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Calling Successful Women Held Back by (Stupid) Husbands...
Old 07-18-2013, 03:00 PM   #1
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Calling Successful Women Held Back by (Stupid) Husbands...

One of my wife's coworkers, who I also know along with her husband, has worked very hard and advanced from an entry level position to a supervisory position. She is very bright and hardworking. At about age 40, she recently completed her Masters, and has now been offered her choice of several mid/upper level management positions. She is definitely interested. However, she is married to a vain, self absorbed idiot IMO who is threatened by her success (she already makes more than he does). When she told him about the opportunities, he said flatly you can't take any of those because you have to be there for the kids (about 7 & 12 yo). He's not an absentee father, but he expects her to be there for the kids for all the really hard parenting. He refuses to discuss her career opportunities beyond that.

To compound the nonsense, he intends to retire early on a public pension.

I very well understand that interfering could be dangerous, and I realize some will tell me 'it's none of your business.' But it's just criminally unacceptable that he is holding her back IMO.

Any advice some of you successful women might be able to share (PM if you like)?

I'd really like to find a way to help her. I am sure he'd never accept the situation if the 'shoe was on the other foot.' I am wondering if I can enlist her, or better yet his parents to talk some sense into him - but I don't know them.



Note: I'm a male in case my avatar choice may suggest otherwise to newer members...
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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What, is she living in tbe 50s? She's a big girl.

And remember no good deed goes unpunished.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:20 PM   #3
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I've seen a couple of women at work with this issue. (Thankfully I have a husband who believes in co-parenting. Which is good since I outearn him and work more hours than he does.)

One friend's situation - it ended in divorce. She was in marketing, and was expected to travel a lot for work. Her husband refused to even pick up/drop off the kids from daycare and take them to her mothers house (where they would spend the night because he refused to change a diaper also). She finally divorced him when she realized that in her case - it was easier to manage her career and family without him in the picture. She was already working around his issues before they got divorced... having her mom watch the kids when she was out of town on business.

Another came close to the brink of divorce... but he realized that he'd lose her income and some of his income if he didn't step up. Pragmatics made him start supporting her career.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:20 PM   #4
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Do you know the husband well enough to talk with him yourself? Very rationally, of course, basically letting him know how you were so proud of helping your wife achieve her potential in the workplace (if that's true), or even just getting him to talk about it so he realizes how stupid it sounds when he talks about it to someone else.

Another approach would be for the wife to start a list of benefits/concerns about her taking a higher level position and sit down to talk with him about it and let him add his. Things like additional money for college for the kids, inspiring their daughter (if they have one - and this one is a real biggie), as well as a plan for how she will deal with the kids. Having been in upper-mid management myself while kids were that age, in truth she may have more flexibility with your schedule than in some non-management jobs (although the total hours may be more, you can do work in the evenings when kids are doing homework/asleep, etc.) - of course, if there is a lot more travel than she currently does then that doesn't work. If she just finished her Masters, that took a lot of time that she now has available to apply to her work without affecting the family.

I would leave his early retirement out of the discussion completely.

Of course, all of this predicates that he would actually have a rational discussion.

Good luck and thanks for standing up for equality and common sense!
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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I would let them work it out. I left that kind of a job so I could be home with my kids. When I read your post I thought of a Mahatma Gandhi quote, "There is more to life than increasing its speed."
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:19 PM   #6
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If she can't work this out, what chance does she really have to be successful at an upper management job?
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:36 PM   #7
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What, is she living in the 50s?

No, but her husband seems to be.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:45 PM   #8
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Been there, done that. My husband refused to consider a move that would have resulted in a promotion and ultimately a higher pension. He doesn't know it but I resent that to this day.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:55 PM   #9
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Things are usually not as straight forward as they seem and uninvited 'intervention' can often make matters worse. Beyond perhaps a gentle suggestion of independent counseling, it really is best to MYOB. Unless you have evidence of abuse, trust that this intelligent, well-educated woman can handle the situation & make her own decisions.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:24 PM   #10
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If she can't work this out, what chance does she really have to be successful at an upper management job?
Update: Late this afternoon she accepted one of the promotions offered and told her boss (the CEO) that she wants his job some day. Her husband is just going to have to adjust accordingly.

She's going to be successful...and we're off the hook. I'm thrilled she stood up for herself after hesitating for several days.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:44 PM   #11
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This is a tough situations because if you seem too pushy with the issue then you might lose or damage your friendship. It is tough seeing people make mistakes like this and it is even tougher knowing they have all the potential in the world. Some guys need to grow up and accept that they have married someone who is strong and independent but who still loves them for them...
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:26 AM   #12
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I'll never understand why so many guys take that position. I've often told DW that if she got a high-paying job I'd be more than happy to have the house kept clean, dinner on the table by 5, and greet her at the door with a smile, a glass of wine, and a "How was your day, dear?"

Some guys wouldn't know a good thing if it bit them on the butt.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:25 AM   #13
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Her actions indicate she is obviously ready for the promotion, and ready to lead, so good for her. My sister's 2nd marriage ended due to a circumstance that was similar. My BIL thought that after she spent 15 years getting a PhD, she should be happy having kids and staying home. That was the beginning of the end.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:03 AM   #14
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How does she spell divorce?
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:03 PM   #15
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How does she spell divorce?
Her DH may find out soon enough if he doesn't change his tune.

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Old 07-19-2013, 12:19 PM   #16
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Honestly, I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:05 PM   #17
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Sounds just like my parents.
Whenever mom reached a point where she started making more than dad, he forced her to quit that job and stay home for a year or two. Since he never made much, this situation recurred with regularity, over and over throughout my childhood.

It was nothing to do with taking care of the kids; it was simply a matter of his ego -- he couldn't stand his wife making more than he did.

Of course they were a completely different generation (born in the early 1920s), so the comparison is not exact, but it sure sounds familiar to me.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:30 PM   #18
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Update: Late this afternoon she accepted one of the promotions offered and told her boss (the CEO) that she wants his job some day. Her husband is just going to have to adjust accordingly.

She's going to be successful...and we're off the hook. I'm thrilled she stood up for herself after hesitating for several days.
That's good. But as a rule, I do not get in between a married couple, even if I think one of them is in the wrong. Of course there are exceptions to the rule involving abuse or criminal conduct, but this situation is not one of those.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:32 PM   #19
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Update: Late this afternoon she accepted one of the promotions offered and told her boss (the CEO) that she wants his job some day. Her husband is just going to have to adjust accordingly.

She's going to be successful...and we're off the hook. I'm thrilled she stood up for herself after hesitating for several days.
Glad to hear it! If her husband has any sense, he'll enjoy the benefits and work with her to deal with any issues. If not
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:38 PM   #20
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Update: Late this afternoon she accepted one of the promotions offered and told her boss (the CEO) that she wants his job some day. Her husband is just going to have to adjust accordingly.
Good for her! And IMHO there was nothing you could do to sway the outcome either way. It was squarely on her shoulders to either be meek and say 'yes dear' or stand up for herself and say F U even when the second option will likely have consequences.

First husband was a mirror image of this dude and I took option #2. Best decision I ever made.
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