My Lover Makes More Money Than Me

This is an interesting love-life problem. Your lover makes more money than you. Question is, what effect does that have on your relationship? If you’re a woman, your gender has traditionally expected and adapted to this difference.

For most traditional couples, the man is expected to make more money than his female counterpart. If he does he’s a ‘real man.’ But watch out if he doesn’t. With this kind of value system, a man’s in trouble if he doesn’t make more money than his wife. In short, he’s not living up to this expectation.

A lot of men still believe this and feel horrible and impotent when they make less money than their lovers or wives. It’s tragic when this happens because real masculinity should have nothing to do with the number on your paycheck. Masculinity has everything to do with who you are as a person (from the inside out).

Sometimes, this kind of problem creates an opportunity for a man to reexamine his value system. I have treated men who came in the door feeling less of a man because they made less money than a lover or wife, and left the treatment feeling better about themselves because they had an opportunity to reestablish their masculinity on firmer ground.

Here’s the thing to remember, your sense of yourself as a man should never be demolished by the number value attached to your employment. When a person feels bad about himself because he’s not making as much money as his lover, it’s a sign that he’s using a money value to establish his own ‘worth.’ A very dangerous thing to do (given economic unpredictability) as far as your self-esteem goes. And your self-esteem is the bedrock of your love-life.

Now, if you make less money than your lover and she is beating you up over it, you’ll have to address that sooner than later. Chances are she also uses a money measure to judge your worth as a person. In most cases, this is a good reason to be direct and let her know you are being mistreated. What other option do you have? Remain quiet and silently resent the crap out of her? That’s never healthy.

If you choose to remain passive and try to ignore this kind of abuse, undoubtedly your self-esteem will start to sag. You’ll definitely start to feel bad about yourself over time. Your only means of regaining the respect that’s lacking is to take the risk and communicate what you feel and think. Keep it civil but say what ‘s on your mind (and heart) face to face. It’s up to you and her to ferret out those traditional expectations that aren’t working for your relationship.

A lot of women these days are learning how to make more money than their male counterparts without taking apart their male egos. The key is to appreciate a man for his talents, whether or not those talents make money. In fact, men have more recently had an opportunity to develop their interest in children and other aspects of domestic life and still feel good about themselves as men. This is a very positive change for our love-lives.

For most of us, there is a slow but gradual transition from rigid roles to lifestyles with shared responsibilities taking place in our society. However, we’re still struggling with the traditional models in this culture. I think that learning how to share responsibilities with a lover provides an opportunity to grow as a person. This kind of growth always helps prepare for and sustain a life of love.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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