When Women Make More than their Partners

Today’s women make up more than half the workforce. They also outnumber men in college and constitute approximately half the medical school enrollment. According to a 2000 U.S. Census Bureau report, 60% of women out-earned men for the three previous ... When Women Make More than their Partners

Today’s women make up more than half the workforce. They also outnumber men in college and constitute approximately half the medical school enrollment. According to a 2000 U.S. Census Bureau report, 60% of women out-earned men for the three previous consecutive years. In Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” the answer to the question, “What do women want?” is power. Sound good? Well, think again. Here are some ideas to consider.

1. Increased divorce. Women who earn more money than their partners are more likely to divorce, according to a well-known marriage researcher, Steven Nock, of the U. of Virginia, Dept. of Sociology. The chances of divorce increases since women know they can now take care of themselves economically. They are no longer, as a saying goes, “one step away from welfare or the funny-farm.”

2. Addiction of power. The power of the money creates power—or at least the sense of it—so thoroughly that money and power become almost become two sides of the same coin. The hope is that money will arm a woman with control—over her life and her man. The money allows her co-equal footing in decision-making in major family matters such as which home or car to buy. The money can also stoke the addiction to instant social recognition and respect.

3. Resentment of emotional relationship management. Many of the strong and financially successful women in my study were later shocked to find that the money, social recognition and respect, and power have not freed them from shouldering the emotional responsibility of the relationship. Even when Dad stays home with the kids and/or works out of the home, many professional women find themselves unable to come home at night and create a typical male scenario—say hello to all, mix a drink and tune out in front of the television set. Successful, working and professional women—especially those who are mothers—still come home to a second career far more than they thought they would had they not become successful. Women still tend to be the ones to initiate discussions about the relationship, family, in-laws and children.

4. Lack of fluidity in gender roles. One of the leading causes of dissatisfaction in dual career marriages is the struggle with the lack of enough flexibility in gender roles. Women still find themselves cooking, grocery shopping, doing laundry and serving as the primary overseer of homework and childcare. In Ginny Graves’ book “Bringing Home the Bacon,” (William Morrow, 2005), she found that when women make more money, they often feel guilty and tend to hand over the management of money to their husbands to boost the men’s feelings of still having a role in monetary decisions.

The best solutions are for the couple to talk about the following issues and build a tailor-made model that works for them:

1.Division of household chores. Who likes to do what? Who’s better at it? Can you rotate the ones you hate and like?

2. Agreed childcare rules. Develop a unified and consistent approach so that children know what to expect.

3. Limiting work. You can’t “do it all.” Limit your work projects and travel whenever possible. Consider changing jobs or taking on less responsible ones while raising a family.

4. Budget. Just how much money do you really need? Do you need the fanciest cars? When you examine your expenses, you often realize that you don’t have to have the highest-paying job.

5. Priorities. Make your relationship and your family your top priorities. And remember, pride goes before the fall.

*** For Women Only: If you would like to be part of Dr. Wish’s research for her next book on women’s love relationships and get one hour of FREE counseling, go to her website and click in the Research box in the upper right and take the online research survey. Be sure to include you contact information and the word SELFGROWTH so that Dr. Wish can contact you.

Author's Bio: 

LeslieBeth Wish is a Psychologist, Clinical Social Worker and author who is nationally recognized for her contributions to women, love, relationships, family, career, workplace, and organizations.

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