When A Woman Makes More Money: Does It Matter?


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It’s a widely known fact that women earn less than their husbands or male partners on average. However, a lesser-known statistic would indicate a disproportionately small number of relationships in which women make more.  When a woman makes more money, it can be a source of contention for couples.

Money problems are the second most common reason for divorce, closely after infidelity. It can be a source of real or perceived power in a relationship. When that power isn’t allocated equally, it can lead to miscommunication, resentment, acting out, and even feelings of depression.

What happens when women doctors or high-income earning women make more money than their male partners?

Money can be difficult to manage, particularly in a relationship. When you include things like college debt, job loss, raising a child, and other factors, the complexity level skyrockets. 

It can be a power struggle

You’ve probably heard the phrase “money is power,” and it’s true in some cases of economic inequality. 

When a woman earns more money than her male partner, it can lead to the belief that she has a greater right to influence the couple/family dynamics. She or her male partner might feel that she can dictate how much each can spend, how they spend their free time, and where they vacation year after year. 

There’s also a huge tendency for a male partner to feel left behind career-wise, which can cause tension in the relationship. 

Society and gender roles

Society putting pressure on gender roles can make it intimidating for men to date women who have higher incomes. A man’s upbringing might also influence whether or not he will date a woman earning more than what he makes. 

Relationship dynamics can evolve overtime when money is involved and that’s why it’s important to have this discussion early in the relationship and understand the implications it may bring to the table. 

When a woman makes more money

Income inequality in relationships is a critical, but delicate discussion to have. 

With more women joining the workforce, there’s no doubt that some of them earn more than their male counterparts. Although gender pay disparity (with male workers earning more than their female counterparts) is still a major issue. 

Here’s how to keep the relationship in balance when she makes more money. 

Have an open and honest discussion.

It might be a massive step in a relationship to reveal your wage to your partner. But this has to happen at some point. 

That discussion may pave the way for calculating each person’s financial contributions. The only way you can fully function as a team is if you’re both on the same page, which means both parties must first understand what’s on the page.

Create a strategy and stick to it

If you’re unemployed and your job search hasn’t shown results, talk to your partner about stopping your search if at all possible. Building a better résumé, completing a certificate class, and getting some further training in your area for a month or two could make the job search less stressful – and possibly better for your professional prospects in the long term.

Put your ego aside and help out where you can.

You’re well aware that your partner is fed up with shouldering the financial burden. And you’re well aware that you’re under pressure to produce. 

Consider work that provides a source of income. Paying one bill on time is preferable than not paying any bills at all. Don’t do it if your lover honestly doesn’t want you to. It’s worth a shot, though. The effort is also valuable.

Consider what each person gives in terms of resources other than money

It’s crucial to know how your home functions and what’s most important. If you earn much less than your wife or girlfriend and their financial contributions cover your basic requirements, try calculating your worth in other ways. Find the right ways to make their life a lot simpler. 

That could mean taking on domestic tasks like housework and driving the kids to school, or it could mean stepping up to plan both fun (date evenings and vacations) and not-so-fun (family gatherings) (household budget).

This works both ways; a partnership is a partnership, and archaic assumptions about who’s “supposed” to manage specific relationship responsibilities have disappeared.

Is there a level of shame that some women feel in making more money than their male partners?

Although 38 percent of American wives earn more than their husbands, many of them are still wary about being breadwinners.

Additionally, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2018, women earn more than their male partners in one out of every four heterosexual married couples.

This emotion is understandable given that there’s the notion that men should earn more to support their families, and if they don’t, it’s a sign of a problem. This can result in an emotional and psychological impact where women might feel ashamed of earning more while men might feel emasculated. 

What You Can Do About It?

A couple should try to find the right strategy to level the financial playing field so that each person in the relationship feels financially valuable (regardless of their income). If the woman is bearing the majority of everyday expenses, then the husband can contribute to items like college savings or vacations. 

In the end, the only way to get over this issue is to be open with each other. 

What’s next? 

Income inequality can still be a pretty tough subject to discuss among couples albeit an important one, especially when a woman makes more money in the relationship. 

However, sweeping this under the rug can lead to friction and manifest in negative ways. The best way to overcome this issue is to talk it out and understand each other’s feelings. Go beyond your emotions and see it from a practical perspective.

Make sure to listen to episode 220 of Docs Outside the Box podcast to learn how Dr. Dawn DeLavallade deals with making more!


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