- After getting a tech job and starting a successful coaching business, I became the breadwinner.
- At the same time, my husband took a pay cut, but we combined all of our earnings.
- My husband said he was jealous of my salary and needed to go to therapy.
This essay is part of our series Splitting the difference, which explores the financial lives of couples and is based on a conversation with Karina F. Daves. Edited for length and clarity.
I worked as a social worker high education In April 2020 when I decided to start a podcast called “One Day at a Time”. The goal was to talk to women about balancing their responsibilities and relationships.
Three years later, the podcast launched a successful relationship-coaching business. Now, in addition to owning a coaching business, producing a podcast, and being a social media influencer, I work full-time as a regional manager of employee experience for a tech company that brings in extra cash.
My payslips now show that I make four times that my husband. This has only been the case in the last few years. So adjusting to the change in our family dynamic has been difficult.
Being a baker affects our relationships
When Terrence and I met, he was working at Nissan as a master auto technician, diagnosing and repairing cars. I was working as social worker. 11 when you get married years ago, Terrance made more money than I did.
We’ve been married for about five years, I said my husband, “I feel like something big is going to come, and when it does, you’re going to have to retire from this industry that you love. It really tears your body apart. You have to prepare when the time comes. It’s with the heart, with the male ego.” I explained that I envisioned a major career break and that she would have to quit her job to care for our two young children.
A few years later, when I worked as a social worker for 10 years, I finally had the opportunity to move into technology. The company hired me within 15 minutes of the interview.
I ran out to my husband and said, “I got a job. What are you going to do? This is it. Literally, this moment.” We were both cold and he said, “I have to go.”
With both of us working full time and taking care of the kids, we couldn’t make it. At that time, I did most of the school drop-offs and pick-ups for our children.
My husband decided the only way to earn more flexible work had to take a pay cut, which was good because my new salary now covered both of our salaries.
He accepted a job in the economics department at Princeton University, which paid him half of what he made at his salaried job.
Even though I make more money, it belongs to both of us
Since we got married 11 years ago, all of our money has been pooled together and all of our financial decisions have been made together. It hasn’t changed since I earned bread.
All our money goes into one pot. We take interest and put it in savings, then we take another interest for bills. If there is more left, we call it our “fun money”. All accounts have full transparency.
We built it all together. I realized that Terrence wouldn’t be where he is without me supporting him, and I wouldn’t be where I am without him supporting me. So it’s very easy for us to align our values and say, “Yeah, put it all in one pot. It’s all ours.”
But Terrence later admitted that he was jealous of me
It hasn’t always been easy. I was in my office a few months after I got the tech job and Terrence came in and said, “I’m just coming to tell you that I need to start therapy again. There’s something about this transition that doesn’t feel right, and I don’t think I can talk to you about it.” “
A few months later, she made a breakthrough with her therapist. He realized that he was jealous of me and that his jealousy made him see us as two individuals rather than as a team.
He told me, “Up until now, we were a team, but for some reason, when you started making more money than me, I just saw you in another space and I didn’t see you as a team member anymore. I’m sorry for that. And that I was jealous of you. It’s hard to say.”
We learned that communication is key
Communication helped us a lot. We learned that yes, marriage and relationships are important, but we are still individuals with individual desires.
It means asking how we can support each other in achieving each of our dreams. Moreover, I may be the head of the household because my salary says I earn more money, but for us and our faith, it is God who is the head of our family.
No matter how much money we both make, we are still in this life together.