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Ladies who earn more than the man in their life...

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hexed posted 4/11/2013 19:08 PM

My SO is kind of old fashioned. I'm the first woman in his life that has had a career. He's found he likes it.

However, recently, I've made quite a bit more money than he has. Its short term. Normally we make about the same. We were talking tonight and he admitted that it bugged him. He is feeling competitive about it. He admitted it that he felt like it was little unsettling for his 'manhood'.

I should probably be offended that it bothers him. Instead I'm tickled pink that he said it. We talked about it.

But the real question to handle it sensitively. Any thoughts

Sad in AZ posted 4/11/2013 19:28 PM

Boy, am I the wrong person to answer this question. Nothing makes my blood boil and my teeth grit like a man saying anything a woman does threatens his 'manhood'. What is he, a caveman? Your situation is especially unsettling because it's a short term situation. He can't shut up and tough it out for the short term?? What would happen if your dream job came along and the money was out of this world?? This trait is not a sign of manhood; it's a sign of immaturity.

As a bit of background, my best years with the X were when I outearned him; he loved my money. When he made more than me (and especially when he retired from the NYPD on a disability (tax free) pension and got another job, he really lorded his income over me. So, he was an ass in the opposite direction.

As for your question-how to handle this sensitively, I wouldn't. Not saying to fight with him, but I would be very plain that 'money doesn't make the man' and that he needs to get over this. But this is me; you will do what you will do.

hexed posted 4/11/2013 19:41 PM

SAZ-- I get your point. I really do b/c I had similar issues with my X. Yeah he is a little bit of caveman.

He can shut up about it. It wasn't brought up in a bad way. It was brought up b/c two topics of conversation converged that led him to say something. We bought him a new laptop and he was feeling guilty b/c I paid for it. (He bought me one in Jan. when I really needed it and didn't have the money). He is about jump out on his own from a secure job. We're working on the logistics of that. He said it sheepishly. It may be unenlightened but he is not immature.

Since it is an issue that bothers him, it matters to me that I deal with it sensitively. He's not behaving badly. He's not suggesting or even hinting that his career is more important than mine. This is a man who does more than his share in regards to domestic chores, has been helpful and supportive with my recent career moves.

He's having to learn a new way of thinking. No reason not consider his feelings while I push him into the 21st century

Sad in AZ posted 4/11/2013 21:50 PM

Sorry, hexed; I knew that was bombastic, but it struck a nerve. Unfortunately, you're only pushing him into the 20th century; he's got a long way to go if your making more money bothers him enough to speak up about it, albeit gently.

I'm very serious about the possibility of your making substantially more money; what would happen then? Others may differ, but I don't see a place for competition in a relationship.

GabyBaby posted 4/11/2013 22:03 PM

I agree with Sad.

I find it interesting that your SO finds the fact that you make more than him unsettling. In my view, he should be proud that you're INDEPENDENT.
Why shouldn't you, as a single woman, earn as much as you can bring in?

I'm not a feminist, but the days of the "little ladies" sitting back and letting the big strong men take care of them are long gone, especially for many of us who've been through divorce/infidelity/caring for kids as a single parent etc.

I'd be more offended than tickled by this attitude. If the man in my life cant handle my more-than-decent salary, I hope he can handle locating the door...since he wouldnt be around long term.

somer222 posted 4/11/2013 22:31 PM

I made much more than my ex. He had an issue with this, yet he did his best to spend every dime of mine that he could.

My divorce attorney (a woman) said she sees this type of situation frequently - bad behavior on the man's behalf when his "manhood" is threatened.

I don't know what the answer to this is, really. I don't think you will change the way he really feels. But do not pass on the opportunity for a good income for yourself. Money cannot buy love, but it can buy security for yourself and in the end, you need to take care of you.

hexed posted 4/12/2013 03:10 AM

He's definitely not spending my money. I'm sure not going to pass up on an opportunity to earn. Believe me, I'm so far behind the curve on things like retirement, I can't afford to do anything but be proactive about it.

He is definitely proud of me. He loves that I am independent. He tells me regularly how much he likes that. It was more of an insight moment for him. I found it refreshingly honest after the way my X dealt with the same situation.

hexed posted 4/12/2013 03:10 AM

He's definitely not spending my money. I'm sure not going to pass up on an opportunity to earn. Believe me, I'm so far behind the curve on things like retirement, I can't afford to do anything but be proactive about it.

He is definitely proud of me. He loves that I am independent. He tells me regularly how much he likes that. It was more of an insight moment for him. I found it refreshingly honest after the way my X dealt with the same situation.

stronger08 posted 4/12/2013 03:35 AM

I'd be fine with it. Im old fashioned and like to pick up the check when I go out with women. But that does not mean I feel my manhood is threatened by a woman who makes more money. As long as it does not become a way of tipping the scale so to speak. Relationships should be even ground and while money should not be an issue it happens. For some reason lots of guys measure income in one form or another. Either they use it as control or they are threatened by it. Personally I think its silly thinking. If I get along well and like the person. Money is just that, money. Im recently retired and on a fixed income. But I made very good money when I worked. That said my life is much happier now that I dont worry about money. I have enough to live on and I dont owe anyone a dime. My homes are paid for as well as my car. So if a career woman came into my life and we hit it off that would be great. As long as there is mutual respect and attraction I dont see an issue. Just my 2 cents.

wonderingbull posted 4/12/2013 09:55 AM

KD and I have never really discussed the money making front...

I know she makes a damn good living being a pediatrician and I do pretty damn good being a petroleum geologist...

Never really been one for duelling paychecks... The great thing for us is that each of us can and do treat each other on trips and nights out... Thus we get to do twice as much together...

I wouldn't know what to say to a guy that had a income inequality complex... How about... Get over it?


hexed posted 4/12/2013 10:39 AM

I don't think its a complex. Its a new thing for him. He's getting over it. He knows its dumb.

Its not really about dueling paychecks. Its about getting over upbringing, self image, expectations, old habits. He doesn't make an issue out of it. It was a vulnerable comment. " I feel really dumb saying this but its bugging me that you're career is going so much better than mine right now". There was no P/A nonsense. No 'get back in the kitchen' attitude. Just an acknowledgement of how he was feeling. He didn't justify it. Given his background, I'm not entirely surprised by the reaction.

veritas posted 4/12/2013 10:45 AM

I think it is a caveman instinct, but I also don't think it's that big of a deal because he recognizes it and he's talking about it. If he was a shit about it, or doing the passive-aggressive bit, that would be one thing; but he's open about his insecurity, which means he's not afraid to be vulnerable. He's trying. I wouldn't "handle it;" I would just ignore it.

InnerLight posted 4/12/2013 14:16 PM

We say 'caveman instinct' sometimes like it's a bad thing. If a guy has a masculine tendency to want to provide and protect I think that's great as long as this tendency doesn't lead to behavior that restricts their female partner and as long as they don't see 'provide and protect' as just in terms of money. I am sure there are ways he provides and protects and makes your life easier and happier that have nothing to do with money. Money is just like a symbol here, but there are other things he does. I would just reassure him that you appreciate all those other ways he provides and protects.

BTW I read your title as 'Ladies who LEARN more than the man' and that would be me. I'm into personal development and always learning so I worry that at some point I will outgrow my man, like he will develop too slowly and I will either soar away or hold myself back.

[This message edited by InnerLight at 2:17 PM, April 12th (Friday)]

TrulyReconciled posted 4/12/2013 14:35 PM

This trait is not a sign of manhood; it's a sign of immaturity.

^^^ This ^^^

Crescita posted 4/12/2013 14:59 PM

If you take the gender norms out of it, I can completely relate to your SO. Incomes being out of balance makes me uneasy. When you are used to being independent and doing for yourself, accepting things you otherwise couldnít afford from someone else just feels wrong. Itís like you are living outside your means, it feels precarious, as if it could all slip away at any moment.

He is probably used to giving, not receiving but it is something he should get used to. He has to realize there is an inherent reciprocity in the exchange; itís not tit for tat. Being able to give and help someone you care about is a gift all on its own. He shouldnít deny someone the pleasure of giving.

That being said, if things are seriously out of whack income wise, I would let up on anything elaborate in his direction, and focus your extra funds towards things that are mutually beneficial, but more important to you. Perhaps you could beef up your savings, replace a sofa, or take a trip to visit some friends. That way it will be easier for him to see that you are getting joy from sharing your funds, but itís not all about him, and you donít expect anything in return.

Happydays posted 4/12/2013 15:13 PM

But the real question to handle it sensitively. Any thoughts

Simple. Ask him to pay for the family expenses, while you will save yours for emergencies (God forbid) and future investments.
His 'manhood' will be restored and you can keep earning as you are.

Funny, my FWW held a masters degree. She always used to make more. Never, never bothered me. We were a team. Made investments, secured finances and lived a dream life. Later to be accused of being jealous of her making more.
When I had my evidence, I told her point blank, w/o class that she was sleeping with her boss who gave her excellent ratings twice and an undeserved promotion.
I also reminded her that there is another category of people who sleep and make money. So, if ever she tries to send me an email with a fancy signature, she knows I know exactly how she got there.

hexed posted 4/12/2013 16:33 PM

I think part of it is that both of us had our finances devastated between 2008 and 2010. Really the extra money I'm making isn't being lavished upon anybody or anything. Its getting caught up on things that have been a month behind forever. Its putting a little bit in the bank. Replacing things like my car that have been barely hanging on for 4 years. Paying down high interest bills. I'm not buying him expensive stuff or lavish vacations. We're digging out of a hole. He's definitely paying his share of the household bills.

He is used to being the provider and protector. He's comfortable in that role. I like IL's idea to remind him of all the things he does for me in that role besides a pay the bills.

MyVoice posted 4/12/2013 17:07 PM

I agree with what InnerLight said.

SeanFLA posted 4/12/2013 20:28 PM

I have quite a bit of experience with this and have learned some very valuable life lessons regarding it. My personal income became devastated because of the real estate recession in 2008. ExWW's income began to skyrocket. We talked extensively about it and decided that I would wait out the market and support her at home where I could with our son so she could travel and make more. Eventually working towards a big promotion she wanted.

She began to change and it was noticeable. For instance while at cocktail parties we might be talking to others about a dishwasher we had to replace or something. She would say comments like..."Yes when I wrote the check for that it was an expensive dishwasher, but it was the one I wanted." Suddenly it was what SHE wanted. She did this several times and you can imagine how I felt. But at home it was "our" money. She was lying to me the whole time I believe. When I told her I think I should take care of managing more of our retirement and stock accounts, she looked at me like I had five heads. It was becoming HER money not our money.

After I found out about the A one of our female friends told me a story about when she attended a Bunco party with the girls how I enjoyed being a "kept man." That devastated me when she told me that you have no idea. It hurt as much as finding out about the affair. Meanwhile I was home taking care of her son so she could go out. I never once told her she couldn't attend something. Obviously her ego was the issue.

Regardless of what any women say here about a man's insecurity, balance is a lesson I've learned. I will never rely on anyone else to financially support me, even in times of need. It might sound old fashioned, but so is the idea that you stay true to your spouse and not cheat on him while on your business trips. The next person I become seriously involved with will need to be on the same level as me. I won't have it any other way. In fact a pre-nup will be a requirement if I ever get married again. My self esteem took a huge whack when I realized her unfaithfulness had a lot to do with her ego and the money she was making...plain and simple. You cannot convince me any other way. Even my IC told me she added up the consequences and figured if she got caught, she could manage financially on her own. And that fed her ego further. It is a VERY sensitive issue with me. It isn't a question of my immaturity, but her's.

[This message edited by SeanFLA at 8:48 PM, April 12th (Friday)]

SouthernGal posted 4/13/2013 08:08 AM

If he had said that the income situation bothered him be ause he felt like he was unable to contribute equally to the relationship I would feel differently.

But the "unsettling to his manhood" line just makes my inner Gloria (Steinam) jump up and down with frustrated rage.

I am too much of of a feminist and far too old to ever put up with a guy whose "manhood" is threatened by my earning power (not that that is likely to happen as a nurse my earning potential is decent but hardly enough to be a threat to anyone's self-esteem).

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