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Could Wife’s Yoga Habits Break Up This Marriage?

in YD News

Husband Scorned Over Paying for Wife’s Yoga Addiction

Uh oh! Trouble in yogadise. We caught this “Dear Abby”ish article from an exasperated, and rather sadly scorned husband in The Record, Canada’s Kitchener-Waterloo daily paper. Sounds like wifey has seen the light and fallen head over heels for yoga while hubs is left in the dark footing the bill. It started with classes and now it’s progressed into a full-blown retreat addiction! What to do? Could yoga break up a marriage? He hasn’t even mentioned the $100 yoga pants yet.

Q. My wife retired from her part-time job and has taken up yoga in a serious way. She takes a yoga class every day and has also attended yoga weekends, and is now planning to go on a yoga retreat in Bali.

All this takes money and she thinks that since I’m still working, it’s OK for these expenses to come out of our budget even though I get no benefit from this. I’m not even allowed to go on the retreat I’m paying for as a companion.

I have a good income but the unfairness of this bothers me. She never earned as much as me, but she used to be able to pay her own way for her clothes, hairdos, and spending money. What’s your take on the imbalance here?

A. You feel excluded, which is affecting your feelings more than your wallet. Since you haven’t taken up yoga yourself, you might ask her about it and consider taking an occasional class, just so you have more in common to talk about (it’s great for maintaining flexibility and a stress-buster, too).

Suggest meeting her after her workshop to travel in Bali and environs for a couples vacation (Hong Kong’s only several hours flight away).

If the cost of her yoga pursuits increase, and you find it affecting your finances too much, suggest she consider teaching yoga herself but only if you do this as encouragement, not punishment.

[via The Record]

Do you agree? Something tells us they need to explore a little partner yoga, eh? What advice would YOU give?



33 comments… add one
  • Maybe the retreats to Bali ARE going over-board. How much does that cost? It sounds like they are growing apart and need to find some middle ground to make things work out for them. It sounds like she is using it as an escape, but we are only getting one perspective, so who knows? As the spouse of the breadwinner, I know I think about my partners needs and I try to be fair about expenses. (I buy yoga pants at Marshall’s!!) I teach and my husband has also started practicing, so now he understands the benefits! 🙂 Yoga has helped me be a better mother, wife and person, which extends into our life and marriage. My husband has always been supportive as a result.

  • Yogini5

    Answer from the peanut gallery: Suggest you BOTH go to the nearest community class and/or both see how the other half lives. Even “old money” go to those community classes (and, characteristically, they eschew wearing the $100 yoga pants, as well—so you’d both better dress down if you don’t want to stand out.)

    Barring that, stop kicking her out of the house and let her practice yoga at home until your finances recover and/or she gets addicted to home practice and doesn’t really want to practice anywhere else anymore. If her yoga studio friends drop her like a hot potato, chances are they were not really friends to begin with. But, mostly, it’s a good possibility that by now she knows enough yoga asana not to hurt herself; especially if she were able-bodied enough to go on international yoga retreats.

  • SB

    As a married couple, income and expenses are or should be shared and there is consultation about major expenses and major decisions like retiring or quitting a job. We are getting only one perspective. Where and what is the husband spending on his personal activities or hobbies? Was his wife consulted?

    That said, people need to look after themselves to be able to be healthy, supportive individuals in a relationship. If yoga is part of that for this woman, then all power to her and whether he personally benefits from her doing yoga (although I’m sure he does in ways he doesn’t realize) is irrelevant. Does she personally benefit when he goes out to play squash or drink beer with friends (sorry to stereotype, but whatever he does for fun)? Directly no, but just like him, she does get a happier, energized human being as a partner.

    I don’t think she has to get her husband’s approval to attend local yoga classes and workshops unless this couple is on a very limited income and have to watch every penny. In which case, there are cheaper options like community centres or youtube vidoes. However, yoga retreats are extras and expensive and generally more retreat than yoga. If you have a good local teacher and a dedicated practice, why do you need to go on retreat? It’s just entertainment.

    I agree that it sounds like he feels left out. Going to a yoga retreat as a companion is like going to a work conference with your spouse. Just because it’s in an exotic location, doesn’t make it a holiday if s/he’s working all day and you’re hanging out by yourself. It might help if he tried yoga himself although it’s not for everyone and he shouldn’t feel obligated to. But he is obligated to discuss his feelings with his wife and she needs to be understanding and listen. Find other ways to connect, go on a real holiday doing something you can both enjoy.

  • shannon

    Men’s golf, fishing, etc, are usually more expensive than their wives’ hobbies and sports, so it may be that expensive yoga is righting that long-overdue imbalance. The husband could look at it this way: it DOES benefit him for his wife to be fit and healthy. She will be around longer to take care of him for one thing. If they can afford these things, why not? Life is for living. A retired lady should be able to go to Bali with her yoga friends if she wants to. She probably raised their kids and cooked a lot of meals for him. She deserves a fun retirement.

    • Yogini5

      A semi-specious argument. A couple either has the money or they don’t. Remember that all studio classes, including Zumba and Boot Camp (more cardio and possibly more health-promoting in the long term than yoga is), are the most expensive option for the wife to pursue.

      This could be an issue of control. She should rub his nose in it by doing her entire yoga practice at home and see how it plays out. He does not strike me as a golfer or anything but possibly an overachieving workaholic/studyaholic.

      Chances are good that, should she do that, there will be a day of reckoning that will prove the fissure in the marriage has a lot more to do with the cost of studio yoga classes and then some, WHICH THEY/HE COULD AFFORD (unlike 98% of us frequent yoga practitioners).

      • Yogini5

        I meant to say the fissure in the marriage has a lot more to do with other issues than the cost of studio yoga classes and then some.

        She is probably isolated and needs the social life and upscale friends that these classes provide, in addition ….

  • michelle

    My take on this imbalance is that he’s feeling left out – and they are growing apart. While I can sympathize with feeling left out, I imagine their marriage is like this:

    The both worked for most of their marriage – he full time, she full time raising the kid(s) and also part time once they got older. Now, the kids are gone, and they don’t need the second income. His “good” income, which, since they live in Canada, is likely to be considered both of theirs – community property – since they are married. What’s his is hers and what’s hers is his – and really, it doesn’t matter who “makes” more money in a good marriage – because he makes an income doesn’t mean he has more say about how it’s spent.

    I imagine he did something for himself, like, say golf, for years without considering for a second that it had absolutely no benefit for her when he did this. And, to join a club costs thousands of dollars annually, and even if you don’t, greens fees or tournament fees at the local Country Club are sometimes hundreds of dollars, just to play with the buddies for the weekend. Plus all those rounds of beers, bought at the 19th hole after the match. Trust me – it adds up.

    Sorry, I know this isn’t very compassionate, but, I have little sympathy for this guy. Sounds like his wife deserves to hang out in Bali with her yoga friends, maybe meet a hottie like Javier Bardem and have a great time for once in her life.

    • brad

      you are generalizing marriages and husbands, you are also stipulating far beyond the information. He is also the one earning and working for the money so he should have the right to be concerned about this

      • michelle

        I was outlining a hypothetical “other side”, Brad, to illustrate the fact that we are only reading the husband’s version of events.

        It’s very possible they have no kids, and that she is a gold-digging user, who could care less about him, and has found yoga as a means to get away from him and the responsibilities of their relationship.

        But, I doubt that.

        Read this: ” She never earned as much as me, but she used to be able to pay her own way for her clothes, hairdos, and spending money. ”

        “Pay her own way” hmmmmm. Apparently, she just sat around the house for the last 20 years eating bon bons, too, while he worked his ass off 9-5?

        While I sympathize with the fact that he feels neglected and ignored by his wife, I also feel that he has a pretty bad attitude when it comes to money and his marriage. It’s essentially, “I make my money for me – it’s my money, not ours, even though we are married and we are partners. I’ll give you my money if I think the use is appropriate – and if it will benefit me. When you earned an income, it was your money that paid for your hair cuts, clothes and other interests. That’s how our marriage always worked. But, now it’s different, and I am bothered that you have outside interests that don’t include or benefit me. And, your interests are paid for by my money now. You don’t make an income, so I want a say in how you spend my money. And, even though this yoga gives you great solace and makes you happy, it doesn’t benefit me, so I want to control your access to my money.”

        Sorry, but that’s what it sounds like to me. And while, yes, he absolutely can say, “Look, hon, we really can’t afford a trip to Bali. But, I would like to be able to go somewhere with you, maybe somewhere where you could do some yoga every day, but then we could spend the rest of the day together?” he’s not saying that.

        He’s upset because he feels she’s using “his” money to go on a trip without him.

        Sorry, I still think she should go and have a great time. Sounds like she’s “earned” it.

        • Anon.

          I have read both of your comments and I have to say that I find them to be extremely offensive. It may be ludicrous but I was surprised at the lack of compassion here. It feels that you are projecting in each of the comments that you have made regarding this story. There are more possibilities than those that you have presented. Instead of passing the blame from one party to the other, perhaps it would be best to offer cost-effective options for couples, friends, families and single yoga practitioners everywhere.

          • michelle

            I’m curious as to why my comments are “extremely offensive” to you, Anon? Unless you are the hubby in question.

            I reiterate: I was outlining a hypothetical* “other side” – a possible version that the wife could possible share but can’t in this forum.

            I did this to illustrate the fact that we are only reading the husband’s version of events.

            While I do sympathize with him, his story leads me to ask: “If she is so happy with him, if he is such a great husband, (as he contends), why does she feel the need to go to Bali without him – or feels that it’s even OK to do so?”

            She could be either a gold-digging jerk, or a long-suffering and fed up wife. Or, somewhere in between. Again, there are two sides to every story. Hence, my comments. I didn’t have the time or inclination to come up with ALL the possibilities, Anon.

            As for compassion, I actually feel a great deal of compassion in this situation – some for him, but mostly for his wife!

            *(Hypothetical – speculative, theoretical.)

  • k

    If she was really serious about yoga she’d be practicing at home on her own and just taking a class or 2 per week to inform her own personal exploration.

    • shannon

      It sounds “really serious” to me to be going to a class every day.

      • k

        Ah, I should have clarified. If she was interested in the deeper practice of yoga (the actual connection of her mind, body and soul), she’d be spending more time practicing on her own instead of relying completely on the structure of class to create her practice. That’s just aerobics. Sorry. She’s got a serious problem with spending money on far too many classes. Yoga is an internal experience. Time to do it; there’s no need for classes everyday. (And I speak as a yoga teacher.)

        • Yogini5

          Just realize that there are SO many yoga teachers who try to foster dependence on studio classes for nearly the entirety of one’s practice. Your kind are few and far between.

  • Yoga is supposed to be fun, beneficial to your mental and physical health. If it causes problems to your personal relationship, something is not right. Compromise!


  • brad

    sounds like she is getting down with some yoga instructor to me bro

    • Yogini5

      It is possible that it ISN’T female friendship alone she seeks. But I did not think of “male prostitution” or “lesbian prostitution” of a sort or sorts being, in the mix …

      Yup, the pursuit of sex, kombucha and kirtan could very well be the scenario …

      My mind does not run that way, however; funny though how most of the correspondents assume her/their late middle age/sexual fidelity in the mix – just because of the word, “retired” …. there also had been NO mention of kids being raised/empty nest syndrome in the information either ….

      • Yogini5

        Particulary for Canada—home of universal healthcare and other benefits you don’t have to marry to get [and the lines for the doctor being longer than in the U.S is a Tea Party-promoted MYTH]—that yogini definitely “married up” … she could be a pretty young thing who will party with the yogis (instead of at a club, etc.) ….

        stop me before my politics gets into the mix here …

  • Oh man, sounds like a satirical piece I wrote a few years ago…


  • David-also

    I am personally aware of several yoga-related breakups. Hard to say what the real reasons are in these situations, but the complaint voiced is the influence on one partner of the yoga practice. There are many ways to grow apart, of course. And sometimes we weren’t doing that well as a couple to begin with and then a scapegoat reason presents itself. But a growing resentment within one partner is a real problem. The yoga student might begin opening heart and mind to new ideas and experiences that the partner doesn’t understand. Then there’s the expense and time away from home that might seem to benefit only one in the partnership. We yogis should be aware and sensitive. Much better to have the real support of our partners in whatever we do.

  • abbylou

    Could it be that the wife took up yoga after retiring, or at least started spending more money on it because she has more time now? Maybe the husband didn’t realize that the wife would be taking up an expensive hobby, activity, practice, whatever you want to call it, once she quit her job. Money can be such a sore subject, even when there is plenty of it.

    Maybe the wife could rein in her yoga expenses. A membership to a studio and a few carefully chosen workshops throughout the year seem reasonable. A trip to Bali is awfully expensive.

    Related…why do some people think its so bad to take classes from a studio as opposed to community classes? Somebody who really wants to study needs to be in an environment that conducive to serious study. I took community classes for couple of years at different community centers, and they were more social than anything.

    • Yogini5

      Community classes, yes – just to remind the husband that they are not in some backwater. If it is a matter of sticking with people of your own wealth markers, one could also learn a lot more from socializing with those who have a lot of money rather than parvenus … maybe more in common with the husband … and these will be also in community classes. Because they know value and don’t value surface identity markers.

      • shannon

        So, it sounds like you’re saying that community classes are better if you want to make contacts with rich people? Why would you want to do that?

        • Yogini5

          Hey, I’m part of the working poor. Not exactly the demographic targeted by upscale studios and Bali retreats. What do I know about status-seeking and social-climibing yogis of all ages wearing Lululemon clothes?

          • abbylou

            I’m not trying to put community classes down, and, by social, I didn’t mean socialites. When I have taken classes at community centers, they seem to be filled with people who go to them so they can chat. A lot of chatting before, during, and after class. Usually these people tend to be more on the older side. They were very nice people.

            I go to a very nice studio. Too nice, in fact. I could do without all the amenities. I pay $90 a month for unlimited yoga classes. There are two teachers whose classes I take. I would love to switch to the studio down the block that just opened. It’s tiny and very community-oriented, but I can’t afford to spend $13 per class three or four times a week.

            I am fortunate that I can afford the $90 per month.

  • shannon

    I think guys sometimes have a harder time with changes in relationships during retirement than women. Women usually have a whole long list of things they want to do when they retire; many men can’t imagine EVER retiring, because their whole identity is their work identity. I have known several older couples where the wife leaped into retirement with great enthusiasm and many activities and lots of friends, and the husband just sat at home watching tv, drinking, and moping, and waiting for his wife to take care of him. The guy in this letter seems to be wishing his wife would stay home with him. He probably doesn’t talk to her much; he just wants her around. The money thing is a pseudo-issue I think; it’s really that he feels lonely when she’s out enjoying herself, but like many older men, he doesn’t have many friends outside of work, and he doesn’t really have good social skills, and he’s not a joiner like his wife. I’ve seen this a lot in my older neighbors: isolated, angry old men (usually drinkers too); active, healthy, social wives.

  • Yogini5

    @abbylou, and perhaps I am thinking that what’s in it for the husband could only be social climbing (wealth being its “report card”) …
    not knowing about his hobbies, his children, his age, the history and the details I am assuming this fiction about the husband …

  • JeffreyD

    If my wife went on frequent weekend getaways without me and took a holiday to Bali and said I wasn’t allowed to come with her, I would also be nonplussed. Any reasonable person would. Yoga isn’t the issue, I’m sure he wouldn’t care if she did yoga every day at some place around the block that wasn’t extremely expensive and/or in a different hemisphere.

  • Meri

    Isn’t everything better shared? And yoga is full of love! So spread it around! If your wallet is being included, so should you be.


  • John

    Fourteen plus years ago my wife started practicing yoga. At the time I was happy for her as she seemed to really enjoy it. Over the years she began to train as a yoga instructor and again I was fully supportive of this. Many thousands of dollars later, not to mention the lonely days and nights, she became a fantastic instructor. The trouble started when her interests begain to narrow to yoga only. There came a point where if it didn’t involve yoga she was not really interested. This included home life as well as vacations, old friends, and even our business. Finally I realized that she had fallen in love with one of her students and when I confronted her she broke down and admitted her feelings for him. While talking with her she admitted that because I didn’t share her passion for yoga she felt that we had no future together. The more I tried to save our 31 year marriage, the more she began to blame me for not supporting her in her yoga quest. Even though I had payed without question tens of thousands of dollars for travel and trainings, that didn’t seem to count. Her new “friend” is now a yoga instructor as well. This is an amazing arrangement for them I’m sure. After having a year to think on what has happened I’m not bitter towards yoga nor my beautiful x wife. However I will say that in the yoga world there are many people who consider traditional marriage and values to be of little importance in this world, and I am convinced that these influences were, over the years, what convinced her that it was more important to follow her heart than her vows.

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