Should you stay or should you go?

Women who’ve ‘outgrown’ their husbands need to ask themselves some key questions

Should you stay or should you go

Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute"Moving out": "If you always make more money than he does and you are carrying the financial burden, do you think you will respect him?"

If it feels like you’ve “outgrown” your husband, you may be wondering if you should stay or leave. Advice columnist Kimberly Ventus-Dark wants to help you with that. In a new book, she offers up various scenarios.
Women who make more money than their husband and carry the majority of responsibilities at home and are unhappy with the situation would be better off leaving, she writes in When You Have Outgrown Him: Whether to Stay or Go. And if your husband makes some money but “completely dismisses his financial responsibilities to the household,” again, you’ll be happier if you go, she writes. “Women often mention to me that when they do bring home enough income to pay the bills and support the family, some men feel that their own paycheques should be kept for their own personal pleasures or building financial worth. Unless this problem is rectified, it is nearly impossible for the couple to maintain a meaningful relationship.”

In another situation, Ventus-Darks describes the marriage of Mark, a mechanic, and Maria, a nurse. “Maria wants to pursue a master’s degree but is confused because, recently, Mark has started to accuse Maria of thinking she is better than him. Mark doesn’t understand why Maria has changed so much since their marriage. Neither one of them had a degree before the marriage, and Mark doesn’t understand why Maria seems to have become so much of a snob or why she has to get a degree.”

Ventus-Dark believes that if a husband has low self-esteem, “there are important questions you need to ask yourself and deeply reflect on.” Among them: “If he continues to work at his current job, and you decide to pursue your Ph.D., will you be able to love him without resentment and shame? If you always make more money than he does and you find you are carrying the financial burden, do you think he will continue to be enough of a person for you and that you will be able to respect him the way that he deserves to be respected?”

If you accept your husband yet he cannot  “acknowledge, confront and get help with his own insecurities, it will be almost impossible for this relationship to work,” she advises. “He will be jealous and start holding his wife back. She will resent him for stopping her from being all that she can be.”

In a bit of pre-emptive advice, she also warns unmarried women about the pitfalls of making the first move on the dating scene. “More and more women are not sitting around waiting for men to approach them; rather, they are boldly taking the lead. Although this new approach is becoming more acceptable, there is a definite long-term disadvantage.” Most women, she explains, “don’t realize that being the aggressor initially means that they will need to be the initiator forever. As the relationship deepens, many women become tired of being expected to be the first one to do everything,” becoming “frustrated when they have to schedule all the date nights or initiate hand-holding or cuddling. This becomes an area of disharmony and imbalance in the relationship. She starts complaining that he is not carrying his load or that she does not feel loved or appreciated.”

But not all situations call for packing your suitcases. Boredom, for instance, is not a good reason to leave. She gives the example of Pamela, who left her marriage for a younger man. When Pamela’s affair ended, she was heartbroken that her ex-husband had moved on. “Pamela never thought that another woman would actually want her ex-husband.”

Wives bored with their husbands should ask themselves: “Would it be worth leaving if you knew you might never be in a committed marriage again?” And, “What if you decide you want to go back, but your spouse has moved on with someone else? Is it still worth leaving?”

Ventus-Dark concludes: “I and many other counsellors feel it is becoming harder to find available, quality men. Sometimes it can be more productive to scrutinize and work on problems you know and understand than to deal with a new person’s flaws and defects. The decision to leave must be deeply reflected upon and not made in haste, or because you feel so tired you can’t take it any longer.”




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Should you stay or should you go?

  1. The only thing this article uncovers is that Ms. Ventus-Dark is a wee bit sexist and seriously old school.

    Men have been supporting women for years, and many still are. Would we say the same for men then? If their wives don't make as much money or are less educated than they are, would that justify a man leaving his wife? Are you kidding, a guy would be crucified for this!

    Perhaps it's a generational thing – I'm 31 and make considerably more money than my partner – but by no means does this bother me. I would argue that the new generation of professional women aren't nearly as bothered by a man's salary and education as Ms. Ventus-Dark suggests.

    Looks like it might be time to find some new blood for her advice column. It certainly doesn't resonate with me.

  2. I totally agree. The old,bitter feminist tone, so dismissive of the fact of having a husband to 'outgrow', doesn't resonate with me either. Women in the 25-35 generation are much more flexible about these things.The author does not realize how much she shows her hand by applying the term 'outgrow'. to a husband. To categorically say who would and wouldn't be better off leaving their marriage, as if it were a business problem, is sick. This should have been written in the '80's.

    • Awesome – thanks. Additionally I encourage women and men to stay to true to their commitments.

  3. “If he continues to work at his current job, and you decide to pursue your Ph.D., will you be able to love him without resentment and shame? If you always make more money than he does and you find you are carrying the financial burden, do you think he will continue to be enough of a person for you and that you will be able to respect him the way that he deserves to be respected?”

    I laughed when I read that. The answer, of couse, is obvious. Anyone who engages in such self-absorbed hand-wringing should leave her husband immediately. Because whatever his shortcomings, he likely deserves better than to spend the rest of his life with an angst-ridden narcissist who would reads books like this one.

    • Haha… but I think he should stay and if he's aware of such hand-wringing he should be working hard to improve as well.

      Our risk as men in this world, is that such media pieces can and do encourage and convince weaker personalities to run away or those who are self-interested to dream of the imaginary greener-grass-fictional-superman on the other side of the fence and bail.

      How many women out there thought Charlie Sheen was the bomb? And today he's an alcoholic who likely could be studied in Medical School STD cases due to his encyclopedic collection of prostitution related contact. There is no superman… the idea of better-next-bigger-better-deal is a delusion sold by adultressess like those writing and involved with the article above.

  4. She gives the example of Pamela, who left her marriage for a younger man. When Pamela's affair ended, she was heartbroken that her ex-husband had moved on. “Pamela never thought that another woman would actually want her ex-husband.”

    Heh. Nothing like the shock and devastation of realizing for the first time that the world does not revolve around you.

    • Awesome… total thumbs up on your comment.

      It was the ex-husband's right to move on, however, as she was cheating on him and he'll be free to look back through the pearly gates as she is told there's no place in heaven for adultresses.

  5. Are you serious! If I ever left my wife for almost ANYTHING I would be hung out to dry. The attitude is, men are jerks if they leave but women are heros. Give me a break. Where are the equal right, Baby?

  6. I and many other counsellors feel it is becoming harder to find available, quality men. Sometimes it can be more productive to scrutinize and work on problems you know and understand than to deal with a new person's flaws and defects.

    This woman writes decent comedy, though she doesn't know it yet. Then again, my flaws and defects have rendered me so insecure that I simply can't appreciate her obviously superior intellect.

    • LOL.

      Isn't that just the truth… it's gawd awful isn't it.

  7. What are you for real lady???? urbancowgirlvancouver you are right, if men followed her advice there would be no married couples left in this world..
    The world is getting so screwed enough as it is without feminist BS like this… Men have enough troubles as it is with women and don't need a BS femisist to add fuel to the situation…..

    • Great comment "Concerned."

      I think the truth, however, is that these types of women hide behind "feminism" but in reality they just want to hurt other women and disrupt others lives… it's competition at it's worst and most of the time they do it because of impulses they can't control and they revel in making the world more troubled because they thrive on chaos.

      I have to say, I'll be canceling my MacLean's subscription if they keep putting this type anti-christian drivel out there… the least the editors could do is try to remain neutral but I'm concerned they either can't see the Christian values or don't care.

  8. All of you failed to read the full statement she opened with: "Women who make more money than their husband and carry the majority of responsibilities at home". This is the material point. As the primary breadwinner for years who also came home and cleaned the house and saw half-finished projects around the house, I eventually cut him loose. There needs to be a partnership in a healthy relationship and that doesn't necessarily hinge only on money but a sharing of responsibility. Also, men tend to develop self-esteem issues that undermine a relationship when the woman makes more. You don't have to look far to see examples of this.

    • Wow, it's easy to see what you're all about running down your man in public… and what's worse you still haven't had enough of attacking him even though you've "cut him loose." … Lady, you've got real problems.

      Even more ridiculous are your crazy conclusions… as if your man never completed projects or cleaned or cooked. Here's another prime example of someone who just cannot have enough and who is convinced nothing is ever good enough.

      How many projects were done around your home??? How many times did you sit on your fat asss while your man made you supper???

      I call this type of woman's thinking "Yoda's Thinking." You find a woman who sits on her but on the couch and criticizes the hell out of her man until he doesn't know whether he's coming or going and then when she's completely overturned his existence and disrupted his work life – she blames it all on him and then "Cuts Him Loose."

      There's a special place in Hell reserved for women who kick out their mates for reasons other than adultery and then themselves bang another guy and become an adulteress.

      Shame on you lady… you're everything that is wrong with the world and then some.

    • O Canada, I can agree with that, but given that it's a bit of a no brainer to part with a mate who does not pull their "weight" in the relationship (not just monetarily) this article delves further into the kind of selfish scenarios that the rest of the people on this thread rightly critisize.

      Henry, I think you presume way too much in your response.

      I found the article itself to be a bit of a "fluff piece" and find these comments much more interesting.

      • There's no presumption here other than the one you are making Michael. The simple truth is that anyone who has enough life experience has seen this type of woman – they set their man on multiple projects throughout the house and then fight their man on everything and anything to do with progress. The woman holds the money strings in this situation and so they exercise their control in a man that would make Uncle Adolph look like professional arbitrator.

    • I strongly urge men who have been duped by a self-serving female ogre like "O Canada" to file a Builder's Lien for any work they've done on the property. A normal and reasonable fee for this type of work is about 20 bucks an hour. A simple bathroom reno is usually about 500 to 750 hours for about 10,000 to 15,000 in labour. It's normal for a a single person doing this work to take at least two months and usually three for a custom job which I'm sure the "O Canada" ogre demanded.

      A basement reno is usually three times the above and usually takes between 2000 and 3000 hours. that's about 40,000 to 60,000 thousand dollars.

      First go down to your city hall and get a legal description of the property which will cost about 10 bucks per lot. Most lots sit on at least two lots if they have any reasonable size. Make an invoice and take it down to your local Canadian Provincial Land Titles office and fill out the paper work for a Builder's Lien. Any sale of the property will have to first pay you back. The Lien costs usually about 50 bucks per lot so if the property you've been working on for 6 to 9 months in total once you've added up all the hours sits on three lots, you'll have to pay 150 at the Land Titles Office for the Lien. This will show up on all credit checks against the owner and the property will not be able to be sold without paying the person who did the work.

      Moral of the story: That female ogre who cracked the whip day in and day out and made your life hell before kicking your butt to the curb is arrogant and a crook if they think your labour was a donation.

  9. Hilarious! Just imagine if a man wrote a book recommending that you trade in your wife for a younger model when she no longer meets your expectations of youthful sexual partner …

  10. There isn't a single sniff of a Christian value in any part of the article above… MacLeans, McKinnel, and Ventrus-Dark are all headed for hell with no chance of reprieve.

    The bottom line is this: the Bible and Jesus Christ says they only reason to leave a marriage union is because the other person cheats or because they abandoned you. Bailing because your incomes don't match is not only absurd but it's another example of the kind of thinking that the movie "Idiocracy" exposes in the first few minutes of the film.

    Not only that, but if the same stinky measuring stick that was just pulled out of Vents-Dark's backside was applied in the past, there's no doubt there would have been a a lot of women who would have starved to death in the early 1900's and before… so congratulations on proving that myopia is a real affliction that has migrated behind the eyes through horrible flaws in the evolution of women. Stupidly, we men picked the most pychotic and crazy asssed bittches as our mates over the last several thousand years simply because they were pretty.

    Welcome to the reality of the movie "Idiocracy" and it's not something we have to wait a few hundred years for… it's here now with all the dumbest things I've read lately as every female-know-it-all on the planet opines her surety of her greater-than-God's-wisdom.

    • Dear Naman –

      In one breath you are heralding the Bible, Jesus Christ, and sniffing Christian values, but you are quick to refer to a select group of women as, "crazy asssed bittches." It seems as though you may be in need of a psychiatrist yourself, to assist you with your myopic perception of women.

      Maybe try swallowing your own "greater-than-God's" wisdom, and instead focus on keeping your own sinful and judgmental ass out of hell.

      Leave the rest to deal with the mortality of their own soul's.

      • Kate, you must be a crazy asssed bittch". Clearly you don't respect men.

      • By the way Kate, the only person ascribing what I say as "greater-than-God's" wisdom is you.

        If you want a quote from the Bible, "women remain silent and do not speak disrespectfully to men."

        You are the kind of loose minded fool that accuses anyone who tries to speak about Christian values and the Biblical word of heresy.

        The simple truth, however, is that you are the accuser. In case you didn't know it, the Bible uses the term "Accuser" to describe evil and the Devil, so you you are clearly an accuser and that makes you just plan an Anti-Christ.

        I'd be willing to bet almost anything you've dumped an man or cheated on a spouse and so you are attacking what I say just to lash out. You are an adultress and there's no place in heaven for women like you Kate.

  11. I appreciate reading this article. I thought I was the only woman feeling this way. My husband has not worked for 1 1/2 years, off on a knee injury and makes 85% of what he earned in the year prior to the injury. I am taking night school courses toward another diploma and he belittles me CONSTANTLY about how my office job is not important and that I needn't worry about my night school because it isn't going to get me anywhere. I come home after working and still prepare the kids' lunches for school the next day. I feel like I have to work financially because of the financial burden on us, which I feel is his fault (car insurance), and yet, I feel I can't work because my kids think that I am selfish for working and going to night scool one night a week, also they are watching him "not" work and they think that is what adulthood will hold for them. I can't leave because he will take the kids – I don't want them to be stuck in the middle of a custody battle and I can't let him raise them. I am stupid for being with this loser who's dragging me and our children down. Now, what do I do in my situation???

    • I'll take a stab sure… the knee injury is an unfortunate curveball you couldn't have predicted in the first place, yet it is one of those circumstances that most if not all couples encounter in some fashion at some point. Don't ever think you're the only one no matter how perplexing the scenario. The curveballs if you will truly define how much you want/need to be with your other person and who they really are; sure you can enjoy the goods and deal with the bads when you're both in similar standing, but what are things like when one person has been bumped down from the capacity you had previously come to terms with or come to expect? Adaptation to change enables survival no matter what you're talking about, the question to me is whether both of you can or want to successfully adapt to this situation which doesn't sound like has happened yet…..

      • Does the other person show any inclination to do what they can to counterbalance the workload perhaps in different ways than before, given the unfortunate accident? Before you bold NO, has the issue been discussed in non-confrontational ways? Doing the brunt of the work and allowing that list to pile up as a weapon to attack your partner with is surely not adviseable. However, I would say that doing the brunt of the work and getting friction when calmly and nicely asking him to do something he can definitely do, a small task even – without expectation either way when you ask – would be a justified argument for you to hold. From there you can build on what he truly can/can't or will/won't do as an individual in your relationship. There's a difference between whether or not he's willing or wanting to help out more overall, versus whether or not he can deal with being given a new list of responsibilities you picked out for him to do in consideration of his injury.

        • Depending on who he is, but a lot of guys will experience some emotional turmoil within themselves in no longer holding the breadwinner, controlling the sustainability of the family aspect when they've hit a curveball that limits their earning power, their pain-free ability to handle issues that arise, etc. It can be this loss of control that is leading him to belittle your job and career aspirations. This is not an excuse nor does it justify his actions, just a possible explanation and indicator that he's losing his security or emotional comfort with himself.

          • Strictly on the surface, he's strapped with an injury (perhaps his fault, can't change that though other than trying to prevent something similar happening again), seeing his relative worth drop each quarter and he can't exactly heal himself overnight or get back to his previous standing quickly on his own accord. You, however, are taking the financial bull by the horns for the family and he's watching your self-sufficiency and relative worth grow each quarter while he's somewhat detained. Jealousy, insecurity, etc., you can pick if you'd like but it's not as important as what is willing to be done by both parties to regain a balance between you two….

          • I'd be curious as to what happens if you calmly ask him to do x or y, without demand or deadline, regardless of whether it's a typical you job or him job, and x or y is a task he could definitely do given his state. If you truly know and appreciate everything he does do and still feel it's so out of balance, the odd proposition here and there of, "Hey my hands are full, would you mind doing x?" should provide some insight as to what you're dealing with and more importantly if anything can be done.

          • Don't manage his time for him, don't berate him with constant small tasks every time he sits down, and don't control how he does it… be patient but look for improvement overall and be concerned when you've tried all you can think of and honestly can't criticize the way you've been going about doing so. Personally, if I could no longer do or provide any number of things I regularly did in the relationship before, there's a gap that can always be filled with something. Anything beneficial.

          • It can be liberating to be shown the light on how and why to adapt and take on new tasks yourself, or degrading to have new tasks thrown at you because you're now failing in your role and too inept to call your own shots. I would be concerned if there's no effort on your partner's part to help in other ways and especially if the reasons are I shouldn't have to do this or that or just no. He should view your partnership as a partnership and the balance that worked before can't exist now because of circumstance. Not fault, just circumstance. Will he adapt if you help him or give him a chance to, are you both game to accepting an imbalance if that is the case and creating a new "balance" even if it's not a perfect 50/50 division in your eyes.

          • I can't emphasize enough the patience needed and if you raise your voice or are poised to attack unless you get your expected answer, you're likely to get nowhere. Anytime you two are discussing this issue and it escalates to raised voices and snappy tones, you might as well write it off as useless until you get back talking on civil, respectful terms to each other. If that is impossible when you honestly try to keep the discussion calm and nice, and if you've give him loads of time and chances to help out more – not expectations – and he repeatedly proves unwilling, well then yes you may have a justified problem on your hands.

          • I think you shouldn't be looking for the same total benefit as you may have had before from him, right now anyway, but it sounds like your relationship maybe needs him to get to a place where he wants to help more, and where his contributions are appreciated both ways just as yours ought to be. Appreciate the babysteps if necessary, try to be supportive of material improvement and he just might elevate his self-worth if it's not this continual concern where now he's a deadbeat and you can do everything yourself anyway so what's the point in him doing more you don't really need him anyway. It's not much of a goal for him to wish to work toward when you're shooting for second place provider at best; try to accept what has happened and allow him a goal of sharing first place again with you in the things he can do to help out the family. It's probably worth a shot.

          • If he gets back to his original state, you can always allow a shift back to the balance that worked before, but it should be that both people provide somewhat or close to equally when factoring everything they do relative to their abilities, not just housework or with the kids or financially but with problem-solving, fix-its, managing finances, etc. Since you're the only person to possibly keep reading this far down, my thoughts on the kids are twofold. #1 – Kids don't understand that your going to night school will benefit them with better support for the future of the family, they care about what benefits them directly and quickest. They'll learn in time what you're doing is the opposite of selfish.

          • #2 – I was raised in a house where my mother did practically everything and my stepdad managed finances but typically just watched sports. The kids will see both Mom and Dad as separate people as they grow up. Lead by example. You'll be the parent that does and perhaps he'll be the parent that doesn't. Hopefully things can change to where you don't feel that way. My parents used to fight constantly but even as a kid I saw who was constantly running around doing things for the family and who was watching the bigscreen TV. Who would and who wouldn't. I had drawn my own judgments before I was a teenager and I didn't just relate to my stepdad and think adulthood would be a couch session because he was my father figure. I figured I don't want to be in a relationship one day where there's all this disagreement and yelling all the time, and I saw that firsthand when Mom did everything and Dad just did his thing in their relationship.

          • I've come out to do loads more than my stepdad in my relationships, and I wouldn't have it any other way because it gives me grounds within myself to believe I deserve a better relationship. I grew up resenting my stepdad for watching me mow the lawn and his game simultaneously, thinking everyone else in the family has to do chores why do you think you're so special to be above that. Don't assume your kids will blindly learn the worst, you may be surprised just how perceptive they can be.

          • To speak to your ultimate closing question, there's risks and potential rewards with leaving any relationship, to me though it's a matter of covering your bases for regret as best you can before making such an impactful decision. Consider how you might feel leaving right now today – is it possible that months down the road you'd be questioning whether or not you could have or should have handled things differently to have given it a better chance? I think that if you tried to encourage improvement, finally exhausted your patience and really did give it your all, heeding advice, trying different ways and being receptive as well as communicating nicely to see if you can get what you need, you'd be far less likely to regret leaving than if you let these things continue to build up and fight about them until they justify your leaving.

          • Is it irreparably bad enough that despite the custody dilemma you still need to get out to save yourself? To me it doesn't sound like you're there yet, you're trying to justify a decision that should come when you have more than enough to justify it and escape/damage control is necessary. If you've truly given it your all, over lots of time used constructively you'll likely get to a place where you're more stable in your decisioning as to what's best for you. Only you could know as much as is needed to be known to answer that question, only you will know what's best for you, so don't listen to anyone who tells you what's best for you. You'll know one way or another eventually. (The End)

          • Wow Tom… just wow.

    • Tom … you're a blathering aassshole.

      rockandhardplace… congratulations on just making fun of your man in public… you are a truly a beacon of darkness by calling your man a "loser." You are wondering if you are "stupid" and let me try to answer that question for you… you are belittling yourself and that asking others to comment on it… what do you think is the answer to that question?

      Don't be stupid… remember the adage that behind every great man their is an even great woman (and the reverse is equally true). Suggest and discuss a change of work if needed… if he has to go back to school then fine but figure out together what's needed. Realize that these discussions are the "long game" and not something that can be resolved always in one snap talk… you may have to go through several heated conversations before the issues sink in enough with both of you that you can begin to craft a way forward… and for pete sake…

      QUIT BELITTLING YOURSELF AND YOUR HUSBAND!!! (your not stupid and your husband is only as much of a loser as you think he is… if you think he's the greatest man on earth… he will be – convince yourself of this and he'll excel and make you proud to have the greatest man on earth in reality).

      • LoL good advice ignore what you see and believe hes perfect until it happens!?? Stupid meet stupider haha. I say give him a chance try too talk it out and be supportive or good luck convincing yourself to magically feel diferent about it

  12. This article is complete drivel.

    If a man had written this article asking the men who are the breadmakers to kick their wives to the curb because they do not contribute enough to the money pit that is their marriage would be called out for the crazy, sexist person he is! Every feminist group would rally and write letters to the editor asking for this person's dismissal, yet if a woman writes something like that, it's oka?

    I don't think it's okay. When two people form a union, it's for better or worse, not until I can't stand you anymore. This is why divorce is so high because of stupide, out of touch with reality councellors like the looney that wrote this tasteless and very sexist article.

    I agree with a previous writer. It's time to get a new writer for this column who is in touch with the 21st Century Couple and not still living in the 70's…

  13. What bothers me the most, is that she neglected to consider the "should you stay" perspective when discussing boredom. Simply staying with your husband because you don't want to be alone is horribly and incredibly selfish. If you're done putting in the effort to make the marriage work, you're not justified in staying because you don't think you'll find someone at "least as bad as your current husband" in the future. I am appalled that she would suggest using another human being like that. Marriage takes work, it's hard and it can get ugly. If your bored and too freak'n lazy to put in the effort or you're not getting enough out of it to justify the expenditure, then it's time to quit lying to yourself and lying to him.

    • Jessica uses the worst kind of argument to justify sinning against Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God.

      Here's the simple truth:

      The only reason to leave a spouse is because they have committed adultery. Additionally a spouse who has been abandoned by a mate can find another mate without sinning against God and Jesus Christ.

      All others, will go to hell and there is no forgiveness for their actions.

      Beware. Do not let these adulterers weasel their way into your lives by charm or as friends. Churches must take care not to let these types of people into their fellowship.

    • So you are saying you should abandon your spouse despite the fact Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit says you will go to hell for doing so?

      I strongly believe this whole topic is exactly what John the Baptist was denouncing when he had his head cut off. John said it was wrong for Herod to take his brother's wife Herodias. Herodias abandoned her first husband to marry Herod. John said they would go to hell for this and Herod and Herodias committed an unforgivable sin by silencing him in denouncing the behavior.

      Anyone who condones such adultery is on a path the Hell without doubt.

      I think it's important that both sides of this debate be heard. Leaving a spouse for any other reason than cheating is an unforgivable sin. No one should be fooled into believing that this article that is the subject of this forum is about anything else other than whether is ok to abandon a spouse against Jesus Christ and the Bible.

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