Confession: I watch Desperate Housewives.
Confession two: I am ridiculously sad that Tom and Lynette have split up.
They’ve always been my favourite couple. She, the Type-A superwoman; he, the easy-going complement. T and I always agreed he was the best husband on the street.
To me, there’s one big lesson to be learned from their demise.
Imbalance can be deathly to a relationship.
If you are a driven person, it will be very hard to take the back seat to your partner’s career.
Lynette was a career woman to the core – as evidenced by her inability to defer to Tom even after encouraging him to pursue a big career move that saw his star really rise.
She supported, pushed him even, into accepting a high-powered job. He wasn’t keen, but eventually embraced his new position. And Lynette found that difficult to accept – being relegated to spa sessions with the other wives on an executive retreat, refusing to treat Tom like an actual client when he hired her to redecorate his office, and so on. She wanted it both ways – she wanted him to succeed, but not to play the role of supporting spouse – and refused to accept that the dynamic was irrevocably altered.
All of that made worse by the fact that they both work(ed) in the same field, and that Lynette brought the entire situation on herself. Sometimes the things you think you want don’t make you happy, after all.
Worst of all, it seemed she’d lost her own financial stability – surely having Tom stop by the house to drop off a cheque would have to qualify as a serious lifetime low.
I’m not saying that who makes the most holds all the cards. But I am aware that if you’re in a partnership where one party ultimately calls the shots, and the other suddenly becomes a power player professionally, that’s probably going to seep over into the personal realm.
I’m thankful that T does not work in the same industry as I do – partly because 2 x journalist incomes will never equal pots of money – but mainly because I think the competitiveness factor would kill us dead. And that’s all on my part. I can’t help myself. I would not be able to separate the personal and professional – to stop comparing our work, to make sure I measured up or better, to stop any envy eating away at our relationship.
I’d like to think if we ended up in the same scenario, that it wouldn’t break us. Him making most of the money would not represent a seismic power shift, because I’d still be the household money manager, keeping things humming along, perhaps working with a bigger budget. And if, like Lynette, adjusting to the new order proved tougher than it might seem, I’d hope that I would be able to rationally view how I was dealing with the situation and actually communicate with T to figure out how I could cope better.
I’m still rooting for these two.
Who’s your favourite DH couple? To what extent do you think money plays a role in relationship dynamics?