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Confessions: My husband won’t let me work ‘in a place with many men’


I am married with two children. My husband took me into his house as soon as I finished my Form Four exams and we have lived together since. He paid my college fees and I was able to get a diploma in Early Childhood Development. I have attended several interviews most of which have been successful but he will not let me work. Every time I get a job, he goes to that place and checks if there are young men working there and after his visits to the places, the answer is always no. Even where I have still gone ahead and worked, he comes by often and has even started fights with colleagues accusing them of wanting me. He says his wife cannot work in a place where there are many men and this is really putting me down. At this rate, I will never get to work anywhere and I am tired of staying idle at home. Please advise me.


What the readers say:

Your husband is just extremely jealous for nothing. Try and explain to him that you are just tired of depending on him for your basic needs. Ask him to trust you since you are a responsible wife and mother and can make good judgements of yourself. Assure him that you shall be responsible and that if he finds you in bad company then he can act.

{Onyango Outha}

He took you to college meaning he meant well for you. What he needs now is reassurance so try and give as much of this as possible by your words and deeds. Tell him that you belong to him and that you do not desire any other man. I am sure you know how dangerous an insecure husband can get – they are known to do extremely dangerous things.

{Tasma Saka}

Now that you know his exact fears, think about what you can do to eliminate these fears. Once you do this, you will soften his heart and start trusting you even working with men at the workplace. If you ever want to work you should be prepared to build his trust because you will never find an office with women only.

{Rahab Mukami}

Boke says:

Dear Veronica,

You hoped that your husband would cheer you on and offer you support to realize your personal goals. Clearly this is not the case and if things continue this way you are likely to make no career progress or do anything meaningful with your life.

The reason your husband will not allow you to be gainfully engaged is because of his insecurities. We say someone is insecure when the individual is constantly uncertain about themselves and anxious about their rating before other people. All these lack of self-confidence stems from a distorted self-image. Please note that, everyone has experienced such feelings at one point or in one area of life. An individual will need help when this begins to affect them or other people in their lives.

Insecurity is mainly caused by reoccurring anxiety, rejection and failure. Especially when the rejection or failure happens in childhood and not put into perspective. This is where perfectionists suffer most because they are not good at handling failure.

For your husband's case, I strongly recommend that you see a therapist that is a professional counsellor to help him overcome this. Meanwhile you should get out of you way to affirm him. Celebrate every effort and progress he makes. Go beyond saying thank you, that is good or great. Be a little bit pompous and shower him with praise. Rally the children also into this. Simply make him feel good. This may be what he lacked while growing up and could be yearning for. Let him also know of the unrivalled position he holds in your life.

Please do not take this lightly because an insecure person can easily become violent and very abusive. All the best.

Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology and loves to share her knowledge in matters of life and relationships

Simon says:

Janet, I am not sure I understand him and why he took you through college and now he will not let you work. I realise that he is overly insecure about you but I think the approach he is taking will end up to the very thing he fears the most. It is very important for a woman to have something to keep her mind occupied during the day otherwise she can get extremely vulnerable as she tries to get something to keep her busy throughout the day. By denying you a chance to work, he is actually making you more vulnerable to his worst fears.

I believe he thinks you are vulnerable being that he took you in just after you finished your high school and he may be right being that you never got to have a chance at dating and do all those silly things people do after high school. But you are married to him now and he should be able to trust you. He ought to appreciate that you are mature enough to make good decisions and to act wisely.

I have been to and worked in several offices in my days but the most astonishing fact is that office affairs are not as exciting as people think – in fact they rarely happen. The familiarity is just too much and generally people have very little time to think about such things. Starting fights with the men you work with only reduces the respect they will have for him. Further, remember that the more he guards you jealously the more likely you will attract the attention of those men and the rest may be history.

Talk to his closest friend about this. He will not listen to you but he cannot ignore his closest friend – not when he knows that his insecurities have been exposed. His friend should avoid telling him what to do but set the facts straight.

However, bear in mind that the irony of this world is that in many instances, war is the only way to peace. Freedom is never granted, it is taken. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do when we know it is the right thing; many times others will not see it like that at first but they will follow through with time.

If he proves stubborn, you may have to take the bull by the horns. Do what you think is right and pursue your career.

Simon Anyona is a relationships counsellor

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