"House Husband" & Best Friends With Your Ex

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

DEAR CAT: What is your call on a man being a “house husband”? I don’t see a problem if the man stays home, keeps the house, and raises children while the woman earns the actual income. I get grief about this all the time. I am a 38 year old man, I’ve worked hard for twenty years, and I’m in a serious relationship with a very career driven woman. See, I never wanted to be out in the 9-5 workforce but I I’m not lazy at all! I just always wanted to be a father and keep a home. My girlfriend’s parents tell her not to marry me because they say once we’re married I’ll stop working and sponge off her. But I would never do that. I would only stop working if we had children to raise and she wanted to work. What is so wrong with this idea, and why can’t people accept it? My girlfriend is fine with the idea but I think people are starting to change her mind. —I’M NO SPONGE!

DEAR NO SPONGE: Nothing is wrong with the idea of a stay-at-home dad and many people can accept it. But it’s no surprise her parents aren’t thrilled at the prospect of an unemployed son in law. Chances are, nothing will change their minds besides seeing their daughter hit professional success while you manage the home, 24/7, with babies, mops and laundry. In the end, though, a mature, adult couple should live, raise their family, and run their home however they see fit. As long as both partners consent to the arrangement, her parents’ opinions are irrelevant. But think on this…Cat’s Call: If people are changing her mind or scaring her, she’s not as “fine” as you think.

DEAR CAT: I am a 21 year old junior in college. My girlfriend (she’s 19) and I broke up in August after 3 years. She is now in a new relationship with an 18yr old kid who goes to community college. But she “doesn’t want to ‘x’ me out of her life,” so she insists on being best friends. Her new guy doesn’t like how much we talk, especially after she lied and said we talk much less than we do. She said he wants to meet me to size me up for a fight. What is your advice on dealing with this? I assume cutting her out of my life would make this less “high school.” —DONE WITH HIGH SCHOOL

DEAR D.W.H.S.: You assume right. But don’t stop there – cutting her out of your life is just a smart start. The next step is understanding you can’t be best friends with your recent ex who needs so much attention that she purposefully incites jealousy, and strings along both of you in the hopes you’ll duke it out to win her hand. That’s not just high school, that’s manipulative and mean. She’s currently lying to her boyfriend and fake-friending you, all while setting you up for a potential brawl. Lovely girl, I can’t imagine why you ever broke up. Some might say she’s still young and immature. Cat’s Call: Nineteen is old enough to know you shouldn’t hurt the ones you love.

  1. Hey Cat,
    No way, no how, no chance will Mr. House Husband ever convince her parents that he’s a stand-up guy. Frankly I don’t think he could convince me and I’m with you that it’s an acceptable thing. I think the fact that he’s making such a big deal about the subject makes me wonder if he’s attracted to his girlfriend BECAUSE she’s career-oriented. That way he can be taken care of once they’re married. You can be a man who loves marriage and family and still be a man who provides financially for that family.

    — Jan (San Francisco, CA)    12/09/2008    Reply

  2. About both of today’s questions: House Husband guy sounds sincere but I can’t help questioning any man who admits, “I’ve never wanted to have a job.” And the BFF exes is such a joke; couples try this and it’s never real like with your regular friends. Even if the guy didn’t include their ages it’s obvious they’re pretty young.

    — Carrie, USA    12/09/2008    Reply

  3. Hey, Mr. Househusband doesn’t have to prove a darn thing to his spouse’s parents. The man already said he’s been employed and worked hard for 20 years. Now, his career-driven spouse wants to do her thing. Heck, yeah! And all the power to her, as long as HE’s taking care of the home and children. I am retired from the military for 20 years and have 15 years of outside employment since. If my spouse wanted to work and I could afford to stay home… bet your bubble, I would. I don’t see any problem here and as far as it goes, Mr Househusband has NOTHING to prove to anyone and should dis all of those idiots who have a negative outlook on HIS lifestyle. They’re just jealous. I remember my mom spelling this word out to me. Mr. Househusband, keep up the good work and make sure those kids are properly raised. THAT’s what we need more of.

    — Eddie, Pittsburgh, PA    12/09/2008    Reply

  4. Okay that situation is a little stupid and high school with the new boyfriend wanting to punch out the old boyfriend but sometimes your ex IS your best friend. There’s a woman I dated a while ago who I honestly feel closer to than anyone else. We don’t even talk anymore and we’ve both moved on and been in other relationships but when there are things I really want to share with someone she’s the only one I think about. If I could have her as my best friend I would. But we all know our new significant others wouldn’t go for that (I don’t blame them)

    — John Q. (Long Island)    12/09/2008    Reply

  5. I feel pretty qualified to comment on the house husband situation because I was (yep: WAS) married to one. He is never going to convince most people that he’s not a sponge, our society is just not there yet. People will question his “masculinity”, old ladies (strangers) in shopping malls will try to take his babies into ladies rooms to change them when he finds the men’s room has no facilities. Even his children will suffer, as many moms are loathe to schedule play dates with stay-at-home dads as it feels awkward. If he and his fiancee agree they want to do the SAHD thing, they have to make serious ground rules and stick to them. These rules include an equitable division of home responsibilities, how financial issues are handled, and a reasonable time frame for Dad to return to work after the children are in school. My ex wanted to do the SAHD part of the job, but not the make dinner, clean the house, do the laundry part of homemaking, and if I were a SAHM I would have been expected to keep the house tidy and have a meal prepared at least a few nights a week. My ex also insisted on handling the money, even though I earned it, and that caused great tension. I finally split with my ex when it was clear that he really just didn’t like to work—it wasn’t that he wanted to be a SAHD, he just wanted to stay at home…our daughter was in school full-time and he would not return to work—and his excuse was that he had no job skills left because he had not worked in so long. There’s a lot to consider here that people just can’t dream of unless they’ve experienced it.

    — Marcy, Pittsburgh    12/09/2008    Reply

  6. I want to comment on John Q’s point about exes being best friends. He says he still thinks of one ex in particular when he really wants to share something personal but that’s the serious problem right there. In my mind that means he’s probably still kind of in love with her. He says they “moved on” but also says that he misses her because he can’t share things with her anymore. I wonder how his current GF feels about that. She doesn’t know, no doubt, or she wouldn’t be with him. Basically this is why people shouldn’t be friends (especially BEST friends!) with their exes.

    — anonymous Pgh, PA    12/09/2008    Reply

  7. I disagree with that last commenter. It’s natural to miss someone you were extremely close with. Even if you’re with someone else there are times you will think of that ex who knew all your private stuff and know they’d understand why you feel a certain way. It doesn’t mean you still love them in a romantic way. When I was in my 20s I wanted to own my own business (a particular kind but that’s not important.) 15 yrs later I own that business and I know my girlfriend from back then would be happy to see it. She helped me start planning for it and supported me when I thought I’d never do it. We broke up amicably and I do think of her sometimes when I look around at what I created because it was partly with help from her.

    — JOE PGH    12/09/2008    Reply

  8. For Mr. Househusband – While it’s perfectly acceptable in my opinion for a man to want to stay at home and raise children, I think you are trying to cover up one of your soft spots, which is not having a passion to fulfill your life. That doesn’t mean it has to fall into the “job” category, but the fact that you’ve never liked working signals to me that you are doing something you dread. Just because being at home is nice, relaxing and “easy,” doesn’t mean it’s going to be nice, relaxing and easy when children are thrown into the picture. Think again. I’m sure you will soon find yourself in the shoes of most women in this country – trying to figure out their true purpose.

    — Anna (Pittsburgh)    12/09/2008    Reply

  9. I never read Cat’s Call before now. I am in the same situation except my boyfriend is the one who wants us to stay “friends”. But he broke up with me! I asked him: if you don’t want us together then you don’t want me in your life and he said that’s not true. I think he’s afraid I’ll be with someone else and not there for him anymore. It makes it really hard for me to get over him because he treats me like his best friend and even flirts a little bit but nothing more. What am I supposed to do? I’m worried he’ll get another girlfriend and I’m just waiting for him. It’s not fair and I think it’s right when you say it’s kind of mean.

    — SAbram Erie    12/09/2008    Reply

  10. If you matain a BFF relationship with an ex you are preventing that same level of connection with new relationships.

    — Diana(NY)    12/11/2008    Reply

  11. The House Husband isn’t a progressive idea or ‘before its time’; it’s a faulty one. There are exceptions but in general it doesn’t look good if a man says he doesn’t do anything for a living. Biology aside it doesn’t matter if they’re a good father or even if they’re rich, there’s something lazy about a man who doesn’t EARN anything. He looks lazy or spoiled.

    — martin j. PA    12/14/2008    Reply

  12. Hey man!! I don’t like the idea of a man minding the chores… don’t you know that financial identity has always been one of the insecurities of man? Besides I’d hate to see my daughter and son seeing their father minding the chores while I work double time to provide for the family. It’s a big NO for me!

    — carlab, philippines    12/21/2008    Reply


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