As a Brit, the question “How much do you earn?” is considered taboo. However, in a blossoming relationship, the question will inevitably be raised. We have all heard the phrase “Behind every great man is a woman,” but with women stepping, confidently, out from behind these men in the business world, attitudes are changing in new and exciting ways. However, in modern society, men are happy to take a backseat to their female partners?
As a woman with not just a job, but a career, my wage is a privilege that has enabled strong independence. However, this same independence has been detrimental to my relationships. In my experience, I have come across stubbornness and, quite frankly, denial over my income. “No, I’m pretty sure you won’t earn more than me.” One ex-boyfriend scoffed. One ten-minute conversation later, and the outcome was a quietly seething man, sitting in the corner, arms folded, who looked as though I had personally slapped his delicate male ego. Another example: a drunken conversation with a different ex-boyfriend telling me that he wanted to “take care” of me. I assured him that he took care of me emotionally, but I could look after myself financially. Needless to say, he dumped me for a “damsel-in-distress” less than two months later.
But are these isolated incidents purely indicative of my bad taste in men? I’m hoping so! Following conversations with my male friends and colleagues, I can say that the strides we, as women, are taking in the business world are starting to affect the forward-thinking men around us positively. These men assured me they would all be happy to earn less than their partners (and some happily and proudly do). Several said they would be content to split care or simply be stay-at-home fathers. On a similar note, my female friends and colleagues would not be willing to forego opportunities in their careers to appease the male ego, but some would rightly decide for their children’s needs. These strong women have trust and faith in their partners who are supportive of their professions.
This is proof that a relationship of equals is no longer wishful thinking - we can stand alone, on our own two feet, until we find a true partner, a person who will stand next to us, not in front of us. No woman should be made to feel as though her wage or job is a disadvantage to a relationship. The male ego can overcome this. As for me, I will never stop being proud of my accomplishments and have promised myself not to compromise myself for anyone. As a society, we should be embracing the ethos of those who believe in the 50:50 relationship, and ultimately decide to choose a partner who deserves us.
Article written by Sophie Bastin and edited by Janet Escobar.