My husband has a life that many people who are “rule-followers,” like me, would envy. When I first met him, it was undeniably a passionate love affair. I’d never dated anyone or known anyone like him before. He took risks, lived all over the world, had many passions and has been a loyal friend. He’s seven years older than I am, and we met at work, where his power and seniority at the office was insanely attractive to me. The year we got married, he wanted to take a risk and go back to graduate school to find his dream job. I trusted his judgment, and between his savings, my new job, and some sacrifices, we comfortably lived while he went through two years of graduate school. My husband now has his dream job. I’m proud of everything he’s accomplished and what we were able to do together to make it happen.
Over the past four years, my career has skyrocketed in ways I never could have dreamed of. I’ve broken through the hypothetical glass ceiling in a male-dominated industry. I am a huge believer in women in the workplace and always will be. If they become the breadwinners in marriage, more power to them.
Now herein lies my problem — I became the breadwinner in an extreme way. I committed to supporting us for two years, but we’re going on four now, and it will likely be five. Our income divide is so extreme that I pay for 90 percent of our living expenses. What I’ve found is I can’t live this girl-power lifestyle that I believe in.
I’m very close to a breaking point, and I never stop thinking about leaving my husband. And no matter what other reasons I come up with, it always leads back to money, power and sexual attraction.
This sordid tale is yet further validation of my LAMPS/PSALM model. In particular we see the role of Money/Status (they are often linked) in affecting sexual attraction. The woman here was drawn to her husband because his M and S values were high, both in general and compared to hers. However, the shift in their job situations has altered the equation dramatically. Now he makes much less than her. And as a result she finds him much less sexually attractive.
I feel sorry for this guy. He bought into modern egalitarian thinking, and believed that his wife really would be ok with this change in breadwinner status. And he is probably going to lose his marriage as a result.
This brings us to the lesson…
Men: marry down, not up.
Be wary about letting your woman take your place as breadwinner. Perhaps she won’t be as bad as this woman here, but it will not be easy on her. Her nature inclines itself against this model, and you don’t want her to fight that throughout your marriage. Even if it lasts, it is a recipe for misery.
That isn’t to say it cannot be done, but I caution men all the same against it.
There is wrath and impudence and great disgrace
when a wife supports her husband.
Edit 1: This post went live before I had intended. So instead of trying to integrate additional thoughts above, I will make them here instead. This will likely involve several edits over time.
I mention above that men should marry down, not up. That is of course the first step. The second step, just as important, is to stay above her in social rank. That dream job you’ve always wanted? Well, if it lowers you in relation to her… you just might want to give it a pass. Sure she may say she is ok with it, but what her conscious and unconscious minds want can be two entirely different things.
Of course, life has a way of messing with that plan. And if you do find yourself on the down angle, you will have to adapt. Hypergamy is a trait all women share, but some seem to keep that more under control than others. If you do decide to marry in this age (a risky proposition to be sure), keep an eye out for that kind of woman. Again, it isn’t necessarily the end of the world if you find yourself outside breadwinner status. But it does mean you will need to step up the rest of your game in maintaining sexual attraction.