I’m Resenting My Boyfriend For Not Pulling His Weight Financially

Hi Evan,

My boyfriend and I have been living together for about three months and dating for seven. I love him to pieces but I don’t feel we’re both pulling our weight as far as finances and the typical chores at home. We’re both 37, he went back to school to finish his engineering degree so he’s going to school three nights a week. I really admire him for this but at the same time I don’t feel he’s working as much as he should or could. His work is flexible and many days he’s done by 2:00 in the afternoon — I guess I’m resenting this and don’t know how to handle it.



Dear Julie,

I forgot where I heard this, so forgive me if I’m misquoting:

We are all experts in our own behavior.

In other words, we know exactly what we do. I can rattle off every kind and generous thing I ever did for any of my ex-girlfriends. I remember making late-night airport runs, going out to dinner with her mom, soothing her emotional crying jags, coming up with thoughtful birthday and anniversary cards, paying for every meal, drink and coffee during her unemployment, and so on.

You know why I remember this? Because *I* did it.

What I don’t remember as clearly is what she did for me. How she took care of me after I had sinus surgery, how she made me a three course dinner, how she bought a dress to go to a wedding with me, how she made my bed while I was in the shower, how she held her tongue after I said yet another stupid thing.

These are is two major disconnect we have in dating.

  • We remember all of our good deeds and forget all the nice things that our partners do for us.
  • We ignore our own bad qualities and focus on our partners’ bad qualities.

I have a friend who was dissecting her new boyfriend to me the other day.

“He’s not great in bed. He has a questionable past. He’s moving too fast with the relationship.”

These are fair enough reasons to be concerned. Then I asked her to tell me what reasons a man might have for not wanting to be with her. She took a second to think, before responding:…

“I’m a 38-year-old single mom. I take antidepressants. I’m slow to warm up to people. I don’t know if I want to get married again…”

Finally, she rattled off about seven potential red flags. Red flags that she hopes each and every suitor forgives. Because if no men forgive her for her flaws, she won’t have any men to pick apart herself.

To bring this back to you, Julie – this is the man you love. This is the man you live with. This is the man who is back in school to get an engineering degree – a fact that I presume you knew before you moved in. And while I can’t say from the outside what percentage of the household chores he’s doing, I can say that you’re better off appreciating him for what he DOES do for you than resenting him for what he DOESN’T do.

If he’s not in a position to contribute more financially, there is absolutely no point in bringing it up. It will just emasculate him and make him angry. He’ll be done with his degree when he’s done with his degree. ‘Til then, you just have to hold your tongue.

However, if you want him to be a better housemate, I’d follow the sage advice of Amy Sutherland, who trained her husband the same way she trains animals. With positive reinforcement, not resentment.

Funny, how well that works.

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  1. 1

    You could have a rich guy who pays for everything yet doesn’t pay attention to you. (And in that case I always say that this comes with a price.) You could have a workaholic who cares about his job more than anything else, never spends time with you, and complains when you ask for more together time. You could have a bum who doesn’t care about school or bettering himself, a real mooch.

    I speak from the experience of a person who is also going back to school and trying to work part-time. My fiance doesn’t always understand that just because I get off in the afternoon doesn’t mean the work stops there. There is a lot of intellectual challenges you encounter when you go back to school and it’s not as easy as some might think.

  2. 2
    mrs. vee

    hi, julie.

    it’s big picture time.

    presuming you are in this relationship for the long haul, do you really imagine you will financially outpace him forever? in a lifetime, there will be times when you earn more and times when he earns more.

    if you have kids, there would be at least a brief period where he goes off to work earning for the both of you, while you stay home caring for baby.

    you could lose your job tomorrow.

    heaven forbid, you could get sick and become overwhelmed with medical bills.

    point is: do you think he’d step in for YOU if you were to suffer some financial catastrophe? if so, then think of the pecuniary disparity now as an investment in your future.

    the most important thing, in my mind, when considering finances with love is…can you both be there for each other?

    that’s my opinion, anyway, for better or worse. 😉

  3. 3

    While I agree with you Evan, I think her question is a legitimate one. It seems to me a little communication is in order. She doesn’t have to come from a place of blame, but could instead phrase it as, “hey, I feel sort of resentful about this. Can we discuss it and come up with a solution that makes us both happy?”

    Because what I hear is that she feels like she is being taken for granted. It doesn’t sound as if it’s just financial. It’s also THE CHORES. And boy, talk about a hot button issue for women!

    Money is a big issue for couples. It doesn’t seem fair that he should contribute the same amount that she does because he’s in school and probably doesn’t make the same amount. Perhaps they could come up with a budget and then decide to contribute a certain percentage of their income.

    Or perhaps she has expectations that because he isn’t contributing as much financially, he should be doing more of the chores. Unless they actually talk about these issues, it’s going to continue to be a sore spot and the resentment will just grow!

  4. 4

    Julie, have you spoken with your boyfriend about this? This issue is typical of relationships/marriages. There is give and take, it could be more about how you’re commnicating than what’s happening. If you approach him in a constructive way, at a time when he’s calm and open to discussing, then work it out. Don’t make it sound as if it’s an attack on him but on what you see that needs to be done in terms of chores and see where you can reach a middle ground.

  5. 5

    Ever notice that it’s always women who resent it if they have to contribute more financially, as opposed to men who just accept their typical greater financial burden is a fact of life? I don’t get bitter that my girlfriend is a teacher who is done at 2:30 or 3:30 every day. She’s doing her thing and I’m doing mine. Nor do I get bitter that I assume more of the financial burden. If I earn more, than it’s only fair that I assume a greater porportion of the financial responsibility. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: despite their protests to the contrary, women only want gender equality when it’s convenient for them, and they really don’t want economic equality at all. No matter how financially secure they are, they still want their man to be doing as well or better. Meanwhile most men are happy to take care of their women. Just sayin’.

    1. 5.1

      That’s very responsible and nice for you to be happy to take care of your woman. Nicely put.
      Gender equality when it’s convenient? “I make more, vacuum the house” Is that what you mean? Not sure.
      Could be what the PO has in mind. I’ll think about it while I do the dishes.

    2. 5.2

      Isnt it also true that men expect women to help support a family now days, but yet men dont want to do what used to be a womans job and help with housework? The issue goes both ways, I know way too many men who expect their wives to go to work all day and help pay bills, and still expect them to run all the errands, do all the cleaning, and cooking, and still take care of the children. What has happened in many situations is that women did gain economic equality, but men dont want to step in and help out with other responsibilities since their wives or gf’s are at work all day too.

      1. 5.2.1

        I agree with this.  I encounter this over and over with men.  It’s why my 14 year marriage ended and every relationship I’ve had since then.  I want a life partner who will work *with* me, not a man who expects me to serve him and do more than my fair share.  Given the choice between being a servant and being single, I choose being single.

    3. 5.3

      Perhaps this feeling will change when we see a close in the pay gaps for men and women!!!!!

  6. 6

    A big AMEN to what Craig said. If the situation were reversed, I wonder if Julie’s boyfriend would be having the same concerns.

  7. 7

    Craig & Marc –

    Just to play devil’s advocate here… well, yeah, women want their men to do same or better than them. Maybe it is in our DNA to want to be dominated – no apologies there – the same way it’s in yours to feel the natural inclination TO dominate, which, as Craig pointed out, is evidenced by a man’s silent acceptance of playing breadwinner.

    So does this mean that women should artificially hold themselves back in the workplace to create the false appearance of male domination? Or, now that women have more opportunities at success – having essentially raised the bar – should men evolve with them and rise to the new challenges posed by women’s competitive presence in the workplace?

    M’be instead of saying women want gender equality (when it’s convenient to them, as craig puts it), it’s more accurate to say women want fair-and-just opportunities in the workplace and STILL seek a man who can assume the position of strength in the relationship.

    I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just sayin’ it is what it is, and as evan so often points out, you can’t change the opposite sex – only yourselves. So if the general trend is for women to rise successfully in the workplace, while maintaining their expectations of a superior male partner, maybe instead of complaining about it, you guys should just…I dunno…try harder? 😉

    with tongue in cheek,

    1. 7.1

      100000% agreeed.  Ive been successful since i was 25 yrs old.  I am an attractive female and I always get asked why Im still single.  People always attribute it to my ‘sky high’ standards of wanting a man that can be a provider.  I think it is innate for a woman to be attracted to a successful guy, just as it is innate for a male to be attracted to a nurturing type of a woman.  I don’t have a problem with being the nurturer, so Im not sure why its hard to expect a guy to be an attentive, loyal provider.  The trend is that the more successful a woman is, the more likely she is single. I think that is the sad truth.  There is a whole new category of men that are relying on women to be the providers and to raise a family.  Personally i feel its better of to be single then to be with a man that can’t step up .  

      1. 7.1.1

        I agree with you. Oh you’re single? Must be a lesbian..how bout no I want in a partner 50 / 50. You match what I put in the bank.  That’s what’s fair.  It’s your baby too, it’s your house too. I’m with someone right now who sucks financially.  I double what he makes and I am really tired of it.  It would be cheaper to be alone.  Single.  You’re better off. 

    2. 7.2

      Try harder or aim lower.

    3. 7.3
      Karmic Equation

      I made it into the 6-figure range at my merit increase review last year. In the social circles I run in, I easily make more money than 99% of the people I know, men and women.

      However, NONE of them know how much I make, because I don’t advertise it. I buy most of my clothes at Old Navy and Walmart. So I look like my friends, not because I want to blend in, but because that’s what I’m comfortable with.

      The man I’m dating now owns his own business…and I helped him with his taxes this year, so I know pretty much what he made last year. I told him that I admire people who work for themselves because I don’t have that motivation. Plus I make more when other people are paying me than I could ever pay myself. I still haven’t told him I make more than he. I don’t want to emasculate him or “mother” him by paying all the time for fairness’ sake, but I do what I can to keep it even at least. I’ve never actually told any bfs how much I make, because I never wanted to make them feel inferior. Plus I just don’t think it’s anyone’s business. Even my family doesn’t know what I make.

      I also have a Harvard education. I don’t act like I do. I’m almost 50 (just turned 48), and still act as “girly” as I was in my early 30’s. People have no idea of my age, although they have a little idea of my education because of some of my FB posts, particularly when I get into heated debates abou5t things I’m passionate about.

      I take “being myself” as being that person I would be if I didn’t have money and didn’t have a great education. My education and my job doesn’t define me as a partner. I a good person, with a kind heart, who loves animals, who’s extremely competitive when it comes to sports and pool, and has an easy laugh. That person attracts men. Not my salary, not my job, and not education. It’s really not hard to be “the real me”.

      I would think that if you know who you really are and are comfortable presenting her to the world, you wouldn’t be asking how to dumb yourself down or lower your own status. If the “real you” is intelligent, people can’t miss it. If the “real you” has worth, people will treat you that way.

      You’ll be happier if you define yourself by your innate qualities, rather than in the your external accomplishments. External trappings don’t make you a better person, just as they don’t make a guy a better partner. Put your best inner qualities on display. Good people will take notice.

      1. 7.3.1

        This is one of the most sensible things I’ve read in a while.

    4. 7.4

      Well said!

      As another self relient woman, I too want to feel my man is just a bit “more” than I consider myself to be, or at the very least my equal. This is not just amount money, same goes for intelect , character , ambition and general life outlook.

      I couldn’t respect him otherwise and by extention love him.

      Yes, its in our DNA, women want protectors.

      So guys, please, proove us dissapointed women wrong, show us you in fact CAN DO BETTER.

      Its not complicated to participate in everyday things just like we do without being asked. I’m sure if you lived alone you could master going to a grossery shop without a list made by someone else, surely you could learn to prepare a meal to nurish yourself or at the very least order take out.

      So why is it that with your woman in the house you suddenly loose these abilities? Is your woman a cryptonite to your super human abilities you brag so much about to impress her from your spot on the couch while she makes dinner?


  8. 8

    Whoa, Lorelei, you just rocked my world.

    I never thought it’d be ok to admit I wanted a man to take care of me. Here I am, a successful, strong marketing communications director for a Fortune 500 company, and all this time, I secretly still wanted a man who could play father figure to me. I’ve always wanted someone to admire.

    I know you were kidding, but you still have a point. Why is it so wrong for a woman to enjoy the fact that society no longer places an artificial ceiling on her professional success – while simultaneously seeking a man who can hold his own against her?

    We’re supposed to look for a partner who complements us, afterall. Smart women can’t be expected to match themselves with lazy, unmotivated guys.

    So instead of those guys trying to make us feel ashamed for wanting a mate who surpasses us, perhaps they should be ashamed for believing that they can’t?

    (By the way, Julie, chores and financial contributions are two separate, unrelated problems. It’s obvious the finances issue eats away at you, but try not to bring it up in support of your case for his doing more around the house. Engineers have formidable minds and solid earning potential; he sounds like a keeper to me.)

  9. 9

    Halelujah, Mrs. Vee, Craig & Marc. BTW, Mrs. Vee, you seem a balanced person with a healthy outlook – kudos. Have you ever noticed the gnashing of teeth when someone raises the issue that women resent it if they have to contribute more financially to a relationship, a la Janie?

    What I’m about to say is a common theme I and many, many men share is a wariness (or is it weariness?) over money…namely that women have an inordinate focus on men’s earnings, and that those earnings most certainly exceed hers by a factor of at least 2x. As Craig aptly stated, men accept that they have to shoulder a greater percentage of the financial burden. I think the initial post and a few other ones here indicate many women clearly do not share that acceptance.

    Janie stated many, many women’s position as well – Women “enjoy the fact that society no longer places an artificial ceiling on her professional success – while simultaneously seeking a man who can hold his own against her. Were supposed to look for a partner who complements us, afterall. Smart women cant be expected to match themselves with lazy, unmotivated guys.”

    Here is the flaw in Janie’s view, accounting for Craig’s – women have all of the freedom to date up economically, no matter what their success is (of course, given Janie’s perspective, men do not share that freedom), for they do not want to shoulder an equal burden financially. Men, on the other hand, are trapped (dare I say victims?) by always (allowing for infrequent exceptions) having to shoulder the main financial burden, no matter the financial parity or disparity. To put it bluntly, women want to have their cake and eat it too. So no one is trying to make the Janies of the world feel ashamed. They are simply pointing out the illogical and inequitable flaws of such a perspective.

    1. 9.1

      My father quit his job when I was born and lied to my mom about it. She thought he was still working. He threw away the bills. He had 2 kids and a wife but did not want to work. He also bought a lot of porn with my moms Money that she worked really hard to earn. She worked at the postal service and there were days I would not are her because she went to work at night and came home after I went to school in the morning. Some days she had mandatory overtime and they took the timecards away so you could not clock out. She paid for everything and he insisted on going to get fast food on the weekends in Yonkers when we lived in the Bronx in a crap apartment where the ceiling caved in 3 times and it was infested with mice and roaches. He watched state trek all day and bought lots of books and classical music. He stole and pawned my moms jewelry. He treated us like shit and once locked us in our room by tying the door knob to another doorknob with rope. He spent tons of my moms Money and was abusive and lazy. When he was finally caught molesting my a sister we had him arrested. I was 13. He put us through hell. I can’t even list everything. He was like a big fat child but he also wanted power. He died at 45 and tho it was a sad end, it was a relief to be rid of him. Women should not be supporting males. And going to college is no excuse to not have a decent job. Men whine about being emasculated by women but act like kids and force women to mother them. The only person who should mother you is your mother. Don’t expect that from a wife. You have work to do and should be carrying your fair share without complaint. More and more I see men today who want mommies they can fuck. It is pathetic. If you can not do housework and cooking and helping with kids and school and work then don’t get involved in the first place. Women have been taking care of kids, homes and husbands while working and going to school so don’t feel so sorry for yourselves. Men blame women for their own shortcomings all the time. And to the guy with the teacher who comes home at 2 and is done, I think you will find a teachers work does not end at the end of the school day. Really myopic view there. Men have become so lazy and playing video games and watching TV and masturbating you would think the were perpetually 13 years old.

  10. 10

    janie-baby, no one is saying there’s anything wrong with a woman wanting a man to take care of her. But then why in this world of gender of equality is it wrong for a man to want a woman to take care of him? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no?

    Why is what’s considered lazy and unmotivated for one, perfectly acceptable for the other? Furthermore, do you attach one’s work ethic and motivation to the size of their wallet? Is a hard-working male teacher or social worker with a masters degree who doesn’t match your income earning potential lazy and unmotivated in your view? That’s the problem with some women: they don’t measure a man’s worth by good, honest hard work alone. The size of his bank account matters more than the dedication, quality, and usefulness to society of his work. That’s what is wrong – and it’s only women who think that way.

    1. 10.1

      Craig. Actually I do measure a man by his hard work and his ethics.
      However, when I tell MALE friends about a conflict in my relationship the first question I get from many men is: “What does he do for a living?”
      If it’s anything below these men’s status, I get “Oh, no wonder, leave him”

      I’ve actually taken their advice, why, because they look down on these men. I was convinced they were not good men nor good to spend any time with.
      My women friends would discuss options, ideas, solutions.
      The men were always cut and dry.. “get out, move on, don’t waste your time” Strictly based on his job description.
      So I’m always seeing that men hold strong convictions based on career.
      I don’t see a man who looks for a career woman, if she is, she is. They take that in stride.
      They look for compassion and understanding in the long run. At least that’s the opinion I get when I see good marriages. They look for a friend and lover and a comfortable ease. I see that in men.
      But my understanding through men is seek a man with a solid career and education. I did not learn this through women.

      1. 10.1.1

        Actually the best advice I get about men is from men.
        I’m more apt to listen to a man because they’re going to get right to the point.
        They’re going to back it up with facts not emotions.
        They’re going to open my mind to reality.
        They’re also going to do one thing that I love about men.
        They’re going shut up, end the conversation and move along.
        Giving me the opportunity to sink or swim, my responsibility, my issue.
        They’re also going to hold me accountable for my decision. “You made it, you sleep with it” Hows that going for you?
        Men bring reality in my face, lead the way and let it go.
        Other men have led me astray, but a few good men can put me right back on the road to success.
        Grateful for you who lead well. Always listening and thanks to all men who got me back on the road towards one like yourselves.

        1. Debra

          are you kidding me? You won’t date a man if his career or job is less than a male friend of yours? LMAO!  To solely judge someone based on their career? Your comments are the most ignorant I’ve read in here. Yet some of the others are helping me with my current situation. My boyfriend is out of work. he is a former marine who had to become a roofer due to lack of jobs.   He works hard and has a good work ethic (which you judge men by), but his job isn’t that great or the type i normally date. He is currently looking for a better job. Does his job mean i shouldnt be with him? According to you, it does.  And you wonder why YOU are single! To turn someone away because of their career. What if you met the love of your life and had an immediate connection, only to find out he is laid off, etc?

      2. 10.1.2

        Actually, many women DO take a man’s career and education into consideration when looking for a mate. And then other men accuse them of being “gold diggers”.

        1. JoJOe

          That has never been my experience. I’ve always taken care of myself. The men that know me, no very well, I’m not in a relationship for money. But men will tell me point blank, he’s beneath me because of his job. That I can do better than him. Men are really hard on men. Of course I can weed out the terrible men, but for some men that are pretty good in my eyes, other men will look at me like I’m nuts, some even to the point of looking down on me for my choices.

    2. 10.2

      Just know that such a woman will not desire you sexually. She will prolly be with you for your housekeeping abilities and or babysitting capabilities . She will fuck any guy but you. If you are fine with it then go for it. I am not saying it is right, it’s just what it is. Read the rational male especially posts written by Tomassi & Deti. You will gain insight into the female psyche.

    3. 10.3

      It depends. Is the male helping raise the kids he took action to create? Is he playing with himself or a video game controller all day or night? Does he really want a substitute mommy instead of a partner? Can he cleanup after himself and does he know how to take care of a household as a partner who is active in chores? Men want moms to pay their way that they can have sex with. They run away from the difficult things and immerse themselves in fantasy. They act like children. They emasculate themselves, no woman required for that. Now the whine, like you are doing. Women aren’t doing enough for you? What kind of mommy are you looking for?

  11. 11

    You go Craig. LMAO at everything else. You want a guy making $150k? Fine, put it in your profile and be honest with yourself and me so you don’t waste my time. Thanks.

  12. 12

    What did you and your partner agree to in terms of finances and splitting chores when you decided to move in together? Did you have any discussion AT ALL about it? Since you knew he was going to school, you knew there would be a financial disparity presumably. Did he just assume you would be paying more? Or did you take that upon yourself and now feel resentment because you found he does have enough spare time to devote to an income producing endeavor?

    Same with housework. Did you just automatically start doing more of the chores (like a good girlfriend?) and now are a bit po’d because even with school, he still has more time than you do to contribute toward that end?

    All this gender role/expectations yadda yadda is really beside the point. It is up to you to clarify how you want the details of living together responsibilities determined. You are not married, and in fact only dated 4 mos. before moving in together. I don’t think that obligates you to pay more than half the expenses if you don’t wish to. What were his living arrangements before you? He wasn’t being supplemented by a gf and still managed to keep a roof over his head and the lights on, right?

    If you want to divide expenses according to percentage of income in the spirit of partnership that’s fine too if you find it equitable, but it sounds like you don’t -quite. I disagree with the idea that you should *suck it up* for now because he might be the one contributing more support later. You are not married, you’ve only been together slightly more than half a year! You don’t know with certainty you’ll still be together when he finishes his degree and starts making more money. He might not be there for you if you lose your job, or incur big medical bills–financially, or perhaps physically.

    Sit down and discuss what you feel is fair in terms of finances and household responsibilities. Come to an agreement you both can live with. If you don’t, you can expect your resentment to build and possibly push you right out the door. THAT is the big picture.

    1. 12.1

      Wow, very lucid advice here! Perhaps Julie and her boyfriend is moving a bit too fast.  Sitting down and talking it out will be difficult, but necessary.

  13. 13

    I would most agree with Selena in her post just above mine. I agree that looking at specifics and your partner as an individual and not dealing in absolutes, generalities, or stereotypes is the only way to go. I thought you made excellent points, Selena. Very well articulated and very much appreciated. On another note, the article by Amy Sutherland (that Evan provides a link to at the end of his blog entry) was truly fabulous!!! I don’t know Amy Sutherland (nor am I affiliated with The NY Times), but I wish I did. It was very insightful, witty, and enlightening/edifying. Well worth reading as I could see how you could apply it to getting more out of your marriage, a relationship, a friendship or a job. And in a way, oddly as it sounds, how you could even apply it to yourself if you are one who has habits or behaviors that are not beneficial to you or are holding you back from being who you want to be or attracting the man or woman of your dreams. Also so much I agree with in Evan’s post as well.

  14. 14

    I would agree with Selena and J in one respect only – that of communication. Both parties should communicate EXACTLY what their expectations are (financially, children, etc…) of the other before committing to a relationship, especially when it involves moving in together (which I think should never be done, as it unnecessarily complicates things, but I digress).

    If ladies openly communicate that they want men to take care of them financially, men can in turn communicate whether or not they find that acceptable to them and whether they wish to shoulder that burden. Informed consent is the concept. I can’t very well call a woman a gold digger if you told me up front and I accepted it. Conversely, she cannot possibly resent it if I tell her I expect her to shoulder an equal (as opposed to proportional) financial burden.

    The trick with communication is honesty. You can be honest but if he/she isn’t, you’re screwed. At least you can walk away with a clean conscience then.

    I would respectfully disagree with Selena and J in that this discussion about gender roles/expectations is NOT besides the point. It is. That is why every male poster brought it up.

    I would also submit that there are precious few women who are that honest or open about their intent and expectations regarding financial issues in a relationship. I suspect you would see far fewer ‘relationships’ than you do already…

    Also, lorelei wrote, ” its more accurate to say women want fair-and-just opportunities in the workplace and STILL seek a man who can assume the position of strength in the relationship. Im not saying its right, Im just sayin it is what it is, and as evan so often points out, you cant change the opposite sex – only yourselves. So if the general trend is for women to rise successfully in the workplace, while maintaining their expectations of a superior male partner, maybe instead of complaining about it, you guys should justI dunnotry harder?”

    I do not wish to parse her words or criticize them. I would note, however, that such a viewpoint dramatically reduces the pool of available men to only those who make more.

    Keep the faith, boys! There are millions of women out there who will care about YOU, not your wallet and income!

  15. 15

    The thought just occurred to me….Karl Marx would love the ladies’ view of dating and marriage.

  16. 16

    Don’t feel bad for what you are feeling. Men are suppose to work. I would advise you to move out, and make out on your own. And maybe after he gets his engineering degree, and a good job than you all can marry (if he is marriage material).

  17. 17

    Say what now? The guy is not doing chores around the house and can not contribute as much financially bc he is in school – so just move out and see if he wants you when hes done with school? Is that what I’m reading?!!
    In relationships, there are ups and downs – times to support one another. You don’t just bail – you SPEAK. If she states clearly and simply what the actual problem is for her, then maybe things can change. If he has no idea and she has no idea of what the other is thinking, how can things work? I agree with a lot of the guys above – I grew up with brothers and my dad, so maybe I have more of a male thinking than the average female. I don’t know. But if she wants something different from the relationship than she is getting, than say so. If he knows and can meet those needs, great. If not, maybe there is a middle road, where both people can adjust a bit. And this goes the other way too – I am not saying that the burden of change is on one party. I am just saying dont bail until you’ve given it a fair chance. There are deal breakers of course and extremes, but those fall outside of the fair chance spectrum, IMO.

  18. 18

    Craig, you say “Thats the problem with some women: they dont measure a mans worth by good, honest hard work alone. The size of his bank account matters more than the dedication, quality, and usefulness to society of his work. Thats what is wrong – and its only women who think that way”. However, how do men measure women – by the WAY THE LOOK ! You will find most rich men with younger attractive women – Women look for Money while men look for beauty.

  19. 19
    Julie 2

    Wow. This a hot button for me. I was in a bad work situation, but the money was good and allowed me to go back to school at night so I can increase my job options. I knew this was temporary. I teach … yes, the day ends at 3pm, but I grade papers, etc., until night classes begin, do homework until about 1-2am; get up at 6am, and it starts all over again. I have a wonderful man in my life who is kind, considerate … and pays about 1/3 of our monthly bills. His work is not steady and he’s somewhat lazy. I had choices: I could drop my resentment or ask him to leave. I decided to drop the resentment because the company is nice until I finish school and am in a position to move on when I graduate sometime next year. I think sometimes we forget that we have choices … I believe resentments start to stockpile when we forget we have options or allow ourselves to feel like victims.

  20. 20

    Wow. I can’t believe the opinions here. I’m going to be flat-out honest. As a 35 year old woman who has been very fortunate to do well in her career, this question is exactly what I needed to read tonight. I have been with a man for 1.5 years who is 40. He went back to university at age 30 and graduated at age 35. He has been working in a field he loves for 3 years, but since he’s still in his first role, only makes 60k, whereas I make 110k, almost double. I didn’t care at first. He pays for me, does nice things for me, is a lovely boyfriend and man, but now that we’re talking marriage, I am feeling the resentment at being the one who makes more money. We do talk about it, often, and it’s something that comes up every now and then in our relationship and we try to work it out, talk it out, and focus on communication. I agree with Sahaja that you don’t bail at the first sign of disagreement or disparity. And that’s exactly what I am not doing, is bailing, because if it isn’t money, then it’s something else with alot of us women – we wan perfection, or at least that’s whatI wanted. I often hear conflicting viewpoints- my Boss told me yesterday that in his opinion, relationships where the wife earns more often fail. That hurt! As a woman, I don’t want to be ‘that girl’ who finds her security in a man who makes more money than her. Girls, if you are struggling likeI am with the income disparity, I suggest you take an honest look at what your expectations are in a relationship and what those expectations say about YOU. The truth is money is the root of evil for many reasons, and one of those reasons is “the search for status and power”. My boyfriend makes 60k, but still manages to own his own home, has some debt to pay, and still takes me to dinner, surprised me on a trip to NYC, and loved me through a depression, health issues, and is a great sounding board when I am upset about work. The truth is, I need to be that person for HIM too – and I am truly trying to find that acceptance, and admittedly, it means trying to understand why I put so much emphasis on money. I can’t tell you how many times I have brought up money to him, resenting him for not paying for me all the time, or stressing about his line of credit that he has yet to pay off. Yet, I forget that I just payed off my line of credit 3 years ago, and that I had debt too. I don’t think men have it easy – only the men who make 100k plus will tell you that it’s easy.

    Where am I going with this? Just that I still struggle with the income thing too. I don’t like that aspect of myself, because it IS selfish, and it’s not what love is. Now, I am not talking about supporting a man entirely, that I know would not work for me. But being with a man who contributes, even if it’s less than me, is something I am trying to make peace with. One thing I do know though, is that the problem of acceptance is with me, and is not my boyfriend’s fault. If we ended tomorrow because I wanted a man who made the same or more money, I would have lost a truly special and loving man all because I couldn’t make peace with money. Think about it. There is NO certainty in life, that goes for jobs too. If I lost my job tomorrow, my Man would do his best to support me. If he lost his job, I would be a bundle of resentments. That means I need to learn more about love, and about me.

    1. 20.1


      Thank you for sharing this. I needed to hear this. Your words resonate truth to me. Wow. Thank you.

  21. 21

    I’m struggling right now with the resentment theme. I have a loving partner and we’ve been together for 7yrs. He’s always earned about half my salary. It didn’t bother me in the beginning as I thought he’d grow and work his way up. It hasn’t worked out like that. He’s a hard worker, but in an industry that pays badly. He’s restricted in his choices as he doesn’t have high qualifications and has learning disabilities.

    After reading the comments above, I realise I need to work out my resentment issues as I have a loving partner. This MUST be more important than my partner’s salary. I have a partner who is there for me and who supports me.

    Sometimes I think life would be so much easier if money did not exist!

    You know what’s also really wierd. I sometimes dream that I have a partner with lots of money and I could give up work and dedicate myself to the housekeeping. Then I actually really start thinking what I’d do if I had a partner who had lots of money. I don’t think I would stop working as I wouldn’t want to be dependent upon someone else to put food in my mouth. What would happen if the rich guy left me?

    Time to remind myself that I’m very lucky to having a loving partner and I should think of his good qualities rather than focus on his salary.

    Am I glad internet exists and people take the time to leave messages behind on forums. Thanks to you all. Especially the guys – I really liked reading your outlook on this issue. And I thought I was modern……

  22. 22

    #21 Maria

    Wow, what an insiteful post Maria.  Very mature and introspective,  you have a really well developed ‘observing ego’ skill–coaching yourself real time.

    Have you had this discussion about the way you’re feeling with him?

  23. 23

    I’m wondering why women don’t differentiate between deadbeat and a man who just makes less than you b/c he is in a lower paying field or perhaps is less educated.
    I mean, I don’t feel this way, but this thread makes me think that female doctors married to high school principals will resent their husband for not “pulling his weight.”  That seems kind of silly.
    The husband who makes $75K to your $500K is not a deadbeat b/c he can’t pay for all or half of your McMansion.  Funny that this doesn’t go both ways, and men can’t call wives you don’t work at ALL outside of the home deadbeats and leeches. Or if this thread was about a teacher whose surgeon husband made her go halfsies on everything, we’d see a lot of outraged women.
    Now contrast the lower earning husband who is making exactly what others in his field (and may be at the high end, albeit, in a different income category than you), with a guy who stays home and plays XBox all day b/c he knows that you have things covered financially. That is a problem.
    And of course, I don’t consider a househusband who is running the home and cooking and shopping to be a deadbeat either.
    I agree, #21, your post is insightful, but it just seems that if you will feel that a man who is doing the best he can in his chosen field is somehow not enough, then you should date men in fields that make the same or more than you (although I’m sure you’d be upset if a man who made twice as much as you thought you weren’t “pulling your weight.”)
    Maria, I have to ask, why would it be okay for you not to work if you found a rich guy, but you have a problem with a guy who works but earns less?  That seems really hypocritical? How do you see yourself as modern if you have that attitude?
    It’s okay for you not to work at ALL and live off someone else’s money, but it’s not okay that a man who works makes less than you?

    1. 23.1

      Andrea – I completely agree with you.  It actually worries me to see how many modern, educated women look down on men who work hard in fields or jobs that may pay less than their own. 

  24. 24

    #23 Andrea

    You’re points all well taken, and come from an intellectual point of view.  In our heads we know this is the case, and I think that’s what Maria was saying as well.  She gets it in her head.

    The part she’s struggling with is her feelings.  I think what Maria is struggling with is something she has no control over, that’s femininity and masculinity.   These feelings reside in our reptilian brain, they are ingrained in us, have been for millions of years and are not going to change any time soon!  Like it or not, women are nuturers, men are hunters and gathers. When we see those roles being reversed, it can cause angst.  It doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed, it’s that we have to understand why it’s happening and then use our other 2 brains to work out a solution. 

  25. 25
    Karl R

    Denise said: (#24)
    “Like it or not, women are nuturers, men are hunters and gathers.”

    Your theory seems to be contradicted by actual research. In hunter-gatherer societies, hunting is primarily done by men, gathering by women and children (exceptions exist). Furthermore, 80% of the food is obtained from gathering. In older hunter-gatherer societies, both sexes hunted and gathered.

    And if you want to take it back to the “reptilian brain,” please show me a female reptile that doesn’t hunt/forage for itself.

    Therefore, this belief that the man should be the provider is a far more recent social construct.

  26. 26

    I think I also have a big problem with it because you want to claim that it’s in your DNA to want the man to provide for you, but a lot of the same people would be mad if the same man expected you to take orders, follow his lead, let him make major decisions, have a baby every year for him, and want his home cleaned with a hot meal waiting for him at the end of the day.
    I just call foul if you want to blame biology on why you want what you want, but get mad when a man follows biology (which I think would also include having more than one mate, and getting a lot more sex than a lot of women probably are willing to have).
    And let’s not even start on all of the whining about why women have to do all of the changing, and the virtual riot that would erupt if the answer was “b/c they are wired differently and biology doesn’t let them change.”

  27. 27

    Its not only women who complain about pulling most of the weight financially. My boyfriend is resentful of my position as I’ve gone back to university ot re-train as a lawyer and he does not like the fact that we are not on equal salaries as this affects many other things.

    Also, during this same times I am suffering from a long term illness which means although in my first year of the degree I was working full time and running a business I have now just succumbed to studying full time only out of neccesity.

    He does not pay my bills or anything and we live apart but I have borrowed money off him ariund 3 times when and owe him about 600 punds currently. Up until this point I was working hard so financially was ok and paid my way equally i.e. when we went on holidays etc

    He earns around 5 times what my student loans and grants combined but I think he wants someone who he can rely on.

    The bigger picture is that I will hopefully be a successful lawyer one day but I’m not sure if he’s prepared to wait. I don’t have a car either which drives him mad but i do live in the centre of the city and walk everywhere.         

  28. 28

    Its not only women who complain about pulling most of the weight financially. My boyfriend is resentful of my position as I’ve gone back to university ot re-train as a lawyer and he does not like the fact that we are not on equal salaries as this affects many other things.

    Also, during this same times I am suffering from a long term illness which means although in my first year of the degree I was working full time and running a business I have now just succumbed to studying full time only out of neccesity.

    He does not pay my bills or anything and we live apart but I have borrowed money off him ariund 3 times when and owe him about 600 punds currently. Up until this point I was working hard so financially was ok and paid my way equally i.e. when we went on holidays etc

    He earns around 5 times what my student loans and grants combined but I think he wants someone who he can rely on.

    The bigger picture is that I will hopefully be a successful lawyer one day but I’m not sure if he’s prepared to wait. I don’t have a car either which drives him mad but i do live in the centre of the city and walk everywhere.         

    So clearly there is no point throwing around general throwaway comments about gender…

    Secondly, I would ask why does it matter what your partner earns? If you want something go and get it for yourself. Seeking stability or material wealth through others i a doomed philosophy.  Yes you want to build a future together and that takes a certain level of income, har work, patience and respect but money? That just is not majorly important expecially if at least one of you is earning a good amount.    

  29. 29

    My boyfriend is also studying and I am older than him by at least a decade. I work and earn good money not amazing but enough to be able to spend what i want when I want to. I have bought a new place and are considering asking my boyfriend to move in with me. My biggest issue is the financial responsibility that i will have to shoulder as he does not have an income. Although going back to Evan’s original point I have not considered the advantages. He is a kind , caring man that adores me and is very domesticated. Also I have just gone through a divorce and my ex husband earnt great money but was selfish, nasty and absuive. Given the choice of a higher earning mate that is a jerk or a mate that supports me, nurtures me and makes me unbelievably happy well i choose the latter every time. I have friends who are in their 30’s never been married  and want it all. They want the good looking, rich guy that will support them and adore them and make time for them and sadly this is why they are still single. Life is a compromise and sometimes you have to give a little to reap the rewards.

  30. 30

    I too have a boyfriend that doesn’t pay for anything. I buy ALL the groceries that HE”S eating. He never has offered any help. I feel like only thing he wants from me is in the bed. When we first started seeing each other 6 months ago he spoke of wanting romance and love and someone special in his likfe. Well….there is no romance it’s just hard cold sex. and it’s everyday 2 to 5 times a day! This is too much for me. I feel like I get nothing in return. His affection is for the bed I don’t get it anywhere else. He’s never taken me out or even asked. I started develping feelings for him and now I’m rethinking. I just feel dirty. Oh, did I mention he’s 30 and I”m 46? I know maybe that’s it in a nutshell.

    1. 30.1
      Karmic Equation

      Have you ever told him you wanted him to contribute more to the household expenses? Have you ever told him you would like more compliments and affection out of bed? Sounds like no. Probably because you don’t know how to ask without it sounding like nagging.

      My bf gets extra turned on when I whisper compliments in his ear when we have sex. No missing his non-verbal reactions. I liked doing it because I like his reaction. So were I you, start whispering compliments to him when you’re having sex. After you’ve done it a few times, during pillow talk, say something like, “You know how much you like me whispering compliments to you while we’re making love?” “Umm, yeah.” “Do you think you can do the same for me, but when we’re OUT of bed?” Then give him some examples. “Like tell me you love how I make you laugh or how much you like it when you come home to the smell of fresh-baked brownies because it makes you feel so loved that I did it for you. Stuff like that. It would mean a lot to me if you did that. Do you think you could try?”

      And the reason I can come up with this is because I starting to realize that a few compliments from my bf wouldn’t be amiss. He’s treating me like gold, as that’s just his way. And he’s a man of few words. So I’ve been thinking of ways to get him to give me a few words of praise without me fishing. And I occasionally unabashedly fish 🙂 Part of being authentic and vulnerable…and playful. I almost always try to deliver my likes and dislikes in playful tones. Which is very easy for me, because I laugh at everything. If laughing doesn’t come easy for you, this method of communication might be tougher to pull off.

      As for the household contribution, that one you can be direct. The next time you go to the store (assuming you go shopping together) — say to him, “I paid for all the groceries last month, so this month, you get to pay. Ok?” If he says “No” then ask “Why not?” — Have the conversation as non-judgmentally as you can. If he’s not budging, then just say “Hmm. I need to think about this. I don’t think it’s fair that I pay for everything.” — Then think about it and give him your thoughts. Continue talking until either you can accept his decision or you decide you decide you must walk away. Those are your only choices. Bitching on a board like this ain’t going to solve your probs.

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