This Reddit Family Rift Was Cemented By a Cat’s Birthday Party & No, We’re Not Kidding
Finances can be a stressful topic in just about any marriage. It’s one of those necessary evils that we all wish we didn’t have to worry about, but we do. Having enough money to put food on the table while not working yourself to the bone is a tough task in and of itself; factor in social obligations and potentially taking care of kids, and suddenly you don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to your spouse or significant other — it becomes about just surviving from day to day.
That’s why, when you hear stories about people running into trouble because of having more (or even, dare we say, “too much” money), well, it’s hard to be sympathetic. Redditors reading a recent post on the site’s relationship advice forum know what we’re talking about. In the post, a woman has come looking for advice about her husband’s reaction to her promotion and pay raise — a pay raise which, coincidentally, puts her salary above his. Sounds like good news in our opinion, but apparently the husband of our OP (which is Reddit-speak for the original poster, or author of the post) doesn’t agree.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. What’s the situation, and does OP’s husband have a leg to stand on? Or is he letting some outdated patriarchal stereotypes trigger his insecurities? Keep reading for the full story and to get Reddit’s take on it all.
OP, 36, and her husband, 34, both work “steady corporate jobs,” she writes. She was recently offered a promotion for a more senior role along with a “nice pay raise,” which OP happily accepted. “I came home that night buzzing with excitement about telling my husband,” OP explains. “I was just proud of myself and wanted to share that with him.” They also have two kids, ages 10 and 7, so OP “was sure the extra money would be good news.”
But when OP shared the news, “his reaction was less than excited,” she writes. “After a pause he said ‘congrats’ in an extremely flat tone, before going quiet.” OP states that she wasn’t expecting him to throw her a party, but had their roles been reversed, “I know I would’ve been a lot happier for my husband than he’d been for me in that moment.” And it ended up spoiling the rest of what she’d expected to be a celebratory night. “His reaction was so underwhelming that I kind of lost my excitement for the news, and didn’t say anything else about it that evening.”
OP’s husband continued to act upset as time went on. The next day, he was “noticeably quiet and seemed oddly sullen/hostile when I spoke to him,” she says, “like I’d imagine a teenager would talk to a teacher they didn’t like.” He wouldn’t tell her what the problem was, but “after a weekend of sulking coupled with oddly passive comments about work, I basically knew it was to do with my promotion.” His reaction surprised OP, “particularly since he has a great job that pays well.”
But the immature behavior didn’t end there. OP prepared for her first day in her new role, with her husband promising to cook a special dinner that night to celebrate — a change in attitude that made her think “he’d gotten over whatever jealousy he may have felt.” She was soon to be disappointed, though. When OP got home that night, her husband was nowhere to be found and didn’t pick up when she called. She finally got a text saying, “your big job must’ve been tough so I didn’t want to get in your hair.” He had gone out drinking, OP realized, and later came back “very drunk.”
OP was understandably “really angry” by this point, and asked her husband why he was treating her this way. In response, he became “really passive aggressive about my ‘big important job.’” When OP asked why he had promised dinner and ditched her, “he smirked at me and said that was my responsibility since I was ‘wearing the pants now,’” OP writes. “The only reason I didn’t scream at him was because my kids were sleeping upstairs.”
The next day, OP’s husband was “too hungover to even function,” but OP was planning on fully confronting him on the day she posted. She asked Reddit for advice. “How can I best go about it?” she wrote. “Something needs to give here and I won’t continue this environment around the kids,” she says, but his actions were so disrespectful “that I don’t even know where to start. He’s never acted close to this before.”
It didn’t take long for the Reddit comments to pour in, affirming OP’s feelings and sharing similar stories.
“We weren’t married, but I dealt with similar behavior in a prior [long-term relationship],” one person wrote, explaining that they’d gotten a promotion and started making the same amount as their ex. “[H]e couldn’t even pretend to be happy for me… viewing it as a competition.” Their relationship ended when the commenter’s ex cheated on them “with a woman who made him feel superior again, so my advice is to have the conversation and tell your husband his behavior is unacceptable but I would also suggest counseling ASAP.” They added, specifically, that OP’s husband standing her up for dinner is especially alarming, “because now he’s intentionally acting out.”
Other commenters agreed that OP’s husband appeared to equate his job with his self-worth — never a good sign. “Some guys really feel emasculated or something when their partner makes more than them, but that’s no excuse,” wrote one person. “My wife makes more than me and it rules.”
“His reaction is so immature, insecure, and… misogynistic,” another Redditor agreed, also recommending couples therapy. “He has to be the ‘big man,’ the breadwinner. Anything short is unacceptable.”
“Sad when you find out your mate thinks your partnership is actually a competition, and they were happy only because they thought you were the one losing,” another person summed it up succinctly.
Our take: a very honest heart-to-heart is definitely needed here. OP and her husband should be on the same side, and there’s no need to feel financially competitive with your spouse — your spouse who, by the way, should be your biggest cheerleader when your hard work is rewarded. Lashing out at her this way is immature and disrespectful, and we hope OP tells him so! It’ll take some work (and maybe some therapy) before he can get back in OP’s good graces.