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Emanuele del Rosso

My husband is insecure and jealous…

‘I just got a promotion and now I am earning more than my husband. Since the time I’ve received this news, my husband has been aloof. Is he insecure? What can I do? I really want us to be like before.’

Well done, dear! You are doing well in your career – that’s wonderful news, but yes, you do have a situation on your hands, dear. Let’s try and understand it before we sound any alarm bells on it.

So your partner is a bit aloof – of course he would be. Give the man a break. All this while he was under the impression, as are a lot of men, that: ‘I am a little above this girl. I am a bit smarter, a bit better-placed in all terms, I am basically the provider, and she’s the one who needs to be taken care of.’ This may not only be your husband’s thinking – it perhaps is of most men, not only in Kenya but across the world.

One of many

It is not their fault, and definitely not only your hapless husband’s. Society and patriarchy have given us this legacy in so many ways. The man should be elder to his wife, definitely taller, definitely better off. Only then is he worth being a match. So when any of these pillars – and there are many more – shake, so does the worth of each of those men.

Your husband may well be going through a series of emotions, from plain jealousy, to a sense of being lesser, of feeling threatened and perhaps even a sense of regret that you don’t need him as much as you did…

Support and care

So now what are you to do? Surely don’t let this go to your head – that ‘now I have the upper hand’ – unless you are on a show-him-down agenda. Sit him down one day when you both are relaxed and ask him about his opinion on your promotion. Does he like it? Approve of it? Does he want to say something?

Ask him openly – is he not happy for you? Is it bothering him that now that you have a promotion you won’t be able to devote time to your household stuff or him… is that the matter? Be supportive and caring, help him to come out with what he feels.

Avoid money talk

Whatever you do, don’t take the money line: ‘Are you worried that I make so much more than you…?’ Because he will not listen to whatever you say after this. So talk about each other, your promotion but not the money. Ask questions about his work – not just superficially, but honestly, get to know his professional side better.

Now that you do have some extra money, where do you plan on spending it or investing it? Would that be the latest hand bag or towards a joint goal? You both are young, you may have loans, debts or even dreams of something you both wanted to do. Why not invest in that?

A friendly offer

That ought to make him feel very good and you too. Make the offer – or without making any offers, take over one expense of the house, say a fixed cost you have to bear – take it off his plate. Make an offer or just insist, let’s see how that works out.

Whatever you do, please don’t talk about how you can afford it now! It’s very irritating and dull talk anyway. No one is really that interested in your pay package. For sure this is a time to celebrate your promotion, but it’s not quite the time to act or feel superior. So in the case you were planning to buy him something – say a gift – postpone it for now and do not raise the bar. Buy each other tiny little presents, just like you did before…

Down and out

He perhaps is feeling a bit insecure – you and only you can help him through this time. Just as society has these huge expectations from men, similarly, men can’t deal with not being the ‘provider’.

For your relationship to get back on the track, you need to be your usual cheerful self and drag him out of his own work-a-day world. If the money talk does emerge, don’t hide behind it, speak up and assuage him that the relationship you both share is not based on money so why bring it up now.

Ok, once again, congratulations and all the best in your task ahead. Hope things work out soon – being calm and kind are the key here. All the best.


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