I make more money than my boyfriend

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2004
I make more money than my boyfriend
10
Thu, 03-06-2014 - 4:26pm

I am not sure what to do anymore.  I make more money than my boyfriend.  It really just comes down to my Bachelor degree and him only having his Associates.  At one point in our relationship we were both unemployed.  Eventually I got a job at some awful place and only lasted 4 months before i found a better job making more money.  I think he was taken aback as to how much more money i make.  He finally got a job but he's terribly overworked and makes way less than i.  He's already admitted that he needs to find a new job but it's been a year now and he hasn't even worked on his resume.  I use to be on top of him until he said he'd get to it on his own. So i figure i give him his space and trust him to do it on his own. Instead all he does is complain about his job and how he just doesn't want to work anymore. I'm just so frustrated with him!  We are both in our 30s and have been dating for over 4 years now. I am at a point where i am ready to move forward with my life in terms of marriage, buying a house and having kids etc.  I have no doubt that he wants to spend the rest of our lives together. I just feel he's not proactive enough and that scares me.  Actually it stresses me out! I’ve already assumed the responsibility of putting the down payment on a house.  I guess as the person who makes more money in the relationship I’m willing to dole out the money accordingly.  But I’m also afraid that if I start doling out money he just might get too comfortable.  I have been patient for him to find another job and be financially ready but I get this crazy feeling that if I don’t talk about it, the situation loses its urgency.  I hate this situation because I feel like I’m being selfish and inconsiderate but on the other hand I’m afraid my boyfriend isn’t the type to apply himself.  I thought I accepted all these shortcomings at the beginning of our relationship. I don’t want this to be about money but it's the one thing holding...him back.  Any advice? I'm not even sure what's my question.  Thanks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 03-06-2014 - 8:23pm

You have to decide if you can accept your BF as he is and accept the fact that you are going to be the main breadwinner in the marriage because it's unlikely that he is going to change.  In one way it might be good if he would be willing to be the main caretaking parent if you have kids together because it would just be dumb for you, as the high earner, to take time off to take care of kids--so you have to bring this up.  I really can't believe that he is "tired of working" when he is in his 30's--he's got a long time to go.  Do the other things he brings to the relationship outweigh the fact that he is not a good earner?  In some cases, that would be ok, but not if you are going to be resentful.

My exH worked for the post office.  Considering he didn't have a college degree, it was a pretty good paying job with good benefits so I couldn't really complain that he didn't make enough money.  But the thing is that I'm a lawyer--if we had planned things out better, my career really should have come first.  I didn't quit my job when we had kids, just took the normal maternity leave but I wonder if I could have gotten higher paying jobs if he had taken more responsibility with the kids, like when our first child was about 2, I got this well paying job but I know the partners (even though they said they were family friendly) didn't really like it that I wanted to take off at 5:00 to pick up my DD from daycare--I ended up getting fired although I'm sure they didn't say that was why.  A lot of very successful women have DHs who might be holding down the home more than they are.

But one thing about your BF's attitude bothers me.  There are some people who are happy to be in a lower paying job because it's something they really like (for ex, working for a nonprofit).  But he just complains and does nothing--my ex was like that too.  Like he could have gone to college for free because he was a veteran, but he quit cause it was too hard.  Then he said that he really would have liked to be a nurse (he was a medic in the army)--well if he had actually gone to college at night instead of spending all his free time going to movies and playing baseball, maybe he could have achieved that goal.  He would rather just complain about not liking his job.  So is that attitude of your BF going to carry over into other things where he won't be willing to put in work and will just complain?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Thu, 03-06-2014 - 11:39pm

This isn't really about money.  This is about his lack of ambition, and the fact he'd rather grumble about his job than look for a new one.  He doesn't seem to have the long term goals you have either.  You want a house, and I am not sure if you already put money down on one, or you've just got the money to do it.  Either way, you need to put that house in YOUR name only unless and until he's got a better paying job and can share the costs.  It seems your life goals are different, and if this relationship doesn't work out, you don't want his name on a house deed.  You're both over thirty, this has been going on for four years, and it's gone nowhere.  How much longer will you wait for him to do something proactive with his life?

You need to TALK to him, tell him what your goals are, set a realistic time line, and if he can't meet your goals, maybe it's time to move on.  Four years of your life have gone by, how many more are you willing to lose?  You say you have no doubt that he wants what you do, but he's really not showing the initiative to attain that goal.  You need to put it into words for him!

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 03-07-2014 - 6:13pm

I this Fiss and Music have already said pretty much everything there is to be said.  

I agree that it is more about the complaining than it is the dollar amount he makes.  I have a feeling that if he loved his job, you would not be nearly so concerned.  Regardless, I do think you are going to have to accept that you may always make more money than your SO.  

Becareful not to judge.  You could very easily find yourself out of job and be forced to take a less desireable position.  It can happen to anyone.  

All I can really add is to say that I went through a phase where I came home all of the time complaining about a coworker.  My DH at the time finally told me to either look for another job or quit complaing.  He agreed the guy was a jerk, but either leave or shut up about it.  :)

Good luck and keep us posted!

Serenity CL Making a Marriage Work

Serenity
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 03-07-2014 - 8:24pm

It's not about the money, it's about your bf not having any ambition.  When 2 adults are in a relationship where they BOTH are working equally hard toward common goals, and where they BOTH have common ambition and work ethic, they will not be quibbling over -or caring- who makes more money.  I met my dh when I was 19.  We got married when I was 25, and I'm 61 now.  At different times I've made more money, he's made more money, he was in school, I was in school, I was unemployed, he was unemployed--none of that caused problems.  2 years ago, I started daycaring my granddaughter.  I gave up working, except for 1 or 2 days per week.  6 months ago I "retired" from PAID work completely.  When I asked dh if he was concerned, he said, "You've worked hard all your life.  Do what you want.  We'll be fine."

This guy is a loser.  Cut your loses and run.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2014
Sun, 03-09-2014 - 7:40pm

This is a very tricky situation, since I am sure you are feeling unsure of what to do and feel as if you are being cruel, but sadly you have to be cruel to be kind. Im sure you love your boyfriend and I am afraid that you need to learn to accept your boyfriend as the person he is. I am currently at Universtiy and at the end of my time at Uni I will be earning more than what my partner is earning, he has already stated to me that this will bring him down and make him feel upset as he feels he should be the breadwinner of the family and wants to make me happy. What I am trying to say is maybe he feels upset and the fact you earn more than him and it shocks him that much it has affected his Ego and has made him insecure and question the point in trying to get another job since he knows he will still earn less than you.This can destroy a mans feelings, once his masculinity is hacked at this plays with his head and makes the guy feel unworthy of you. Try to support your partner and tell him you want to be there for him, and if he wants to you will help him find a job he loves. As you stated earlier at the end of the day life is not about money, but sadly we all need money to live and buy houses, pay bills, mortgages etc... so be strong with your partner and ensure him that you do not look down on him, make him feel the man that he is and have a sit down and discuss your feelings regarding work and employment. Being at University and having a degree means youve worked hard for your career, which your partner should understand and you want to ensure both of you play a role within your relationship and both bring in an income, by being open about the situation and getting things off your chest will help in the long run....  Hope this has helped in some way :) x

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Mon, 03-10-2014 - 12:36pm

It looks like you saw these traits in him when you first were dating, and here you are 4 years later and he still has the same traits. He is in his 30s, so its getting less and less likely that he is going to be able to become a different person in this regard or at least change his habits of underperforming. If something is bothering you enough to cause you to take time out to come here and write about it, then clearly it is never going to be something you can just shove under the rug forever. Is will continue to drive you up the wall.

Riding his butt now, even if it results in him actually looking for and finding a job, still will only provide you with a temporary sense of relief. You clearly do not enjoy being the butt-rider in a relationship and you just know it is going to come up again, whether its job related or some other area of his life.

So you are faced with either burying your feelings on this matter, or ending the relationship.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2004
Tue, 03-11-2014 - 4:24pm

This has all been very tricky.  I feel like all my life i have been programmed to think that the man should be the breadwinner but we're living in different times.  I'm learning that nowadays women are predominantly more successful and that more and more men are becoming comfortable with women exceling professionally. Like i stated before, when i began making more money my BF was taken aback but he stated he was proud of me and that he accepts my making more money.  After my first post i spoke to him.  Now this is why i feel bad.  He expressed that he is trying to buy me a ring, a NICE ring and he feels he can accomplish this in another 2 months if he continues to work at this crappy job.  He doesn't want to quit now since he's making progress but eventually would like to leave his job.  I feel like a bitch! I feel like i'm stressing him out wanting all these things and he's stressing out trying to figure out a way to make it possible.  I don't want him stressing out.  I don't want this to ultimately depress him.  He does have good qualities about him.  For one, he's super nurturing and caring.  I can see him holding down the house probably more so than i.  I guess this is really about me learning to accept these differences and learning to sacrifice certain things so that we can grow.  Do you ladies ever feel slightly overwhelmed as the Breadwinner of the relationship?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2004
Tue, 03-11-2014 - 4:34pm
i think you're right and by giving him a hard time about things he clearly can't afford at the moment i can't imagine the amount of stress he is feeling. I feel like i should give the situation more time but i feel like i don't have the luxury of time anymore. I have been trying to get everything in my life in order so that when i do start my life i won't have to struggle but it seems like not everything is in order. However i feel like some couple get their life started in spite of all these obstacles. Some couples work their way through these obstacle while simultaneously starting their life. It sounds stressful, scary and unfortunately inevitable. Do some obstacles solve themselves? I want to play up our strengths and not let "money" be our constant obstacle.
Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Fri, 04-04-2014 - 10:20am

It's interesting about the role reversals that are happening more and more, with more women graduating from college these days than men. More and more women are starting to make more then their partners. So when you mentioned your BF stressing out about wanting to buy you a ring, it made me wonder about that age old tradition as well. As weird as it sounds, why should it fall to the man to buy the rings, when in more and more cases the women actually is more readily able to afford them?

I guess the times are a changin' .

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-20-2012
Wed, 04-23-2014 - 6:47pm

I realize it is difficult to end a relationship, especially if you feel it is based on money issues.  However, this sounds like it is a character issue and it isn't going to work itself out.  You are young enough and the fact that you are not married with children is the perfect opportunity for the both of you to find companions that are better suited to your personalities/lifestyles.  It is ok to make more money than your bf; it sounds like you would like someone who is equally ambitious and willing to take responsibility for their life choices.  Instead, it sounds like your bf wants to complain and feel like life is giving him a bum deal. We all experience ups and downs, what matters is how we deal with it.  Live the life you want and deserve.