Wife 'Pushing' Husband To Earn More Sparks Fury: 'Up to Him'

How important to you is your partner's ambition? For one Mumsnet user, the answer is: Very. But hjliu8999's response to her husband's contentment, which was detailed in a viral AIBU (Am I Being Unreasonable) post, has prompted ire from other Mumsnet users, most of whom think she needs to leave her partner to live as he wants.

In a post titled "DH and career, salary," hjliu8999 explained that this issue has been "a source of tension" for her and her husband ever since they first got together decades ago, but they recently had "yet another fight with DH regarding his job and whether he should look for something else."

"He's been in his current position for three years now, no salary increase and no promotion—and realistically it just wont happen, they said so," hjliu8999 wrote. "I've been trying to encourage him to move on. He admits he doesn't like his job or sector so it's not like he loves it or anything but just doesn't know how to look for anything else."

A couple after an argument.
An older couple sit apart, after having an argument. Andrii Zastrozhnov/Andrii Zastrozhnov/Getty

The user writes that "frankly [she's] fed up." In her husband's previous job, he'd also worked in the same position for years with no salary increase or promotion. When the couple moved to London, he "found the first thing he could and basically it's the same thing."

"Now he's 42 so time is not exactly on his side. And I appreciate that 55k is not nothing, but he has three degrees and is working in a professional job," she wrote. "From my side I do work full time—in the sector that he used to work in and by now earn more than he does. But it's a public sector-ish job and I wont be able to find anything in the private sector (those jobs just don't exist). Realistically my pay progression is rubbish (max I will ever earn is probably 70kish) but I do have a lot more flexibility and annual leave so do more of the childcare."

The user notes that the cost of living is going up, along with interest rates–and the couple has "a big mortgage" to pay off.

"I don't know how to convince DH that he needs to find something else. He accuses me of wanting him to earn more money—like that's a bad thing or something," hjliu8999 wrote. "Am I being unreasonable or is he? Any tips on how to change things."

The post attracted over 300 comments, most of which accused hjliu8999 of being unreasonable, and encouraged her to let her husband take his own approach to employment.

For example, Andromachehadabadday commented: "I think Yabu (You Are Being Unreasonable). Not everyone is driven to want to keep swooping jobs or moving on to the next, better paid, position. I understand you want more money coming and that's not a bad thing. But pushing someone to make the choices you want them to in their career is a recipe for disaster."

Similarly, Aniita responded: "I don't really get it. It sounds like you are both in (well paid!) roles with limited progression opportunities and inflationary pay rises. Why is it up to him to move careers? It is because he earns less than you? Some people don't feel the need to chase a career and progression. If you want to do that go ahead, bit if you don't, then you are unreasonable to want your DH to do it instead."

Some users looked at the issue from a different angle, including Namenic who commented: "Would You consider getting a job where you can earn more money? Maybe he could think of going part time and doing more chores and childcare and you could look for things that pay more? some people prefer to spend less and earn less rather than exhaust themselves. It does sound like you have good income—though understandably childcare and mortgage can be stretching. Look out on linked in for jobs you/he might like."

Mumsnet user hjliu8999 isn't alone in feeling that her partner's income is an important factor in making a relationship work, according to survey findings published by LendEDU in 2020. The survey asked 800 individuals that are currently married or in a self-described "significant relationship," about their attitudes toward love and finance. They found that roughly a third of respondents believe that honesty about money is more important than honesty about fidelity. They also found that while 29.5 percent of men believe their partner is bad at managing money, roughly 40 percent of women feel that way.

But that didn't stop Mumsnet users from chastising hjliu8999 for trying to push her husband into chasing a career that he appears not to want.

One user, redskyatnight, wrote: "So DH is happy in his comfort zone, even if he doesn't like the job or sector (he must like them enough to want to stay where he is—he's not hit the tipping point). I think it's up to him if he chooses to move or not. You could suggest some career coaching I guess? Ultimately a lot of people stay in jobs that they moan about because they prefer the devil they know and don't have the confidence to move. And there is nothing wrong with this."