You’re dating a lovely woman and things are starting to get serious. She’s in a good job and you suspect that she earns a little more than you do… Then, last week, when she was paying for a new dress, she flashed that platinum credit card. You knew that you were involved with a big earner. And you’re not sure if you are comfortable with that.
there is no reason why a woman being the higher earner should be a problem
In reality, there is no reason why a woman being the higher earner in the relationship should be a problem. If the relationship is worth pursuing, the only thing that you have to do is make things right in your own mind. Here are some of the things you should be thinking about.
Financial honesty is important in relationshipsYou and your girlfriend need to have an honest conversation about money. I’m not suggesting you ask: “How much do you earn?”. Rather, address matters like your attitudes to debt, saving and spending. Compatibility in these areas is far more important than having a similar figure on your salary slip at the end of each month.
But, yes, at some point, you will have to share what you earn, and it is important to be honest about this. And if it makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable, be honest about that too rather than trying to hide behind bravado. Her response will help you to understand her better as well.
Your income isn’t the only thing that you have to offer herIn a relationship, each person brings their own unique set of talents, skills, insights and, yes, finances to the mix. A relationship is about so much more than who pays for what. If you feel that you are somehow contributing less because you contribute less money, consider all the other things that you are offering: Are you clever, kind, warm, funny? Are you good at fixing things? Is your working day more flexible so you can let the electrician in?
Your girlfriend probably likes you for reasons that have nothing to do with your income. Don’t undermine all the wonderful things you have to offer just because you don’t have a huge paycheque at the end of every month. But if she’s generous and supportive of you with her income, make sure you are generous and supportive of her in other ways – honestly, you can’t go wrong with a footrub or a romantic picnic in a park.
Your income can still help build a futureEven though you don’t earn as much, your salary is still a contribution to your life together. Two salaries are ALWAYS better than one. So if you feel that you might be getting serious – buying a house or planning a wedding – consider the power of both of your salaries together. A long-term relationship isn’t about who put what in; it’s about what you can do, together.
Look at sensible ways to save, invest and spend so that you become financially strong together.
Don’t spend beyond your meansThis final point is a particularly important one. Don’t let the fact that you are dating someone who earns more than you make you spend more than you have. A big income doesn’t make you a better person, but being sensible with money is an important measure of your worth. Be honest and clear if you are out of cash and suggest alternatives like this, “Sorry, but I am out of cash until payday. Instead of going out, how about we just cook at home and watch a movie on TV?”
If she doesn’t accept your good sense about money, then she’s not the right person for you, no matter what she earns.
Happily (and wealthily) ever afterAs the pay gap lessens and more and more women pursue high-end professional careers, the imbalanced earnings conundrum is one that will be cropping up more and more often. Men and women need to prepare themselves for the possibility of being in a relationship in which the woman earns more. Hopefully, society will grow to accept that there’s more to love than money. Remember, your income doesn’t matter more than the person you are – you should believe that and hopefully your partner will see it too.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of 1Life or its employees.