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Women Who Earn More Than Their Male Significant Others Share How It Impacts Their Relationships (20 Stories)

I think the accepted reality of life in modern America is that you really need to have a two-income household. It’s nigh impossible to allow one half of a partnership to not earn money because everything is so expensive.

It’s been a stereotype for a long, long, loooong time that “men are the breadwinners” and I’ve never heard or thought more about such garbage. Part of why men continue to out-earn women is because men are rewarded financially when they start families, women are penalized. Men are paid more than women out of the gate, and nobody asks a man “are you going to take time off for childcare”.

The BuzzFeed Community recently shared experiences of couples where the woman makes more than the man. Here are some stories:

1. Sexy!

“I make 3x the amount my husband makes. He thinks it’s the sexiest thing in the world. We divide finances based on how much we make and what our jobs are in the house. For example, I buy groceries, but he buys things we need for home-improvement projects. When we travel, I’ll spend money on our tickets and hotels, but he’ll buy food when we’re there. Overall, it’s been a positive experience for us.” —kaityb

2. It’s not a thing

“I’ve been married for 20 years and always earned more than my husband. Guess what. It’s never been an issue AT ALL! In fact, he’s earning nothing right now, as he is full-time carer for his parents. It’s not the 1950s anymore!” —hbinkyk

3. Not a problem

“I work in management in an overwhelmingly male-dominated industry, and also happen to make more money than my husband. He assumed I made more money based on my job, education, and level in the company. We didn’t really get into specific numbers until we moved in together. Even then it was purely budgetary, with no weird dynamics attached. The only comment he has ever made concerning my salary is that I should be getting paid more for all the toxic and misogynistic crap I put up with. He gives the same response when anyone has ever asked him about it. It’s one of the many reasons I married him.” —charlottegracel

4. Dad doesn’t care

“My mom has always made more than my dad. She’s also much more intelligent and tech savvy. My dad couldn’t give a flying fuck; he’s thrilled he’s got such a smart woman he can always call on. And he comes from the boomer era when women stayed home and men went to work.” —vidalia

5. Thrilled for me

“For years my husband and I worked for the same company, doing the same position, on the same team (how we met). We made roughly the same amount; he made slightly more than me (gotta love that gender pay gap), but I recently left that company and am now making a decent amount more than he does. He’s thrilled for me and the opportunity I have; he knows how hard I worked for a promotion and has never mentioned that it bothers him. He’s just happy we have more income to pay our mortgage!” —adm1956

6. Tag in

“When my boyfriend and I graduated college, my internship turned into a full-time, salaried job that then turned into another, better-paying job. He really struggled to find something more than retail work because of the pandemic, so I’ve been taking care of most of our financial needs for the last year or so. He doesn’t have a toxic or machismo bone in his body; his only issue is the pressure that I’m currently under to pay rent and take care of groceries for both of us. He’s starting law school in the fall and wants to ‘tag in’ once he graduates and gets a job that can support us both, because I’m getting a little burned out.” —thefreemagdalene

7. Opposite ends

“My husband and I are on opposite ends of the salary scale. He’s on minimum wage, works incredibly hard, and works longer hours than me, and I’m on a six-figure salary. People often ask why my husband works the way he does when he supposedly doesn’t need to with my salary being enough to provide for both of us and our two children, but it’s not about money for us. We both enjoy sharing the responsibility of provider for our little family, and it just works for us.” —natesays

8. Maternity leave sucked

“Not a big deal for us as a couple, but really difficult when we get to the maternity-leave stage. I can take up to a year off, but only three months are paid. He can only take two weeks off. This doesn’t really work with me earning more money.” —lynsey3

9. Only complaint is work/life balance

“My partner has been with me since I was in an entry-level role and has been 200% supportive as I’ve worked hard over the years to grow into a leadership position.” 

“His only complaint *ever* is about work-life balance; he feels I need firmer boundaries so I can be more present. Fair feedback and request, but also I love what I do and have big goals, so that’s something we both work hard to navigate together. 6.5 years strong!” —lindsayj425521c91

10. Frustration

“My fiancé and I work the same job, but he has more experience. Because I have my bachelor’s though, I get paid more than he does. When it comes time to get our raises, he gets upset about it but never at me, just about how management views it. But we’ve always planned to have our lives with, if we can manage it, me working full-time and him being stay-at-home. Honestly, he’s excited by the idea of spending time with the kids growing up, and I can’t imagine staying home. So if it works, I don’t see why anyone would be upset by it; it’s more money for you guys to spend on each other. If they hate it, they’re obviously insecure!” —bluekatquta13

11. Rewarding

“My husband has always been my biggest supporter and has helped push me into roles that have gotten me in a very successful spot in life at my age. He also acknowledges that it pushes him as well. He used to think he wouldn’t go much beyond a distribution center, and now he’s a director and being looked at for a promotion. We push each other, and it’s extremely rewarding, and I feel so lucky to have had this kind of support for 10 years strong.” —carlychase

12. He helped me do it

“My husband worked three jobs (teacher plus side jobs) while I was in pharmacy school so that I could focus on my grades. Without him I would have had a much harder time in school! He has never had an issue with me making about 3x what he makes. He’s proud of the hard work I put in! And I’m thankful he sacrificed so that I could make it happen.” —blarsen1989

13. Team!

“When I started dating my now-husband, he was making $10/hr to my $50. He felt bad because I was paying for all of our dates, whereas I was just excited to have someone awesome to go on dates with! Eventually he got a really good job but still made a little more than half what I was. Still didn’t matter. More money = easier to do fun things. It’s all about being a team!” —purplern

14. Purely supportive

“My boyfriend and I have been together for close to five years, and we work for the same law enforcement agency. Although we both started as officers, I’ve had a few promotions in the past years, and not only do I make more money, but I also outrank him. He’s been nothing but supportive. His colleagues told me he frequently talks about my accomplishments and how proud he is of me. When people ask him what it’s like for him to go out with an older woman — he’s ten years younger than I am — who makes more money, he just shrugs and says he feels lucky. I feel like I won the lottery with this one!” —marienoelledagenais

15. It hurts his self-esteem

“Unfortunately even where men are OK with it, sometimes stressors come in the form of others voicing their unsolicited opinions and making comments. I make 70% to 80% of our household’s income, and that’s when my spouse is working (his work history is a bit spotty). In theory, it’s no big deal. My spouse appreciates the stability my job offers, especially since we budget conservatively so that his income is largely not for necessities. I travel some, and he holds down the fort with our child when I’m gone. However, sometimes the income difference does seem to have a subconscious impact on his self-esteem. It doesn’t help that my MIL will make comments indicating she thinks he needs to climb the ladder more so to speak, or makes comments about him putting his career ‘on the back burner’ for mine (no truth to this).” —bw24

16. Less stress

“I’ve made more than my partner since we got together because I work a corporate office job and he works in receiving at a grocery store. The most interesting thing has been that my work has been volatile (I was laid off last year and spent almost a whole year unemployed), but his work has been extremely consistent. As far as the whole gender thing, I think he likes being the one under less pressure to earn and get promoted and all that. He likes his job and doesn’t feel any need to get a ‘real job.’ Over the pandemic, it became more and more clear that he as an essential worker should be making what I make and vice versa, which has nothing to do with our genders and everything to do with the wildly unfair balance of what is considered ‘real work’ and where we assign value to a job. It’s not bullshit that I make more because I am a woman; it’s bullshit that I make more and he’s literally essential.” —charlottec3

17. Doesn’t care

“I earn double what my bloke does. He cares not one bit. We pay everything equally to what we earn, i.e., him one-third, me two-thirds, and whatever we have left is our own. As his job is less stressful, he does all the housework so I can relax when I get home, and to me that’s worth waaay more than money. There are lots of ways to contribute to a relationship, and if you base it on just money, you will fail.” —charlottek13

18. Proud of me

“My husband and half of his male friends earn less than their female S.O.s. When the guys talk about this, they sound very proud of their partners and consider themselves lucky. However, I have worked in an environment where I was paid less than my male colleague with the same job title, even when I had more responsibilities. Neither of us were happy with this situation, but it was never corrected.” —a475d1c149

19. First guy sucked!

“GIRL. I was with a guy for five years. I started progressing in my career (we worked at the same company) and eventually started making more than him. Then I decided to go to school to make a career change to progress even further. He told me I was wasting my time, and that it wasn’t attractive to be with someone who puts more priority on a career vs. the household. I dropped him REAL QUICK. My next boyfriend (now husband) helped me get through school (quizzed me with flash cards, motivated me to study, help me continue when I wanted to quit, and was incredibly supportive). Now I make >6 figures and he is unemployed. He always gives me credit when people inevitably direct financial questions to him, and he continues to push me to follow my dream and advance my career the way I want to. He is a literal angel, and I’m incredibly lucky to have him as my rock.” —aubreetebbs

20. Still a team

“I make significantly more money than my S.O., and it’s not a problem because we are a team. We support each other emotionally, physically, and financially. We have been together for over seven years, and it has never been an issue. It can be an issue for my parents because they are in a more traditional relationship and they want that for me, but I want to have a big career, so this arrangement works just fine for me.” —elisabettr