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 I’m an unpublished writer and have always dreamed of becoming published.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?
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.
To be fair to my husband, this post is about an argument we’re having. I didn’t put in my post all the great things about him and all the other things we agree on. I struggle with depression and anxiety and he’s the only partner I’ve had that has helped my mental health rather than hurt it. He’s usually very understanding, kind, and reassuring.
The things that make me good at money management make me bad at enjoying life. I’m very serious and can be a realist (despite my fantasy worldbuilding lol), but he’s an outgoing, fun guy who has taught me to live in the moment and relax.
The reason I thought to post here is because this argument is not normal for us and his attitude and behavior caught me off guard. He does pull his weight, all the jobs he does are the ones I’m literally physically unable to do or ones that I hate and he doesn’t mind. So I very much enjoy our arrangement.
I'm sorry but locking you out was definitely NOT okay. Red. Flag.
Firstly, no matter how angry you are at your partner, it it never acceptable to lock them out of their own bedroom. I find that to be very disturbing that he thought that was ok.
Secondly, you really aren’t describing your relationship as a healthy marriage. You sound more like roommates living together to save money with an agreed job list. A marriage should be a partnership.
Although you have dedicated responsibilities on paper, reading the list above of what you’re responsible for, there doesn’t seem to be a lot left that your husband actually does. Does he really pull his weight in the relationship?
I can’t help thinking that he has supported your idea of retiring early so as he can have a live in maid/cook/housekeeper who also pays the bills. I think it’s great that you have worked and saved so hard to be able to retire by 40. I think you need to put a lot of thought into what you want your retirement to look like, and if you can actually achieve what you want with him as you husband.
I will definitely address what happened last night. Locking me out is one of main things about what happened that concerned me enough to ask for outside opinions. But from reading the comments, I think I may have been too quick to shut him down instead of coming up with a compromise or figuring out why he was changing his mind on the topic.
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 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.
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.
Did he text you asking you not to bring his affair into the divorce? Because that would be great evidence of the affair.
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.
Oh, what a mess. And what a jerk. I’m so sorry for everything you’re going through. I’m just glad you had your ducks in a row legally.
"I’m denying him his masculine desire to continue his lineage."
This made me snort. Loudly. Honey, whenever you start to feel bad about this guy, re-read that. Sending you a hug.
The funny thing is that he just made it up! He got a vasectomy before we even met and is even more staunchly no kids than I am.
I want to be a fly on the wall at the divorce hearing when OP's lawyer pulls out the "don't bring up my side piece" text.
So her long-term plan was to retire at 40yo and his was to take more than half of her hard earned money AND ask for alimony, so he could play rich to his brand new gf, WHAT A GREAT HUSBAND, WOW!! It's going to be SOOOO LOVELY when Ashley finds out her dear new hubby has been lying to her about everything, and I can't wait for that update!!