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'AITA for refusing to help my wife cover her cost of living since she comes from money?'

'AITA for refusing to help my wife cover her cost of living since she comes from money?'


"AITA? Refused to help my (privileged) wife cover her increased cost of living"

So I (M39) am married to the love of my life (F36). We have two sweet kids, ages 5 and 9, and we all live in a house in a small town. Our economy is mostly shared - more on this in a bit. I'm an engineer, working as consultant. Great pay and benefits. I make more than I spend. My wife has a masters degree in human communication - a horribly useless degree, even according to herself.

Since graduating something like 8 years ago, she has been unable to find a job in her field. Note: Those 8 years does include her second pregnancy and maternity leave. Here is the thing. My wife has very wealthy parents (like no-financial-worries-at-all wealthy). Thanks to them, her share of our house was gifted to her (I still pay mortgage on my share).

They gifted her a brand new car (I drive my own). Each Christmas, they gift her $20.000 - her, not me. Besides that yearly gift, she has more or less been without income for most of her adult life, including when she attended university. She did hold a few odd jobs here and there.

We share all family related expenses (utilities, food, insurances, vacations, kids stuff and so on) through a shared account - 50/50. Besides that, we have our own accounts. But many purchases goes toward the family/house/kids anyway, so its not like air tight. You know how it is.

My wife recently got a part time job (15-20 hours/week) in a clothing store. Pay is terrible, hours are weird and she doesn't get along with the owner. Therefore, she is considering quitting. I'm telling her to go ahead, but also that even a bad job pays better than no job. In my opinion, she is a little picky with jobs.

Won't do cleaning, elderly care and other stuff like that, despite those being jobs she is able to get without any qualifications. She keeps applying for jobs in her own field, but so far without any luck besides a couple of first round interviews. The market is VERY limited.

Because of increased cost of living (you all know the story), her yearly gift and small paycheck doesn't quite cut it anymore. She tells me that she is barely making ends meet. Therefore, she has asked me to help her out, by paying a larger share of our shared expenses. I basically said no.

I told her that not many people are as privileged as her and that she really should be less picky - or even consider requalification (new education and/or field of work). I felt bad telling her, but also needed to be honest with her. I could help her out, but that just doesn't sit right with me, all things considered. So now of course, according to her, I'm an a-hole. But am I?


Based on comments: My wife did full child care for both kids (one year of maternity leave per child). As of now, F9 goes to school and M5 is in kindergarten. No child care is needed.

Chores around the house are shared more or less equally.

When describing her degree as "terribly useless" I meant in terms of job possibilities. Nothing else. And she agrees.

The 50/50 and shared account deal was sort of a design criteria in our relationship from the beginning, as we both like to be able to spend whatever we like/can on whatever we want. I know other couples who have the same agreement so it never really seemed that odd to me.

AITA? Here's what top commenters had to say:

coffeemom23 said:

ESH. I'll probably get downvoted, but this is why having separate finances in marriage is a really, really bad idea. You guys are married, you have kids, you're meant to be a team. It's absurd that you've been paying a mortgage payment on 'your half' of the house, and that she keeps $20k annual gift to herself.

It's also absurd that you have a great job, she's working a very low-wage job, and you expect to keep splitting things 50/50 like you're roommates. 'Helping her out' doesn't 'sit right' with you because you've been treating each other badly for so long. This whole arrangement needs an overhaul, and apologies from both of you.

Mikey3800 said:

NTA, but you said your wife's parents are wealthy. They will not live forever. If your wife inherits their money when they pass, are you going to be willing to accept it if your wife tells you that you still have to pay your half of everything on your own? Will you be ok if she takes a vacation and you can't afford to go because your half costs more than you can afford?

Primary-Criticism929 said:

ESH. This is a weird situation. You're married. You're supposed to be a team, partners. And yet, you're the only paying for the mortgage on the house, and you expect her to pay half of everything despite the fact that she probably only get a low paying job like cleaning or taking care of ederly people.

As a married couple, you should be living with what you can earn yourselves and not above your means. I don't get how you both let things got that far. You two need to sit down and make some serious changes to the way you've been living your lives. Do you even still love her and want to be married to her?

Ronnie__Hotdog said:

So what... you're "teaching your wife a life-lesson". Sounds a bit patronising. Also, if (as sounds like the case) your wife did the majority of the child care, that's a large part of the reason you are now "earning more than you spend". I think the general idea is that you're meant to love your wife more than your bank-balance. YTA

KittiesLove1 said:

Your wife is a homemaker who came with a stipend, and you're counting pennies with her? You should be ahamed. Sounds like the only reason having your kids hasn't sent her stright to poverty is her rich parents. Good on them.

You haven't given her a house, not even a quarter of one, you aren't supporting her, you haven't given her a car. While she's giving borth to and raising your kids, having to rely on her parents. And you still find something to complain about?? YTA big time.

Verdict: YTA/ESH. Do you agree?

Sources: Reddit
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