Husband Wants to Create Art Full-Time But Wife Doesn’t Want to Be the Breadwinner Even Though They Can Afford It. Is She Being Selfish?

The Backstory

The original poster (OP) has been married to her husband for ten years. They always hated their jobs and agreed it would be a 50/50 struggle. Over the last few years, OP has excelled in her career. As a result, her pay has skyrocketed, and she will be making six figures this year. 

OP has offered to take more responsibility for the household, such as paying more bills, trips, and other fun family things. But with her pay increase, OP’s husband says he can’t wait until he doesn’t have to work at his job soon.

They have school-age children, so they do not need a stay-at-home parent. Furthermore, OP wasn’t consulted and didn’t agree to her husband quitting his job just because she is making more money. OP didn’t beat around the bush. She told her husband “Um, I never dreamt of financially providing for a grown man… if you stop working, I will lose respect for you.” OP asked him if he understood and that they were on the same page, and he said yes. 

OP says his dream is to work on his art all day. He does this while working on the side but has never made money. If he quit his job to sit at home without an income, OP would feel like he was leeching off of her. But she also feels guilty for being unsupportive of his dreams. 

OP isn’t sure if she handled the situation well. She would be ok with her husband working part-time, but then she would expect him to pick up more household chores. OP doesn’t want to seem controlling, so she is confused about what to do.

The Readers Comment

“He didn’t discuss it with you, he just started saying how much he was looking forward to not working anymore. Like it was a done deal. These are things that need to be discussed and agreed on. And you are well within your rights to say you don’t want to be the sole breadwinner, even if you make enough to do so. That would be a deal breaker for a lot of folks.”

Another reader agrees. However, they don’t believe the time the husband has to spend on creating is fair enough to question why he hasn’t sold anything.

While I do think that OP’s husband needed to talk with her about any possibility of his giving art full time a try rather than jumping in with an assumption that it would be ok, I wholeheartedly disagree with the idea that ‘if it was going to be profitable enough to live off of, it probably would’ve resulted in something already. Doing art in the very limited free time available given modern society’s work demands is significantly different from having the freedom to really, truly give doing art professionally a try. It’s not fair at all to imply that anyone working full time (and also being a parent and an adult with responsibilities for their household, etc) should also have been able to: make art, learn where and how to market that art, actually implement marketing that art, etc.”

Some readers who are also artists can sympathize with OP’s husband.

“As an artist, I’ve had nothing but burn out since starting my new job. Love it but I feel no motivation to create. When I was unemployed and stressing finding a new job, my artistic output was at its greatest. If I wasn’t applying to jobs, I was creating.”

Some readers think OP should give her husband a chance to create. 

“Most artists/musicians/performers have to work at least part time. I sold almost $40k but that was over a period of 10 years. I found a niche, but it took so much time to get shows, do shows, meet with patrons for commissions, then design and actually do the work. I def understand why a woman would not want to support a mooch but but maybe give him a year or two to really work hard at it? Her career has boomed, maybe his art will, too. Or maybe he will just become as happy and fulfilled in his life as she is.”

“Right? A full time job and kids doesn’t leave a lot of time to create. Depending on the medium and process a piece of art can take anywhere from 2-90+ hours to create. Also to get better you need to practise, which is even more time. Plus a tired person doesn’t generally feel creative. OP isn’t wrong, the partner is for springing this on them, but let’s not forget art takes time and energy.”

Should OP take a chance and let her husband quit his job to pursue art full-time? Or should she stand by her statement and make him keep working so she isn’t the sole breadwinner? Was saying she would lose respect for him too harsh?

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This post originally appeared on Reddit.

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