I had a completely different post planned for today, but after glancing through the Elle/MSNBC Reader Survey about money I couldn’t resist this topic. (I should also use this opportunity to brag about my awesome husband, who bought me a copy of Elle, my guilty pleasure magazine to which I’ve forgotten to renew my subscription but which does a great job of putting my stress on the back burner for a few minutes.)
Anyway, back to the money survey. There are some fun bits on there — like the fact that 1 in 3 women said that they feel less pressure to have sex with the guy if they pay for their share of the date (which implies that 2 out of 3 do?) — but what caught my eye were the stats about women who make more than their partners. Here are a few:
- 1 out of 3 breadwinners resent paying for shared expenses
- 16% of breadwinners think that men should always be primary earners
- Breadwinners are more likely than other women to think that the primary earner should have more power in the relationship
- 1 in 4 female breadwinners keep strictly separate bank accounts
I’ve written here before about the fact that for as long as my husband and I have been together (until, of course, I became a struggling entrepreneur) I’ve always made more money and at times have been the primary breadwinner by a big margin. I’ve talked about the fact that while I am proud of being able to provide for our family, at times I’ve felt some resentment because of the constant pressure I felt to keep working at my demanding jobs, have less time to spend with my daughter and have no time for myself. We’ve had our share of arguments about money and jobs, just like any other couple, but I’ve never thought about having separate bank accounts or not wanting to pay for things like our mortgage or groceries. While the numbers of women who do this was relatively small in the survey, it still surprised me.
I have a friend who is the primary breadwinner in her family and we’ve talked about the stress and pressure we often feel. We love our husbands, but boy, would we sometimes love a break from our demanding careers! But besides this friend, I’ve rarely had conversations with women about this topic and I think we should be having them, since the number of women who are the primary breadwinners is increasing.
So I am very curious to hear from you about your experiences as the primary breadwinner. Do you ever feel resentment for being in that role? Do you agree with any of the stats from the survey — for example, about the power split in the relationship? Do you have separate bank accounts or pool your money with your partner?