In Discussions, Discussions, Life, Money

On being the Female Breadwinner & Bringing Home the Bacon

When I was younger, I was idealistic and full of socialist principles, to the point where it was ridiculous. Everyone and anyone had a story and there were no lazy or unfair situations, just different ones depending on the colour of your glasses.

I graduated, got a job at $65,000 a year (I negotiated that $15,000 raise by the way, a practice I would later repeat to get an additional $30,000 at another job on top of a 6-figure salary), and started basically being the only female breadwinner.

Why? How?

I had the education, I had the job, and I had a boyfriend who happened to have none of that, barely having even graduated high school. How we even met was just a freak meeting at a wedding that turned into a rosy romance….at the start anyway.

The guy I dated had a great family (I am a sucker for a good set of in-laws), and he was thoughtful, considerate, etc. He could be hardworking when he wanted, but he just seemed to be content to not want to push himself to do anything, not even get a job.

He seemed to have no sense of responsibility for his share of the bills, and it got to the point where I’d nag him to log in and tell me his credit card statement so I could clear it and not pay stupid fees (interest on the balance).

I worked like a dog at the start of my career, trying to rush and ramp up to get a handle on the whole deal, and at the back of my mind, I only had one real thought.

THIS IS NOT FAIR.

But I was an idealist, remember?

I wanted to be OKAY with someone sponging off me.

I wanted to be OKAY with being the breadwinner and PROUD of being able to cover everything.


…what I didn’t realize, was that it wasn’t balancing out anywhere else.

It’s not like we had kids and he was staying at home so I could go out and make bank, he was just sitting at home all day, playing FREAKIN’ VIDEO GAMES ON MY SALARY.

I even cleared his student loans, and set aside money for all of his schemes to become all of these new jobs that would send him out into the workforce and make money to help out.

What happened, happened.

The main lesson I learned is…

I AM NOT OKAY WITH SUPPORTING LAZY BUMS

I am okay with making more money. I am okay with paying more of my share if I make more money.

I am NOT okay when someone is staying at home, playing video games on my dime when he is perfectly capable of getting a job, 100% healthy and YOUNG.

I AM okay if they stay at home all day and do nothing, as long as they then cover their half of the bills but decide to chill out while doing so.

Even his friends and family were thinking: This is not a situation that is going to last.

And they were right. I was just too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to have realized it sooner myself, trying to be an equal and not feel like it’s total, utter #%*&#$ to have someone sit at home and you to cover their bills for their early retirement.

Yeah you heard me, he called himself “retired” to anyone who would ask him what he does, to which they would reply dumbfounded: But how did you do that? and he’d smirk and point to me saying I was his meal ticket.

All the signs were there, I was just a moron.

So my only real question at the end is mostly for the (few?) male readers of this blog:

Would you do what I did, for your partner/girlfriend/significant other knowing the situation and be okay with it?

I’m curious, truly.

It seems like men don’t have this hang-up of resentfulness of paying for someone to sit at home all day and look pretty.

What’s the deal? Am I just socialized to think that men are the providers? Or is it really just a question of fairness?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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2 Comments

  1. tomatoketchup

    Guy reader here.

    Would I do what you did and be ok with it? Hell no.

    Heeeeeeeell no.

    I discussed this with my now spouse before we got married. Each party works, and each party contributes. If she wasn’t in agreement, then I would have never gotten married. It’s not completely equal since my profession inherently pays more than her profession. That’s okay; no resentment from the income disparity. What would not be okay is if she just decided to quit working completely one day and live off of my income. Neither of us wants kids, so raising a family is irrelevant in our situation.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You know, when you’re super young, and starry-eyed an thinking that you’re a liberated female, things get all screwed up in your head.

      I know now, what I should have known then, and I plan on teaching Baby Bun to watch out for such situations of inequality in partnerships. If Baby Bun was a girl, I would do the same thing.

      Luckily, I ended up with a strong partner who is an equal.

      Reply

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