Monday, April 09, 2007

We had our first real conversation about money over the weekend. A good thing is that we both tend to be savers, so that shouldn’t be a conflict. But when I told him what my goal is for my income in five years, he almost fell out of the chair.

I’ll admit I read him poorly and rather than deal with his surprise, I compounded my problem by going into an explanation of why that figure is an achievable goal and what I needed to do to get there. Finally I noticed I was making the situation worse and I shut up and let him talk. He admitted that my ambition surprised him, as well as how aggressive my timeline is. Then confessed that he expected to make at the peak of his career about 60% (but still a very good income) of where I planning to be in just a few years.

It began to dawn on me that R sees himself as the primary breadwinner and could have a problem with his wife making (significantly) more than him. Since I’d made a muddle of this discussion, I did what I could to repair the damage. I don’t think I made it worse, but I’m not sure I helped.



Anonymous VJ said...

It's a very common issue now in most marriages Kim. Stateside the stats tell us that about 50% or better of wives now make more than their husbands. There's various reasons for this, higher educational attainment for women is one. But it's nothing much to fear, there's just some mental adjustments that need to be made. You're already there, R's got to bring up the rear, but he can and should be willing and able to do it. That entire 1950's image of the stay at home mom with the 3-4 kids & the hubby as the sole (or even main) breadwinner is no longer a viable model for most marriages, either there or here. It was predicated on a very unusual time in history, and things are vastly different today. Author, historian & researcher Stephanie Coontz has lots to say about this in her studies & articles & books; []. She's been studying the history of marriage & the underlying economics to family formation for over 30 years now, and you'd probably like what she has to say on this very topic. But it's good and essential to talk over these points so you can come to some comfort level with your thoughts & plans. He can get there, he just needs a bit of work. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

6:57 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

When I was working full time, my salary was slightly more than my husbands. It was definitely not an issue and we had found a way to split the bills and other costs like vacations in a way that suited us. BUT since I stopped working during my pregnancy, I've notice a huge difference in the way we interact. Or, I suppose, the way he acts towards me. It was an issue that, honestly, I never thought about. I feel like he is a lot more at ease with me and in our relationship now that I depend on him so much more. I've mentioned it to him and he says that I'm crazy, there is no difference at all, and he would be really pleased for me to go back to work. But it does make me a bit nervous, because how do you avoid it? I tell myself that possibly the reason has less to do with how much money I made and more to do with how involved I was with my life at work/outside of our relationship. There were a lot of times when I put work first without even a seconds hesitation, and it makes sense that this could have had an influence on our relationship. I don't have any sort of advice, but I wanted to say that I think this sort of issue might not be particularly about the money.

4:06 PM  

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