My amazing intern forwarded me an article last week that she read on CNN with some not-so-surprising new statistics.
In 2007, 22% of couples showed the woman making more money than the man. That’s up from 4% in 1970.
In this recession, 4.7 million men lost their jobs, compared with 2 million women, thus leaving more women to be the primary breadwinners.
The article points out what I’ve observed previously: the issue these days isn’t so much that the male schoolteacher is “intimidated” by the high-paid female advertising executive (there are some, but you don’t want them anyway), but rather that the high-paid ad exec refuses to date the schoolteacher.
But why is this the case in 2010?
Isn’t the point of being independently wealthy so that you can do what you want, when you want?
Doesn’t the value of being self-sufficient come in not having to worry about someone supporting you?
If you’re a woman who is in the top 10% of earners – and you INSIST that your man out earn you – you’ve now eliminated 90% of the dating population.
For a self-sufficient, high-earning man, a woman’s earning potential carries very little weight. Why? Because we have always been taught that nobody is going to pay our way in life. This gives men the freedom to choose a partner based on what matters most – character, kindness, fun, humor, compatibility – as opposed to mere earning potential. That’s the FREEDOM of making more money.
So why do women treat being high-earners like it’s a curse? “If I make $200,000, then he has to make AT LEAST $200,000.”
I’ve never heard a man say the same thing.
Face it: if you’re a woman who is in the top 10% of earners – and you INSIST that your man out earn you – you’ve now eliminated 90% of the dating population. And that’s before you’ve considered kindness, compatibility, attraction, values, height, weight, age, humor, children, etc. Doesn’t that sound like a self-defeating edict? I’ll say. Which is – in my estimation – one of the main reasons it’s easier for men to find love. We’re not looking at you to support us because we can support ourselves, so we’re free to choose whomever we want.
The question remains: if you can support yourself as well as any man can support himself, what DIFFERENCE does it make what he earns? Why is your boyfriend, the guitarist, “bad husband potential” when his girlfriend, the painter, is just “his girlfriend?” Haven’t we evolved enough to true equality that it doesn’t matter who makes more as long as the couple as a unit is doing okay? Or are women stuck on the old world order where men provided and women took care of the home – even though most $200,000 earning women don’t want to be homemakers? Do women want it both ways? Do you want the option of quitting work and maintaining your high lifestyle, when men don’t have this option? If so, is this the rare double-standard that works in favor of women?
Frankly, I think that successful women holding out for more successful men is as counterproductive as wealthy men doing the same thing – which, as you might have notice, they don’t.
I would love your thoughts on whether women should continue to hold out for men who make more – with these two caveats:
1) Please don’t accuse me of being sexist for making the observation that most women want a man to outearn them. It’s an observation, not a judgment.
2) Please don’t accuse me of encouraging women to date deadbeat slackers with no money, no ambition and tons of credit card debt. It’s not all or nothing. Just as I say you can compromise on chemistry – from a 10 to a 7 – I’m simply wondering aloud why a woman with her own money can’t date a man who makes $45K, the exact same way a man with his own money can date a woman who makes $45K.
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