What Do You Think of Men Being Financially Supported By Women?

An article over at The Frisky sparked an interesting discussion amongst me and a few girlfriends about finances and Couple-Money2feminism. The article discussed something that has actually become somewhat common these days: the author got married and, due to financial constraints, moved her new husband into the apartment she shared with her roommate. This is not unheard of. Not only do some newly married couples do this, but divorced couples also continue to live separate lives under one roof in order to save money, along with other reasons.

I don’t need to tell anybody that finding an apartment anywhere, let along New York City, is expensive and time consuming. This task becomes even more fraught with landmines when the couple isn’t on reasonably equal ground financially. Based on the details given in the article, she was originally paying $900 for her portion of the $1800 2 bedroom, 1 living room, 1 dining room apartment in Queens. When he moved in, he was able to contribute $600, making the split amongst the three even. Now, if she could afford $900 at one point, and he could afford $600, it seems to me like they could have found a modest one bedroom apartment somewhere. So I don’t necessarily buy the story being told. But then, I’m wicked suspicious and cynical, amirite? Critical thinking and analysis is sort of verboten on ladyblogs, you see. But I digress.

Part of the reason my family found itself in the situation we’re in regarding my father’s estate is because my father believed that it was the man who should handle the money. He was old school Sicilian. As progressive as he was about encouraging us to get an education and carve a career for ourselves and ask for what we want and never shy away from possible conflict, he was exceptionally old fashioned when it came to money. So much so that he kept the details of his estate extremely well hidden from his wife and family. Part of the reason, I believe, that he didn’t write a will is because he didn’t want my step-mother or us, his children, to know exactly what he had. The other bump that came about throughout this shit show of a situation is how we never learned the importance of having our names on properties and leases. As I’ve tried to explain time and again to my sister who lives in the condo that we’re trying to sell who expects us to pay for the fees and taxes because our names are now on the title and deed, when someone has a financial interest in your life, it provides them with a uncomfortable level of input in your choices. She flips out when I ask her how much money she makes and where it’s all going. She says it’s none of my business. Not true, I remind her. If I’m paying to keep a roof over your head, I have every right to ask what you’re doing with your money. That’s how it works when you take money from someone in a situation like this. You’re handing them ownership of your life to some degree. This was why I politely refused my father’s offer to buy me a place. He’d own me to some regard, and I didn’t like the thought of that. My life and home may not be glamorous, but it’s mine. Completely.

I would be uneasy going into any situation where everything wasn’t set up equally. 3 years ago, I never gave it a second thought. But now? I would want my name on everything and I would want all bills split as evenly as possible. I could probably tolerate a 60/40 split, but anymore than that and I would – admittedly – not see my partner as an equal. And, no, cooking and housekeeping and stuff like that doesn’t count. (Raising children, however, would. That’s a career in and of itself.) For me, it comes down to money.

In any case, the conversation that arose in my talks with friends to whom I sent the article linked above was about the societal expectation put on men to be the providers. The other point raised is that when the tables are turned, and it’s the woman who is the breadwinner, certain assumptions are made about her that would never be made about men. Furthermore, the judgments probably would come from other women. Which is why I tend to believe that a lot of women who were supporting her husband might be hesitant to let on about that. Whereas with most men, it’s assumed that he’s the one bringing home all the bacon. Nobody ever looks at those situations and thinks, “Wow. He’s a sucker.” It’s expected.

Yet, if a woman where to be the one supporting her husband, you can be sure that she’d be picked apart for it. The pressure to prove to other women that we can find a man who can support us can be intense. Unfairly so, in fact. As I write this, I’m recognizing my own internalized sexist attitudes about this subject.  This is one of those areas that a lot of women need to re-evaluate in order to further the greater cause. Myself included. I will freely admit that I would be one of those women side-eyeing the situation. But then, I also furrow my brow at a marriage where the man marries a woman who has little to no earning potential or career path. To me, the idea of marrying or somehow attaching yourself to somebody with an unstable financial situation or history is insane.

Those concerns stem from the disparity in my father and step-mother’s relationships with money. She could do what she did (disinherit my sisters and I and give all of my father’s estate to her sons)  because she didn’t earn it. She didn’t understand the history of it or where it came from, and didn’t appreciate that much of it was amassed by immigrants with barely a grammar school education who came to this country and built two successful businesses. (Breathe.) She also didn’t care that my father never let her in on their finances. (Hah. Their finances. Oh, that’s so cute. Eyeroll.) She didn’t mind being kept to some degree. And she thought nothing of stabbing him in the back the minute his back was turned. (Breeeeeeaaaathe.) All because she never had anything to do with how that money was saved and earned.

Any way, the topic I’m hoping to discuss here is how people really feel about the idea of a woman supporting a man. Women: would you do it? More importantly, would you admit it?

Now that I think of it, I think that while most men wouldn’t judge the woman for supporting the man, many men would cast aspersions on the man for letting her do so. So much of what is hammered into men and women’s heads about masculinity is derived from a man’s ability to earn a living and support his family. So, dear male readers, what opinions would you have of a man who was being financially carried by a woman?

Thoughts?

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61 Responses to “What Do You Think of Men Being Financially Supported By Women?”

  1. The Alpha Persona Says:

    I used to make more money than my wife. A lot more. Then I made the same amount of money as her. Then I made no money and she supported us while I tried to start a business.

    Now, self employed, some months she brings home the bacon and other months I do. Depends on business that month, you know?

    At first, during that period where she supported us, I felt really bad. I felt like less of a man. I hated that she was stressing at work, and I really hated being a “houseband”.

    But there also has to be a good deal of understanding, you know? I don’t think it really matters which spouse makes the most, as long as you take care of each other in the ways that the other person needs.

    Now I work from home and make a good deal of money most of the time, and I’m trying to get to the point where she won’t have to work at all.

    I guess it used to be a big deal to me because I felt it somehow negatively reflected on me as a man, but you come to learn that as long as both people understand the situation and are okay with it, there is nothing really to feel bad about. Some men want to be ‘housebands’, some women want to be housewives. Sometimes both parties want careers.

    Just preference, I think.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

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    • Eliza Says:

      Hey–that’s what a “support system” does–they have your back. If I were married – and we both contributed – 100% max the each of us can–based on our industries/capabilities…and something unforeseen occurs–it’s only fair that one person may have to do a lot more to compensate and make ends meet…whether it be the man or woman. However, I would NEVER ever get involved with a lazy man that has no ambition – looking to ride off of my financial assets. It’s equal 50/50 in the relationship – financially, and in every other way. I feel that today–with women so independent and career-driven and financial savvy – less established, career-oriented women are looking to be “kept” by ANY man.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        Exactly! What The Alpha Person is describing sounds to me like the way a strong marriage should be!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

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    • Bree Says:

      AlphaPersona says “…I’m trying to get to the point where she won’t have to work at all.”

      Given everything else you said about being fine with women supporting men, why do you feel the need to make enough so she won’t have to work? We all know “an idle wife” is considered a sign of male success. So even if men *say* there’s nothing wrong with women earning more than their husbands, it’s actually not something they’d want for themselves. Does it still have something to do with that? Just wondering.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

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  2. fuzzilla Says:

    I touched on this in a recent comment, saying that I wouldn’t mind being the more successful one provided my partner pulled off the stereotypical “wife” roles, and pulled them off well (keeping a peaceful home, just the most amazing companion that I couldn’t picture myself without). In that scenario, I was picturing myself making more money, not a partner that didn’t work at all.

    If I made great money and we wanted to have kids – sure, it makes sense for the higher earner to work while the other stays home with the kids. I don’t think that’s in the cards, though, so – no, I wouldn’t be okay supporting someone 100% (nor would I be okay with someone supporting me 100%, I’d feel trapped. I mean, even if the relationship was great, he could die suddenly).

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

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  3. D. Says:

    I think it’s less of an issue these days, given the rough economic climate and the fact that many men find themselves either out of work or making less money than they used to.

    Basically, I figure there are times in any couple’s relationship where one person is making more than the other, and the goal is to just contribute your share. As long as neither of you is pissing money away without a thought to the other person, it’s not as big a deal.

    That said, societal expectations die hard, and I can see where a man would feel emasculated if he didn’t bring home as much as his wife AND he had the expectation that he would or belief that he should. I’d ask two questions, though:

    1. Why “ought” he be bringing in more?

    2. Who gives a shit, as long as the bills get paid and everyone’s comfortable and otherwise happy?

    Where it’d seem to be more of an issue within the couple is when one party is perceived as “taking advantage” of the situation, or not contributing their fair share in whatever form.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

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  4. Speed Says:

    I guess I’m pretty old school, because I could never be a house husband or rely on the financial support of a woman. Call it genetic, call it social conditioning, whatever. I couldn’t do it.

    About 95% of my close friends are old school like me: man works, wife stays home, raises kids. However, I do have two friends that are awesome (and I mean awesome) househusbands. Another friend works, but his wife makes far more than him, so she pays for the bulk of their lifestyle. Our company also has one client where the founder and CEO is a woman. I’m not sure what her husband does. Maybe he’s also a CEO or highly-paid professional. Maybe he’s an ordinary Joe or househusband and she’s carrying the family financially.

    You don’t have to be some fiery radical or fist-pumping feminsta to see that as the West continues to evolve socially, we’ll see an expanding variety of marriages/living arrangements. Sometimes, it’ll be traditional, husband works, woman is housewife. But sometimes it’ll be woman works, man is househusband. Sometimes it’ll be a rough parity.

    I think any of these arrangements can work, as long as everything is very clearly spelled out and formalized and the couple is cool with it. This especially holds true for finances: the current and projected incomes of the couple, credit scores, the monthly budget, joint or individual asset ownership, liabilities, spending habits and so on.

    I’m not saying anything original when I mention that too many Western couples seem to dreamily think “love” will conquer all money problems. It doesn’t. If you’re going to shack up or marry, money has to be spoken about clearly and frankly early on, down to the dollars and cents. It may sound “unromantic,” but it should be done. If someone claims they are “too uncomfortable” to talk about money or “wants to keep their finances confidential,” it’s probably not a good idea to marry them. Date, okay. But not marry.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

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  5. Ishtar Says:

    I have known many couples from my ethnic background/country of origin in various kinds of arrangements. Though I don’t know any true househusbands I do know couples where the wife outearns the husband, and is mostly supporting him through his PhD.

    Even in more traditional couples such as my parents (mother is an SAHM, father a highly-educated professional) it’s not necessarily so that the finances are the man’s job. In my parents’ case, they take care of the finances together, in fact my mother probably more than my father. My father is also from a traditional background such as yours but a younger generation, so he always puts the greatest importance in financially educating my sister and I. In fact, hearing all this ‘man’s job’ business from American men confuses me as my father never spoke that way in spite of his culture being very patriarchal.

    I don’t know whether I could deal with a househusband myself. Perhaps it’s because I value my independence so much that I couldn’t deal with another person being financially dependent on me. In the same vein I would not want to be in the dependent role either, at all.

    The writer of that Frisky piece sounds quite unpleasant and self-absorbed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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  6. Gabi Says:

    I think it’s OK if the man is doing something that will generate less income for a period of time due to the fact that he’s investing in something larger (e.g. a professional degree, starting a business, etc) then it’s OK, to a certain extent. Supporting your husband while he’s in med school, law school, or something with a positive ROI is very different than marrying a guy who chose to be a librarian or non-profit administrator, all while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

    I think financial disparities will always exist and money is just one thing we bring to the table in a relationship. I would expect that the lesser-earning partner make up for it by offering other resources to the relationship that aren’t money.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

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  7. BTownGirl Says:

    Moxie, this really hit home for me and I really, really feel for you for having to deal with the level of bullsh*t that you’ve had to put up with. My father is also Old School Sicilian and his grandfather and grandmother came to America speaking basically zilch English. My great-grandmother convinced her husband to buy some apartment rentals (you can imagine how scary it was for recent immigrants to go for that kind of investment!) that provided a stable life for everyone and, when my grandfather and his siblings inherited, they turned it into something amazing. The only problem? Oh yes, this sibling trying to backstab this sibling and this one not speaking to this one for years on end. Lovely. Eventually, they got their sh*t together, but I have no idea how they ran everything for so long with the level of resentment and general childish malarkey.

    My family, especially my father, tends to occasionally go into a blind panic because I’m not married and, SWEET JESUS, that’s a potential lifetime of managing my own affairs. Granted, in my early-20’s I was ridiculous with money and frankly didn’t learn much because either my father or grandfather would pay for whatever mistake I made. Luckily, I realized that I didn’t want to wind up being 40 and having my father reading my credit card statements because I had no sense to speak of. Whenever he starts now, my mother takes the opportunity to remind him that we wouldn’t have half as much if his grandmother hadn’t had been such a shrewd businesswoman. That being said, if I married someone that couldn’t support themselves and we were living off my trust because of that? Oh hell no. They would be furious and they would be right. They’d feel the same way if my brother married a woman with no money skills or career prospects. Freeloaders wouldn’t make it far, is what I’m sayin’.

    As for the situation over at The Frisky – I read that article and read the author’s responses to your comments. You know what they say about those who protest too much, am I right? She also couldn’t wrap her head around the idea that her friend was, in fact, doing her one hell of a favor and it wasn’t the friend’s fault that she married someone in his situation. Can you imagine doing a favor like that for someone and them saying “thank you!” by calling you “grating” and eating dinner in their room with the door shut? Bless her heart and her “I’m married, who cares about a decades-long friendship?!” attitude. I wish her the best with that should she have a child and has no friends left to sit with the baby for an hour so she can go to the grocery store in peace. These people, I tell you, they never think it through!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

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    • Gabi Says:

      I also love how no one in the comments made mention of the fact that it was a green card marriage and they dated for 3 months prior to getting engaged!!! Like, hello!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        Seriously. My other personal favorite is the fact that the husband apparently has all female friends, if I remember correctly. Everything about this situation sounds aces!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        Also, I have no idea if this is the same Sasha, but here’s an article the author wrote back in 2009. *AHEM*

        http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/personal/09/28/tf.friends.with.pretty.women/index.html?iref=24hours

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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        • ATWYSingle Says:

          It’s not the same Sasha. The Sasha from the article we’re discussing is one she’s had since grade school, according to the post. Strange that she could voice her opinions to these glamazons but couldn’t speak up to the friend she’d known since grade school. Also strange that she seems to continuously encounters situations where she’s at odds with other women, and that she always blames them. She’s never at fault. All of these women magically create reasons not to like her.

          And big LOL to her assertion that these beautiful women were always taken down by her logic and reasoning.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

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          • BTownGirl Says:

            Ahhhhh, thank you for clearing that up Moxie! I wanted to be like, “Ummm, you’ve resented her since 2009 or nah?” Thanks to her, I now know that if I ever have a conflict with a super-good looking woman, she will crumble in the face of logic. At the very least, she’s assured us that she’s, “… not incapable of being friends with women.” Okay, sis.

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          • Gabi Says:

            God, it’s like, rather than Sasha just be an asshole narcissist, it’s because she’s pretty. There are plenty of average looking women who are also asshole narcissists, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

            This whole thing is designed to make a broad sweeping judgment about attractiveness and character — correlation does not imply causation. She sets herself up to befriend and have relationships with attractive, personality disordered women so she can feel ‘superior’ to them instead of examining herself and why she seems to content to form relationships with these types.

            To that, instead of looking at her own self esteem deficits and things she should improve within herself, she seeks to outsource the psychological heavy lifting on the readers of her post, by writing long, confessional tomes where she’s the victim of some force outside of herself. Sasha modeled, Sasha is pretty, Sasha is an asshole, therefore I’m better than she is. I don’t need to be pretty or be a decent person or have any degree of introspection, ergo, this post on The Frisky.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

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            • BTownGirl Says:

              As Moxie said above, she can never, ever, ev-ah take any responsibility when she has conflict with other women. It’s always them, and in this case, it’s because they’re pretty. She and her Words Of Steel are still better than them though! (I can’t. I just can’t.)

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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            • ATWYSingle Says:

              I think Jessica’s roommate ended up bearing the brunt of Jessica’s frustration with her husband’s inability to pull his weight financially. If she had trouble communicating tiny things like kitchen responsibilities to one of her close friends then I don’t imagine she’s all that comfortable voicing her concerns to her husband about her husband’s decisions. I think Jessica is sucking an awful lot up in the hopes things with her relationship will improve. She’s invested so much into that marriage – literally and figuratively – that I think she’s afraid to lose him and so she stays quiet.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

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              • BTownGirl Says:

                Agreed! I thought it was so weird that she couldn’t just talk to her friend! I’m a neatnik perfectionist and I have no problem telling my friends, “Hey, use a f*cking coaster!”. Who’s going to get offended by that sort of thing? I can’t see her telling her husband, “Hey, get a f*cking job! Any job!” Either. The other thing that strikes me as sad about Jessica’s sitauation is that if she’s ever unhappy and wants out, she’s probably going to be hesitant to do it after everything she’s said

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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      • ATWYSingle Says:

        Oh, Gabi. You know me better than that. I did bring it up. She seems to think that there’s a huge difference between dating that guy 2 months, which was what I originally thought, and 3 and a half months. I’m being generous there. If you read the article she linked to in the post we’re discussing, she’s noticeably vague about the timeline. But if you bring it up you’re some obsessed weirdo.

        If he was solvent enough to contribute $600 to rent, and she could afford $900 at one point, then they could have found another place to live on their own. Which is why I think she’s not being totally honest about what he was able to pay.

        She keeps referring to his savings that allowed him to come here, but I find it hard to believe he had amassed a savings large enough to let him stay here for 2 years without working much. My personal opinion is that she’s supporting him still, but doesn’t want to admit that for the same reason she’s sketchy about how long they dated before getting engaged: she doesn’t want people to think she’s desperate.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

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        • BTownGirl Says:

          Ironically enough, the more she’s all “ERMAGAHD, you’re obsessed with my marriage!”, the more desperate she sounds. She doesn’t own any of it and gets all George Costanza about the details, which makes it seem even more suspect.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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        • Gabi Says:

          I wasn’t saying YOU, of course not; I was referring to Jessica. OMG, I DO know you better than that!

          It was more of the “Do you, Jessica, really not expect us to call bollocks on the green card relationship you got going on?” If anything, the earlier I AM SMARTER THAN PRETTY GIRLS AND THEY CRUMBLE TO MY LOGIC post perfectly ties in with self esteem issues which would allow her to be a guy’s government ID meal ticket.

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  8. Kyra Says:

    I did it for a while and while I liked the guy, I felt very much like a sugar-mama. He didn’t drive, so I drove to all our dates, he had a job but was a student, so money was tight.

    If I hadn’t been driving everywhere I think I could’ve handled paying for everything because I enjoyed our time together. But by the end I did feel very taken advantage of and like we really didn’t have a future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      I really thought hard about the “it’s okay if I make more if he brings ‘good wife’ skills to the table,” because that was kinda the situation I had with the last BF (before the current one). Or that would’ve been the case if it turned into a long-term relationship. Earning more *and* being “the good wife” just by virtue of being the female half = resentment city. (And actually I *didn’t* earn more, but knock on wood I will when school’s over. I’m actively taking steps to earn more).

      It’s one thing to have your partner’s back if they’re temporarily out of work or sick or whatever, but if you can never picture yourself having the life you want with someone…eh.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

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      • Kyra Says:

        It took a while for me to realize how much I don’t like others being dependent on me.

        I love to help, but you have got to be able to support yourself the majority of the time. Exactly as you said, if it’s temporary of course I’ll be there every step of the way. But I want someone who has their own life outside of me.

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    • Gabi Says:

      Now, if he were also shorter than you it would be pretty damn hard not to feel like an actual mommy as well.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

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      • Kyra Says:

        …Lol, he was! Oh man, there is a reason we didn’t even last a month.

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        • NASHWC Says:

          Who wants a ‘vertically challenged’ guy (regardless of character), right? .. just keep that thought in mind the next time you read about a guy who ditched a girl because she was ‘horizontally challenged’ :)

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

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          • Gabi Says:

            I don’t give a shit about height. Just don’t be short, unemployed and unable to drive. That’s the baby-and-mama trifecta. Just, no.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

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            • NASHWC Says:

              Riiight .. don’t believe that for a moment. Neither would any other man under, say about 6′

              Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

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              • Gabi Says:

                Fuck off. The chip you have on your shoulder is so unattractive. At the risk of qualifying myself here, I’ve dated a guy who was 4 inches shorter than me for 3 years. My current dude is my height. Get over it, permavictim.

                Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

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                • NASHWC Says:

                  [yawn] .. Jezebel much? Projecting your personal issues and shortcomings onto others doesn’t advance the conversation. However, admitting that you don’t like to be challenged on an obvious falsehood might help with your recovery. In the meantime, I’ll just continue to point out the unrepentant hypocrisy of women’s disdain for shorter guys (I’m 6’2″ BTW) who can do nothing for their condition while at the same time attempting to shame guys for avoiding fat girls who CAN do something about their issue. On a side note, it will be interesting to see how Moxie handles (particularly female) commentators who auto-revert to high school level name-calling when they run out of cogent responses (usually by round 2).

                  Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

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                  • Gabi Says:

                    Oh god, you need to get laid. Hopefully you can find a woman who appreciates your height in light of your woe-is-me personality.

                    No one brought up anything about fat girls. You like who you like and who you are attracted to. I am tired of guys like you calling bullshit on women who say that height isn’t an issue for them. Like, if women are being shamed for saying they prefer tall men and also being shamed for apparently lying when they say they don’t care about height — HOW CAN THEY WIN?

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            • Kyra Says:

              Exactly. The height wasn’t the problem; I wouldn’t have begun dating him if the height was the issue,

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

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      • fuzzilla Says:

        Seriously. I don’t mind doing “traditionally female” things like cooking or cleaning or whatever, but I very much mind doing *all* the work (including emotional/communication). It’s like – you want me to wipe your ass for you, too?

        A relationship is supposed to be a partnership, or else how is it a good deal for you? Might as well just have a boy toy who doesn’t infringe on the rest of your life, in that case.

        Current boyfriend works very hard and takes me out, so I’m more than happy to cook for him or run errands or even straighten up at his place a bit.

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        • Kyra Says:

          Current bf is non-existant, so that may be why I’m feeling so uninterested in having someone be dependent on me.

          I’m very used to taking care of myself and not having anyone in the picture; albeit that’s not very fair to any gentleman I end up dating.

          Glad to hear you’re happy with your guy! :)

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          • fuzzilla Says:

            I feel ya on that, I really do. Hard to get motivated to look when it’s hard to picture relationships being a good deal for you.

            I got a bug up my ass last summer and put a lot of effort into OKCupid. Didn’t expect to find more than an FWB (and was honestly fine with that), but I got lucky and found him.

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  9. Julie Says:

    I always thought the problem with the role reversal was the guy feeling immasculated rather than the woman being poorly judged.

    I’ve known plenty of women who earned several times their husbands income but they werent supporting the men per se. The guys had decent jobs, the women were just more accomplished.

    I have a similar opinion of women who support a house husband in cases where there are no young children at home as I do about men who support their wives. The bread winner is fine but the person sitting on their lazy arse at home has no ambition and is something of a leech.

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    • NASHWC Says:

      I’ve read from a few studies that were done on this (Washington University, a Spanish demographer by the name of Albert Esteve, and a few others). The underlying implications were many and somewhat varied but all agreed on two consistent observations: 1) a feeling of ‘emasculation’ by the man, and 2) a feeling of ‘loss of respect’ by the woman (this just makes sense, doesn’t it??). And all of the studies showed that these types of relationships experience consistently higher divorce rates and/or higher rates of infidelity. And for those marriages that did survive, lower rates of satisfaction by both parties.

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      • Speedy Says:

        While that is true, there are compelling reasons to think we have to start to see things differently. This is as much an economic issue. Look at Japan, a nation that has a deflating economy (for 20+ years now) and is collapsing demographically. Traditional values are still manifest but the economy has moved on from a ‘company man’ provider model, those things don’t exist. The result is you’ve got women who can’t get married (marriage tends to end your career) and men who can’t afford to get married, and everyone is surprised they are basically going to die out at this rate.

        So something has to give socially and actually, it has to give personally. Conditions of equality mean that if a woman really needs a guy who earns less than her, she can go on and halve again her pool of possible suitors. Sooner or later you’re going to end up walking off the field altogether.

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        • Julie Says:

          I can’t speak to the Japanese culture or economy, but the US economy isnt so soft. I thought we were talking about a woman supporting a man not out-earning a man. Where I’ve seen friction and resentment is when a woman feels like she has to support a man while he chases some foofoo dream and brings in virtually no money for years such as an accomplished computer engineer supporting a struggling musician and bike messenger. I’ve known men to resent their wives under similar circumstances.

          If the economy becomes so bad that it can only sustain employment for one out of every two people then I suspect relationship dynamics might change.

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  10. Gabi Says:

    What about a guy who is rich (family money) but just lazy, unmotivated and unemployed? To me, it’s not so much about money but ambition/responsibility/maturity. If dude pays for everything from his large trust fund, but only had one job that he quit after a year (work is boring, lol!) wouldn’t you feel bummed and resentful, too, if you had to work and wake up in the morning but dude sleeps till 2 and plays xBox all day?

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  11. NASHWC Says:

    Since femininity is no longer defined by the role of housekeeping, child-rearing and emotional support of their husbands (thank you third-wave Feminism), masculinity can no longer be derived from the ability to earn a living and support a family. Works both ways. If you believe Feminism is about ‘equal rights’ (hint: it’s not), you must agree. It’s interesting that almost NO ONE seems to ask what would happen if a large swath of men decided to simply stop fulfilling their traditional roles and instead ‘compete’ with women in their traditional roles. Of course we all know .. women would be very upset and demand that men stop doing such foolish things. No such outcry seen from men, though .. However, men have begun doing just such ‘foolish things’ (and the numbers keep growing). Not that men are suddenly becoming master housekeepers, they’re simply making the rational (cost/benefit analysis) choice and ‘checking out’ of the system (a significant contributor to the current condition so many women complain about: “Where are all the good men?”). Until then, men are still waiting for all you ‘career’ women to come “back home”. :)

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    • Bree Says:

      “Compete” for who gets to do daily life chores that we all have to do anyway, lol. And where did you get the idea that men are not having any problems whatsoever with women entering traditionally male-dominated fields???

      Instead of crying “UNFAIR” about women who want to be supported financially but not give the man any control over her life, a “nice guy” might try dating more educated, independent women who don’t *want* to be financially supported by a man. Of course the problem with that is men don’t get to have any control or feeling of superiority over such women, like they get from keeping traditional women dependent on them (hence, a Third World mail order bride industry thrives).

      “All the good men” seem to want a kept woman to feel in charge of, they just don’t want to pay the actual price of that. Not to mention those “good men” who want their wives to earn a lot of money but still defer to the man as the leader in the relationship.

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      • fuzzilla Says:

        Yeah, if a man wants a woman who’s financially independent, then he needs to respect her career, take it seriously, and factor it into his own decision making (seeing as they’re in a partnership). If he wants a woman who’s just gonna drop everything for him, he can’t turn around and bitch about how financially dependent she is on him. This is what you said you wanted, dude.

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      • NASHWC Says:

        LOL .. your use of the phrase “Third World mail order bride” speaks volumes about your shallow thought processes and your adherence to dated and worn-out expressions; the rest of your comment being mostly straw man arguments. News flash: there’s no such ‘mail order bride industry’ .. but there IS a ‘mail order hook-up industry’ (it’s called OKC, Tinder and Match, among others). What I suspect you really mean is “those damned sweet and feminine women from over there” and no doubt this idea keeps the now-manly ‘independent’ Western women up at night. :)

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    • Gabi Says:

      There’s a lot more to femininity than staying at home and caring for kids. Why are those the examples you choose? Are you trying to say that women who work and earn money outside of the home are not feminine?

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  12. bbdawg Says:

    I once saw a profile of a man on OkCupid who said he was a “stay at home dad”. Repulsively unattractive from a dating perspective. Equal treatment? Sure. Sexual appeal? None. On a very instinctual level, a man’s standing in the world is a big part of his sexual attractiveness to many women. It is what it is. Make it what you will.

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  13. Steve from the City Next Door Says:

    For me it is going to depend a lot on the situation. Here is what I have seen:
    “loser” guy who stays home, plays video games, maybe has some lame part time job or “is in the band” – I generally think less of them as person but oddly it does not detract on my view of them as a man
    Just starting out: girl gets better job than guy – no big deal, them are the breaks
    guy is teacher: No specific problem, but most the guys I have know who are teachers have been a bit different in their individual ways and that might affect my view of them
    second marriage: I am thinking of specific couple…he was kind of a boy toy, he was about 40 she was late 50s, I originally heard that he owned a construction company so I figured he was bringing in bucks close to hers…but later I found it was co-op of 4 guys that worked together – still made some money like 60k…I didn’t like him and something about him always bothered me….but I never viewed him as a lessor man.
    Guy injured in car accident and could no longer do much: Here just the lack of ability to do seemed to suck the manhood out of the guy – not that he was feminine…I guess it was more like he was childlike because some much had to be done for him.
    house husband work from home: Seemed more like a single parent and was after the divorce. Made a reasonable income from home business. One of the more masculine guys in my mind.

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    • Speedy Says:

      This view of teachers is very American and because the US doesn’t value education. I’m not saying you are wrong exactly, its more if you were, say, Finnish, you’d be talking about the guy who had to a be a lawyer because he couldn’t make it into teaching.

      Given its going to be far easier to teach in Helskinki with the resources they deploy than anywhere in the US (and Finnish children are the most educated in the world in all the international comparisons so it does work), what this does show is how much bottom line, dollars and cents logic applies here.

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      • Ishtar Says:

        Yeah, I’m confused by the derision I sometimes sense towards teachers here and on other US sites. I’m not Finnish but from Northern Europe and teaching is a perfectly respectable job here, and actually very desirable to young graduates because the starting salary is comparatively high. I know a lot of male secondary school teachers and they love their jobs, guys who teach are very attractive to me because they tend to be nurturing and they really value education. Plus, teaching is a very stable job.

        I would definitely not slag off teachers – especially because most of them have Master’s degrees.

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  14. Damien Says:

    Men being supported by women is a very small subset to rant about.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve met “financially successful” women that have no lives outside of work. They’re absorbed in their career, leaving no time for a relationship, despite their delusion that they are seeking a partner-in-crime.

    Or for whatever reason in their background, they lack basic life skills other than being self-absorbed in what they perceive to be a “secure” professional job. For example, their cooking skills comprise one recipe or they can’t cook anything other than with a microwave oven. They can’t even change a vacuum cleaner bag, or fix anything in their home. I do well for myself, financially, but when I’ve dated these women, I feel like I’m nothing more than a personal chef and handy man with a penis.

    And let’s not forget that there are plenty of women out there, regardless of financial situation, that expect the man to pay for everything or the lion’s share of everything.

    I’ve also dated my share of women who come from families where the dad was the predominant breadwinner. All of these women have daddy issues. They see their dad as the impossible measure against which they seek to find a mate (as if only women had problems dating guys still stuck on mom). Or they expect their spouse to make all the money, just like their dad. Or they are so intent on finding a husband that they can’t get their life together and we read about one relationship mess after another on The Frisky and other sites like that.

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    • bbdawg Says:

      In other words, women can’t win…

      I hear the comments about women being “women”… I have come to accept that I am in many ways an “old fashioned” woman, partly because I was raised in an latin culture where these things (especially cooking and sex) are prized and it’s ingrained in women from an early age that we have to deliver on these fronts in order to “keep a man” and keep a family together.

      Fancy education has not erased my evident pleasure in this, however, the more comfortable I become in the old-fashioned model, the more I ask that a man be like an “old fashioned” man. I don’t do “buddy” dating (let’s “hangout”/chill types), I don’t like men who aren’t masculine (i.e. neurotic/can’t make a decision or are unresolved professionally) and like 99% of women I prefer a man who makes more money than me, or the equation doesn’t really work.

      If men want to find very quote-unquote attractive feminine women who can really cook and nurture, are into sex, are “nice” and all that, they just have to pop into the “alpha male” protector/provider category where they will easily attract that.

      Men who don’t meet the alpha criteria can’t really complain if they don’t find women who are more at ease in the “feminine” element. The problem is that men are no longer the primary breadwinners and as such, they can’t quite make claims for the direction of relationships, as in the comment above, the women who have more money may not have the men they want, but they do have more power as far as decision-making in concerned.

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      • Ishtar Says:

        Don’t forget that these women’s jobs are so demanding of them as well. I’m sure they’d love to work less given the choice.

        On the flipside I once went on a date with a lawyer. Never again. He was completely overworked and exhausted and was constantly checking his phone for messages from work.

        I don’t see personally how such men are more desirable or responsible compared to a teacher or IT-guy or academic or engineer.

        On the topic of femininity, it is interpreted differently in different cultures. From what you say your upbringing placed heavy importance on sexually pleasing your man. Not so in my (Asian) culture. We had to walk the tightrope between coyness and sensuality but chasteness was certainly prized as much as education. Not looking men in the eyes, not laughing too loud, sitting ‘like a lady’, don’t be assertive…it was exhausting.

        I won’t ever date a man who bangs on about ‘real, feminine women’ or some such nonsense. I’ve had enough of that growing up.

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  15. Ben Iyyar Says:

    I know this is not the same situation as described,but much like ATWTS’s father, my wife’s parents hid their fairly immense wealth, and until they died and left my wife a really huge financial inheritance, we had no idea. Until then, my wife and I had been struggling financially with raising four growing boys, but since then our financial problems have been over. Indeed, my wife has basically been supporting us, and I have no problem with it. I may have lost some “control” over our money, but we always took each other into consideration before making money decisions anyway, so now we just have more to work with.

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  16. Speedy Says:

    This is an interesting modern issue that is still unresolved but that is because we are at a transitional time, the consequences of feminism are still taking effect (many dating ishoos in general are the same transitional wobbles, the ripples in the pond take time to spread and we get stuck in contradictory positions where we believe two ideas at the same time). My strong feeling is that we can be fairly sure it won’t be a problem in the future and people will wonder why we were ever bothered about it.

    What seems to be really going on is confusing a test of ‘fitness’ (i.e., can support himself) with the actuality which matters less and is more of a pragmatic thing. Can, ought, should and actually what happens are different things here. You’ll notice the marginal cases, where the supported person has a high status calling but no cash, that isn’t commented on. Publishing is so bad at the moment that award winning serious writers could do better pumping gas for example, its not a coincidence that they tend to be married to successful women and nobody says anything about that (indeed, that say an accountant or a HR consultant bagged a creative alpha-male is the disparity discussed).

    But its definitely a thing. In the UK, there is a website called Mumsnet which is a big deal to the point that politicians have to go and speak to them, kind of like how US politicians sooner or later have to do the rounds of various interest groups there. They are strongly feminist in outlook, very concerned about the costs of childcare and…. non-breadwinning males are usually referred to as “cocklodgers”. But what is really amazing about this, and its discussed a lot, is that if they are going to support a househusband, their demands that need to be met for this to be acceptable are far more extreme than those imposed on a 1950s housewife. They see absolutely no contradiction in this because the reasoning is different even though the effect is the same – Betty Draper was expected to do that, the househusband is merely offering a financial proposition in the domestic labour/cleaning/catering service industries and it better be a convincing one.

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  17. AnnieNonymous Says:

    To be honest, I think it’s problematic when either person in a partnership (I’m limiting this to hetero relationships between men and women for the sake of this particular topic) isn’t making any money. When a man marries a woman who isn’t majorly employed, it’s usually because he intends to eventually impregnate her and have her stay home with the kids. When a woman marries a man with no money, it’s because she used her money as a draw to pull in the guy in the first place. She knows what she’s doing.

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  18. Noquay Says:

    I out earn most men in the region by a factor of 5, worked very hard to educate myself so I could escape childhood poverty, not repeat the cycle of learned helplessness/hopelessness that ran rampant in my family. I am glad Moxie, that you pisted this, as this very issue has been the bane of my dating existence here not just for me, but most women here. These are the issues I have run up against trying to date lesser-earning men in this region.
    There is a huge difference in being low income by choice, not wanting to self-improve vs being born into poverty or loosing ones income due to lay offs, restructuring, disability, etc. The latter tend to do whatever is necessary to improve their lot, the former, not so much.
    Those lower income by choice have a very, very, different set of core values than a highly ambitious professional. Some of this is local culture, some a huge difference in education levels.
    My spending habits were constantly criticised by these dudes who themselves have to count every penny though I could well afford my spending.
    Huge difference in social norms: unfortunately, some folk who are lower income don’t usually operate in many social environments, an ex would blurt comments publicly about things that should’ve been kept quiet simply because he didn’t understand this wasn’t OK. A good friend was fired because her “married down” husband very publicly lost his temper at the President of the institution.
    Interestingly, often the poorer one is, the greater desire to have the “trappings” of middle class life whereas higher end folk reject a lot of that stuff. I grow a lot of my own food, have a
    passive solar home not heated by fossil fuels, have no
    kitchen appliances save a stove, dry my clothing on rack
    rather than use a drier, have no lawn, no recreational
    vehicles, walk to work, carpool extensively, buy used clothing, cook from scratch, and havent had TV since ’84, preferring to be outdoors or read. Who is driving gas guzzlers rather than walking, owns multiple TVs, eats processed foods, spends money on weed and cigarettes, and criticized my relative lack of materialism? Lower income guys.
    Moxie is right, child rearing is a full time, exhausting 24/7 job where it would be difficult to do much else. You are teaching values as well as right/ wrong when in the parental role. Those marriages where the house husband raises the kids do well while the kids are young; as they get older, not so much if there was a huge difference in socioeconomic levels between the spouses simply because theres little common ground between them. This will be a continuing issue as the economy shrinks and more and more women outearn men. Gonna get interesting.
    l

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