We talk a lot about the division of labor between parents, both emotional and physical, but what about the financial labor? If, for example, one parent is working full time while the other is on unpaid maternity leave, is it fair to expect that parent to pay half the rent? Is it even possible? One dad seems to think so. A new mom took to the sub-Reddit r/Marriage to get advice after her husband insisted she pay half the rent, and it has everyone talking.
“My husband earns 4x more than me (I earn 68k and he earns 280k),” the new mom wrote in the sub-Reddit forum r/Marriage. “Our rent is 2.6k/month. We’ve been splitting rent 50-50 since we moved in together, before we got married. The arrangement did not change after we got married and now that we have a baby, with me having 0 income, so I’m relying on my personal savings.” She went on to explain that she is dipping into her personal savings because the couple do not have a joint account, and she is expected to contribute 75% of her savings to put down a deposit on a house they are saving to buy. She also is expected to provide most of the items for their 4-month-old baby and breastfeeds exclusively. And so, she wants to know, “Is this fair? What is the best way to approach this?”
People had a lot of thoughts on this issue, with some noting that the husband appeared to be financially abusing his wife. “This is financial abuse. Start charging him for childcare and cleaning services. Even when you return to the workforce you should not be paying half,” one Redditor noted, while another added, “This is wildly unacceptable. It would likely be cheaper and easier to be a single parent. He is financially abusing you.”
Another Redditor took the idea of single parenting being a better financial arrangement and ran with it, writing that the new mom “would be better off getting child support and alimony from this guy than in the current arrangement (if they divorced in the USA). I would be taking a hard look at my relationship because this is massive levels of abuse and disrespect.”
Another person couldn’t get over how horribly unfair this new dad was being. “I'm sorry, he makes 280K and right now you have to use your PERSONAL SAVINGS because you aren't working because you had HIS baby? WHAT?!”
Twitter user (and Romper staff writer) @LaComtesseJamie shared a simple calculation that would be vastly more equitable for the new mom.
Twitter user @Dani_Knope agreed that finances should be split based on income rather than 50/50. “He makes 4x as much, should pay 4x as much so the costs are felt equally. 80-20. If rent is 45%~ of her wages but only 10%~ of his wages, he was always living a much smoother life. Now it’s flipped to her paying 0% and he’s mad she’s getting “his” smooth life for 4 [months].”
Dr. Julie Gurner replied succinctly, “Marriage is a team sport, and this is not a team.”
Finances are an uncomfortable conversation for a lot of people, we get it. But hashing it out and making sure you are in a relationship with someone who is going to be equitable and fair is a vital step to the health of your partnership. Especially when you become parents.
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