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Just a Guy Who Likes Making More $$ Than His Wife

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Bruce Sallan:A recent Pew Center studyhas revealed that income has become much more equal between the genders. Now more than ever, women are earning higher incomes than their male counterparts. While I totally believe in equal pay for equal work, I do question the impact on relationships when the woman makes more than the man.

Guy likes making more money

With each generation becoming more accustomed to gender equality, I feel it will eventually settle into a comfortable reality that men and women will accept. But for now (and maybe longer), the inherent gender differences remain -- and may be a problem for couples wherein the woman makes more than the man.

What do women want from their men, and men from their women? I assert that women look for security first and foremost, while men look for a loving, supportive partner -- as well as a good-looking one. Crucify me, but this is the truth. Women also tend to like guys with a sense of humor as much as good looks, while men will date a model with no personality and still brag to their guy friends.

So I like the fact that in every relationship I've had -- including my two marriages -- I've felt more like a man because I've been the bigger earner. Call it an ego thing, an immature trait, but it's the truth of how I feel. And it's yet another dirty little secret that most men and women feel, too.

All of this said, I support women earning as much as they can -- and if a woman is the higher earner in the partnership, I hope it won't damage her relationship with her man. But it's harder. You can say (as I suspect many of you will), "What does he know? He's just a guy."

next: The Art of Making Baby Food
38 comments so far | Post a comment now
Theresa June 4, 2010, 7:24 AM

“Crucify me, but this is the truth.” The truth for you. Seeing as you’re a lot older than me, I’ll fill you in. What women want more and more these days is less about security and more about someone who’s evolved enough to not spiral into depression if she makes more money than him. And you’re right—most guys will chase T&A, but less women are willing to sit idly by while they do it. My hope is that dudes of your ilk are on the way out by the time my daughter’s a little older. But what do I know, I’m just a product of the 21st century. Welcome to it, buddy.

Chelle June 4, 2010, 7:33 AM

Ugh. Bring back Charles Orlando. This guy is a sad, aging douche.

Anonymous June 4, 2010, 8:01 AM

You’re gonna catch hell for this one but I completely agree with you!!! SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Lisa June 4, 2010, 9:06 AM

You may feel like more of a man when you earn more money, but when I meet a guy who can’t feel secure about his manhood when he isn’t the breadwinner, I look at him as less of a man. I don’t want a man to provide security for me. I do that myself! If it makes you feel more comfortable to have a woman financially dependent on you, well, whatever floats your boat, but it sounds to me like you’re the one seeking security—the imagined security that she won’t leave you if you support her financially. Since you’ve already been through two marriages, I’m guessing that doesn’t always work.

Anonymous June 4, 2010, 9:29 AM

I think that women are expecting less and less of men these days and it seems like most women are getting less and less from men these days. So many women pick men who have nothing to offer them and chose them to father their children and then can’t understand why their kids have deadbeat dads. I am self reliant and I expect the same from my husband. I would never be with someone who does not live up to their obligations. My sister married someone who started out good but a couple of yrs into their marriage, he got hurt at work and never went back. He kept waiting for that “big” settlement to come in and in the mean time, they lost their house, ruined their credit, had to go on food stamps and welfare. She worked full time but lost her job and can’t find another one. The whole family can’t figure out why her husband let this happen when he could have settled the case years ago. My old boss got pregant from a one night stand (an old ex boyfriend) and he hasn’t paid one penny of support to her in 13 yrs. When she threaten to take him to court, he threaten to walk out of his daughter life and never see her again and she accepted this because other than support he is a good dad. Sorry, I would never accept that. Again, when we except less we got less. Yes, women should always make the same as men do for the same job but I don’t agree with supporting a man!

Black Iris June 4, 2010, 2:54 PM

I wasn’t looking for money when I met my sweetie. I was looking for a smart, loving guy who shared my values and was hot. And I don’t think it’s fair to men to say that they only go for looks. Actually, I think you have a better chance of getting a long-term relationship if you’re not the hottest girl in town. For relationships, men want a woman who can offer something more. But I don’t think you need to worry about women earning more - it’s still true that nearly 80% of wives earn less than their husbands.

Bruce Sallan June 4, 2010, 10:14 PM

I am so amused at the reactions to my last two blogs. Such vitriol when I’m just expressing an opinion and, in this man’s experience, some truths about men AND women. BTW, I’m happily married to my 2nd wife, so let’s not change facts in your superficial knee-jerk reaction to what I write. I was married ONCE, divorced ONCE, and now married a second time. And, I was a 24/7 SAHD when my first wife abandoned our boys (and hasn’t seen or communicated with them in 3 years). When you’ve been in my shoes, maybe make superficial judgements without being identified or using a first and last name. Very easy to do. The anonymity of the web allows YOU to write whatever you want without attribution—in these comments. My name and face are up here, along with my contact info, so I stand behind my beliefs whether you like them or not.

stephanie June 4, 2010, 10:17 PM

Ha ha ha! I was worried for a second that there were no more old guys out there who would bravely give us all the conventional wisdom and old cliches that the “feminists” are just too afraid to admit. Thanks Bruce for stepping up! You know, “they” will be after you for this! LOL

michelle June 4, 2010, 10:26 PM

Bruce, I think what you meant to say was “I stand by my beliefs whether they’re easily disprovable or not.” LOL. Have you actually read any of the recent studies on this? Did you read about how higher incomes for women are associated with lower divorce rates? No? Well, you know women. We like to read and cry and stuff.

bruce Sallan June 5, 2010, 9:14 AM

Michelle - read the Pew Center study that I based this blog somewhat on. It’s fascinating and has no agenda I think - just reporting the facts. And, Stephanie, WHO ARE YOU CALLING AN OLD GUY!? And, “they” are already after me. I just don’t believe “they” are reading the blog carefully - just jumping to conclusions they learned in Grad School Gender Studies (lol)!

michelle June 5, 2010, 10:31 PM

I did read the study. As you know, it actually says nothing about the impact on marriage when a wife makes more money. Tell us, what do you think of the other very well-publicized studies that found that the biggest predictors of marital success are equity in the marriage and, frankly, education and social class of both partners? This is an economic argument, not a “knee-jerk feminist” one. Maybe the more intellectual issues such as economics are just too difficult for you? Your dislike for feminists is clearly much more comfortable territory for you, because you seem to return to the “Gender Studies” trope again and again despite its not being at all relevant to the discussion at hand. Which leads me to my other question. Can you explain *why* you support equal pay for equal work? If it isn’t good for marriage and is a net negative for society, then why support it? If you do support it because it signifies equal personhood for women, then, my friend, that is the exact definition of feminism and you are a feminist. Welcome to the team.

Amy June 6, 2010, 6:14 AM

When I was young, I said I went to college and worked heard at every job I had to ensure that I could marry for love and not money. I always said I could make money, but I might marry a mechanic because I don’t know the first thing about fixing a car. :) Today, I’ve been married for 6 years and my hubby is a stay at home dad and student (but he wasn’t always a student) for a while he was just a stay at home dad. While extra money would be nice, it is REALLY nice to not be responsible for housework, cooking, and to have someone run errands. Yet, his manly place in our relationship remains as he is the designated bug killer, handy man, car fixer, and all other husband traits but breadwinner. Pick what you want of tradition to make your own marriage work. That’s my advice.

Bruce Sallan June 6, 2010, 8:43 AM

Michelle - I like you and you are very smart. Call in to my radio show sometime - we’d have a great debate though I suspect we’ll agree much more than disagree. My full-length columns better express my views while these blogs do tend to be provocative by their nature and length limits.

I thank you for making me re-think my thinking on this but I chafe at the notion I may be a feminist after all - lol. Info on my show is in the “Radio Show” tab on my web-site.

deaddrift June 7, 2010, 8:58 PM

Just a neanderthal, is more like it… but at least one that will read and respond to some of his critics.

Unknown Mom June 8, 2010, 9:13 AM

I just want to say that I don’t agree completly with your article although some of your points are valid. Let me explain. I am a working mother of 2. My husband and I made a decision for him to stay at home with the kids. For us this is way more economical. Here is why… I have more education than my husband, I went to college and he did not. If he went to work, the kids would have to be in daycare. The kinds of jobs he is able to get would just cover the expensive cost of daycare so honestly what’s the point? We get slack about this all the time. People are constantly saying he should be the one who is supporting us. Why? If I was a stay at home mom would anyone be saying anything? NO! They would just smile and contiune on. I admit we are not rich, but we are comfortable. I am so happy my kids are being raised by us and not by the daycare system. To stay at home dad’s keep up the good work. Don’t let these idiots who think the man is the only one who can support a family tell you anything. And women, you need to do what you think is best for your family. I have been married for 15 years to the same man and it has been this way for many years. To all you judgemental people, get a life. What works for you may not work for me. I like it this way. Don’t be so quick to judge.

Bruce Sallan June 8, 2010, 12:24 PM

Good for you and your husband, Unknown Mom! Nothing in my blog doesn’t fully support your family decision and I think it’s great - for both of you and especially for your kids!

David June 17, 2010, 12:48 PM

Bruce wrote that comments to his last two blog posts amused him because, since he was only expressing an opinion in his posts, the vitriol in the comments seemed undue. Bruce has often written that the structural limits of a momlogic blog do not enable him to use finely-tuned language, give evidence to back up assertions or deploy other such enrichments. What a reader is confronted with, therefore, is essentially a “vitriolic” (I use the term loosely here) blog post, which naturally will bring forth vitriolic comments … vitriol breeds vitriol.

I have not read the Pew study in question, so I can’t comment on its findings. I wonder how much of this issue — i.e., women and men feeling comfortable or uncomfortable when, as partners in couples, the woman earns more money — varies substantially along the lines of age groups. Perhaps the Pew study addresses this…I don’t know.

An example is that a number of studies suggest that heterosexuals’ comfort or discomfort with the idea of gay marriage varies markedly above and below the line of about thirty-five years old: Members of the younger cohort tend to consider boys marrying boys and girls marrying girls no big deal, whereas for members of the older cohort, that sort of thing tends to be much more troubling.

I am certain there will always be a core group within any age cohort who think it’s problematic/unappealing/wrong/etc. when the woman in a couple earns more than the man. But I would not be surprised if the size of that group declines as the age of people being surveyed increases.

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