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Today's Dear Prudence column on Slate featured a letter from a 26 year old woman who was badly stressed by a recent job experience, so she quit. Her boyfriend, who is currently supporting her, is under the impression that she is looking for a new job to start soon, but the letter writer is happier at home (tinkering around the house and walking her dog), and wants the situation to stay this way forever.

In this situation, she seems to be rushing into this way too soon, but what do you think about this idea in general?


The idea of not working is so nice it always seems unfair to me to have one person in a relationship take it up. In my life, both Mr L and I work full time. He says he would love it if I made enough that he could stay at home all day and do whatever he wanted, but we both know he never would. He probably does make enough that I could quit my job, but I never would. First of all, it makes one person completely reliant on the other, which makes for a power imbalance. It also puts way more stress on one person in the relationship, which I can't imagine can be good for the partnership in the long run. It also seems so short-sighted. No matter how much my partner makes, every year we are both working is (assuming we are fiscally responsible) that much closer to both of us being able to retire.

Another point to consider is that if only one person in a relationship is working, the danger of financial troubles if they lose their job is always a major threat. If Mr L lost his job right now, it would be really tight, but there would be time to breathe before we lost the house. If I hadn't worked in years, though, how easy would it be for me to get another job to help pay the bills?

There's also the fact that I think I'd get a weird vibe from anyone who actively wanted their spouse/partner to not work and be completely reliant on them. Doesn't that seem overly possessive and controlling?

How do you feel about this? Please let me clarify (if needed) that I am talking about situations involving two healthy, able-bodied people without children who are both capable of working.


ETA: I also always have to roll my eyes at the idea of not working because your job doesn't interest you. Very few people are emotionally fulfilled by their jobs. Just view your job as something you have to do to support a life that is otherwise interesting and fulfilling.

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