While working with women, I often face this topic: women earning more than men. For some women, out-earning their husband can cause a problem.
I will be completely honest with you: I just didn’t get it. I still don’t like it, but I believe we can fix it. What bothers me the most is watching a man stand in the way of his wife’s success, holding her back because of his own insecurities. Over 40 percent of women are the main breadwinners in their relationships. The number of women staying home full-time, not earning an income, is decreasing.
Why do men care if their wife makes more money? For starters, people are often judged by the amount of money they earn. This is total BS, but it is true. Additionally, look at social customs: men were often raised with the expectation that a man works and provides financially while a woman raises the kids and cares for the home. If this mentality was the norm, it can be hard to break.
Hindering a woman’s success can be toxic and detrimental to her career, not to mention her relationship with her spouse. Studies show that this type of behavior increases the likelihood of divorce by 50 percent!
What surprises me even more? Women are affected by out-earning their husbands. They care. Women sometimes feel ashamed to make more money, worrying they will make their partner feel insecure. WHAT?! This is bananas to me. Now it’s not just a man standing in his wife’s way, it’s a woman standing in her own way.
Through coaching and mentoring women, I’ve developed a few strategies, should you find yourself in this position.
1. Make it clear to your partner that your earnings help BOTH of you. My husband knows and understands that supporting my career helps us hit our goals. It is a team effort.
2. Communicate with each other. This is the biggest issue. Often, when I ask a woman to name her family or marriage goals, she doesn’t have an answer. If you don’t have clear goals as a couple, you don’t know where you are going! Ask yourself: does my partner know he’s holding me back? Have I asked for his support? Does he know what I’m trying to accomplish?
3. Make sure EVERYONE understands that income doesn’t define you. Being a good person, helping others, being a great parent, etc., that is what defines you.
4. Get help. You can’t afford not to. Seek out a professional who can help you navigate these waters. Your career, nor your relationship, will last very long if you ignore the problem. Make it a priority.
Finally, if you see a secure guy, loving his role, supporting his sugar mama, give him a high-five and a slap on the ass for killing it! I love these men and they deserve our praise!