The Money Gap in Relationships: Where one partner earns more than the other

The “Money Gap” refers to the gap between the earning income between two partners.

Generally (stereotypical but true), it is the man that earns more than the woman, sometimes it’s just a little bit more (no more than $5000 – $10,000) but other times it can be triple the income.

In less common cases, the woman earns more than the man, but that raises a whole other level of problems and emotions, as we live in a society that seems to accept that men should always earn more and pay for everything (which is not something I believe in, by the way).

The problems that could ensue from one partner earning more than another, is the feeling of resentment on both sides:

Why is he earning more than me and making me pay 50%? It’s not fair if he earns triple my salary!

I wish she earned more money so we could go out and do things, and I wouldn’t have to pay for her so often or forgo activities I’d like to do, but that cost money.

I have been on both sides: the one earning less and the one earning more (or anything at all).

Neither one is fun, but I’d prefer being the one earning less than the one earning more.

As a woman is more difficult to earn more than your partner. I felt very much like a mother or a parent, not a partner. I also felt VERY resentful, moreso than if I were a man earning more money.

I don’t (and didn’t) expect anyone to pay my way, but I also didn’t expect to be the one footing so many bills. It became a strain on our relationship.

I guess it’s why I’m so adamant on 50/50.

I’ve also been in relationships where I’ve earned less than my partner, but I never felt like I was holding back anything because his expenses were the same as mine, as if we were on the same income level.

This made me wonder if it’s less a problem of income being a gapa, and more of a spending and expenses issue. It sounds like it’s the same thing, but it really isn’t.

Someone could earn a million dollars, and the other at $30,000 but if they both spend as if they only earn $30,000 there might not be any resentment or feelings of inadequacy.

What about you, readers? Either perspective would be interesting to hear about!

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.