This Unemployed 28-Year-Old Stopped Doing All Chores After His Wife – Who Earns All Their Income – Jokingly Called Him A "Househusband"

This Unemployed 28-Year-Old Stopped Doing All Chores After His Wife – Who Earns All Their Income – Jokingly Called Him A "Househusband"

In any relationship where one partner makes much more money than the other, there will be room for resentment. The partner who makes less can either be comfortable with the fact of the matter, or it consumes them. In the case I present you today — where husband and redditor Top_Teaching_7287 makes less than his wife, Bella — I believe he was consumed.

Man appears distressed with hand on forehead in a dimly lit room

Here's the story in Top_Teaching_7287's (or Top's) own words: "We both met and went to the same college. She [was] pre-law while I was doing animation. She graduated top of our class and went to a T20 law school. While she was in law school, I had a lot of trouble finding a job in my field or a job at all, really."

"I ended up working in a kitchen as a line cook to help support us (in addition to loans she took out) while she was going to school so she could just focus on her classes."

"Bella got a very good job in a different state after she graduated, so I quit my job and haven't gotten another one since."

"We have no kids, [have] a nice house for the two of us, and are overall living very, very comfortably. She works very long hours, so I take care of most of the household things. Cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, re-painting the walls, and doing other work and renovations to the house."

"In the last six months, Bella's started referring to me as her 'househusband' around our family and friends. I've mostly been letting it go, but every single time, it bothers me. I'm already insecure about not being able to find a good job, and it makes me feel even more inadequate."

"I finally got to the end of my rope when we were with her mother on Sunday, who still doesn't really approve of me, and they were talking about taking care of the lawn/garden, and she said, 'Thank goodness I have a househusband for that or I'd never find the time,' and smiled at me. Then they both laughed. It was humiliating."

"I didn't say anything at first, but I guess she could tell I was really upset and asked what was wrong. I told her she needed to stop emasculating me and making it seem like I didn't contribute anything to the household."

"We were arguing back and forth, and she told me that she would stop calling me a househusband if I was going to 'get that upset about it,' but that it wasn't an untrue term and I needed to stop being insecure."

"Bella refuses to apologize. I feel like she doesn't fully appreciate my value as her husband. I've stopped doing the chores until she apologizes and she is beyond pissed off."

"She's been coming home and cooking dinner (only for herself), doing the chores I haven't, and then taking off to spend the night at a friend's house. I was talking to my sister about it, and she told me that Bella was wrong, but I was being immature in my response. The thing is, if I give in, she's going to keep thinking what she's been doing is OK. I don't even know anymore. Am I the asshole?"


Bristol Palin during an interview, wearing a black top, hair styled, looking slightly downward

There were a ton of reactions to Top's post, and readers were split. On the one hand, many believe he shouldn't be offended because he simply is a househusband, and there is nothing wrong with cooking, cleaning, doing home repairs, and maintaining the space you and your partner live in.

"Darling, you are a househusband. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that—or being a housewife," user RogueDIL said. "Why do you believe that it is a put down or emasculating? It’s an equal contribution to your family and household. It holds value. It permits your wife to work longer hours at her job, without trying to also maintain the household. If you're truly unhappy in that role, do something about it. Look for work in your chosen field or consider returning to earn new qualifications. You're the asshole for getting upset about a factually correct statement."

"You're the asshole," user Single_Cookie_7915 agreed. "Definition of a househusband: a man who lives with a partner and carries out household duties... You pretty much fit the description, and there is absolutely NOTHING WRONG or EMASCULATING about being a househusband, mate."

"If you still felt uncomfortable hearing that term, you could have had an honest conversation about how you're feeling with her instead of doing something childish like this. She has nothing to apologize for; she said she'd stop using that term as soon as you asked her."

Those who believe Top is wrong also think he should sit down and consider why he views being a househusband as emasculating. Is there some latent misogyny peaking through?

"I think you need to reevaluate why you think being a househusband is emasculating or devalues your work," an anonymous user wrote. "You must think that it makes you 'lesser,' but why?... Do you think less of the women who do that job? So many women have given up everything, their careers, financial freedom, and lives to fulfill this role. Why is it OK for them to make that sacrifice but shameful for you? You ARE a househusband. Get over it and think about what that means instead of what other men have told you to believe."

However, on the other side of the split argument, users argued that his wife's use of the term implies that she may see him as a person who is there to take care of their home, instead of as a partner.

"As a housewife myself, I'd be so annoyed if my husband said he has a housewife to take care of stuff," user br0co1ii said. "If it was 'I'm so glad (my name) takes care of all of that,' it would be fine. But to reduce your spouse to just their position, rather than a person, is demeaning."

"Tone is important," user KayCeeBayBeee pressed. "'Thank God I have a househusband or else I'd never find the time to garden' isn't exactly a compliment when it's followed by laughter."

"The same exact way that someone being a housewife isn’t a big deal, but going, 'Thank God my wife is a housewife so I get to come home to a nice meal' is kinda condescending. It’s like referring to your wife as 'my housewife' instead of 'my wife.'"

However, before people could consider this idea more widely, Top chimed in to say it didn't apply in this specific situation:

The thing is, I know she didn't mean it in a negative way," they wrote. "I wouldn't have married her if she was that kind of malicious person. But it bothers me that she didn't think about the implication, and even now that I've explained it, she refuses to understand how it makes me look like less of a man to everyone else."

So this is a gender-based issue for him, and he's handling it by refusing to contribute to the relationship at all.

In response, user RandomGuy_81 questioned why Top would now resort to his wife earning all of the household income and doing all of the chores and cooking.

"She works and comes home and cooks for herself... And you will….sit at home and do nothing except make meals for yourself? Good plan. She’ll eventually wonder why she is pulling all the weight, and that'll teach her that she should find someone else that helps out around the house."

If he really wants to fix things, readers think he needs to start by having a real conversation with his wife.

"Use your fucking words. When you asked her to stop, she said she would. She isn't gonna know you're upset unless you say something," user Csdkjdskj concluded.

What are your thoughts on the situation? Let us know in the comments.

Note: Some responses have been edited for clarity.