Wives Make More.. More Often

By , January 30, 2010 12:40 am

Let’s say you’ve gone a few dates with someone. The person you’re getting to know is hot, funny, uses the right fork, has nice teeth and is everything you think your looking for in a mate.

Hands drawing money from wallet

Then, after hearing about their job, their last vacation and their spotless apartment, you’re pretty sure they earn more money than you. They may not have a trust fund, but you’re pretty sure they’re worrying about money a less than you are.

Now, if you’re a guy, is this a problem? Did her level of hotness just take a nosedive after finding out she out-earns you? Is she now undateable? If you’re a woman and realize your salary is bigger than your date’s, did this romance just end? Did you lose interest?

Or does it matter anymore that a man doesn’t make as much as the woman he’s dating?

These questions are certainly presenting themselves more and more in light of the Pew Research Center Study that was released last week. In “The New Economics of Marriage: The Rise of Wives,” the folks at Pew looked at Americans between the ages of 30 and 44 in 2007 and found it’s more likely for a wife to out-earn her husband than in 1970. Back then, only 4% of married couples were ones in which the wife made more than the husband. In 2007, that number rose to 22% of married couples.

While the study is related to the increasing number of women in the workforce and the change in how the responsibilities of home and childcare are divided, the study doesn’t give insight into the financial potential we look for in a mate. The study didn’t indicate when the wife began earning more money than the husband. Was she already earning more when they met, was it when they were dating, or after they were married?

Marriage is different than dating. In a marriage, two reasonable and loving people would hopefully realize that it doesn’t matter who makes the most money. Only a cold – and idiotic – person would get a divorce just because the bigger paycheck belongs to the other spouse. What’s important is that both are happy and contributing to the family to the best of their abilities. This study shows married couples are realizing it doesn’t matter who makes more money.

But dating can be different. When someone is in a relationship, it’s an opportunity for them to see if their companion can fit into the dreams they have. Because money fuels many of our dreams – traveling, buying a house, supporting kids, buying a second house – the current salary and earning potential of a partner are things to consider.

Which brings us back to your hypothetical date with straight teeth and good manners. Does it make a difference?

To you single guys out there, is it intimidating if a date earns more money than you? How do you feel about the idea of making less than a potential wife? Are you willing to be the one who primarily takes care of your children? Must you be the financial provider for the family?

For women who are dating, are you willing to be the family’s financial provider? Is it unattractive if your date makes less than you? Can you envision yourself working long hours while your husband is home with the kids?

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