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Wife asks husband to stop working late, he says 'it's for us,' she says 'it's for you.' UPDATED

Wife asks husband to stop working late, he says 'it's for us,' she says 'it's for you.' UPDATED


All work and no play leaves no time for family bonding.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for snapping at her husband after he claimed his long work hours are for the family. She wrote:

"AITA for telling my husband he works for himself, not for our family?"

My husband and I have known each other for 6 years and been married for almost 3 years now. We have a one year old, and we're expecting another baby. Our marriage has been full of emotional highs, we love each other and let the other know regularly. My husband has a 9-5 job after which he also tutors. He started this back when we were in college, and it was never an issue, he always had enough time.

Even in the years leading up to the marriage and the first year of our marriage, this was never a big issue. However, in the last year or so it's become a big issue, and it's getting worse. He keeps on adding more classes to his schedule. Until last month we had a red line that no classes on Sunday, he would devote that entire time to us.

But last month he even added a class on Sunday on the excuse that exams are starting. It started to feel like me and my son weren't a priority to him anymore. Some days he comes home at 11. On other days he's doing it online but that's not much better because he still can't give us any time. Last Sunday, I finally spoke out and told him he was neglecting his family.

He was offended and told me that he doesn't enjoy having to work so hard but he's doing it for our family. This is where I told him that no, I think he does enjoy it, it gives him an excuse to not spend time with us, and that he was doing this for himself not for us. As things currently stand, our collective income is more than enough.

There really was no need for him to add more classes on top of his existing ones, he's doing it for himself at this point. He's literally busy Monday - Saturday and now he's trying to cross the red line we established for Sunday. We've been on bad terms since this fight. He keeps saying he can't believe that I said he works for himself not for us. AITA here?

Redditors had a lot of questions and comments to add.

ZookeepergameOwn5632 asked:

INFO: I see where you’re coming from but I gotta ask - you sound like you feel secure about your financial situation. But does he? You’re expecting another kid. You have a 1-year old with another on the way. I don’t know where you’re based, but certain regions are more expensive than others for families to live in.

Based on just that information alone, there could be plenty of thought put behind whether or not you guys have the financial stability for the future. You clearly think so, but does your husband? Have you ever had that conversation with him, fruitfully, honestly, about the objective truth of your financial stability AND his and your thoughts on it?

And OP responded:

Yes, we had that discussion before. We talked about how since we're already comfortable, there shouldn't be any need to have a class on Sunday. In fact at the time, I also thought he should cut down on his existing classes but relented on the Sunday agreement. I didn't think the numbers were important, but a lot of comments (not you) seem to doubt my judgment that we're stable.

I'm an accountant who makes $70k/year. My husband is a software engineer who makes around over $100k. And based on how many students he teaches and how many classes he has, he makes over $100k from that. Our household income covers our expenses. I'm an accountant, this is kind of my bread and butter.

SpaceJesus wrote:

How on earth could anyone possibly give a judgment here? The entire question boils down to whether or not they're actually financially ok, which not a single person here really knows.

INFO: How much are you actually saving at the end of each month? What are your retirement goals/timeliness? How many months could you pay all of your bills if you both got hurt and couldn't work? What if just one of you got hurt? In my experience, "we're fine financially," means radically different things to different people.

I had an ex who thought she was fine financially because she saved $250 at the end of every month and had about 2 months of rent in her savings. Current partner insists we're financially doomed if we have less than $100K in our emergency fund. So, I don't see how there's any way to judge this situation based on OP feeling comfortable with the finances, as we don't know what that really means.

OP responded:

I'm an accountant who makes $70k/year. My husband is a software engineer who makes around over $100k. And based on how many students he teaches and how many classes he has, he makes over $100k from that. Our household income covers our expenses. We have savings. I'm sorry if I sounded pointed, but there've been way too many comments saying I don't understand the finances. I do.

BlueHunter49 wrote:

Info: Did he grow up lower income? His father may have worked himself to the bone to keep them above water. So it may be all he knows.

And OP responded:

No, both his parents are doctors. That was certainly not the case.

EdgeMiserable4381 wrote:

My ex was like this. After many years I realized he was avoidant. He also liked playing the victim and "sacrificing" so so much for the family. He got lots of praise for it. We didn't need the extra money either. All he sacrificed was a marriage and a decent relationship with his children. I hope you can help him see that. Maybe counseling together? Idk. It sucks though.

After receiving lots of different feedback, OP jumped on with an update two days later.

Thank you for the feedback in the last post. The comments said that me asking him to adhere to the boundaries we established was reasonable. Some comments also suggested that I should not have implied that he works just to get away, so I was a little apologetic as well. After he came back I decided to talk to him about this.The conversation was a bit of a trainwreck.

I brought up the fact that our income far exceeds ur current and projected expenses. That me and our son were missing him, and needed him to spend more time with us, and I made sure to stress that I appreciated all that he did.It just seemed like we were on completely different wavelengths.

He said he kept on taking more lessons and students because he wanted us to have a good standard of living, have better vacations, better schools, a second house. I was dumbfounded. I never knew he felt that way. I stressed our current standard of living was great, we make enough money, and that if he thinks that way there's no end in sight.

What if he decided we should also have a third house or something? Right now I needed him with me. At this point, I kind of lost control and started crying. I didn't mean to, it wasn't something I wanted to do to pressure him or anything, just the fact that we were at an impasse was wrecking me. I told him I'd been feeling unhappy, that I kept compromising and he reneged on it.

After some more crying and consoling, my husband agreed that Sunday should have remained off-limits. He gently asked me to give him a pass for one more Sunday, because his students exams end next week, and he would make Sunday untouchable the following semester onward.

He also promised to try to resize his classes in order to be able to come back home for dinner even if it's late dinner. He asked for time to do all this. I've given it to him and I know he loves us enough to do what he promised. Thanks for the feedback to the original post.

The internet was quick to respond to the update.

Samarkand457 wrote:

You need to tell him that he needs to get right with his family and you right now. Or he might be living in that third house alone. Play him "Cat's in the Cradle" as background music.

And OP responded:

I would like the changes to happen immediately but I want those changes to be permanent. If he does something at a snap right now but has to go back that would suck. So I'm just giving him the time to make those sustainable changes. I'm getting our Sunday back after the next one which is progress.

At least we're back to the red line. He said he'd already booked a lot of classes for the next semester, so he just asked for time to discuss and rearrange them since he can't just say no to his students after agreeing. He was earnest, I believe I made it known to him the toll its been taking on me, and he will make the necessary changes.

Feelinggross99 wrote:

Did he explain why he had these feelings of needing more? Is it because the new baby is coming and this is like some weird financial nesting? Or did this start well before you were pregnant? I understand him needing a little time to readjust to the old schedule but I don't see what caused it in the first place.

OP responded:

That's kind of where we weren't getting through to each other. He kept saying that he wants our family to have a good lifestyle, while I kept saying that we're already in a place where we aren't lacking anything except him in the house. He finally understood that that's what our son and I need from him right now.

I know I had told him last week that I think he does this just to be away from us, which I feel sh#$ty about, but it's just that his tutoring hit critical mass close to when our son was born. I know the number of students and classes had been increasing steadily over the years, and maybe we should have set boundaries from the start but it's gotten too much now.

KillerDiva wrote:

Have you guys considered hiring a maid/nanny to help with household duties? If you're making enough money it could be worth the investment to reduce your burden.

OP responded:

Ya, that came up in the conversation and I'm looking into it. My job is wfh two days of the week so that helps, and my mom lives close by which is super helpful too. Most days I manage the household and child rearing without any issues.

Like it's not like I plan to give him a list of errands to run on the days he's in the house, but him just being physically present is something I'm missing now, and he's promised to remedy it as well he can.

hellof*ckingjulie wrote:

OP. You did a good job and took an important first step. I think it would be unrealistic for him to do a complete 180 after this conversation, and this is a necessary stepping stone. I’m usually very negative about relationships, but it disheartened me to see all the top comments being so negative when you took the time to update us and you didn’t need to. I hope things continue to improve for you

OP responded:

Thank you. I had thought I did good, and then found out a lot of people here disagreed, so I started doubting how I did. I appreciate what everyone is saying, but he's a loving husband, friend, and father, it's just this one issue that's just gotten out of hand, I cant think of packing my bags.

I believe he was neglecting us, but during the conversation realized he didn't know the extent to which it was affecting us. The classes issue has been getting bigger and bigger over time, so I realize fixing it will require some time, I'm just going to make sure I see him do it.

Bleu_Rue wrote:

The biggest problem I see is that his self-worth is being validated by his students and classes - more than by his own family. He likes how teaching makes him feel, and he doesn't get the same validation from being just a husband and father. So, he will continue to prefer working as much as he can.

And it's a double whammy because he justifies the extra work is for his family, so he feels doubly validated for doing "good" things.

And OP responded:

Your comment stayed with me for some reason, and I kept coming back to it. I asked him yesterday if he enjoyed teaching Physics and Math for hours on end, that he works so long how does he not start hating it. (I didn't bring up the topic of reduced hours or Sunday because we already have an agreement on that for now). He said he does like it.

After some more inconspicuous needling he told me he enjoys the fact that so many people trust that he can make them understand stuff and better their grades/future. I didn't go further into it. But your comment really helped give me some insight. Thank you so much.

Hopefully, OP and her husband are able to move forward and keep finding a good compromise for this dynamic.

Sources: Reddit
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