Say what you want, the expectations today (slowly changing of course), is that the man is usually the breadwinner.
When the woman earns more, this is not a bad thing by any means, but it starts to bring up a lot of very confusing points that were never issues before such as the man feeling emasculated for not being the primary, traditional top earner, and as a result, the woman does MORE household work in an attempt to prove that she is still the woman of the house even if she earns more.
All very confusing, f*cked up gender roles, dictated to us from young, that we are still trying to parse through.
Is the guy staying at home a bad thing? Do we then turn into the very same men who are disparaged for saying: Well I work all damn day and when I come home the house is dirty, what did she do all day!? ….but this time, saying this about the guys who are at home?
It builds resentment on both sides – the one at home, is trying to look for a job, already feels (probably) bad/stressed about it, and the one at work, is trying to pretend like it doesn’t bother them to be the only one bringing in the dough (all that PRESSURE), and yet trying to not get frustrated with what they think should get done if someone is at home all day (especially with no kids in the picture).
I can see both sides because I have played both sides. More the female breadwinner side than the other, to be honest with you.
I have had lazy AF boyfriends stay at home, doing jack squat, playing f*cking video games all day while I went to work and came home tired.
Sure, he cooked, and did household stuff but listen …. that was not worth it to me versus the pressure and stress of being the only one supporting two healthy adults.
I felt resentful. I really really felt resentful. WTF was he doing all day? Not even looking for a job, not even trying to go back to school to pay for this license he wanted to study and obtain to get a career in?
Shouldn’t the other one be working and contributing too? I felt like he was a dead end loser at the end of the relationship. Going nowhere.
Then, I met my partner right after who was the complete opposite.
Now, recently retired he is staying at home, doing MORE than he did before, because he wants to and has the time for it. He is baking more bread, taking on more of the Little Bun Care role, and doing more household laundry because I am busy. I am still on calls, I am still not around, getting our own household stuff done, and he picks up the slack.
He also doesn’t enjoy being idle, and doesn’t watch sports (except the World Cup), nor does he enjoy video games, so I think I may have lucked out on all counts there.
He still brings his half, and that is what is most important to me.
I half joke to him that if he runs out of money during his retirement, I won’t be paying for him.
(Of course, if he had a health issue or whatever, OF COURSE I WOULD PAY. You know what I mean.)
I am talking more along the lines of deciding he doesn’t want to work, being lazy, knowing he can pick up a contract and pull in a 5-figure salary in a month … these are all things I am not going to let slide just because he feels sick and tired of working for clients.
Bring your half, I told him, and we won’t have a problem. Also, I won’t live on beans and rice to meet this new lifestyle of yours.
Having been on both sides of being the breadwinner and not, I am not interested in excuses any more particularly in this case where we BOTH can make really good incomes, work for ourselves when we want, and CHOOSE to make money or not.
I mean, it is unbelievable what we can do, with our careers, and a dream for so many, so why would I cut him any slack just because of his feelings about working?
I have the same expectations for myself. I don’t want to be dependent on anyone for their money.
I don’t want to be held to their money, and to have that held over my head all the time that he makes all the money and I “just stay at home” or “bring less to the household”.
At the end of the day, say what you will, you are the only one who will take care of yourself.
People fall out of love and divorce, or unfortunate circumstances happen.
Personally, I derive great pleasure and satisfaction from being able to bring in my half, and on top of that, make bank doing so. I am able to easily pick up 6-figure salary jobs if I wanted, and choose not to, so I can be semi-retired and just work when I want and when I have to.
There is nothing better than that for me (and I daresay for most people), and it is a great source of pride to be able to say so and do so. It is a personal achievement and a career success for me.
But as a result, I have the same expectations for my partner — to work. Not to stay at home when he is able to work and bring in money.
I can support in the interim but I refuse to carry the slack forever. In certain circumstances – yes I will carry the slack forever if I have to, but not when there is no reason to and they are just being LAZY.
Maybe that’s the difference between men and women.
Men seem to be okay with carrying the financial slack if Sugar Daddy culture and basically most partnerships I come across are any indication. Actually, they even seem to take great pride in being the breadwinner and the sole provider. Makes a lot of the guys feel very needed and masculine, from what I gather.
What do you think about it all? As a man or woman – what are your thoughts on being the breadwinner?
If you’re interested in reading about more experiences, Refinery29 had a nice article from different perspectives on being a breadwinner.