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Woman refuses SAHW role after retirement, husband looks for 'submissive' wife. Updated 2X

Woman refuses SAHW role after retirement, husband looks for 'submissive' wife. Updated 2X


"Am I wrong for not agreeing to become a SAHW when I retire?"


I’m retiring in about 3 ½ months (January, 2024), and my husband and I disagree on how the division of labor should be once that happens. Since meeting my now husband, I have been very vocal about my plans to retire when I turn 40.

I’ve planned my life around this goal, lived below my means ever since college, and gave up things to meet this goal. We got married in our early 30s, so it’s only been 7 years since then. He also saves for retirement (I finally got him to up his amount to 20%), but won’t be able to retire until at least 62.

He’s instead chosen to spend his money on things that make him happy, and I fully support and encourage him in that –everyone has different goals in life. We are both child-free by choice so that isn’t a factor here.

I’ve said in the past that I’m not going to be doing all of the cooking, cleaning, and finances once I retire because I don’t want to replace one job with another. I currently do all of the cooking, most of the finances, and probably 25% of the cleaning.

I think that it’s fair as my husband usually works more hours than I do and I’m a picky eater so it just works out the best. He recently made a casual comment about how he’s going to start working more overtime once I retire because he’ll have less household stuff to do.

I asked him what he meant by that since my retirement doesn’t really change anything for him, and that I preferred he didn’t work more overtime so that we could spend time together. He said that most husbands with stay-at-home wives don’t clean the house.

I didn’t know what to say because I thought we had already discussed this, so I tried my best to change the subject, but we had an argument about it yesterday at dinner and he’s now giving me the silent treatment. I slept in the guest room last night as he locked our bedroom door and wouldn’t let me in. I just don’t know how to get through to him.

Even though I’ll no longer be working, I won’t be a stay-at-home wife (by my own definition). To me, a stay-at-home partner is the “manager” of the home and doesn’t bring in much, if any, income.

Their job is to take care of the home. I’m not trading one job for another, I’m retiring. I’m still bringing in income, I’ve just planned my life so I no longer have to work 9-5 to do so. I have multiple hobbies that I have been super excited about devoting more time to.

I love rock-hounding, crocheting, and hiking. I’m an unpublished writer and have always dreamed of becoming published. I have a lifestyle blog and a pretty active Pinterest following; I’m not super consistent and they’re not big enough to monetize so I count them as hobbies not “side jobs.”

I also have a very long travel bucket list. I’ve already started looking into non-profits in my area I could volunteer for. I know I still have limited hours in a day, but even if I only volunteer 1 day a week, I still feel like I could be helping our local community.

I know we’ve had conversations about this and he’s always been supportive, even of me leaving for a few weeks every so often to solo travel, he’s always been excited for me. I’m totally confused about this change and I’m freaking out.

I thought I communicated my expectations, but he’s saying that he doesn’t ever remember talking about it and that he’s not okay with me retiring if I’m “just going to be lazy.” I don’t see it that way, am I wrong?

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:


What really stands out to me is that he arbitrarily decided what is going to happen when you retire, now is giving you the silent treatment and literally locking you out of the shared bedroom. I am sure he feels like it's not "fair" or missing out, but he's taking it out on you which is in no way appropriate. That needs to be addressed.

The OP responded here:


This is what I’ve been thinking. So I’m hoping he will talk to me again tonight and we can talk things out in relation to our emotions and not just the literal stuff!


Me too. I read a comment where you guys have a great marriage otherwise. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

The OP again responded:


We also both had a cold last week so I’m hoping some of this is because we are both worn out from that!


You are not wrong - him expecting you to spend your retirement taking on the housekeeping so that he can do no household support and spend his time on other things, whether that's working more or something else, is effectively just expecting you to not retire but keep working, for him and unpaid.

One week later, the OP returned with an update.

"Update: Am I wrong for not agreeing to become a SAHW when I retire?"


So he came home very late that night after ignoring his phone. We didn’t end up talking about it and I slept in the guest room again. He works from home Tuesday and Thursday, so the next day he was home when I got off of work.

I spent the day gathering my thoughts and preparing to have a calm discussion. I tried to remain calm, but he was so defensive and accusatory that I was getting very frustrated.

We weren’t very productive and we ended our talk with him denying that I pay 70% of the expenses even though we planned this out and budget together based on it. I told him I’d go through our expenses to prove it. And being the person that I am, I did so the next day.

This is where the problem starts. When I was going through our expenses, I found a charge on my husband’s credit card from 2 weeks ago that I did not recognize. It was not an insignificant amount so I originally looked into it just to see if it was a household or personal expense to use in my calculations.

It turned out to be a bill paid to a law office. For very obvious reasons I wanted to know more information on why he was being billed by a law office. I looked up the office and it was a divorce attorney specializing in property division.

I logged into his email (I have proof that he has given me permission to access his email at any time to go over expenses and expenses-related issues) and found his conversations with said lawyer. He was trying to find a way to overturn our prenup so he gets half instead of what is agreed upon in our prenup and wanted to try and get alimony as well.

I had no idea he wasn’t happy until we started arguing on Saturday. That morning, he woke me up with breakfast in bed, a total surprise since it wasn’t a special day and he almost never cooks.

2 weeks ago, we had a Star Wars movie marathon and ran around the house in a lightsaber battle. Last month, he communicated that he felt like we weren’t spending as much time together as we normally do, so I planned more date nights.

He’s gotten me flowers at least once a week for months now. I just didn’t understand why he wanted to divorce, without even trying to express what he was feeling to me first.

When I went all the way back to the very first emails (late July), a woman we’ll call “Ashley” was brought up. I tried to think of a way to confirm my suspicions without him suspecting that I know what he’s been up to.

On Saturdays, we sometimes get takeout, so I purposely left my phone upstairs and asked him if I could use his to order the food, and I was taking too long to “figure out what I wanted” so he went downstairs to finish what he was doing, giving me more time.

It was hard to wait that long without letting on what I knew, but from Thursday to Saturday I began to get a plan in place. I spoke with a divorce attorney and scheduled my consultation, and made sure I had any legal and financial documents I may need.

On Saturday when I went through his phone, I found instagram messages between him and “Ashley”. By going through the messages and looking at her account, I figured out a lot about her.

Ashley seems to be a nice girl he met on Tinder back in May. She is 27 and married to her high school sweetheart who can’t bring in enough income for her to be a stay-at-home-wife.

Considering my husband works in tech (and by looking at the messages, lied about how much he makes), he is obviously the better option. He’s lied to her about wanting to have kids and has told her that it’s the reason he is unhappy in our marriage.

I don’t know what he’s thinking she’s going to do when she finds out he had a vasectomy. Ashley is apparently willing to be a “proper woman” and do “wifely duties” (these are her words not my husbands).

From cross checking dates, when he’s supposed to be hanging out with friends or at a work thing, he’s actually with her. She has a weird work schedule so she sometimes COMES OVER TO OUR HOUSE on the days he works from home and I’m in the office.

She is convinced that after they both go through their respective divorces, that they’ll live in the house together, get married, and have kids. He has just gone along with everything she says.

He’s told her that I’m lazy and hardly make any money, and that I wanted to quit my job and not do any work which is why he’s “finally” gotten the courage to leave me. He said that he’s taking extra care in the divorce because he “doesn’t want to leave me with nothing.” He also told her I changed my mind about having kids and that I’m denying him his masculine desire to continue his lineage.

Now you may be thinking. Are you stupid? How did you not know? The answer is, I had no idea and I must be dumb as he played me for a fool. I’m trying to put some humor in this for my own sake, but I’m sobbing as I write this.

I just got back from my new attorney’s office with a lot of forms to fill out and I’m so overwhelmed and still feel confused for some reason. Like this must just be a really bad dream.

I reached out to Ashley’s husband so they’re probably heading towards divorce as well. He seems like a nice enough guy, also totally blindsided by the affair. I told my husband I was divorcing him last night and told him he could either sleep in one of the guest rooms or get a hotel room. He chose the latter.

So, that’s my update. Our prenup has a 99% chance of holding up in court, but we also have an infidelity clause that I’m hoping to prove so I can keep 100% of the house.

I was willing to put my dream house in the infidelity clause because I knew I would never cheat, he was fine with it at the time as well, but is now blowing up my phone about it.

If I can’t prove his affair (which is unlikely considering the evidence I have), I would have to pay him about 25% of our equity in the house. Which is enough for a downpayment on another house, so he wants me to not bring his affair into our divorce. Which is weird to me since he had no qualms with bringing the affair into our marriage.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's first update:


Did he text you asking you not to bring his affair into the divorce? Because that would be great evidence of the affair.

The OP responded here:


Yeah… I never said he was the smartest. In the texts he’s saying to not bring up Ashley (doesn’t mention an affair), and that she shouldn’t be involved in our divorce, that we should keep things to ourselves, etc. But I sent myself screenshots of the messages from his phone that prove infidelity.


I know this is a very hard time, but to me the funniest thing is the only reason you went through all the expenses was to prove a point when he said you did not pay 70% of the expenses. He is the reason he got caught.

Five months later, the OP again returned with an update.

"Update #2: Am I wrong for not agreeing to become a SAHW when I retire?"


Hi everyone! A lot of people have asked for an update, and I’m officially divorced so here it is. I’m doing well, and have been focusing on myself a lot. I plan to start dating eventually, but I don’t feel quite ready yet.

Hopefully everything stays fine and dandy, and this is the last you’ll have to hear from me. I didn’t want this to be too long, so I figured you guys could just ask me anything else you want to know!

Fake names to make things easier:

My ex: Derek, Ex’s AP: Ashley, AP’s ex: Jake.

Going back to the earliest piece of drama (Most of what I’m recounting is from the perspective of Jake as I was not directly involved in this story. I blocked Derek and communicated through my lawyer.

Nothing crazy happened when he had to come to the house), in October, Derek had a meeting with his lawyer. We’re guessing his lawyer had some bad news for him or maybe finally told him that he was screwed.

Whatever it was, it caused him to have a mental breakdown where he basically confessed everything to Ashley and told her that he was “going to lose everything”. It took her another day to show up at Jake’s house apologizing and wanting to make things work.

He didn’t take her up on that and at this point they are also divorced. She claimed that Derek manipulated her, but they are now back together so I guess she hasn’t had enough yet.

I don’t know if she knows about the vasectomy as I haven’t had contact with her, Jake hasn’t told her, and she didn’t say anything about that to Jake when she ran back to him. She could know, but I don’t know one way or another.

That’s her problem now. And by “that”, I mean the whole man. Derek cried in court multiple times and screamed at his lawyer once. He genuinely didn’t look okay, and I do hope he figures things out for himself.

Our prenup held up and nothing was deemed “unconscionable”. I came out with the house, my car, and all of my separate property. I had to pay him a small lump sum alimony payment.

Stupid things he tried to argue he should get at least half of because they weren’t in our prenup:

My rock collection (aka my baby). He knew this would hurt me the most. He didn’t get any of it.

My fine china sets. They were painted by my great-grandmother and given to me by my grandma. I don’t know why he thought the judge would side with him. My car. I literally paid for both of our cars, and he tried to get half the value of mine and keep his. Make it make sense!

Multiple vintage furniture pieces that I flipped myself and he had no interest in until now. He got a few of them, plus a bunch of other stuff so a furniture run is in order.
Some other fun details:

I had a divorce/retirement party at MY house after everything was finalized. All mutual friends stopped being friends with him after I told them what happened. He still has other friends, and they don't seem to care about the situation so who knows what he told them. His mom and I are still friends; she came to the party.

I’m relieved that the divorce process has come to an end, and I can now look forward to a fresh start. I want to express my gratitude for the support and understanding you’ve all shown me during this challenging time. If anyone has any further questions, I’d be happy to answer them!

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's latest update:


He got a wife who did all of cooking, finances and repairs around their dream house. A wife who also paid 70% of their expenses and still cheated. The only thing this man had to do was go to work and clean a little. I'd be this wife's husband and I'm a straight woman!!


The absolute clown with his absolute clown affair partner. Made for each other, maybe they can go live in a tent in their clown world.


I remember this woman, because I was low key jealous about the early retirement. I’m so glad her ex was not able to screw her up in that regard. Also, what’s with people telling affair partners that they’re rich when they aren’t? I guess if they lie about one thing, they have no problem lying about the other.


While I obviously think people like Andrew Tate who are feeding into this “macho” man/aggressive gender roles bull shit are dangerous…I think people just don’t put enough stock in a good old fashioned midlife crisis sometimes. True this guy is a little young to be considered truly middle aged but his wife is retiring, financially stable… he has …. Hair? He panicked and nuked his whole life.


So happy for you! Enjoy your retirement without the dead weight.

So, that was depressing. What do you think? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit,Reddit
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