Do You Need a Man to Make More Money Than You? If So, Why?

Do You Need a Man to Make More Money Than You

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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  1. 61
    Christie Hartman, PhD

    This is a great discussion. Many people here feel convinced that the income double standard, like similar double standards, are socially taught, and to some extent they are. But I still maintain they are rooted in biology – males and females are different and our more “instinctive” behaviors (like women wanting money and men wanting beauty) will always play a role.
    In other similar discussions I’ve seen Evan’s argument several times: that women want “equality” but still insist that men pay, that women “want it both ways.” This is something that baffles men (understandably); to me, this is just biological instinct warring with our more sophisticated higher brains. Interestingly, Evan feels men should still pay for the first few dates, but some men strongly disagree with that and use the “women want it both ways” argument for that too. As a rhetorical question, why should men (especially men who don’t make much) pay for any date in this day and age?
    Finally, this issue is a struggle for men too. I was recently asked to appear on TV to comment on the recent Pew study and the “alpha wives” phenomenon. The anchor and I had a difficult time finding a stay-at-home dad to do the interview because they all felt a bit humiliated at not being the breadwinner of the family! I admit that really surprised me!
    I strongly encourage my female readers to downplay the importance of income. It’s ridiculous to expect a man to make as much as you or to be wealthy, especially in an age when women can earn for themselves. However, the tendency for women to chase money and men to chase beauty will never completely go away – it’s part of the hard-wiring.

    1. 61.1
      a girl from Romania

      I don’t think it’s biology. It sociology.  It’s just something that appeared because we need to raise kids for many, many years in an even more complex society, so the man-provider/woman – carer model seemed to work.

      I would like to ask people to think if in the animal kingdom there is such a thing as the male providing extensively for the female. It may happen in limited cases when they have youngsters, but in most cases the female provides for herself and her young alone; many mamifer males don’t even help with raising the young, they just impregnate the female and that’s it.  Some of them don’t even work for themselves (see the lion, who doesn’t hunt, but eats what the females hunt). It’s not about it being hardwired, it’s just that for thousands of years men were the only ones in power (and hence having the money) and women would get to power through men. Also, this was mostly so for the maximum 10% aristocrats. People should always remember that 90% of the population was poor, mainly illiterate and women were working side-by-side with men in the farm fields or , more recently, in factories (if we’re talking about cities). This concept of the woman being taken care of doesn’t really check out when you visit history, with the exception of a small percentage of society. You don’t possibly believe that in a group of animals/ society  etc. 50% of the population was doing ..nothing?

  2. 62

    Christie Hartman, PhD #65
    It’s ridiculous to expect a man to make as much as you or to be wealthy, especially in an age when women can earn for themselves.

    Why is it ridiculous to expect a man to earn as much as a woman?
    I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I think hunter in #10 has a good point.  Outside of LA and Evan’s clientèle, few people make 200K a year.

  3. 63
    Karl R

    I have a question for the women who are justifying this behavior based on “biology”:
    What is your opinion when men justify philandering based on “biology”? It’s even more hardwired into our systems (if you look at it scientifically). Males as providers didn’t occur until well after we evolved into primates. The instinct to spread our genetic code as frequently and widely as possible began when species started mating.

    Personally I consider it to be beneficial to understand the biological drives BECAUSE this allows me to more easily make decisions based on logic, instead of unconsciously acting on instinct.

    1. 63.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thank you, Karl. Using biology as an excuse for why you have no choice but to want high-earning men carries the exact same weight as the men who prefer younger, hotter women and refuse to commit to them because polyamory biologically gives them the greatest opportunity to pass their genome onto multiple partners.

      We’re human beings. We make choices all the time that override biology.

  4. 64

    Well the good news for women who insist on a guy who out earns them, there’s always  You’d just better be hot enough to catch one of them.

  5. 65

    You often tell us that you focus on telling women to pursue strategies that work — ie the strategies that will get them coupled up and ultimately married.  Well, if that CNN article is accurate and for 88% of couples, the guy makes more than his wife, help me understand how seeking a man who earns more is a losing strategy for most women?    I am only asking this question because I guess I don’t understand why you are implying so many women are losing out by not seeking guys who make less,  and I don’t understand why you are so annoyed with women who are saying that want a guy who earns more than they do.
    Also, it doesn’t appear that you have acknowledged the real difficulties that women who do earn more face.  As one of the few women who does earn significantly more than her boyfriend, I do struggle with not feeling feminine because the social norm —  and right now, it’s not just biology, it is also the social norm — is that men do more of the paying.  Both men and women often have trouble navigating their way in a relationship where the woman makes more, and I don’t think it’s simply a matter that she is too selfish and he is too insecure.
    So, why do so many women continue to desire and seek men who earn more? Well, I think it’s because so many MEN are accepting of women who earn less.

    1. 65.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Kenley –

      If I recall, it’s 78%, not 88%, but that’s not really the issue. The issue is the socialized belief that tells women that he needs to make more, regardless of what she makes. Because my clientele is smart, strong, successful women, most of whom make over $75,000, putting them in the upper 20% of earners in the U.S., this question is highly relevant. If a woman makes less than $40,000, it shouldn’t be that hard to find a man who makes more. The more she makes, the harder it becomes to find…and the less it should theoretically matter what he makes.

      And as for acknowledging the real difficulties, you don’t need me for that. Some men are insecure. Screw ’em. I’m talking about men who ARE secure enough to deal with higher earning and the women who dismiss them, even though these men would make more ideal partners than the man who outearns them.

      You want a strategy that works, Kenley? Keep doing what you’re doing with your current guy – an option that a whole bunch of women here would never pursue themselves.

  6. 66

    Amen. 😉

  7. 67
    Katarina Phang

    Karl and Evan, I think it’s not a question “of no choice.”  But to heed your basic instinct/primordial needs for the emotional fulfillment of both parties (and they are real, that’s why people are in relationship in the first place).
    Somehow you can and will find common ground in the middle if you really have that much going on for each other.  Taking things to the extreme is never advisable.

  8. 68

    Personally, I’m not bothered by my partner making less money than me. As long as he does work, and I can respect his ethics and values, then we’re okay. I’m not going to require that someone work in a field they despise or turn into someone they’re not just to make a bigger paycheck. But someone who lets their lack of earning megapower turn them into a whiner, or a guy who deliberately lets me carry more of the burden b/c he doesn’t want to be bothered… that’s another, much less attractive story.
    I do think that the situation of a woman making more than a man can be fraught with peril, based on how *most* people want to play out gender roles in their lives. Rare is the couple without any baggage about money and where it comes from, simply b/c we’ve all been shaped by its power since our earliest days. It might take some soul-searching and some long discussions to work out the friction of an unequal monetary situation.
    I don’t think that it’s ever appropriate for one party to belittle the other for their salary, to cruelly flaunt their own excesses, or to use money as a form of control over their lover. That type of behavior is just cold and wrong no matter who’s dishing it out.

  9. 69

    If that “whole bunch of women” would first find out how much a guy makes before going on a date with them, it really speaks a lot about their values.

    I really like how BeenThruTheWars put it…the guys who’s in LTR with her are earning at mid/top of their profession. Shows that those guys are successful in the field of their choice, in their own right. And I think that should be good enough. 

  10. 70

    I’m prolly the one oddball in the bunch, if, in the highly unlikely event, a very wealthy guy was ever interested in me, would probably run the other way because I’d never be able to buy into it.

  11. 71

    Thank you for pointing out my math error.  I appreciate your attention to detail. I also appreciate that you have clarified that your advice is specifically targeted to your financially successful clientele — a clientele who may or may not be representative of your blog readers.
    You are absolutely right that there is no need for you to point out the difficulties a woman may have if she makes more than her boyfriend.  My bad.  What I should have asked instead is as a dating coach, how do you tell your clients to handle themselves in order to be successful in those relationships — beyond screw the insecure guy.  (My guy was insecure too, but I didn’t say screw him.) Put another way, how does a woman maintain the receiving feminine energy and how does  she help the man maintain the giving masculine energy when in relationships where the more traditional gender roles are reversed?  Perhaps I am wrong, but I think that’s a fair and potentially helpful question for women who are struggling with your suggestion.
    It seems to me, however, that a good chunk  of women who have posted thus far don’t have an issue with the guy making less.  But, what do I know…I can’t subtract 22 from 100.

  12. 72
    Karl R

    Kenley said: (#71)
    “As one of the few women who does earn significantly more than her boyfriend, I do struggle with not feeling feminine because the social norm —  and right now, it’s not just biology, it is also the social norm — is that men do more of the paying.”

    Wasn’t the entire purpose of the women’s rights movement to change the social norm?

    Is it rational to insist that we earn the same in the boardroom, but I have to earn more in the bedroom? Is it rational to insist that I spend more, even if you earn more than I do?

    Everyone here seems to acknowledge that some men feel emasculated by women who earn more, because those men lack self-confidence. Similarly, if you feel less feminine (or less valued) because the man isn’t doing the majority of the spending, it’s because you lack self-confidence.

    Katarina Phang said: (#74)
    “I think it’s not a question ‘of no choice.’  But to heed your basic instinct/primordial needs for the emotional fulfillment of both parties”

    How emotionally fulfilled would you be if your significant other heedsed his instinctive/primordial need to spread his genetic code to more females? Where do you “find common ground in the middle” when it comes to infidelity?

    If you believe that men can override that instinct, then it makes sense that women can override their instinct as well.

  13. 73

    hey everyone
    I AM a young woman who makes and has a substantial amount of money more than my boyfriend who now lives with me. This isn’t the first time I’ve been in this type of relationship where I had more and he has less.
    Its hard.
    I’ve always been very sensitive to other people’s feelings so I picked up rather quickly on how fragile (or not) my partners were in regards to money. I’ve done the whole “slip him the cash so he appears to pay” at a restaurant for the boyfriend who couldn’t deal.  I’ve done the “dont worry about it” with a flawless opening to a happier new topic more times than I can count bc anger or embarrassment flashes through his eyes. I’ve done the sit downs and encouraging money talks..Now I -as a woman who values connection and happiness in myself and in my relationships- I took the money requirement off the table when I decided I was finally ready for a relationship again and found someone special. And that feels great in itself.
    You know what DOESNT feel great?
    I tone down a lot of things that I enjoy doing because naturally if you’re with someone you want to do many things together. You want to share the happy feelings from the experiences you have. But what do you do when the person you are with cant afford the things you like to do AND is uncomfortable with you paying for it? You keep pushing it with someone like that, no matter how kind and generous you are and you drive them away. And I’m not talking about the “good times” frat boys who would happily bleed you dry. I mean someone special who can’t deal with not being the provider.
    How about if the person you are with is TOO comfortable and therefore has no reason to rise to the occasion? like.. ever? So essentially, you have a pet NOT a partner.
    Someone here mentioned save those type of things for your friends and do the cheaper stuff with your partner. Of course I do enjoy a walk in the park with my man and things like that. But hey if I’m treating myself to a fabulous night out where I want to feel beautiful, who best to get that feeling from than my own man? Empty leers from strangers are just NOT the same.
    and trust me, its a delicious feeling to put life on pause and not worry about the tab and money matters for one night. I work HARD to be able to get that- and trying to share that with a partner who has whatever discomfort with money really drains. My father was like that and it slayed my mother too. I’m too familiar with That Face and its a buzz kill.
    Ever try to dream of goals with a partner who struggles with the money difference? I try to include him in plans for the future. I brainstorm with him, make it fun and all that but the difference between us is (and he will TELL you this is true, as he told me) if I say “I’m going to work hard at this and at the end of this I will buy blah blah blah – what do you want babe? lets make a plan” – I DO eventually get there. But he would still be in the “still thinking about where to think about starting” phase. This dynamic alone strains the money issue. Dare I follow through with such a purchase, it shows him up. But I want what i want and did not ask him to buy it. In fact, I freely share. It doesn’t matter, and this is how it was with my exes. Its just a no-win situation.
    I’ve experienced receiving a nice gift or two before. MAN its a nice feeling. *shivers* But with sharing a life with someone who makes so much less than I do, I had to make peace (I am ashamed to admit feeling secretly sad about it) with that fact that I’ll never be that girl who is to hope for a “Gift Like That” from my partner. But I feel its a strong tradeoff having someone really here for me.
    that said
    I don’t think enjoying a nice lifestyle makes me a bad person who doesn’t know what’s important in life. I found the workaround to the Vapid Goldigger role for a lifestyle I desire. Work damn hard. I don’t want to partake in nickel and diming these things and I dont. But partners DO. They absolutely do it and some are not even nice about it. And let me tell you- one of the biggest slaps in the face is when someone is disrespecting you on your dime. -_-
    and just to fill in the blank, I do NOT cut men down about what they earn or don’t even when they go for verbal low blows. I’m not the controlling type where conversations are concerned. Personality wise, I’m very “fun easy breezy”. It doesn’t matter. that didn’t save my last serious relationship where money was the issue and I’m concerned that it will cost me this one as well.
    in THIS case with my current partner  who pledges his undying love to me-
    It sucks. It sucks to love someone and struggle to keep seeing them in a certain light when respect slips away when he pats himself on the back for “being good” this week. And being good -to him- is not leaving early from his part time job by the 3rd day of a 5 day work week- his words btw. It doesn’t matter how much I reason and explain 50/50 (in effort not in funds), the endgame is this.. the fabulous condo is still paid for. The car is still paid for. I’d never starve him because he didn’t chip in with groceries again. I would never let these things that I worked to get slip away because he didn’t keep his word. Because while he’s busy feeling bad about its my credit rating and desired lifestyle on the line. And while he loves me and is kind and sweet, these realities are hard to swallow.  When I look into the future he says he wants with me, all I can think is if god forbid we were to have children and something happens to me, forget maintaining what we have- this family would be royally screwed bc my Man..doesn’t play that role. Doesnt.. won’t..
    I am constantly reading Women this, Men that, Women don’t let men be men, etc. I’m just a woman trying to live the best version of my life with someone special. People act as though being in love with someone WILL override the rest. Maybe if both people in a couple “conspired as a team” to make it against all odds, then yes. But I’m starting to think I’m the only one who genuinely thinks like that.
    I almost feel like when I was at the bottom where I masterminded how to make a fabulous meal for two on $1.37, I had more of that rich feeling of connection and partnership than when I began having plenty to share. Quiet resentment is noticeable to me – I can sense the difference.
    in a world where people are quick to say “get rid of him”, I am sick with the thought that even though I AM young, smart, attractive, kind, fun, and “pair up easily” (not trying to run on accolades, just trying to give you the picture here), I run into so few authentic people who are tapped into love and life. Its LONELY being amongst what I call pod-people.. so when I find someone who I can genuinely click with, I hold on and I try. I REALLY try. Thats whats going on here with my boyfriend. He IS a good person. I do love him and how he makes me feel outside of this strange money dymanic.
    and in my line of work, as I rise amongst the ranks of a world based on image, wealth, and idolization its that much harder to identify who in your life is there for what matters and whose there as props. in real life, these things are tough to decipher. Then I start to think if I had been smarter and HAD paid attention to the stark income difference, then maybe I would have found someone who this wouldn’t be such and issue with because he gets it. I have money and I’m a sweetheart. So maybe its silly to think such a man is nonexistent after all.
    throwing money (or the lack thereof) in the mix is costing me a lot emotionally.
    har har :/
    and for good measure- YES ID LOVE TO FEEL LIKE THE PRIZE, THE DESIRED WOMAN! I don’t stomp around in the man hater club! I can appreciate the differences we have and I LOVE feeling cared for TOO
    so WHAT if I work hard and made it into a certain tax bracket? Is this really the price I pay for being self sufficient?? 🙁
    …this comment was a lot longer than I thought’d it be. thanks for reading

    1. 73.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Substitute a man’s name for Miss Megawatt’s post and read. She talks about men who are takers, who are too comfortable receiving, who can’t carry their own weight financially.

      Sounds an awful like what 78% of the male population could say about their girlfriends. For all the talk about men resenting women who earn more, I think the resentment stems more from women who would rather be paid for. And that’s the elephant in the room in this conversation, if you ask me:

      Has it occurred to anyone that the oft-mentioned reason that men feel insecure around women who make more is because those same women MAKE them feel bad/insecure about not earning more, about not being the “man” in the family? It’s not just society – and if it is “society”, then let’s acknowledge that half of that society is women who look down on men who don’t earn more than them – whether they want to or not.

      I know I’m pounding this drum loudly, but I have no stake in this race. I just find it interesting how few women acknowledge their own roles in this “he needs to earn more than me” phenomenon. It’s always about the guy being a taker, the guy being insecure…it’s never about, “I will not respect him unless he earns more than I do”, which seems to be at least half of the problem.

      1. 73.1.1
        a girl from Romania

        Yes, I think societal expectations are the problem. It seems to be more accepted in Romania, my home country, that a woman earns more than her partner, at least if they’re middle class, although there are still many women as well that want a man with a lot of money (it’s usually women from poorer backgrounds though). And there are still many cases when younger women stay with older, well-off men. I think the problem lies with women as well; as long as many will “sell” their beauty for money, differences in income will be a problem.

  14. 74

    I have something to add about the stats on women earning more: in 22% of marriages period, the woman earns more (so that percentage includes a lot of stay at home moms).  In 33% of marriages where the woman works outside the home the woman earns more.  I also remember reading that a high percentage of marriages where the woman makes more don’t involve a corporate alpha woman at all.  They are more likely to involve a lower-middle class woman whose husband, who a generation before would have worked in a factory, has now lost everything as traditionally male working class jobs like factory work and construction have declined much more rapidly than female working class jobs like nursing, food service, child care etc.  Thus, the fact that more women are outearning their husbands is the result of both feminist triumphs and blue collar male economic decline.

    Anyway, in my dating experience I found that how much a girl cared about money had no correlation to how much she earned.  I believe I got the same response rates from teachers as from consultants & lawyers.  I agree with what people have said about the importance of being successful in respective fields, but I would add that other factors in success is whether or not the high-earning woman has luxury tastes and how much members of her group of friends earn. 

  15. 75

    So because a percentage of the male population can say that about their girlfriends, a person – me or someone like me – is doomed?
    Thing is here, I’m not trying to “win” so to speak. I’m just trying to be part of a happy relationship, where the money thing can work. I personally get nothing from putting a man down. If anything, it only makes it worse in my eyes (you know, I the woman cuts down the weak man successfully only reinforcing that he is indeed weak). The reality is he feels badly about me making more and behaves a certain way out of resentment without my “assist”. I don’t need to do anything to make some people feel the way they do about themselves or their successes/failures. Or the Taker- what am I doing to encourage someone to be a Taker as opposed to a partner? How is that on me, so that I know how to alter my behavior to discourage that
    You see, I just keep reading general responses to the large percentage of people who behave in ways that cut each other down.
    But there’s nothing general about my real life and I’m sure other people feel that way. I care more about how to make it work than blaming anyone. Allotting the blame is not changing my outcome.
    Do you see what I mean?
    Even if the response isn’t tailored to my specific situation, I find it hard to learn how to improve a personal relationship based on what a bunch of unhappy people are doing to each other. How do those of us who WANT it to work actually.. make it work. In real life with real life problems like bills?

  16. 76
    Katarina Phang

    Karl, you compare orange to apple.  That’s an extreme analogy to say the least.  I’m not the one who denies altogether the possibility of “mismatch of income” workability.  I have said, personally, it’s not a big deal to me.  The only measurement that matters is how diligent and passionate he is about life and his trade.
    Yes I agree with Evans if you are too rigid about income you’re only going to shrink the potential candidate pool unnecessarily.   However, I think it boils down to attraction on the most subtle level -there are women who are only attracted to guys with perceived success (how else to measure it but by how much he earns)?  That’s again biology, whether you like it or not.  To an extent you can’t help feeling that kind of attraction the way some men can’t help feeling attracted to women with large -or small- breasts.
    So these women say they won’t date guys with less income because she doesn’t feel that attraction to begin with and though they may try to be open minded, at the end of the day if they are not attracted to these men there is nothing which will make this relationship work.
    Be open minded and give the guys the benefit of the doubt?  Absolutely.  At least give it a try and see how it goes.  Focus more on his other qualities, just maybe they can sustain the relationship as much as more income would.  That’s the middle ground I mean, what’s wrong with that?  People always compromise at the end of the day because very rare you’ll find someone with every requirement on the list checked.

    1. 76.1
      a girl from Romania

      Biology? I much doubt that how much a man has in his bank account determines how big of an orgasm a woman will have :))). You are full of s.. now. Pleaaaseee… I’m a lesbian (but still a woman) and the only thing that determines my sexual attraction to a another woman is ..surprise… the way she looks :))… and some emotional stuff , as these can be turnons(is she nice as a person, warm, ..gentile, experienced in bed  bla bla bla etc.). I may not want to have a relationship with a woman that earns way less than me (due to rational reasons), but I surely will sleep with her if I find her physically attractive.


      If you consider a man is “ugly” (extremely unattractive), I seriously doubt that your sexual appetite would go up if you suddenly found out he earns 200 or 300 k per year. Your interest, yes; but that’s not biology, that’s rationalizing (and the result of socializing).

      Women are attracted to success, yes, but everyone is, it’s just that for women success means being a 10 (hot, sexy, young, feminine etc. and with reasonable intelligence) and for men it means having a high-powered career. And really…how many times have you seen a man that earns 200 k dating a woman that is a janitor, even if she is a 10 in looks and in bed? Men also look at status,your education etc. but they rationalize differently (they compromise more on money issues, but not as much as some would like to think). And they also care if the woman they are dating is perceived as being attractive or not. This may come as a surprise, but I do know men who will not date a woman even if they like her if she is consider unattractive by many people (but they will sleep with her) or who will perceive a woman as being hotter than they initially thought just because now she has a “miss something” title. It’s about social validation for them as well.

      This just reminded me of how my female colleagues at college were head-over-heels for the relatively young assistants and professors (in their 20s, 30s, and 40s) and I suspect much of that had to do with the perceived power position they hold, although everyone here knows that university professors don’t earn that much money. I also “fell in love” with my “feminine” female professors :)) (even if they were in their 30s and 40s; still very hot), but it was certainly not for their money.

  17. 77

    The point I made was that I do NOT make men feel bad fo earning more.  I had a boyfriend break up with me when I entered a prestigious masters degree program based on his unproved speculation that I WOULD earn more than he did upon graduation. What a loser!!!  I was willing to remain his girlfriend and definitely was interested in marrying him, so he lost out.  He now only dates women who are teachers because they earn approximately $20,000 less than he does.  I not once mentioned wanting to earn more, and I did not pressure him to pursue an advanced degree. When I was with him, I NEVER mentioned income or prospective future incomes for either of us.  I was into him-the person, not the wallet. I don’t even drive a fancy, expensive car.  What is with some guys?

  18. 78

    Funny, I thought I was the biggest egalitarian out there until I found this blog.
    I also thought it was common knowledge that women, in general, are being paid less for the same work than men, in general, and that women’s careers, in general, suffer more due to maternity leaves, household work, taking care of children, etc. In general, women spend significantly more time doing these things than men. And, since this is a dating site – I do not have exact percentages, but I’d imagine there are a lot more full-time single mothers out there than there are full-time single fathers. And that parenting thing, as amazing as it is, does hurt one’s career and, consequently, your earning potential. I speak from experience.
    Which is why the situations when a woman earns significantly more than a man, are so rare, and it requires such an enormous effort of the woman to even get to this point in her career, that we as society probably honestly do not know how to respond to that. And yes, I would imagine many men would react by either feeling threatened/emasculated, or by trying to use the woman and live off her. Having never been in this situation myself, I do feel MissMegawatt’s pain, and think she has a valid point.
    Maybe one solution to this would be – if a man is as dedicated to his work and as successful in his field as the woman is, even though his field happens to pay less, then pool the finances and share the same lifestyle treating the money as “ours”. On the other hand, if his low income is due to the fact that he does not care about work as much as she does, then their differences go way deeper than just the income and I dare say they are probably a bad match. Yes, this still limits the woman’s choices, but maybe limiting one’s choices somewhat isn’t such a bad thing. Picking a random guy off the street isn’t probably going to work, long-term.

  19. 79

    I think this is an issue for the 35 and up crowd. Maybe because they grew up in “traditional” households where the father was the breadwinner. But as someone who typically dates (and splits costs w/or pays more than) guys in their mid-20s, things are changing. Most of these guys grew up with moms who worked outside of the home, many of them single its natural for them to expect a woman to pay her way. Most women I know 30 and under find this to be normal. Sure its nice to be courted and paid for in the beginning, but its a gesture, and none of us expect that our entire lives!
    MissMegaWatt, maybe you and your partner should have a joint bank account? That way when out to dinner he can just put down a check card and you wouldn’t have to pass him cash? If you two are truly partners, whats yours is his. If hes a great guy who loves you, prize that! not material items he can’t buy. And yes, a lot of men who complain that their wives are freeloaders are now divorced, so yeah, doomed.
    Karl R said, “Wasn’t the entire purpose of the women’s rights movement to change the social norm?”
    Chris said, “Thus, the fact that more women are outearning their husbands is the result of both feminist triumphs and blue collar male economic decline.”
    These points are true. Unfortunately, not all women were on board with the women’s movement (again, read “Hearts of Men”), and even the ones that were didn’t really envision a complete role reversal, but one where genders are EQUAL. But we are finding while we have found a general equality of opportunity, no two people are ever totally equal. Its still a transition period. As we can see here, some people are happy with, others are not.

  20. 80

    So what’s going to happen when the men who are now in their 20s, later get divorced when they’re 40 and date again? They will try to date women 10-15 years their junior, but will still expect the woman to pay for everything herself (despite the fact that she has less experience). I often get this from men who approach me and are 10-20 years older – they really desire my company, but they are not always eager to share their resources. They want equality. Even though they’ve had the chance, due to their age, to make much more than I and secure themselves in their lives, have good property, cars, boats, etc. I think if men want to date younger, they should be ready to share their resources.

  21. 81

    Folks: I’ve already said in #61, and will say again, that there is NO EVIDENCE in “biology” that supports the idea of males having to earn more than females. I’ve listed examples from zoology, but consider this quote, too, from Natalie Angier’s must-read book “Woman: An Intimate Geography”.
    “Only among humans have males succeeded in stepping between a woman and a meal, in wresting control of the resources she needs to feed herself and her children. Only among humans i the idea ever floated that a male should support a female… ‘I am convinced that male control over productive resources needed by women to reproduce lies at the heart of the transformation to full patriarchy,’ Sarah Blaffer Hrdy has written.”
    Angier writes this in a tone that slightly “blames” men, but we women are to blame as well, precisely because of our general attitude that Evan describes of expecting men to out-earn us.  Sisters, do not blame this attitude on “biology” or “nature.”  There is nothing inherently biological or natural about expecting men to look after us.  Look at every other animal species, including primates.  We were born to have all the resources necessary to care for ourselves and others.  We should claim it proudly.
    Once we do this, we not only empower ourselves, but we give men a break.

  22. 82
    Karl R

    IceQueen said: (#88)
    “I often get this from men who approach me and are 10-20 years older – they really desire my company, but they are not always eager to share their resources. They want equality.”

    At what point in the dating process are you referring to?

    I would never expect there to be any sharing of resources until there’s a committed relationship. I don’t share my resources with acquaintances (though I might loan money to a friend or give money to a charity).

    Even inside a committed relationship, there are limits to where I expect sharing of resources to extend.

    My girlfriend is 16 years older than me. For most of her adult life she outearned me (even though I’ve outearned her for the last 4 years), and she has been working about 15 years longer than I have. Therefore she has considerably more assets than I do.

    My girlfriend has spent a couple decades paying for her house. While we’re planning to live together (in her house), I believe that it’s her house. Should we split up, it should still be her house. My only claim to that resource would be whatever money I pay into it.

    IceQueen said: (#88)
    “I think if men want to date younger, they should be ready to share their resources.”

    I’ve dated several divorcees, including one woman who lost half her assets when divorcing her deadbeat husband. A divorcee isn’t interested in losing a substantial portion of his/her assets again, particularly not to someone they’re just dating.

    Paying for dates is one thing. If the man has substantially greater resources than the woman, it’s in his interest to accept the societal norm and pay for all of the dates. But it sounds like you’re discussing something beyond that when you’re talking about sharing resources.

    Let me rephrase it this way. What have you contributed to the relationship to deserve to share in those resources?

  23. 83

    Just remember, however, that while we might be powerhouses in the workplace, turn it off when you’re on a date.  All this personality shifting is exhausting.

  24. 84

    Thank you Helen for continuing to point out the biology fallacy. I am genuinely surprised that smart, educated women are using this argument to explain a cultural construct that is so recent in terms of human evolution.  Mind boggling. 

    What some are calling “biology” is patently “rationalization”  – the realm of psychology.

  25. 85

    IceQueen said, “So what’s going to happen when the men who are now in their 20s, later get divorced when they’re 40 and date again? They will try to date women 10-15 years their junior, but will still expect the woman to pay for everything herself?”
    Perhaps some will, and some may date older…maybe the next generation of gold-diggers will be mostly men? Its entirely possible, the way things are going.

  26. 86
    Katarina Phang

    Helen and Selena, read this:
    The instinct for a woman to find a good provider as a mate VERY MUCH roots in biology.  That’s how we sustain the survival of the species.
    It perfectly makes sense.  To be able to survive a cave woman needs a good, strong provider who will consistently bring home food so she can carry the baby for 9 months and raise it to adulthood.
    In the modern days “good provider’ is none other than those males with good jobs/income.  Most women still carry that primordial predisposition in their genes.
    Which part of it doesn’t make sense to you both?  Which part of it is a fallacy?
    And having said this, I’m not the one who supports blind adherence to this notion/norm.  Yet you can’t deny the evolutionary roots of our instincts.

  27. 87

    Thanks, Selena. The longer we women persist in this antiquated (and unnatural) view that men must out-earn us and must support us, the more we weaken ourselves and the female sex as a whole.
    Shoving off responsibility to someone else – for this is what it really is when we insist on a higher-paying man – is only advantageous to survival when there is a clear difference in power structures and experience (e.g., parent to child, mentor to mentee).  It is NOT an ideal power structure in a love relationship that strives for equality.
    Pushing for men to out-earn women only means that the pay dimorphism between genders will continue even longer.  C’mon, this seems so obvious that it’s strange that no one else made the link before.  Why are we women sabotaging ourselves?  We can’t complain about earning 76 cents to every man’s dollar if we indirectly contribute to this inequality by favoring high-earning men.

  28. 88

    Another thing I wanted to point out. The women that earn 200K/year are probably very few and far between. For the majority of us, though, looking for a man who makes *not less* that we do is just a way to filter out the proverbial deadbeats, pure and simple. I want to be with a man who is a professional, who is good at what he does, takes pride in his work and takes responsibility for his work. If he’s about my age, didn’t have to take time off to raise the children like I did, didn’t have to move to a new country and start over at 30 like I did, and meets the above requirements, then regardless of his profession, he will be making at least as much as I do.
    It’s not about wanting to be supported – at least it isn’t for me. I was a SAHM for four years and lived on my husband’s money. I would not wish that on anyone, and hope to never be in that situation again. There are a lot of downsides to being supported by another person, unless that person is a saint.

  29. 89


    Ok,I didn’t read ALL 91 comments but I read enough to get the jist of the err…topic and most everyone’s

    What kills me about this whole discussion is we’re always talking about what a person male or female earns per year as the barometer of so called “social worth” What about what someone SPENDS or OWES ? What about what someone’s actual net worth IS?? Why is a man that is divorced with 3 kids on their way to college who makes 100K a year more valuable than me who has no kids,makes 65-75K a year average ? I have a net worth of about 250K and plenty of disposable income to do whatever I want and go where ever I want.Yet any guy who makes (let’s say for this discussion) 125K might be 200K in debt with child support,college tuition future or present etc….but on online dating sites HE has higher value than ME because some of these woman won’t even consider dating a man that makes less than 100K when they search or put in “what they’re looking for’s”!! Mind boggling !!!

    I can’t even tell you the amount of times I never hear back from a woman after 2 or 3 emails when I tell them what I do for a living which has a variable income range of 50-300K depending on many factors.
    It’s not only yearly income men are up against.We have to have a good
    “job title” so that when a woman’s friends or relatives asks “what does he do” she can say “he’s a ___________ (fill in the blank with anything that “sounds impressive) He has 2 ex wives,4 kids and owes 300K but he’s a “lawyer” and makes over 100K. Don’t worry YOU won’t be seeing ANY of it but you can bet his “ex’s” will….LOL

    Another thing I’ve been battling against is the “ex-husband’s income” factor.Where by which the woman will only date or “value” men who make as much or MORE than their “ex” who by the way is shifting 30% right to them in child support. You wouldn’t believe what I’ve seen and what goes on out here! The amount of delusion is incredible.

  30. 90

    Good points JB. If women are only looking at you as a title and a #, they don’t deserve you anyhow!
    I’m not going to get into the “is it nature or nuture” debate, but as was brought up before, biologically men are not naturally monogamous…what are we to make of that? Also, biologically, men are attracted to big breasts and full hips, 2 things I’m not all that blessed with. Lucky for me, we aren’t cave people anymore.

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