(Closed) Being the breadwinner sucks

posted 7 years ago in Relationships
Post # 62
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I make much less than my husband (and I’m the one with the fancy degree).  I would hate for him to resent me like it seems you resent your partner.  It is one thing that gives me anxiety.  Sometimes different career fields have vastly different earning profiles and sometimes the job market tanks in your field.  There is little that can be done about it. 

Post # 63
706 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

DH and I have both been on either end.  When he and I combined finances, he made significantly less AND we were paying off a lot of his debt.  In reality, that meant that I was contributing significantly to his debt repayment.  Did I ever resent him?  Not at all.  We were already in the mindset that we were a team and we were in it together.  There was no HIS and MINE.  It was ours.

Then, DH was laid off, so I was making ALL the money.  Again, it was our situation, not his/mine.  When he got a job, I ended up then being the one to stop working.  So HE was making all the money.

Now, we are both employed, and we make within $1k of each other.  Neither of us will quickly surpass the other, as we are in the same field, unless one of us takes a new job.  I don’t resent him and he doesn’t resent me.  We have a lifestyle that we are accustomed to, but if something happened to make our income drop drastically (either his OR mine), we would shift and make adjustments.  We’ve done it before.

Post # 64
997 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Currently, I make about 3x more than my husband. BUT my husband actually works a lot harder than I do. Does it bother me that my income is essentially what we live off of and that I pay for everything? Nope, it sure doesn’t. He is my husband, not an ATM. I would love him and stand by his side regardless of how much he makes. Just as I know he would stand by my side if the roles were reversed. If this is something that you think is a big deal, then I would be concerned for your future and worry that you might end up resenting him. I’m not a therapist, but that is my opinion. 

Post # 65
2959 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I don’t care that I make way more money than FH. In fact I am rather proud that I am where I am today as it took an awful long time and a lot of effort to get here. I know of no law that states a man has to be the breadwinner or make more money than the woman. FH helps with the bills to the best of his ability and I am satisfied with that. Unlike my ex who didn’t work most of our relationship and made very little contribution of any sort to the household – now THAT bothered me!

Post # 66
2090 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Money is a major things folks get divorced over, so you must figure out where you stand before you walk down the aisle. Both my Fiance and I make around the same thing. I am in college and it is a real possibility that I will end up making more than him until he goes back to school. At the end of the day, no one knows the future… Either way, as long as one of us is doing well financially, then we are both doing well. You have to be able to think of your life without him and if you would put money before the love that you share. If you were with a rich man, but he did not treat you well as a person, would you be happier? The grass is almost never greener. There is something called the 80/20 rule in relationships. You should be happy about and with your SO 80% of the time. The other 20% will not be what you want or enjoy, but you must accept that along with the good. If you continue on this route, then you will end up bitter and resentful towards him for something that is not really his issue, but yours. Try to really think about it and decide what you want to do…

Post # 67
2424 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

No, I don’t feel that way. I currently make just under double what DH makes, and the gap will only get bigger because I just have more earning potential in my career. It doesn’t bother me that I will be the primary breadwinner, I worked very hard and am proud of myself for getting this job. My DH has a job he loves and makes good money, so there is nothing to resent. I don’t feel like I am not secure or provided for, and I honestly during a very brief period that DH was supporting me, I felt guilty, useless and inadequate.

Honestly, well before we were married, I stopped thinking of it as “my” or “his” money, and I think that your hesistation to want to let your work benefit someone you love is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. At the end of the day, what’s more important, a decent and compassionate person who doesn’t make as much money, or someone who makes a lot of money but spends all his time working?

Post # 68
292 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
@Reign14:  Is the reason you resent your Fiance because he doesn’t seem to be working very hard at bettering his career or his earning potential, nor is he in a lower paying position because of his career path (I.e. teacher vs wall street)? I can’t entirely tell from your posts if the problem is that you feel he’s just being kind of lazy.  

I don’t resent my SO for making less than me because I know he works his butt off and is steadily working his way towards a promotion. I do get annoyed when I have to unexpectedly foot the bill on big ticket items because he didn’t manage his money well. I make way more than he does but i also have more bills so the unexpected expense can put me in a bad situation. This would be a non issue if we had combined finances (we don’t live together currently so we don’t combine) because it would be “our” money and as long as I know he is working as hard as he can, then it doesn’t bother me to contribute more financially. If I thought he was being lazy because he can just live off of me then it would be a huge issue. 

Post # 69
9948 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

You aren’t married yet… so how you choose to divide up your money could be quite different now than it will be afterwards (IMO as it should be)

BUT once you are married, most experts will say, that the most successful relationships find a way NOT TO FIGHT / NIT-PICK ABOUT MONEY

(Money, Finances, etc, being one of the greatest causes of divorce)

The BEST model is for ALL the income coming into the home be combined, then the required elements withdrawn from the pot (monthly expenses)… and then Joint Savings (be they long term or short term).  And then the remaining amount divided into 2 equal lots.  Lot One is given to you, and Lot Two is given to him.  From each of your lots you should be dividing them into again equal parts… one part for your Personal Retirement Accounts, and the other bit is for your Spending Money.

In this way…

All the required bills are paid.

Joint savings for Long Term & Short Term goals are met (be it a Downpayment for a House, or savings for a Vacation next summer, piece of furniture, boat, whatever)

And you’ve taken care of your Retirement Funds in equal amounts.

And you’ve got an equal amount of money to blow on whatever your heart desires.

— — —

Now truthfully… if this financial model doesn’t work for you… then YES there could be problems for you two in the future in your relationship in regards to finances, cause clearly you guys aren’t “team players” when it comes to money.


The idea of 50/50 or any other percentage… only goes so far.  Eventually it catches up with the couple… in that the lower earner will end up being continually punished for earning less, and therefore having less in the relationship.

MY BEST ADVICE… You guys need to have a heart to heart.  And then go see a couple’s counsellor that specializes in finances.  (Or watch some of Gail Vaz Oxlade’s “Till Debt Do Us Part” shows).

Cause ya, it can be a major hurdle… and cause it isn’t JUST ABOUT MONEY (as you’ve so rightly pointed out… it is also about the fact that Men & Women ARE Different from one another in how they tend to relate to stuff in a relationship… including Money).

Hope this helps,


Post # 71
139 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

View original reply
@Reign14:  I’m not in your position, but I do see where you’re coming from. I think this can also be boiled down to work ethic- if you have a very demanding job, high expectations of yourself and are working to also advance in your career it can be frustrating to date/financially support someone who’s work ethic does not fit into that catagory. Maybe I’m wrong and this isn’t your situation…

I can also see how it would be a little scary, now that you are planning to commit the rest of your lives together that you are comitting to supporting this other person financially for life, and maybe you aren’t ready for that. That’s ok. I’m not really sure why so many PP are giving you a hard time for it. 

I dated a guy in college for 2 years who would always make jokes in public about being broke all the time (I worked 2 jobs with a full class schedule and had a little extra money to go out every so often, he had never had a job and never took more than 2 classes at a time, had been in art school for 6 years), make jokes about how he was never going to work and wanted a sugarmomma to support him, make jokes about living in poverty and never having kids…. I finally realized he wasn’t joking! He had no life goals, and I didn’t love him enough to stick around for all that. 

IDK, I hope it works out for you guys you obviously love him enough to say yes when he proposed. But don’t feel bad about questioning what your expectations are for the person you want to spend forever with. You both deserve to be honest about what you want for your life. 

Post # 73
212 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Yep, to echo pps, just because someone earns less doesn’t mean they aren’t working as hard. Social workers, certain trades, hell, even McDonalds workers are working really hard for very little monitary gain. What they do shouldn’t be valued any less in a relationship. If you’re both going to work 5 days a week, you should consider each other equals in terms of your input to the joint finances. It’s a matter of respecting each other’s time and effort. My two cents!

Post # 74
172 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

View original reply
@LadyStitcher:  I agree with what you have said. 

Relationships take work and mutual respect, but you shouldn’t need to work this hard to find respect for your life partner, and it seems in this case you’re unable to respect your partner because of his job and income.

So probably not the best fit unless you’re able to change your feelings, never easy, or support your partner in finding a job and income which you can live with. It might be that you need to be clearer about what your expectations are in this area. 

It does sound like he’s trying though? It is a difficult climate at present to find employment. In general I think it’s such a shame that that people feel their value is only as high as the wage they earn. 

And as someone said above, if this was a male posting about a stay at home mother who wasn’t an equal partner I think most people’s response would be very different.



Post # 75
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I know what you’re going through, I’m in the same predicament… Actually worse.

My wife takes everything for granted. Literally, everything. My income is derived from the stock market, which means one day, it could all go up in smoke. Sure, it provides a great lifestyle for us right now but what if the market crashes? This is what she doesn’t understand.

I’ve gone to great lengths to establish a large “safety net” just in case shit really hits the fan. So nothing would really change for us now that this “net” is in place but still, I don’t want to see her throwing money out the window. Yet, she continues to do so. 

I grew up poor so maybe that’s why I’m always worried about money. I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I understand what you’re going through.

I will say that it seems like you have a good husband that is willing to make changes and pursue his goals, even though he sometimes needs a little push. You’re situation is not hopeless. It will get better. 

Post # 76
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Money is money, to me.  Yes, it’s nice to have and it’s needed to live and buy the things you want, of course.  But are you able to live the lifestyle you both want with the income you BOTH have together?  I almost want to ask if you’re happy doing what you’re doing.   What’s it matter that you’re making more money than your fiance?  Does it bother you because you are unhappy at your job and you’re afraid Fiance can’t cover bills and living expenses if you were to quit and look for another job?  Or is it just the idea that you’re making more, plain and simple?

You said he’s having a hard time landing a job that pays well and he likes.  Unfortunately, this can take a while.  Are you willing to stay with him and help him out until this does happen?  I work SO HARD at my job, but I make practically zero money.  My husband makes a lot more than I do, and I do extremely important work (like assist with surgeries).  That really drives me up a wall! But it’s really making me reflect on my career path.  You both might change career paths in your life because you decide the stress, the money, the time, effort, etc., isn’t worth it to you.  Will you be there for one another should this situation arise?

Reflect on what you really want before going into your marriage.  Try to keep an open mind and talk to him about the sitaution.  Both of your happiness is very important.

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