Tom and Lynette, you’re breaking my heart

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?

15 thoughts on “Tom and Lynette, you’re breaking my heart

  • Reply Daniel February 28, 2012 at 09:58

    I watch DH also, religiously. I’m not a huge Lynette fan for basically all the reasons you mentioned in the post, but I will say that Susan drives me even more crazy. They all do stupid things, but she never thinks about consequences and you can see that she never uses her head and instead thinks with her heart.

    Favorite couple? Carlos and Gabrielle. Ever sine we fast forwarded 5 years (remember that???), they’ve done what was in each other’s best interests.

    • Reply eemusings February 28, 2012 at 10:59

      I love Tom and Lynette because they remind me so much of T and I. And yes, Susan’s ditziness drives me mental.

      Carlos and Grabby are great (did they ever talk about how he got his vision back?!) and she has a great heart but I just can’t get past some of her shallowness and her blatant cheating in the past.

  • Reply SP February 28, 2012 at 15:44

    I love this post. I don’t watch much DH, and I can’t say I relate to any of the couples, really. But we have an interesting dynamic in our relationship in that… we are in the same field, but he’s in the academia version of it. His degrees are more prestigious than mine, but I still make much more money (for now). His schedule is still technically a student one (i.e. very flexible) while mine is corporate, so I expect a little extra from him in terms of.. I don’t know. Anyway, I wonder what it will feel like to no longer a) make more cash and b) be clearly in a supportive role. I’m honestly not sure b will happen – is it possible for us both to be in power careers?

    • Reply eemusings February 28, 2012 at 16:05

      I definitely think so. But does that change once you add kids into the equation?

      • Reply SP February 28, 2012 at 20:37

        Maybe. I just feel like this is one of those things we’ll answer as we have to. I’m not going to backseat my career until it really is time to do it (if that happens).

  • Reply Amber February 28, 2012 at 16:16

    Oh noooo, I used to love Desperate Housewives but haven’t caught up on it in ages. So sad to hear Tom and Lynette broke up! That show used to be my serious guilty pleasure!

  • Reply Geek in Heels February 29, 2012 at 07:43

    T&L are my favoriate couple on Desperate Housewives too, and I’m also hoping that they get back together! Glad I’m not alone!

  • Reply Kris March 1, 2012 at 05:16

    Oh this makes me sad too. I stopped watching DH while I was working on my MBA – I gave up most TV then, no time!

    I like Tom & Lynette (I saw a lot of myself in her, still do). My DH and I work in different fields, and I’m the driven one- he has a job he loves, that he does well at, but he doesn’t want to go any higher, and he’s willing to relocate for me to accept the right opportunity when it comes. Love him for that!

  • Reply BrokeElizabeth March 1, 2012 at 13:02

    I’ve watched DH on and off over the years, and like you I was really sad when they split up. They were my favorite couple. I would never want to be involved with someone in the same field as me, but it would have more to do with sheer boredom than money. I need a math/science guy to balance out my history/English brain :).

  • Reply Carnival of Personal Finance #351: Women’s Personal Finance Edition March 5, 2012 at 18:34

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  • Reply Young Professional Finances March 13, 2012 at 04:33

    I love DH! I’m so sad that Tom and Lynette split up also but I agree with you – I’m glad my boyfriend and I are in completely different fields. I think it would be too competitive between us otherwise.

  • Reply Kris S. June 16, 2012 at 01:44

    Respectfully I wouldn’t say Tom wasn’t keen on accepting the position and leave it at that. He did want the job. He was reluctant to accept it because he was worried what Carlos would think and if that would leave him high and dry. Tom definately wanted the opportunity.

    There has been a great mismatch of who spent time supporting whom in the Tom and Lynette relationship and it has NOT been anywhere close to being in Lynette’s favor.

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