My (32M) wife (30F) have been married for 5 years, together for 9. We attended the same uni, she was in computer sciences and I was more into data. This is relevant later on. We are also a childfree couple, and we split the chores and finances evenly as we both earn roughly the same (household income ~ 200K).
My wife’s job is stressful. She’s an engineer and has to do a lot of coding. So many times, I’ve seen her just get lost by herself, trying to figure out what went wrong with her code that she couldn’t solve. She also works long hours, spending 3 days in office too.
She suddenly announced today that she’s going to be quitting her job to move towards a "softer, feminine lifestyle" - I couldn’t get what she was trying to convey and asked her to clarify it to me.
She has this whole plan of setting up a freelancer account that although aligns with her field is much simpler - means her income will be slashed to a tenth of what she earns - as she plans not to take too many assignments. I sense some anti work vibes from this who soft life trend.
She says she fees burnt out and no longer wishes to be a part of the hustle culture and want to enjoy the finer things in life. She said she never got even a moment to think and stop to relish these things and she no longer wants to spend her life in misery.
She’s been watching a lot of TikTok’s. I never thought it was serious she’d mention doing things like:
getting massages and nails done
Doing a 10 step skin care routine day and night (undoubtedly expensive)
explore different home scents
explore color theory to change her wardrobe
investing in wine tasting
Baking and knitting
And a host of low effort, yet luxurious tastes
I’ve honestly never expected my wife to be so delusional. She does this whole explanation of how she wants to be the one taken care of, and how I as a provider should take on the "masculine" role.
She says she’s okay with downgrading our lifestyle (which isn’t even really a downgrade, will get to that in a second) and spending more time with the chores (she LOVES deep cleaning and chores in general) - finds it therapeutic.
We currently live in an upscale apartment in the city. Her idea of "downgrade" is to move to an EQUALLY PLUSH SUBURBAN HOME. She says since my job is WFH I should be okay.
The deal is, I am not. I am not okay with being the sole financial provider. I do not want to move places. I do not want our lifestyles to change. When I brought up therapy, she told me she already in secret attended some online sessions but didn’t involve me because she wanted to make a judgement without being influenced by me. I see this as sort of betrayal - or I am overreacting that she didn’t think of including me in this massive change.
I sternly told her that I do not under any circumstance support this. She can easily find a job that isn’t as stressful. I told her that she needs to figure herself out and that TikTok isn’t reality. How do we work through this?
Big yikes. I understand the desire for an easier life, but I will never ever comprehend how some people feel that they are entitled to live an easier life at the expense of their nearest and dearest. I just don't get it at all. Imo, if we're in the same boat, we're all rowing together.
To answer your question, I really don't know how you work through this. I would, however, take steps (like maybe talk to a lawyer) about protecting yourself should she quit and then ask for spousal support. Not to go straight to worst-case-scenario, but better to be safe, than sorry. Good luck to you. NTA.
Ouch. I can understand feeling burned out and wanting to reduce stress, even if it means less income. Mental health is important. But she sounds kind of delusional. Those things she wants to do instead of working are not cheap. She needs to be realistic - maybe go part time or find a less stressful job. I totally understand if you don't want to be part of this. NTA.
She can have her soft life on her own.
NTA. She has every right to want to make a change to her job and her lifestyle, but she is making decisions for both of you that have a deep impact on you and your life.
She is being incredibly self-centered and not coming at this from a partnership perspective. There are many changes that she could make, short of quitting her job entirely, that could provide her the opportunity to do some of the things she would like to do, while not completely upsetting the apple cart in your lives.
She seems to be wanting to halve your household income while increasing the amount you spend as a couple. One thing you could do to start a conversation from a different angle on this is to sit down with your budget and ask her to show you how she expects it to work. Figure out how much her new "soft, feminine" lifestyle costs, budget an equal amount of discretionary spending for you, and then see how the numbers (don't) work.
You should try to be supportive of her desire for a change, while also insisting that she approach this from a realistic perspective that respects the partnership you all have.
NTA - I’d ask her who’s funding her new lifestyle. To be completely honest if I came home from work today and my wife said this to me, I’d never be able to look at her the same. She’s unhinged and needs a new therapist bc clearly the “secret” one isn’t working.
Can she take a sabbatical? Even if it’s not an official one through her company, maybe agree to quit her job and take 2 months off before starting a new one? I know that’s easier said than done, but realistically she will probably get bored after a while and the sabbatical gives her enough time to “be free” and have a much needed break from the real world before working again.
She can also find way less stressful jobs/industries. She may or may not make 100k but she could at least make 50-70 while doing something with a much easier work-life balance.
At the end of the day, you’ll have to have a come to Jesus discussion regarding finances and expectations on lifestyles. I was feeling super burnt out in my old job and kinda wanted to also say f it and quit, but I changed industries, and am thriving now.
My husband was very supportive of allowing me to take a slight decrease in salary for my mental health and overall well-being. We make less money but are much happier. We still have the same general lifestyle but just made a few adjustments where it made sense to make up for the lesser salary. You’re obviously NTA for not wanting your wife to become unemployed.