“Rori, This is a tough one for me because I make more than twice as much money than my boyfriend. Yes, I said boyfriend. He practically begged me to be his girlfriend about a year ago and I finally said yes. Now, he works too much and spends less time with me so I’m thinking about trying circular dating. I let him take me out on a nice date occasionally where he pays. I know it makes him feel good and I try not to feel bad about it.
The bigger issue is that I wonder how we will ever integrate our lives. I’m not sure I want to be married again. I have a young daughter so I have to consider her. I also have a nice house. He lives in a very small, not so nice apartment. My mortgage is 5 times his rent. Plus his utilities are included in his rent.
I often buy groceries and we make meals together. He buys a few from time to time but I keep my kitchen pretty well stocked so most of it comes from my pocket.
Is this okay? If we ever got married will he ever be able to feel like he can provide for me? I’m not even sure how comfortable I would feel paying most of the bills. I wouldn’t want to put his name on the house either since I would be continuing to pay for most of it. I sometimes wonder if he works so much to try and make up for it.
He doesn’t get paid for his extra hours though. He did earn a promotion but what he makes is still not worth the hours he puts in. I’m not sure how to tell him that what I need is his time, not his money. At the same time I’m not sure how things will work this way. Does anyone have any advice about the money difference? Also, if I decide I don’t want to get married again, but want to keep him committed to me, should I still circular date? I’ve tried some of the other things you suggest such as not calling him as much and this has helped him to call me more like he used to.”
Here’s my answer:
We women are surviving the economy so much better than men, and we seem to have an entrepreneurial spirit that’s really amazing.
A relationship and marriage with this man would be the way it is now. You earn the money, he provides the fun, takes care of the house, does the laundry, perhaps starts a new business for himself so he doesn’t have to put in long hours at a dead-end job.
This is doable.
It’s harder to define the masculine and feminine energies when you’re the wage-earner, but it can be done. Meryl Streep and her sculptor husband have been doing it for a very long time successfully – there are many couples where the woman is a star – think of Julia Roberts and Charlene Theron and Halle Berry – so many…. The trick is in switching hats in the “relationship.”
YOU have to decide if you want him and this kind of relationship, and then you have to sit down with him and talk about it. Just talking about it will be challenging, and the way that unfolds will give you a better idea of what kind of partnership you two can have.
Remember Miranda in “Sex and the City” – and her boyfriend-now-husband Steve, who’s a bartender?
Miranda makes likely 10 times what Steve makes. The thing is – SHE doesn’t really care! She’s happy to pay for things and even buy him things – she LIKES her success and what she gets to do with it.
The problem is – HE doesn’t like it.
Miranda’s already a primarily masculine energy woman in terms of wanting to “control” things in the relationship and keeping her emotions under wraps – though what we see is her doing a really great job of damping that down and going with the flow. Except… (this is a show, so we need drama here…) sometimes. And it all doesn’t feel right to him. He’s torn. And it looks as though the only way this could work is if they live on HIS salary – at HIS level so he doesn’t feel “less like a man.” – and that CAN’T work.
Miranda asks, “Am I being punished for my success?” And the answer is “NO.”
Of course, in the show – it all works out – because they can do this one thing really well: They can TALK to each other. And in real life, we can do that too – talk. Speak the truth. Things work when people tell the truth, and things work when we women tell the truth about our feelings.
I often talk to successful women whose “boyfriends” drive trucks and make very little money – and it works!!!
If he makes you feel like a girl all the time…it works!
So let THAT be your guide, and not the way it looks on paper.