- Susie Moore has out-earned her husband since they first met in their early 20s.
- She’s found that this is a common pattern among her heterosexual couple friends: The woman earns more money.
- Here, she explains what people seem not to understand about the dynamics of her relationship.
Until my husband made the decision to work with me full time in my business last summer, I’d been the breadwinner in our home since the day we got together in our early 20s.
He had a career in finance and I had a career in advertising sales. At age 30 I was earning $US500,000 per year and left my job to go all in on my side hustle.
Most of my female friends are the breadwinners in their homes, too. And it’s not a trend. Female breadwinners have quadrupled since 1960. We’re no longer the anomaly.
That’s why it’s surprising to me that women (and men) lie about the woman’s income when it’s the highest in the household as if it’s somehow a negative. The United States Census Bureau reported in July, “When a wife earns more, both husbands and wives exaggerate the husband’s earnings and diminish the wife’s.”
I just don’t get it.
After over a decade of bringing in the bigger portion of the bacon, here’s what people just don’t seem to understand:
It’s sexy when your spouse supports you
There’s nothing more attractive than a secure spouse who’s your biggest cheerleader. This goes both ways. It’s like fuel for your ambition and it helps you go further, faster because you have support at home.
My male friends tell me it’s hot for them to be able to say, “My wife’s a badass.” Any partner who’s threatened and insecure is unattractive. Because the way we feel about another person is the most solid indicator of how we feel about ourselves.
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Other parts of a marriage are more important than who brings in what
A friend of mine who used to be married to a partner in a law firm (and she was still the breadwinner), is now engaged to a teacher. She said to me once over a Grey Goose martini, “I’d choose a passionate and present high school teacher over a stressed out, absent lawyer any day of the week.”
Jobs also come and go. Illnesses and accidents happen unexpectedly. Life is not predictable. And when you most need it, all that matters is that you have each other and the resources to get by. Not who contributed what percentage to the savings account.
Being taken care of isn’t just financial
Sex and relationship coach Ken Blackman says, “It doesn’t mean a man has to be June Cleaver in the relationship – he can still be strong, take the lead, bring out a woman’s feminine side. For really successful women this can sometimes be even more important and more valuable than his earning power.”
I’ve always felt completely supported because of my husband.
When it came to my constant work travel, negotiating work politics, and taking on big projects, I cared more about him listening to me, encouraging me, and managing other parts of our lives than whether or not he’d get a holiday bonus. The way he took extra stuff off my plate was manly and strong and as a result, we’re a great team.
It’s a celebration to be the breadwinner – not an apology,ever
Have you ever heard a man say, “Oh geez, I really don’t want my wife to see my big bonus and feel bad about herself and get in a weird mood all weekend,” or, “How am I gonna break this promotion news at home?”
I doubt it.
So why would women downplay theirsuccess? Sure, some men will never feel comfortable with a breadwinning wife, but guilt or secrecy about anyone’s success is a little nuts, don’t you think? I mean – take the check to the bank and pop the Champagne! Who cares about where it came from?
Everyone’s better off if they can just enjoy whatever good comes their way and celebrate any and every accomplishment. That’s why marriage is called a partnership, legally and emotionally. No matter your gender, you’ve earned every single great thing that comes your way. Cheers!
Susie Moore is a New York-based high-performance coach, consultant, and author. She’s been featured on the Today show, Forbes, Oprah.com and more.Sign up for her free confidence injection every Sunday »
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