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'AITA because I won't pay to continue housekeeping services for my wife?' UPDATED

'AITA because I won't pay to continue housekeeping services for my wife?' UPDATED


Being married isn't all roses and date nights. It's also logistics and domestic duties.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for refusing to pay for housekeeping now that his wife can't afford to pay her end of it. He wrote:

"AITA because I won't pay to continue housekeeping services for my wife?"

My wife is someone who has always had a housekeeper from a young age. When we first discussed moving in together before marriage, the division of chores was a hot topic. I was on team 'we can do it ourselves' and she wanted to keep using the housekeeping service she had.

Ultimately, I agreed to the housekeeping service after both our parents told me it'd be easier to agree to make her happy. My only thing was that it was a service she was responsible for paying for. She started out having them come every other week. Then once a week, to every other day to keep the house as clean as she liked it and do things like her laundry and emptying the trash in her hobby room.

Mid-January my wife was let go when her company downsized. She's been having a hard time finding a job in her field. For now she's working part-time in retail. We weren't making amazing money before she was let go, but we live comfortably due in part to living below our means for the most part.

Since her current job doesn't pay much I said that I would cover all of our joint expenses, ie, mortgage, property tax, utilities, and our phones so she doesn't have to deplete her savings and our savings won't suffer as much either. She paid for the cleaning service in February but then yesterday asked me if I was going to set up a direct pay with the cleaning company or transfer the money to keep paying them.

It's USD $190 a week. I told her neither- the housekeeping service was something she wanted and was responsible for. If she can't afford it anymore without dropping her savings below a point she's comfortable with, then we don't need it, and I'm not going to pay for something two able-bodied adults are perfectly capable of doing ourselves. We argued.

She says I know how much she hates cleaning and that it stresses her out, and since the housekeeper cleaned up areas like the kitchen and living room and made the bed sometimes, I was benefitting from it so it counts as a joint expense.

I've told her it doesn't, because I'm perfectly happy to clean up after myself and have cleaned rooms before when they needed it between visits. Fast forward to today and she thinks I'm still being a jerk by not paying for it. Am I being an AH here?

The internet had a lot of comments and questions to add.

Lovebeingadad54321 wrote:

NTA. We have a housekeeper come every 2 weeks to clean up our house. A few years ago when I got laid off, I became the housekeeper, because we couldn’t afford it anymore. Once I got back on my feet with steady, full time work. We started it back up. Since your wife is only working part time, she now has more time than money.

She should be doing the house work to make up for the money she no longer brings in. Again I say this as someone WITH A HOUSEKEEPER. If you are both working full time and can afford it, it’s nice to have the time savings of a housekeeper. But if you have more time than money you got to step up and do it yourself.

Sara_1987 wrote:

I totally agree with you. I have a housekeeper as well, but I know it is a luxury we can afford right now. If we need to cut back on costs, because one of us loses their job, this is one of the first things to go. NTA OP, having housekeeping come in every other day is ridiculous in almost any case.

BulbasaurRanch wrote:

NTA. Please extend a warm welcome to reality to your wife. It seems it might be her first time joining us here. Nobody wants to clean. It’s a necessity of being an adult in your own living space. She can stomp her feet and pout all she wants, as long as she’s doing it with a broom in hand. Just because she’s been spoiled as a child doesn’t mean you need to continue it into adulthood. It’s time for her to grow up.

Only-Ingenuity7889 wrote:

$760 per month is A LOT when you are down from two incomes to 1.5, with the half probably paying a lot less. She's mentally villainized what is a basic life requirement for the majority of the population. Maybe if she did it regularly, she would realized it's not anything to flip out over, it just an undesirable necessity. Welcoming to responsible adulting. NTA.

Not long after posting, OP added an edit/update.

ETA: I've been doing housework even with the housekeeper. I do my own laundry, I make our bed most days, I clean up after our pets, clean the kitchen after we cook and that includes the oven/stove/microwave. I take out the trash and recycling, clean the A/C filters. I dust between visits. I'll sweep and clean the bathrooms between visits. Clean up the shower and sinks after each use.

I pick up after myself. Most of what the housekeeper does is already done by the time she shows up. If my wife is home then it's her mess that gets cleaned up. Or her clothes, plates, items that she leaves around. The housekeeper also cleans her hobby room, does her laundry, and whatever else my wife asks. She's just used to having a daily cleaner due to her childhood.

The comments kept rolling in.

Prize_Diamond_7874 asked:

What does a housekeeper do that frequently for a couple of adults? Thats crazy. I have someone in once a month to do a full cleaning because I can afford it and when I had a big house and kids at home every other week. This is a waste of money NTA.

OP responded:

Her laundry, picking up after her, cleaning up her hobby room, cleaning up the kitchen after she cooks the days she's home. A lot of the bigger stuff like vacuuming and dusting and dishes are already done by me on a regular basis. I'll clean the bathrooms between visits and she has her do it too so.

I agree it is a waste of money when myself and the cleaner are doing a lot of the same things at fairly even intervals, but I can't in good conscience just leave dirty dishes in the sink or the dishwasher stay full for two days, or just say 'f**k it' and let things get a bit dirty all because someone will eventually come in to clean up too.

DisneyBuckeye wrote:


"We weren't making amazing money before she was let go, but we live comfortably due in part to living below our means for the most part."

Does she realize that she's spending $800+ a month on this cleaning service?? When you're having to change your lifestyle due to the loss of her job? Good heavens. I'd make a spreadsheet of expenses to income, and point out how much her cleaning service costs, and what you could do with that money instead.

Make it very clear that a cleaning service is a luxury, and you've had to cut luxuries out of your budget. And then I'd either cancel it or cut it back to once a month. If she wants to have them come weekly, she can pay for the difference out of her own savings.

Hot_Box-4574 wrote:

An adult should be able to function for more than 2 days without a cleaning service. Every other week? Sure, maybe that's in your joint budget but she's living like she's in a luxury hotel. Does she want turn down service in the bedroom every night next? NTA.

alexiagrace wrote:

NTA. It’s perfectly reasonable to cut down on unnecessary expenses when there’s a change in income. Housekeeping is definitely a luxury. I’d also expect to cut down on other luxury services if money was tighter - hair appointments, nail appointments, eating out, concerts, etc.

If there’s a change in income, it doesn’t make sense to keep every expense the same. What does she want to do, rack up debt? Makes no sense.

enjoyingtheposts wrote:

NTA. But I haven't seen anyone add this point...everyone here expects that she will clean but this is going to be a battle for you I promise. It's most likely you will turn into the housekeeper.

So good luck with that, I don't have any advice on how to force her to clean because some people just won't do it. And this isn't me telling you to pay for the housekeeper because you're right. It's unnecessary, but just more of a heads up on your future.

OP responded:

I've already made peace with that. I'd rather take on a bit more cleaning than spread myself thinner financially. She'll be on her own with her own laundry though if she's adamant against scaling back to what she can afford for a cleaner out of her fun money or savings.

Kettlebellbabe wrote:

NTA, but also why does this seem to be an all or nothing decision? She could switch back to every other week or once a month. Yes she’d have to pick up some cleaning in between, but it’s still better than nothing. Our cleaner comes in every third week. I do a touch of vacuuming in between visits. But really that’s enough to stay on top of things.

OP responded:

She absolutely could but she doesn't want that, she wants me to foot the entire bill or split it with her to keep it at the current frequency. I've been doing housework the entire time to the point some of what she has the cleaner do is redundant so I'm perfectly happy without a cleaner or if she just goes to once a week or less to have done what she wants done.

Reytotheroxx wrote:

INFO: Would you be open to a possible compromise where you have a housekeeper do a deep clean once a month or so, leaving the easier, more frequent cleaning tasks to yourselves? Cause I think it’s a lot of money to do it every week and I’m surprised that was happening at all, but this way everyone should be happy and it doesn’t break the bank nearly as much.

OP responded:

Honestly no. By the hourly rate for a once-a-month deep clean that'd come out to roughly $200 and as it stands, I only have about $500 left after putting money for monthly expenses into the joint account.

It looks like OP and his wife are at a checkmate, and he's gonna have to make the call - regardless of her entitlement.

Sources: Reddit
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