Does your SO's salary matter?

posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 16
6228 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

When we first got together, my response was/would have been an emphatic no. Now that I’m a bit older and have a child, my perspective has definitely changed. I would not be willing to partner with someone who didn’t/couldn’t pull his own weight financially (and otherwise). (I also consider it my responsibility to be able to afford my life on my own, though, so this expectation goes both ways for me).

I know someone who was with a guy who was making pretty good money when they got together and then it “got too stressful” for him so he quit and was basically a bum doing the bare minimum for the next 10 years before she decided she was done. That kind of thing is a non negotiable hell no for me.

I am aware that situations change and circumstances fluctuate. People get laid off, money can ebb and flow. But, yes- Income does matter and there is a big difference between struggling and growing together and struggling to suffer together. I’m not available for the latter.

Post # 17
7905 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Knowing he had a stable and interesting job was appealing to me. I didn’t find out how much he actually made until closer to our engagement, but I was pleasantly surprised that he made more than I thought. Now he is in the middle of a job transition. I am ok if he’s not making as much as he did previously, but it’s just important to me that he’s being productive. 

Post # 18
127 posts
Blushing bee

When my SO and I first met, we were in high school and begun dating shortly after. Both made minimum wage, his money (or lack thereof for both of us!) did not affect my decision whatsoever. Now that we’re several years in and planning our future together seriously…Yes, his income does matter. Ideally, I want both of us to have jobs we enjoy that are comfortable income-wise. We want children, a house, etc. If the option to have a job he enjoys (or really, isn’t dreading going to every day) and pays decently is available, I wouldn’t be too happy if he wanted to take a significant pay cut for a job he “loves”. That’s just not feasible.  

ALSO–That’s on my end, too. I’ve taken a job that is high stress that has never been my end goal because: 1. It’s generally enjoyable, and 2. it pays very well for the area. Would I move on to a job I loved if it meant going back to minimum wage? No. 

Post # 19
5161 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

No. When we first met my husband did make a decent salary, but I also was fully aware he was contemplating a significant career change that would mean his income dropping significantly, even to zero. This did in fact happen a few months after we started dating and his income has been quite low ever since.

These days he runs our small business day to day and works part time elsewhere for some income. He is *incredibly* hard working, even if not reflected in the salary. These days I am the primary breadwinner by far and probably make 5-10x his income (depending on the year) but I have no problem with that. That is the way my career has shaken out, with his support and own decisions in support of that, such as living where I do have my career, just as I support, encourage, and contribute to our small business as well, so to me both our incomes are a “joint effort” in many ways and it all goes the same place. 

It can be stressful knowing my income is what we really “live” on for both essentials and pleasure, but at same time I know he is someone who will do what needs to be done if something happened to my income, and he and is very appreciative of what I do and what I “bring” home, just as I appreciate his efforts and think he probably works a lot harder than I do! He is also fiscally responsible and intelligent, much more so than me at times, so that goes a long way.

Post # 20
367 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

I judge people more by how they spend money, rather than how much they earn… I’d rather be with someone with a low income who can live within his means, than someone who earns much more but lives paycheck to paycheck (can you tell I’ve been in both situations?). My Darling Husband and I are both teachers, so we have a stable income, but we will never be rich…

Post # 21
160 posts
Blushing bee

I will say that it definitely mattered to me to a certain extent. I care about my career and care about making a good living personally. I like that my SO shares my values about money and security and matches or surpasses me in professional ambition. We like working but also see it as a means to a end. I admire people who dedicate themselves to social impact or the environment or nonprofit (generalizing that these are careers that may on average be lower paying) but I’m not sure I would be attracted to that in a romantic and life partnership. I am a little more pragmatic and less altruistic if I can admit that… 

For example, my brother’s girlfriend has taken on hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt through undergraduate and now getting her PhD. She is very passionate and hard working but plans to go into a career after she finishes that is very low paying relative to her level of education. That’s all well and good but I could never be with someone like this because we just think about things too differently and make different decisions. We would not be compatible. 

Post # 22
318 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

No, we met when we were students as long as we have enough to pay for food and bills I would always be happy. 

Post # 23
4100 posts
Honey bee

mingogo4 :  it wouldn’t matter to me. In fact, my Darling Husband and I have been in the situation. 

When we first met, I was barely making ends meet as a single mother. I was living off of welfare. He made decent money. Then I got a job that paid a little better, and his job changed their commission structure (he works in sales), so he started making a lot less. Then eventually I got promoted and began to make decent money. Now I’ve gotten another promotion and I make good money, and he switched departments at work and now makes more money than he made when we first met. I can honestly say we have gone through the struggle of not making a lot of money together, and we always stuck by each other’s side. 

Post # 24
1289 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I would be lying if I said it didn’t enter my mind while we were dating (or in my other relationships). It’s not that there is a minimum $X that must be earned. Instead, I was looking for somebody who had similar professional and living standard ambitions as myself. These aren’t ridiculous expectations, but also would not be feasible on a minimum wage or low salary. 

I work to live and am realistic that sometimes sacrifices must be made to accomplish economic goals. In finding a life partner I looked for somebody with similar economic goals who doesn’t make money the first priority but also doesn’t make money the last priority. It has to be balanced and that was definitely factored into my relationship decisions.

Post # 25
5154 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

mingogo4 :  Honestly, absolutely. I wanted someone I could be with that could support himself and I could live a comfortable lifestyle with.

I’ve worked hard for my accomplishments and make a decent salary and wanted to be with someone who had those same goals and accomplishments. To me, it’s more than just $$. To me, it’s what our lifestyle will be like (able to own a home, go on vacations, out on the weekends) that I had as goals. I needed someone who could help make those goals possible. 

Post # 26
1011 posts
Bumble bee

Not at all – up until my SO, I dated students, artists, etc. Basically, I had always made more money than the guys I dated. I actually didn’t know what my SO’s actual job was until sometime between month 5-7 of our relationship. I always thought he was a graphic designer (which is what he told me, because it’s the easiest way to explain it) and if you look up the average salary, it’s modest for NYC but solid. 

Turns out he owns an agency… that was a surprise! However, if he wanted to walk away, I’d support him in that. It’s not about the money, it’s about us being together. 

Post # 27
101 posts
Blushing bee

I met my husband when he was halfway through his doctorate in Physical Therapy. He was working at part time job for the town so he made very little.

I was impressed by his career goals, ambition and in awe of his intelligence (still am). Since my mother worked in a similar field I had an idea of what his salary could be like. 

As someone who is ambitious, hardworking and who has always been more career minded than maternal it was important to me someone was just as ambitious and focused as me, if not, more so. 

As it turns out we opted to live in the US instead of Canada and his salary is much lower than if we were in Canada. He also works for a not for profit where if he worked for a hospital he would be making 15-20 thousand more. He still makes a great living and together with our combined income we make in the six figures. 

So, short answer – it was important to me that someone had high career goals and that could be in equal partnership where money wouldn’t be a struggle for our (hopefully growing) family. 

Post # 28
1721 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Yes and no.

i wanted someone who worked hard because I do. I didn’t want someone who had loads of debt and didn’t understand the value of money. We also live in a HCOL so that’s important as well. But I don’t care what he made just as long as we would be comfortable. I didn’t even know his salary for like 2 years of our relationship. 

Post # 29
101 posts
Blushing bee

weatherbug :  I feel EXACTLY the same way. I put those same expectations on myself as well as my spouse! 

Post # 30
3224 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

No, but I wanted someone with a “career” vs just a job and I wanted someone who could/was supporting himself and had a job where health insurance would be had (not for me, but for him). I dated someone longterm who did not have those things and it was a constant worry.

My husband happens to be a phd student in the (traditionally) second highest paid after phd field. However it’s hilarious to me how many people acted like I had scored big time with the $$$ when we started dating and they found out what he’s in school for. They have nooo idea the long road it is to making any money in academia. Five and a half years later and he’ll finally graduate in May, only to go be an underpaid post doc for an undetermined amount of time. 

I’m a teacher, so my salary is pretty abysmal, but I think it’s one of the most important jobs in the world (maybe I’m biased). I’d hate to think someone would cross me off their dating list because of that, but I wouldn’t want to date someone who didn’t value an educator’s job anyway. 

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