In today's world, it's not uncommon for women to be the breadwinners or sole earners in their homes. Once upon a time, I was the breadwinner in my relationship too. However, sometimes, this can be a really difficult situation to be in as a woman. Although times are quickly changing, many women still face challenges in their relationships when they are female breadwinners.
Let’s talk about why you should be proud to be a female breadwinner and some tips on overcoming relationship challenges because of it.
What is the definition of a female breadwinner?
A breadwinner is a person that earns the majority of the income for the household. As a female breadwinner, you either are the sole earner for your household or earn more than your spouse on a dual-income.
NPR showcased how more couples are embracing having a female breadwinner using Kalina and Alex as an example. Kalina landed a job that earned her $90,000 a year, which was double what her spouse Alex was making. Although they are both income earners, Kalina is the majority earner making her the household’s breadwinner.
Some couples may decide to rely on one income, which in many cases makes the female breadwinner the sole earner for the household. That being said, women breadwinners are on the rise, and many women say they earn more than their spouses.
Why you should be proud of being a female breadwinner
Let’s face it, we’re not in 1960 anymore, and women breadwinners should embrace their financial success. The typical stereotype that women should be stay-at-home wives or attribute their success to men isn’t the way it is anymore.
You should be proud that you can support your family and provide financial stability with a successful career. As a female breadwinner, you are equipped to make financial decisions and live life on your own terms.
Generating the majority of the income for your family takes perseverance and hard work. There is no shame in being a female breadwinner; in fact, you should take pride in your accomplishment.
Of course, there is a difference between being confident and allowing your income to cause conflict at home. You want to be sure you wear your badge of honor with respect to others, including your spouse.
Do you earn more than your partner? Here are 5 relationship tips
I've put together 5 tips to help ease the tension if any exists as a result of you being the breadwinner at home.
Tip #1: Don't apologize for earning more but don't allow it to cause conflict
Often, as women when we earn more or do better than our male counterparts, we sometimes feel like we need to apologize or play down our accomplishments. We absolutely shouldn't. Instead, we should be proud to be women breadwinners and of what we have been able to do.
However, it's important to be mindful that we don't allow our pride to cause conflict. Being obnoxious is not an attractive trait (for women or men), regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not. At the end of the day, you are a team, and whatever you do or accomplish, or earn only helps to make your team better.
Be proud of your accomplishment, but involve your partner in the excitement of what it means for you both and for your "team.”
Tip #2: Don't be a dictator; instead, consider how you would want to be treated
A big part of relationships involves mutual respect and trust—the keyword here is "mutual.” Just because you earn more doesn't mean you should become the evil queen dictating how every penny is spent, checking all the bank accounts, and asking for a play-by-play of every transaction your partner made.
Think of how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. Allow your partner to make financial decisions; remember you are part of a team, and it is a partnership.
Tip #3: Communicate, communicate, communicate
This, in my opinion, is the most important tip when it comes to this topic. Communication is key. It's important to talk about how you feel and how your partner feels. Asking your partner questions about money can help prompt the conversation.
It's important to talk about your financial goals, and it's essential to make financial decisions together. Keeping open lines of communication will help you avoid a ton of potential problems.
Tip #4: Navigating jealousy
In some instances, you may have a partner who is jealous because you are the breadwinner of the family. If this is the case, then try to encourage communication and assessment of deeper issues in the relationship that earning more could amplify. You could explain how your success equals success for you both because you are a team.
Also, by earning more income, it can take the financial stress off of you both. Ultimately, you want to be in a relationship that makes you happy and have a partner that supports you even if you earn more.
Tip #5: Teamwork makes the dream work
Women breadwinners sometimes try to assume too many home responsibilities as well. Rather than taking on too much and burning yourself out, communicate with your partner what you need help with.
By splitting chores and other responsibilities, you can prevent getting overwhelmed and being resentful for working, and having to do all of the household chores.
The best relationships are ones where the couple works as a team. Helping each other and realizing that both of you are contributing to the relationship and household, even if it’s not just financially, is essential.
Celebrate your financial success
Whether you are earning a six-figure salary or simply making enough to live life on your terms, you and your partner should celebrate your financial success. Lifting the financial burden of not earning enough can, at times, help a relationship because you aren’t stressing over money anymore.
Remember to be proud about being the breadwinner of the family but don't allow it to cause conflict. Don’t dictate every penny spent and treat your spouse how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. Be sure to communicate with your spouse about their feelings and both of your financial goals and decisions.
Try your best to navigate jealousy by encouraging communication and assessing any deeper issues. Even though you are the breadwinner, you should work as a team with your financial goals and household responsibilities. You can have a healthy relationship and be a successful female breadwinner!