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HomePhilippine Journal of Counseling Psychologyvol. 17 no. 1 (2015)

“Honey, I’m (at) Home”: Lived Experiences of Househusbands with Absentee Wives

Jed V. Madlambayan | Edna R. Calma



This study explored the lived experiences of Filipino househusbands who are engaged in role reversals with their absentee wives. It examined the underlying factors of marital role reversal and wives’ need to work abroad as well as the challenges and its impact on their self-concept. Househusbands’ coping mechanisms, learning and realizations in experiencing role reversals were also explored. Using phenomenological method, findings were drawn from in-depth interviews with seven househusbands and their family members. Wives’ better career opportunities and family’s financial considerations emerged as the primary factors for the couples’ decision to switch roles. These factors also influenced their wives’ decision to work abroad. The pressure of child caring and household tasks, maintenance of smooth marital relationship, and struggle for social acceptance with the new family set-up were the major challenges. Subsequently, househusbands’ relationships with their wives, children, relatives, and friends had both positive and negative changes, whereas their relationship with other people outside their nuclear system remained unchanged. Househusbands’ self-concept remained positive even as they performed tasks that are usually assigned to women. Feelings of embarrassment and self-pity were also evident. Househusbands coped with the challenges by fulfilling their newly assigned task as primary caregiver and steadfast partner. Social, emotional, and financial support from family members, relatives, and friends also contributed to their coping. Househusbands engagement in role reversals enhanced their marriage, developed their personal values and work-related skills. Implications to the counseling profession and research were discussed.