12 Men Confess How They Truly Feel About Their Partners Earning More

Wendy Robinson | Nov 17, 2015 Money

couple working on computer on couchA few years ago, after the surprise discovery that we had a second baby on the way, my husband and I took a long hard look at our financial situation. After running the numbers on the cost of having two kids in day care, it became clear that having my husband become a stay-at-home parent made the most financial and personal sense. And so, he quit his job, and I became the primary breadwinner.

With that decision, I became one of the more than 30 percent of American women who earn more money than their partners.

For my husband and me, not much changed about our relationship, financial or otherwise. We already had combined finances and I was already the one who handled all the bills and other financial responsibilities.

But for some men, having a partner who brings home a bigger share of the bacon can be a surprisingly emotionally complicated experience.

Here, 12 men anonymously share their real feelings on the idea of having a partner who earns more than they do. You might be surprised at just how they really feel when it comes to this sensitive money topic. 


Image via © monkeybusinessimages/iStock

  • She's the Brains


    "We've been together for over 40 years, and I know she is the brains of this relationship, and she carries that with her into work. She deserves to make more than me, and I am proud to have such a smart broad on my arm."

  • I'm Okay If She's Okay


    “In terms of how I see myself and how I see my wife, and our relationship, it's a non-issue. I do sometimes think about the fact that some people might see me as less of a man, although that doesn't really bother me. Really, my only concern sometimes is how okay my wife is with it. I know she says she is, and I believe her, but I sometimes wonder whether, if that situation never changed, she'd always be okay with it."

  • Gone Fishing?


    "My two older brothers have wives who make more than them and basically support their families. They love it! Work definitely does not get in the way of their fishing. I am NOT in that situation. I keep telling my wife that it is my birthright, but she just ignores me and tells me to go to work."

  • Ego Battles


    “Being a gay man, this gets tough in my marriage. I feel like we get in man ego battles sometimes. I have way more education than my husband, but he makes more with no college degree. I'm fine with it, as I get to spend it as much as him! I feel like I'm not providing enough, but that's a reflection on me, not him. So, I don't get mad at him for it.

    "I think it also depends on how you do your financials as a couple too. Our paychecks go into an account we both have access to, and our income is seen as equal. It all goes in one big pot, and the budget goes from there. I think it would stir up trouble for us if we saw it from the perspective that I pay this bill and he pays that one."

  • The Teacher Talks


    "Right now, my wife makes more than me, because I am back in school. But the truth is that I’m hoping to become a high school teacher, so she'll probably always make more than me. I'd say I'm 70 percent okay with that and 30 percent worried that this means I'm not being a good enough provider and being a real man, whatever that means."

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  • Wishing to Stay Home


    "My wife and I have been married for 10 years and just had our first kid. She makes 75 percent more than I do. I work for a nonprofit, and she is in the tech field, so this will ALWAYS be the case. My only gripe is that I feel like I should quit so I can stay home with the baby, and she is opposed to that. My salary barely covers the cost of childcare, and we'd be fine living on her salary, but she says she isn't comfortable with me not contributing anything to the finances. That makes me feel pretty crappy, actually. I'm not trying to freeload, I just want to be home with our kid!"

  • What It Means to Be a Man


    “My wife is supporting us right now while I try to finish and sell a novel. It is going pretty well, except that I feel internal guilt about spending 'her' money. She never, ever says anything like that, so I think it is just my own lingering issues about what it means to be a guy.”

  • The Balanced Couple


    "In our marriage, the who-makes-more thing has shifted. I've made more, she's made more, we've made nearly the same. It just isn't a big deal for us. All the money goes into the same pot, and as long as we can pay the bills, we are good to go!"

  • The Doctor's Husband


    "My wife is a doctor, and I am in the creative arts, so she makes bank, and I make pennies. The only thing that makes me have any feelings about it is that I don't make enough to pay for my stupid student loans. I owe over $100K from grad school, and I'd be paying them forever without her helping. Grad school was a terrible idea, so I feel bad that I took on so much debt and make $20,000 a year."

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  • The 'Freeloader'


    "My wife and I don't care that she makes more, but HER parents totally do. We've been together for six years, and I think they still think I'm a freeloader.”

  • Sleeping With the Boss


    "We always had a really traditional relationship with me making the money and her staying home with the kids. Then, I got laid off and she went back to work as a real estate agent. Turns out she is really good at it, so now I work as her assistant. Sometimes it feels weird to me but, hey, I get to sleep with the boss, so I can't complain."

  • The Competition


    "Right now, my wife makes $3,450 more a year than I do. I'm super competitive, so I'm hoping for a big raise or bonus this year so I can pass her. It isn't about gender though; I just like to win. I'm still not over that her 10K time is better than mine."