My wife wants to live comfortably at the expense of my hard work

By Cao Cuong   February 14, 2024 | 07:19 pm PT
Ever since my wife stopped working to look after our second child, I have become my family’s sole financial provider.

As I write this, I feel exhausted and worried about our family’s future. I fear I won’t have the strength to continue bearing the load amid growing economic and work challenges, increasing expenses for the kids, and the rising rent in Ho Chi Minh City.

I’m 35, my wife is 32, and we have five- and two-year-old children. My monthly salary is VND26 million (US$1,064), but it comes with pressure. Our household expenses include VND5 million, VND4 million for our five-year-old son’s kindergarten, diapers, and food for the family.

However, my wife manages our finances poorly, often spending carelessly. She does not appreciate my hard work and lives with a day-to-day mindset, which puts all the pressure on me. Though I don’t blame her for staying at home to care for our young child, I’m disappointed that she doesn’t share the burden.

Every morning, I have instant noodles or leftover rice for breakfast before dropping off our eldest at school and going to work. Meanwhile, my wife and the youngest sleep until 9 a.m., then they go out for breakfast at a café, where my wife also enjoys a cup of coffee. I’ve suggested she could save money by preparing breakfast at home, but she ignores me.

She also carelessly leaves the air conditioning, fan, and TV on all day, leading to electric bills over VND1 million some months. In her free time, my wife is always on her phone and prefers to use diapers for the children all day instead of potty training them. Our five-year-old still wears diapers to bed. I’ve suggested she find something to do in her free time to earn money, but she ignores that too.

I’ve also suggested shopping at the wholesale market to save money since it’s close by and offers food that is much cheaper, but she prefers the supermarket where things are sold for higher prices, and always buys things that we never use.

Given my wife’s spending habits, my monthly salary fails to cover our family’s expenses, forcing me to sometimes borrow money from friends and family.

I’ve told my wife that after the Tet Lunar New Year holiday, she should start working or we should split the household expenses, fearing what we’d do if I lose my job or get my salary reduced, but I honestly don’t know how things will turn out. There are many people in the world who only want to enjoy life at the expense of others like my wife.

I’m exhausted by this life, and thoughts of divorce frequently cross my mind. What steps should I take now?

go to top