I’m lucky enough to earn a very decent wage for my age through a combination of good timing and hard work. My boyfriend currently earns less than me, which is a fact that often surprises acquaintances (even in 2018!). Even though neither of us sees it as a big deal, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I had an impact on our relationship.
- It highlights which of our friends are stuck in the past. For some reason, many people seem shocked when they find out about our differences in wages. We get the usual “so we know who wears the trousers” jokes, but some people act generally concerned. They question if my boyfriend is on a career break, or pursuing some other kind of interest in lieu of a well-paying career. Regardless of the reasons behind our situation, it’s rare that anyone would question a couple where the man earns more than the woman. We now know which of our friends are stuck in the past with their views and which are more progressive.
- Traditional gender roles are forgotten. Our relationship is very balanced in all aspects. As we both work (and I’m often working late or at an event), the cooking, cleaning, and house maintenance is shared equally. If we even plan to have children, we have discussed the merits of my partner taking more paternity leave and me heading back to work sooner (if all goes well). The traditional gendered roles of a romantic relationship don’t apply to us, which makes me feel much more secure in our long-term potential.
- Gifts are more thoughtful. When birthdays or anniversaries come along, I may not be expecting a holiday or a diamond ring, but I’m always safe in the knowledge that whatever present I get will have been well-thought out, considerate, and will mean a lot to me. When you can’t spend lots of money on presents, you have to be more creative and thoughtful, which always results in a better, more personal gift anyway. I know my partner knows me really well, and each gift he gets me warms my heart.
- I’ve realized what really matters. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had with my boyfriend has been enjoying a bottle of wine and some strawberries on our (little) balcony on a warm summer night. My vision of the perfect relationship used to be fancy restaurants, exotic holidays and extravagant gifts, but I’ve now come to understand material things in a relationship really don’t matter. The only things that actually matter are mutual love and respect. I’ve dated men who can take me to the restaurants and on the holidays, and the experiences just aren’t the same if you’re not with someone you love. I’d rather spend each night on the balcony with my boyfriend than fly first class to paradise with someone else.
- I’m safe in the knowledge that I’ll always be supported. My boyfriend knew I earned more than him before we got together. He may have felt a little bit weird about it at first, but he never made me feel bad about it or let it affect how we interact. Since we got together, when I’m going through hard times at work, when I have to stay behind or I’m away for a while on a business trip, he’s fully supportive and understands. I know no matter where my career takes me or where our relationship goes, he’ll fully support me along the journey.
- We know we’re together because we like each other. Although I earn more, my partner doesn’t let me pay for both our shares most of the time. We go halves on almost everything. We both know that we’re with each other for the enticing conversations, the laughter, and the love. It’s never been about money or status for either of us.
- There are some little sacrifices. Due to budgetary differences, I’ve been on a few exotic holidays with my friends rather than my partner. There may have been a few times when we’ve had to make little sacrifices like where we decide to eat or what our budgets for Christmas or birthdays are, but realistically, there’s not that much we have to compromise on. Maybe in future, if we decide to have a family or move to another county, things may get tricky. However, I know that whatever happens, we can work through it together.
- It’s really nice to be able to treat him as well. I actually love being able to treat my boyfriend on special occasions. There’s so much love between us it’s nice to be able to show him how I feel. I may not always be in a position to do so, so I love doing it while I can.
- When there’s mutual love, respect, and support, it doesn’t matter. The fact that I earn more than my partner really doesn’t matter at all. I’ve always been very independent and love the fact that I can always pay for myself. My partner is very secure in his masculinity and doesn’t let it bother him. So for us, it really works. There may be changes in the future, but right now, we couldn’t be happier.