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'AITA for telling my stay-at-home wife to stop being lazy and do some housework?' UPDATED

'AITA for telling my stay-at-home wife to stop being lazy and do some housework?' UPDATED

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"AITA for telling my homemaker wife to stop being lazy?"

Me (36M) and my wife (36F) have always had similar life goals and been relatively on the same page in terms of what we both want for ourselves and each other over the 15 years we've been together. We both have masters degrees in our respective fields and have worked very hard to buy a home, purchase a duplex to rent out, and build our lives. We have both been very frugal and conscientious about money.

About a year ago she lost her job due to downsizing in her company. She decided she wanted to be a "homemaker" after this happened, and deal with our tenants and household affairs. We don't have any children so really all she would have to do is clean the house, collect rent checks, and call the plumber or something if there is an issue either at the rental property or ours.

We weren't necessarily struggling for money at this point, so if this is how she decides she wants to spend her time I'll support her. The issue is that she doesn't do any of these things, either she will spend the entire day watching television and browsing the internet, or go out shopping and spend exuberant amounts of money.

I'm not exaggerating when it comes how much she's been spending, a brand new fancy car, tons of expensive high end clothes with brand names from Europe I hadn't even heard of, a bunch of fancy gadgets, and whatever else. We weren't high rolling it before, just living relatively comfortably, and all this spending has put a financial strain on things.

On top of this, she isn't doing any of the things she said she wanted to do as a "homemaker". I clean the entire house, I deal with issues at the rental, I searched for a new tenant. All of the things we once shared responsibility for, and she said she would completely handle after losing her job, I have been taking care of.

I have been concerned about this, as it's unlike her and a dramatic shift in her behavior, I tried asking if something is wrong, she says everything is fine. I tried telling her I'm a bit concerned and suggested seeing a therapist, and that we could even go in together, but she refused.

Two nights ago I came home late after working for 12 hours, and found that the house was an even bigger mess than when I left, and there was a huge pile of new clothes she bought sitting in the living room that she spent 7000 dollars on (I saw a notification from the credit card company on my phone about 10 minutes before walking through the door). I broke down, I lost it.

I told her I dont know what the hell is happening or going on with her, but she needs to get off her butt to either get a job to pay for all this, go to therapy, or stop spending so much and do what she promised after she decided not to go back to work.

This is after a year of me trying to talk to her about whatever the heck is going on, and I just reached a breaking point. She left to go to her mothers and my MIL has been texting me nonstop calling me a bad husband and a piece of garbage, and my wife hasn't been returning my calls.

What do you think she should do? This is what top commenters had to say:

said:

NTA but you should cancel your credit cards. Run a regular credit check in case she tries to open new ones. She's draining your money and dumping all the work on you. You also need to talk to a financial advisor and make her listen to what the advisor has to say.

said:

NTA, this is a downward spiral. She needs help. $7k on clothes? For what? That's madness. She needs to get some serious therapy and get back to work. She absolutely also told her mother and your mother a different story than what is actually going on. You need to speak to them and tell them what has been going on, and perhaps it might be conscientious of you to separate your finances from hers.

said:

NTA. You are understandably at your breaking point. It does sound like there is something going on. I think you should continue to suggest counseling as she clearly needs it and is in denial about it. Spending. 7k on clothes when only one of you is employed is ridiculous! She has to see that she is bleeding you dry and is hurting the both of your future plans.

said:

NTA. She's wasting $7,000 on clothes she's only going to wear three times and a bunch of other dust collectors, she's clearly not helping, and there's something she's not telling you. I'd say this is grounds for divorce - and cutting her out of your finances entirely.

said:

NTA. She sounds like she’s depressed and using shopping to make her feel better. You’re right to insist on counseling. Is your financial issues severe enough to call company and restrict usage? I’d be concerned about her maxing them out or using all the money in bank after you have confronted her.

said:

NTA. She seems depressed and using "shopping therapy", but that will sink both of you down at this rate if you don't put a stop to it. Before she bankrupts you both, cancel her credit cards and access to checking account and provide her with a card with limited monthly expense. Then discuss therapy as a condition to stay in the relationship, if you think is salvageable.

Commenters unanimously agreed: NTA.

In response to a comment saying OP was NTA, but urging him to try and see things from his GF's perspective, i.e. if things have changed in the relationship, if she wanted kids maybe, OP responded:

Thank you, I'll try thinking on this. Throughout our relationship we never wanted kids, and I actually had a vasectomy a few years ago, but yes about a month or so ago she did say something along the lines of "do you think we would make good parents?"

I hadn't really considered this having any real significance and at the time just though it was a hypothetical, maybe there's more to it along with everything else.

Three weeks after his original post, OP shared this update:

I just thought I'd wrote a quick follow up to my previous post. Things have improved, as many of you suspected, my wife told her mother a completely different story than what happened.

When I spoke to my MIF she was immediately concerned about my wife's behavior, my sister in law (who is no longer with us) struggled with manic depressive disorder for many years and after a long period of spiraling and frightening behavior. My MIL knows how devastating and serious mental illness can be, and immediately encouraged my wife to speak to a therapist.

Me and my MIL worked together over the next few days to find something for her, at first my wife refused, but with me and her mother both saying she needed to recognize she needed help, she eventually accepted. We had out first counselling session this week, and we went in together.

Even though it may be hard to say since we both just started therapy, I think things seem promising. My wife made some big steps, we returned or are in the process of selling the majority of everything she's bought over the past year. Even though she didn't even use most of it, separating herself from these items was something difficult for her and I'm immensely proud of her for doing the right thing.

Some of you were also right, that she may be having second thoughts about my vasectomy, and may want to have a kid. I told her that we should focus on her recovering for now, but once that happens we can start talking options. I have alerts on all my cards and accounts, so if she goes into another spending spree I can shut the cards down again if I have to.

I also told my brother about what's been going on. He called me a dumbass for not thinking I could come and talk to him about anything, we had a big hug and had a long talk over a few beers. Even though things aren't prefect, this is the first time things have been looking up in a long time

Sources: Reddit
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