Even though times are evolving, many people still have it ingrained in their minds that men have to be the primary breadwinner. However, what if he’s not; or what if the lady is earning more than her partner?
This situation can cause tension at home and sometimes even judgement from other. In this week’s Love & Money, we’ve mapped out some of the issues that can arise from this dynamic, and how to tackle them.
Let’s Talk About: What If She Earns More?
Even though the gender pay gap is still very much present today with he median salary for men being roughly 19% higher than the median salary for women according to Payscale, there are families with female breadwinners or female members earning more than their male counterparts.
If this is something that you aren’t comfortable with it, it can cause a lot of issues in the household. For such a sensitive matter to many, it’s important to understand how and why it affects your relationship – and what you can do to make it better.
Is It All Just Ego?
The days of hunting may be over, but a lot of men still feel the need to provide. Insecurities always come to the surface in relationships. For a female-dominated household, being the only male figure at a “mummy-and-me playdate” can make a man feel insufficient.
When having any conversation with your partner, it’s important to remember to put yourselves in their shoes and this is no different.
So ladies, try and take their ego into account; and guys, remember that we’re no longer in the stone age and there’s no need to fight for your woman like a caveman.
Always Talk It Out
No matter what the issue is here, if it seems to be recurring, talk it out. You’ve heard it before and you will hear it again: communication is key. The best way to deal with problems before they become bigger problems is to face them head on.
One issue that can often arise with this dynamic is payments. Sometimes couples have a shared bank account, split everything 50/50, sometimes it’s based on income, and sometimes one person insists on paying for everything. Regardless of your current set-up, discuss it so you make sure that you’re staying happy while also optimizing your budget.
There’s No Real Normal
Sometimes obtaining a work-life balance seems like an unwinnable goal. Add kids and this gets even more complicated. There are working mums and dads who want to be able to stay home with kids; stay-at-home mums and dads who wish they were raking in the dough, and everyone in between. The grass is always greener, they say.
As long as your combined earnings are enough to support your family, these are details that can be discussed.
Take a step back from culturally defined norms and remember that money is not the most important thing. There are so many ways to provide other than financial, and each family dynamic is different. So if you’re not pitching in as much money, offer support, empathy, and respect. Don’t feel the need to force your relationship into a traditional box.
Real Couples Spill The Deal
“Being in such different industries, I think we were pretty forthcoming right from the start about how much we make. For us, we made sure that each of us has a set responsiblity on who pays for what monthly. This way, we feel like we’re both contributing to the household, and yet stick to what we can afford. Sometimes when we do feel like money gets in the way, we try to talk it out in a logical manner. Sam’s really good at that since she deals with numbers almost everyday anyway.”
– Samantha (Sales Manager) & David (Photographer)
“Many find it a surprise when they realise that Mandy is the breadwinner of the family. Mandy was already making more when our baby came, so it was logical for Elias to take up the role of ‘full time househusband’. It wasn’t easy at first, but we made it work. Now, we have less arguments about money but we never regretted making that decision. Plus point, we’re hoping to teach our daughter to be more progressive in her thinking when it comes to gender roles.”
– Mandy (Creative Head) & Elias (Stay Home Dad)
“I feel empowered by the fact that I’m breaking the social norms and constructs that imply that women are inferior. If Kyle had an issue with this then we wouldn’t be together. I worked too hard to get where I am to date someone that has an issue with it. When we started dated I knew that Adriana was a strong woman and would probably make more money than me. Money has never been that important to me anyways, I’ve always just done what I was passionate about.”
– Adriana (Behavioral Analyst) & Kyle (Science Teacher)
“I’m thankful that Isabel makes more than me. It’s allowed us to not have to worry about money so we can really give our kids the lives they want. Isabel travels a lot of for work, but one of us had to do it and it just made more sense for her to continue on that track. There’s times when I wish I stayed home with my kids, but I was doing so well in my career that it really wasn’t an option. Sometimes I get judged by other moms, but it really doesn’t really matter to me as long as Steven and I are both happy with what we’re doing.”
– Isabel (Marketing Executive) & Steven (Account Manager)