I’m Earning More Money Than Him… So What?
Men are often expected to earn more than their partners, but is it so bad for a woman to be the one who earns more in a relationship?
When you’re the woman earning more money than the man in a relationship, does it matter? Apparently it does for some. But not for me.
When I was a young girl, I dreamed of meeting “The One.” You know, the guy who would sweep me off my feet, shower me with all the comforts, complete me… We’d live happily ever after. As I grew older, I rejected that fairytale version of life. You know, the one where the man HAS to earn more than the woman in order for them to be happy.
I saw my mother work hard and fully support my dad during a period when he was unemployed. She became my idol – an example for me to live by.
I was determined to be self-sufficient – to be able to take care of myself, both financially and emotionally. I never wanted to rely on anyone else.
When I met my partner at the age of 23, it didn’t matter to me that I was earning than he was. I was working in the non-profit sector and he was finishing up his schooling. For a long time, we were singularly focused on splitting our living expenses 50-50. It’s what felt right. It’s what felt fair. At the same time, I was bringing home a bigger cut of the bacon than he was. And as our relationship evolved from “dating” to “partnership,” we both had to re-evaluate our relationship.
If I make significantly more, does it make sense to split our expenses equally?
It didn’t seem fair to us. We discussed it, and decided that I would pick up a larger share of the rent and entertainment. It has worked well for us since then.
My partner has no problem with my earning more money than him. In the past, maybe, he did feel a little insecure. But it’s not because of what I have said or done, but rather because of his own pre-conceived ideas about a man’s role!
As a female breadwinner, I’ve learned that it’s important to re-negotiate your roles in a relationship and work together in ways that support your common goals.
It’s also important to talk about money openly and make sure that both parties are happy with the situation. Money is often blamed for break-ups. But I would caution you: don’t just get stuck on that excuse.
Whenever your relationship gets ruffled over money, ask yourself, “Is this really about money, or is it something else?”
There was a time when I felt stressed that he wasn’t making much and that I was taking on too many of the household responsibilities. It wasn’t about the money. It was that I wanted help and support. As soon we realized this, he stepped up in a big way with help around the house. Quite frankly, he’s also a far better cook than I am!
Throughout the past seven years, I have consistently made more than him. And we’ve worked things out so that we feel there is a fair division of labor and finances. We know how we want to support each other financially and share in the household chores. We have similar visions and goals for the future. Money is simply a means to help us get there.