Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Case of the Woke Husband

Ken is a modern man. He has overcome his masculinist tendency to be a breadwinner and has comfortably settled in as a parasite. His wife works. She has to work extra hours, because Ken cannot keep it together. He cannot hold down a job and does not seem to care.

Ken’s wife, calling herself “Overtime” writes to the Washington Post advice columnist, Carolyn Hax:

"Ken" and I have been married five years, together nine. Ken is an amazing person, he's upbeat, handsome, charming and thoughtful, but can't seem to stick to a job. He has a master's in a high-paying technical field that cost his parents a fortune, but he hated it so much he lasted less than a year in that field. Since we've been together he has participated in seven different business ventures.

He gets super enthusiastic about a "new" thing, spends a lot of time and money doing the fun and exciting part, but loses interest when the tough, mundane reality of running a business hits. I've had to work lots of overtime just to keep us solvent, we can never save and can't even think about having children.

When I talk to him about finding something steady, he tells me he's still looking for his passion but when he finds it, things will take off faster than I can imagine.

I guess I could accept the status quo and love Ken for who he is, or admit love isn't enough and divorce him. Since I do love him, but want a stable life, I'm looking for advice that finds a middle ground.

— Overtime

As another participant in the Hax conversation explains, the notion that you must find your passion in order to be successful is nonsensical garbage. Ken has no sense of responsibility. He has been turned into a slug. Worse yet, he is perpetrating a con. He takes no responsibility for his behavior. He does not care about whether or not his wife is working overtime. He certainly does not care whether or not the couple can have children.

Hax chooses to respond with some level headed advice:

You either decide he’s a househusband and see whether there’s a happily-ever-after in that. If there is, then you restructure your lives to fit into one income — certainly partners are more than their paychecks, or else what happens when one can’t work, is home with kids or is just really great at and satisfied by running a home? Or you say no, this is not an arrangement you can abide, because the resentment it generates — from the physical fatigue of extra work to the mental fatigue of being broke to the chafe of his draining you to indulge himself — outweighs the good.

These are fair points. She might decide to make him into a househusband, but who knows whether he would accept the position? And who knows whether he will be any better at it than he has been at his business forays?

Another participant in the conversation echoes my own rather judgmental attitude.

Yes, it could be ADHD, but you are now your husband's mother. It's a miserable, miserable way to live. Please, don't go 20 years with him before reaching your breaking point like I did. You can't have children with someone who can't carry their share of the load.

Fair point. “Overtime” should not have a child with a man who cannot even hold up his end of the bargain. What kind of father will he be? What kind of role model will he be for a son?

She does better to exit the emotionally abusive marriage and look for a man who fulfills manly duties. As I said, it’s a modern problem, produced by those in our culture who have told men that they do not need to be breadwinners.


Anonymous said...

Benny Hinn

Sam L. said...

It appears to me that divorce is what she needs. To get him out of her life, so she can move on. And hopefully, find a man who will be a proper husband.

Walt said...

Except given the "I do love him" part she's not ready for divorce. So if I were her friend, I'd advise her to separate, get her own apartment, see him all she likes but stop supporting him financially (which is what allows him to indulge in boyish sloth) and see if a new sink-or-swim reality makes him get it together. He most likely won't, but in that case she's already taken the first steps to ease herself out, emotionally as well as actually.

Dean G. Barry said...

If he is unmotivated, he should seek a career in government. Basic requirement is to get to work on time, get along with co-workers, and do at least a half-assed job. Government has a wide variety of jobs, so he should have no problem finding something that tickles his fancy. He should get a foot in the door and go from there. If he can't hang onto a government job for at least a year, she should not have kids and find someone else, or resign herself to a life of overwork and low standard of living