Author Topic: Wife is the breadwinner  (Read 9145 times)

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guihong

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2013, 10:19:05 AM »
OP, now you know that when/if you get married, your mum will probably discuss your private business with your sister and be all up in your marriage.  So, similar to the "snooping" threads advice, don't say anything you wouldn't want up on a billboard for all to see.

Was this a marriage to a man outside your culture or someone from an income bracket that might as well be on Pluto compared to yours?  It's possible that you just plain don't know him or his background very well (if you don't see him much).  OTOH, you may just not like him, and that's OK.  But, your sister chose him, and chose all the other situations, too.  Be supportive, but stay totally out of the advice department.  If she feels the need to change, she will talk to her husband.

If you were asking our opinions on gender roles and breadwinners- there were many, many couples who permanently or temporarily depended on a wife's income, even back in the "good old days".  Providing has nothing to do with the qualities that make a good husband.  You want to avoid coming across as judgemental, as I'd be willing to bet on a board this large, there are couples with any kind of arrangement for short or long-term. 




miranova

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2013, 10:22:09 AM »
You need to stop thinking of your sister as a victim.  She is making her own choices and no one can force her to marry anyone she doesn't want to, or buy furniture she doesn't want, or go on a tour of India that she doesn't want to go on.  Your worry is misplaced.  If these things bother her, she is capable of speaking up for herself.  You yourself say in your OP that she seems happy!  So, what's the issue here? 

I'm not saying I think the guy is all that great, but it's not my decision and you yourself say that they seem very much in love.  I know couples in my own life where their arrangements would NEVER work for me but it makes no difference if it works for them. 

Yvaine

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2013, 10:42:16 AM »
It sounds to me like she has agreed to largely support him while he's in school. This is not in any way an uncommon or "wrong" arrangement. If this is what they've agreed to, then he isn't required to be the main breadwinner just because he's "a husband"--this is the 21st century and a wife can be the breadwinner too, if that's what they've agreed on. It sounds like he might have expensive tastes beyond his current means, and probably should be doing more of the chores, but that's between him and his wife. And she may like going out on the weekends! None of this is your mom's business.

Jones

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2013, 10:44:37 AM »
I am the breadwinner. My husband and I started out making small money together. I had chances and took them, and now singly make more than we used to make together (though still not tons). He raises the kids and answers at his family's call when they need him (gramma's farm, MIL's upholstery business, etc). I feel extremely lucky that I have him for childcare, he loves our kids and teaches them, and recently began homeschooling our daughter. And I don't have to pay for a private school or daycare. He's helped out his family many times in ways that he couldn't if he'd been working.

If word came to me that my family was discussing him the way OP's mother describes the BIL, there would be heck to pay.

Samgirl2

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2013, 10:57:40 AM »
Again, I'm not saying its my business. I'm saying this is the situation, this is what I think based on the info I get on a regular basis from my mother. Do other people see a problem in the situation, have they been in it themselves so I can say sonething to my mother. She doesn't allow herself to be beandipped!

I don't discuss this with my sister. I do think she has made her own choice.

I have no problem with reverse roles, I have friends who have supported each other for different periods. The difference is they seemed to deal a lot better at it, lived within their means and the husban was mire supportive than my Bil seems to be.

I merely wanted to see if people thought it was normal/ok and how I should respond when my parents fret.

I do not want to interfere, which is why I said I have never brought it up with my sis.

thedudeabides

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2013, 11:03:14 AM »
If she won't stop talking about it, walk away or hang up the phone.  If she won't let the beandipping work, then don't engage in the conversation.  YOU have the power here not to allow it to continue.

guihong

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2013, 11:05:04 AM »
Of course you can beandip.  You can also hang up.  Dang it, the cat's on fire again, and so on  ;D.  It doesn't matter if your mum gets mad, you can decide to stand up and say "I don't want to hear it-bye".  I know that's tough if she's always gotten her way up to now, but you can't control another person-only yourself.

Only your sister can say if there's a problem in her marriage.  We can't, as I for one am getting the impression that we're hearing your mother's version only, and that version is painted with a strong brush of dislike for her son in law and "this is how marriage is supposed to be, and anything else is wrong".   Tell your mom your sister made her choice, and you're not going to discuss it further.  Then stick to it.

"Normal" and "OK" is whatever works for the couple involved.



Redsoil

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2013, 11:08:16 AM »
Samgirl2,  I understand that within an etiquette purview, people may feel this should be the business only of the couple themselves.

Having said that, I do understand your concern.  Both you and your mother care about what's going on is your sister's life, and it seems you are worried that she's being taken advantage of. 

Taking the genders out:

Partner A works hard and supports the household.  Works long hours and also does ALL the household chores.

Partner B is studying, but also going out partying a lot, staying away on holiday when partner A had to come home to work (to support, in part, partner B's lifestyle choices.)

Partner A is having to pay for more expensive items than they would otherwise have chosen, including house, furniture, holidays and socialising.

Sounds like there is quite an imbalance there.  If it were a friend of mine, I would be worried.
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Luci

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2013, 11:20:44 AM »


I merely wanted to see if people thought it was normal/ok and how I should respond when my parents fret.

I do not want to interfere, which is why I said I have never brought it up with my sis.

I can't define "normal", but it's OK. They are not hurting anyone. Your sister is seemingly dealing with the situation and knows how to change it if necessary if she feels it is hurting her. That is why it is noone's business but theirs.

I would tell my parents not to fret. Sis is a big girl and can take care of her own life.

And I think I might mention to my sister how stirred up the parents get when she talks to them, IF she does. Sis should keep her own counsel and not burden others. MAYBE the parents are just upset from what they observe and imagining from what Sis says. "This happened," and then the parents go off on a crazyness imagining implications, misunderstanding how Sis really feels, and making unfounded judgements. I know lots of people who do that and get worked up over nothing. (I'm emphasizing those words because we don't really know.)

I think the issue is NOT the couple's lifestyle, but how the parents are reacting to it.

DollyPond

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #39 on: August 25, 2013, 11:31:23 AM »
You need to stop thinking of your sister as a victim.  She is making her own choices and no one can force her to marry anyone she doesn't want to, 

My brother is in a similar situation and they have been married for over 30 years.  After a while you need to realize that the "victim" becomes an accomplice.  No one would allow themselves to be "victimized" that long.

zinzin

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #40 on: August 25, 2013, 11:39:23 AM »
Many marriages have portions that are long distance. Many marriages have one partner still in school while the other is the primary bread-winner. Saying he's a gold-digger is unsupported, and he's not a "stay at home husband", he's a student. Your mother needs to butt out - and you need to tell her you don't want to hear about it anymore. Even happy relationships can be poisoned by in-law meddling.

delabela

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2013, 11:47:25 AM »
If I was in your shoes, I would suggest to my mother that she should consider that she is actually hurting sister by allowing her to complain and wallow in the details of her marriage with an outsider.  If sister wants to change something, that's up to her.  I would also refuse to discuss it any further with my mother.  Your sister is obviously getting something out of the marriage, and no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.

I am troubled by the assertion he's a gold digger - he's a student, he's not sitting around playing video games all day. 

I would note that it's rarely useful to keep a tally-sheet in a marriage - financial or otherwise.

shhh its me

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #42 on: August 25, 2013, 11:52:31 AM »
  Unless your sister talked to you I think you need to start shutting your mom down.

"Normal" people vent about their spouses but it's a really bad idea to vent to the people who will be spending Christmas dinner with you spouse for the next 50 years (using Christmas as an example ) Your sister is absolutely entitled to ask you mom for advice but venting this much to the persons MIL is a really really bad idea.  I do think you can speak to your sister about that , "Sis you can talk to me or ask for advice but I think you need to know mom is starting to hold a grudge against hubby. you might want to consider how what you tell her permanently effect her opinion of your husband."  There is a more  tactful way to do this I just can't think of it atm. 

I've know plenty of couples who were engages or married while still in school, plenty in which one person spends more and the other saves , plenty who disagree about monetary priorities , there are plenty of people who would use credit cards to furnish their homes , there are people who would think its weird for parents to help their doctor daughter buy a house or furniture, I know couples who don't vacation together at all.     Your sister isn't telling you this so you really don't know how bothered she is. Maybe she is getting bullied or taken advantage of or maybe she just gets annoyed sometimes. 

miranova

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2013, 12:16:34 PM »
There is no "normal", it's all up to the individual couple. 

However, the more I think about this thread, the more I think that your sister's venting and oversharing is a big part of the problem here.  You say she is happy and in love, yet your mother would never even know that she was crying in India if she had not made a point to tell her that story.  In fact most of their financial issues would not be known to either of you if she did not complain about them.  So she is putting on a happy face sometimes but seems to be calling her mother to complain quite a bit.

I think that if your sister is unhappy with her relationship and you want to help, you could encourage her to grow a polite spine and stick up for herself, tell her husband "no" when he makes unreasonable money demands, and for the love of Pete to STOP complaining/whining/venting to her mother about it.  All that does is make your mother worry, make her hate her son in law, and put you in the middle. 

Allyson

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Re: Wife is the breadwinner
« Reply #44 on: August 25, 2013, 12:20:16 PM »
One thing to keep in mind, is that I would really wonder about how accurate your mother's information is. She has 'traditional' views on gender roles, so already is not predisposed to like the situation. And, your sister never talks to you about it. This makes me wonder if your mother is really putting her own spin on the situation. Something like, oh, your sister says "gotta go, picking up the laundry" and your mother turns that into "Sis has to ALL the laundry and household chores!"

I think your mother has a clearly-stated bias here, and so I would really wonder how much of what she was saying was how your sister would actually see the situation.

My partner and I do a 2/3 to 1/3 split with me making 2/3s of the income and him doing 2/3s of the 'around the house' stuff, and even that will get weird reactions from family members. People make odd assumptions when things aren't what they expect, or how they things 'should be'.