immediately frustrated and upset.

It's really bizarre. Why be so incredibly loud about wanting something but get angry when you receive it?

Few_Classroom809 wrote:

I know you already said this in your post but do NOT let him talk you into being a SAHP unless that’s a decision you arrived at solely on your own, out of your own free will. I have seen firsthand several marriages go to shit because one partner gave up their job to be a SAHP and the other partner started abusing their power and their partner as a result.

I think feeling emasculated has to do with you out-earning him. Highlight things that he brings to the table and how important those things are to you and your family. Also ask him if his ego is more important to him than the wellbeing of his family.

Sometimes you have to put things in perspective a little bit. If you have a good relationship with your MIL, ask her about anything else he may have said to him parents about it, it might offer some insight into what else is going on with him and maybe help you prep or address it while talking later. Good luck!

Hopefully OP and her husband can move through this moment and it's not reflective of a permanent downturn in their relationship.

Sources: Reddit
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