Do any of you earn more than your partner? How does it affect your relationship?

Especially for those who are in marriage. I learnt recently that I earn almost 4x of what my partner makes, and while he seems supportive (plus I don't mind!), I also want to understand from other people's POV as we're trying to settle down together. I worked in tech while he's in service industry so it might stay this way unless I stopped working.

Curious to hear your thoughts.

What a fantastic topic and important question! I cannot provide insights because I am not in this situation but it might happen in the future so I'm all in!I read some studies before focused on heterosexual couples (I can't remember the methodology off the top of my head so I am sorry for that) that said women who outearned their husbands/partners are more likely to be cheated on.LOL that was the headline so ofc super catchy etc but there were some interested facts shared in there.Anyways, i hope our societies can progress and we stop putting the burden of "breadwinning" on the men, so women making more can finally be normalised. Anyway super interesting topic and really excited to hear what people have to say (in both hetero-sexual and same sex marriages!)
Married 15 years to a cis-man as the highest earner (by a lot) for the entirety of our relationship.There's a few things that go into this:Your expectationsYour partner's expectationsYour expectations of each otherThe attitudes of those around youFinancial attitudes and spending habitsKidsCoping skillsThings to consider:- What are your expectations of each other? I'm highly career driven whereas my husband is not. He primarily wants stability while I'm constantly pushing my career to new heights.- Are you okay if this is as good at it gets? Meaning, he never gets a better job, you bear the economic load for a long time, disrupters like Covid cause you to be the single earner (did it, it sucks) or your career continues to demand more. Imbalances of any type create friction when sustained.- What pressures are you both getting from family, friends, and others in your world? Short term, he may totally stand up against this. Long term, if he has dudebros feeding him certain ideas, at what point do they start festering?- If you are planning to or already have kids, how might that affect all the above?- If you can (ever) afford it, what tasks do you outsource first? How are those decisions made? Ex: is outsourced cleaning out of the shared budget or an individual bucket? What about yard care?- What responsibilities are you each taking and how (or if) does income play into this?- Are you on the same page with how you spend? What's personal money vs pooled?Things we ran into:- Husband worked for a family business and his family decided I earned enough to short his paycheck (yes, really).- Different spending habits and tolerances - we're finally aligning after years- Covid completing zapping out a whole job (his) for 2 years- Some friends giving him grief about the difference in income, while others gave him props- Family pressures for me to make choices that made 0 financial sense (take certain career breaks, take over kid sick time, etc)
Such an interesting topic and something I don’t really think about. My husband and I have been married 23 years and together 30+. For most of our relationship, I have earned more than him. But, I don’t dwell on how much we each make. I think this stems from my upbringing and the fact that I watched my parents constantly fight over money and ultimately divorce when I was a kid. Money is a necessary evil. So to me, it’s not about the money. For us, it’s a non-issue and we put our paychecks, bonuses, and for me, RSU stock sales in a shared account. We both work incredibly hard. Although we are both in tech, I’m at a tech company and he isn’t. That’s the difference. During the pandemic, I got a closer look at what he deals with on the daily. I 1,000% know I couldn’t do his job and I have a huge amount of respect for him. A year ago, I was laid off and it took me 7 months to find a job. During that 7 months, he was the bread winner for our family of four. And when he got his annual bonus, it just went into our savings and he told me not to stress as that bonus bought me more time to find the right role for me. Although I am back to being the higher earner, I know we could and would have made it on half my salary and we were prepared to do so. When you find a great person to spend your life with, it’s not about the money. You just make it work.
I make more than my husband and I have since we started dating. I am very lucky in that he comes from a family where his mom was always the breadwinner so he has always seen it as a point of pride and not something to be insecure about for him. One thing I didn't expect was how hard it was for me to be the sole breadwinner - we went through a year + period where I was the only one bringing in any money and I realized that is not what I want. We spend money differently so I found that this created a lot of mental stress for me to be frugal/spend wisely and he would go out and buy 2 cups of coffee in a day and it created some resentment. We talked about it a lot as I manage all of our finances and realized that I just wanted him to take some of the mental load of being aware of our financial picture and taking some responsibility for it, even if he wasn't actively contributing. Otherwise on a day to day basis we split things based on our income so household expenses are 70/30 and we pay for our own "fun stuff". Right now this works for us, though we will probably change things up a bit if/when we have kids to a more join centric model with separate accounts for fun stuff after we've paid joint bills out of a joint account. I guess all of this is to say, that communication is key just like it is for any part of a relationship. Make sure that you are clear about your needs, understand your partner's needs and then get clear on how money can help you to have those needs met. I also realized once we got married that my POV shifted and suddenly it really was our money no matter what account it was in and that also helped a lot.
Ooh. I've earned more than most of my male partners. At one point I was making 3x more than my ex who was making 30k as a student. Most recently I moved to London and the pay is significantly lower, compared to my US salary. How does it affect our relationship? Hm. I suppose there is a slight awkwardness when we see social norms at play, like a waiter expecting him to pay the bill instead of me. Overall, we try to navigate it on our own terms. For example, there will be times where he pays 1/3 less since he was making 1/3 less than me. As far as ego, this doesn't come into play much! We're supportive of each other and don't see money as a big part of our identity (which I recognize is a big privilege).Sarah
OMG I hate that when the server defaults to giving the bill to men!
My husband and I have been together for about eleven years. When we met, I made half what he made. Now, I make about 50% more than he makes (so not exactly the same as your situation.) It's never ever been a problem. I'm super proud of the work my husband does, but it will likely never pay much more than he makes now. And my husband thinks what I do is really cool, and we like that since I work in tech, there's less of a ceiling on what I could potentially make. If you're supportive of him (without needing to change him) and he's supportive of you (without thinking your income says something about him), then I think you're golden! Really sounds like you're already good to go. We think about our salaries as combined income. If the combined number doesn't meet our needs, then we look at what each of us could do to get that combined number up. If his job + your job meets your combined needs as a (future) family, then you're doing great! If the combined number doesn't meet your needs, one or both of you needs to get a higher paying job or extra job - maybe that's you, because your job has less of a ceiling or maybe it's him if he can get a promotion or switch industries if he's interested. It doesn't mean he needs to start making more than you. It just means the combined number needs to go up. I hope this helps, but truly, if it's not a problem, it's not a problem, and it sounds like it just isn't a problem for you guys!
I was married for almost 20 years. We started out as two broke college kids, I graduated and he didn’t. I picked a career and he kept taking one class at a time at a community college, often not passing them.This eventually led to me making 200-300k on average, and him maybe 15-20k. It was never a problem for me. When our kid came along I thought maybe he could be a stay at home dad. I felt like I earned enough for both of us.For him, it was a huge problem. When you have kids and are meeting other new parents and teachers you are constantly asked what you do for a living. He felt mortified and emasculated talking to other Dads that were the “providers.” (Silly if you ask me, but this is how he felt). He talked all the time about being a “failure.” Eventually, it became a central issue of our fights. We are divorced now, but still good friends, and just last night he launched onto his spiel that money falls into some people’s laps, and other people can’t get it - how he is a failure - how I would have loved him more if he was rich… which is all insulting to me because I am obviously not a gold digger, and I always encouraged him to chase whatever dreams he wanted. All this to say that there are different social pressures on guys that popup at later ages, and that as the years go by not having a “career” hits really different for them at 40 than in their 20s.
I agree with above ladies, it all depends on if you and your partner's expectation to each other, and how you want to share your life. Also things can change you never know what life brings next. My unsuccessful story: I was earning 2X than my ex-boyfriend, which initially we didn't expect it to a problem. But as time went on, I became more and more unhappy that I was the only person who worried about where money comes from, and I felt he was not trying enough. His finance also impacted our life style choice like where we wanted to live, where we wanted to go on holidays. And he still expected me to fulfil full motherhood expectations once we have kids, like taking full year of maternity leave, cook after work. Eventually I made a call that this was not the type of life i want. Successful story: My husband and I are married for 5 years now. We had very similar spending habit and ideas how to save money. We both work hard. Initially his salary doubles mine, I was contributing less to the household expenses. Then he fully supported me during my 2 year career change, when I was earning next to nothing. Now I am earning 30K more than him, not a lot, but it didn't change anything in our relationship. We consider whatever I or he earn, they are our money. We have our own fun budget (drinks and dinners with own friend, gym, personal shopping)and the rest goes to common account. His fun budget is higher than mine, but we agreed on what is reasonable for each. We are planning for kids now, and he proposed to take 6 month parental leave once the baby is here. So that I can go back to work early, because I am the more career-driven person between us and it makes more financial sense. I am super grateful for that. It is definitely worth talking about finance with your partner early on, like how to split expense, how to save, child care, parents(if they need your or your partners financial support). We even had agreed on how to split money in case we get divorce. We are not planning on it but I feel good to have a peace of mind.