I tried to be encouraging but I’ll be honest, a part of me was angry. Angry that I did so much, angry that so many responsibilities fell to me. Angry that no matter how many hours I worked, I was still the one keeping the house clean and making sure the kids had clothes to wear (among my many responsibilities). To be fair, he told me he felt he was doing plenty to help around the house and that the kids should be doing more.
“To be fair, he told me he felt like he was doing plenty to help around the house….” Evidently not, if you are the one feeling anger for continuing to heft more of the domestic load (meals, kids, cleaning, etc.) while also bringing in more of the income; feeling punished for being ambitious and driven to succeed. While I understand his insecurities (as my now ex-husband had them when I outearned him), it isn’t fair for him to wallow in these emotions to a point where it takes a negative toll on you and your marriage.
Statistically, households where the wife/gf outearns her partner are classified as “less happy” and the wife/gf will be put into a position where she takes on even more household tasks. This is done to somehow make the guy feel better but it backfires. She grows increasingly resentful of his inability to get over the fragility of his ego in order to step up and step in where needed (doing some of the invisible labor women have been shouldering). We also tend to skew what we consider “doing plenty” when it comes to men taking on non-traditional roles in the home. There are various studies that have reported men claiming they do so much more around the house, and only 3% of their wives reporting they agreed. He isn’t doing plenty. He likely perceives he is.
In my case, my ex made our lives a living hell. As time passed, he managed to do less and less around the house. He started quitting perfectly good jobs, without a conversation, because he figured I should just pay the bills while he stayed home all day and gamed. He couldn’t be bothered to do the simplest of things. One year, we had pumpkins rotting on the porch by Thanksgiving. I asked him daily (nicely, because it always has to be nice, right?) to please toss them. Only to come home after a long day at work to find them still deteriorating on our stoop. Eventually, his dad, sensing my increasing frustration with his grown son, threw them out. He mentioned it to me as if to say, see, the pumpkins have been tossed. Problem solved. His dad failed to see there were deeper issues than rotten pumpkins being thrown away in a timely manner. It was the fact that my partner couldn’t see past his own ego to get we were supposed to be a team. Doing stuff around the house isn’t lesser work. It would have been awesome to come home to a clean house and a meal I didn’t have to make. Instead, a cat would throw up on the carpet and he’d leave it there to dry out and crust over so I could have the joy of dealing with it when I got home.