When She Makes More: 3 outtakes from this breadwinner

What happens when she earns more money

I put off reading When She Makes More by Farnoosh Torabi until now, because of the criticism I’d heard about this book: patronising, sexist, heavy-handed on the stereotypes.

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There’s some truth to those points, but you know what? I loved this book. LOVED it. I felt so much less alone reading When She Makes More and honestly, I wish I’d read it earlier when I was really in a bad place. I just devoured all of the stories of the couples she interviewed. It was incredibly validating, and that for me was the real value in When She Makes More – just knowing that others out there totally got it, went through similar experiences, and recognise that it IS hard. Divorce recovery takes time. This is a fact of divorce. The real question is, “How long must I endure the upset and pain of adjusting to my divorce?” While specific time predictions are not possible, we can make choices that reduce recovery time from several years to a few months. Successful recovery from Divorce Class can mean different things to different people. By “recovery,” I mean that we are no longer haunted by painful memories of the relationship. We can talk about our ex and talk to our ex without negative emotions. We can wish our ex the best in their new life. And we can go for days with even thinking of our ex. In other words, we feel content with our current life and excited about our future without our ex being an integral part of it. Going through a major life change, like divorce recovery, is like driving down the interstate in a fog. We try our best to keep the car in the road. However, when we drift too far to the left or right, we hear and feel the thump, thump, thump of the shoulder telling us we are drifting off course. Our personal principles are the washboards that give us the thump-thump-thump warning we need when we start to drift off our desired path through divorce recovery. Some principles will be especially important to maintain. Some of those important principles will be threatened by the divorce recovery process. Successfully navigating your recovery from divorce will require you to first identify your core personal principles and then protect and use them when making the hard decisions of your divorce recovery.

The domestic violence is a growing concern nowadays, especially for the women where they are threatened and in most cases beaten quite mercilessly. The actions that are interpreted as domestic violence under the law include physical as well as the psychological attacks, and even the disturbances or harassment caused by the abuser with an intention to threaten the victim in these cases the family member or spouse. The domestic violence between the couples is quiet common and most of the times the victims are the wives, although several times such violence might also extend towards step children. In such cases the law provides certain remedies, which will be discussed here. Handling such situations all by yourself is not advisable; instead you should contact your local domestic violence attorney and a family counselor. Contact to Lemoyne Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer | R. Davis Younts, Esq. for further details.

Such steps might be very helpful in mending your relationship, however, if you think that the reason behind these violent threats is that your spouse has a psychological disorder or illness of some kind, or the mere fact that he/ she enjoys giving these threats and it will be difficult for you to control or prevent them, then it will be better for you to take a legal advice from your state or district’s domestic violence attorney.

The major remedy available in Law for such behavior is the Protective Order or a Restraining Order, which orders the abuser to keep a distance from the victim. The restraining order may order the abuser to stay away from the victim’s room, home or workplace, and it might go to a greater extent and order a separation and assign certain distance for the abuser to keep, say 100 feet or 1km etc. If abuser is found to be violating this order, then he/ she can be charged for trespass, which is a criminal offense in itself. Also, if the abuser has beaten the victim, he/ she might be charged with greater offenses such as assault or battery.

The question you might want to ask would be that whether the protective or restrictive order is helpful in such situations. These orders are very helpful in many situations as they allow for arresting and even sentencing the abuser, hence they act as a deterrent on the abuser and mere thought of being arrested or sent to jail prevents them from taking such actions in future. However, in certain cases these orders might add to the fury and fail to prevent the abuser. In such cases, the abuser, instead of trying to change his/her own behavior, increases the violence to take revenge. The law can provide some security even in such cases, but it is not a perfect guarantee that the abuser will stop acting in that manner.

While I didn’t come away with any groundbreaking insights or practical tips, I appreciated what I got out of When She Makes More. Based off the pages I nodded at/bookmarked the most, here are the key points that most resonated with me. The Home Office itself defines domestic violence as: “Any violence between current or former partners in an intimate relationship, wherever and whenever the violence occurs…[it] may include physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse”. This may, however, be purely to obtain specific information on victims rather than any legally or obligatory definition to be used in strict interpretation by agencies (including criminal justice agencies). Given that it interchanges violence and abuse, confusion may occur, and it broadens further its definition in a leaflet against OC domestic violence resources. The leaflet describes the more obvious of ‘punching’ and ‘kicking’ to the more debatable ‘telling you that you’re ugly’, ‘telling you what to wear’, ‘calling you a failure’ and ‘shouting’. These latter phrases and definitions are so broad they may in fact undermine their purpose. Pragmatic interpretations may be obvious to policymakers, academics and researchers and perhaps even the police (in that the derogatory comments and shouting are part of a pattern of abusive behaviour, rather than when used in an isolated incident) but leaflets and campaigns seen by the wider public may result in the meaning being lost. This is because, during arguments and disagreements – in various relationships – shouting and making derogatory remarks can be quite common and the intent behind the remarks may be less sinister than when used in conjunction with, or as a build up to, actual intended harm (whether physical or not).

Who we are

Of course there are thriving couples out there with female breadwinners, and that’s not really who this book is for. A divorce may be a hard thing to travel through. It are often an emotionally and financially draining process. this is often a vulnerable time in anyone’s life, and selecting an honest divorce attorney may be a must. you’ll be putting your life during this person’s hands. You can check over here for more about the divorce attorney in scottsdale. the result of the case can determine your financial standings for several years, and therefore the consequences of a nasty divorce attorney are often devastating, especially if there are children involved. Here are some tips for selecting an honest divorce attorney, For further details about family attorney you can visit website here. It’s more likely for those of us who fall into the category defined by the divorce lawyer Torabi quotes in one of the chapters: the husband who sort of has a job but isn’t trying very hard to generate more income, or is self-employed but not really working. In Washington, mothers and fathers share the same parenting rights. However, mothers are given legal parenting rights at the time of their child’s birth, whereas fathers that are unmarried at the time of their child’s birth will need to legally establish paternity in order to exercise their parental rights. Go through www.pnwfamilylaw.com/washington-fathers-rights-lawyer/ for the Tri-cities fathers’ right attorney.

Why it’s different for women

The stress we feel as primary income generators is just not the same.

We live longer. Any financial decisions need to factor this in – how might they affect the stability of your future if you outlive him?

It’d be remiss not to mention the gender pay gap in here, too. Our earnings underpin everything. Yet on average we tend to earn lower incomes than our male equivalents.

If you’re not planning on kids, this isn’t so applicable – but the question of starting a family is where it really starts to get complicated.

If the household is dependent on your income, then there isn’t even a hypothetical choice about whether to scale back or stop work. Plus, that’s assuming everything goes smoothly. What if you have health complications during pregnancy or after birth – or the baby does? And what if you want to take a longer maternity leave than normal? What if your mindset totally shifts after birth and you decide you want to be primary caregiver? There are so many unknowns.

Obviously, the ideal would be if both partners earned an income that was individually sufficient to support the household. If that’s not the case then there may need to be some serious conversations and forward planning – whether that means working toward a plan where he can bring in more income, or something else that works for the couple.

In many of the couples cited, the woman had a seriously high powered, high paying C-suite job, and presumably this was less of a concern than in couples where the woman earned more but not necessarily a huge salary. At a high enough income you’d at least be able to bank a lot to hedge against those hypotheticals.

Torabi writes that female breadwinners with a dependent family are living in a high stakes world – it’s vital to remain sought after in your work, to learn to navigate the biases and double standards at play, and build the reputation and professional capital that will serve you well later on.

Another point that probably belongs in here: the so-called second shift. Even when the woman makes more, even if the man doesn’t work, she almost always puts in a significant amount of housework/childcare. Even when the financial roles are reversed, the roles at home do not typically fully reverse.

The risks

Resentment, resentment, resentment. Particularly when paired with the point above re: equality of housework. Resentment is the most dangerous feeling of all, particularly when it leads to wondering if you’re better off without him. (And maybe in some cases you are. It wasn’t until I actually left that he bucked up and started to get his act together.)

“The longer the woman has to support her lackadaisical husband, the quicker her feelings of frustration move into the bitter zone, after which the resentment takes over,” Torabi writes. It’s common for breadwinning mothers especially to feel at least some resentment, guilt and anger.

Female breadwinners are more likely to be unhappy, feel pressured to work less and even get divorced, she says.  There’s the pressure to keep your job, the worry of having everything depend on you, and the desire to have an equal relationship with your partner.

Let’s face it, this permeates every facet of a relationship. When we talk about money, Torabi points out, we’re actually talking about our entire lives. Money affects how each of you feels about one another and about your relationship – and it also directly influences the frequency of and satisfaction with your sex life. (Can confirm. Broke sex is bad sex.)

If the guy has made financial mistakes in the past and is yet to prove he can be financially responsible, it can be difficult to trust him. Often it leads to mothering and controlling in an effort to remedy that, which sucks for both parties. I never liked being the mean/boring one saying no – we can’t afford that – or assuming responsibility for handling all the finances, or feeling unable to rely on anyone but myself. When a partnership turns more into something resembling parenting, it’s a bad sign.

Often couples that struggle the most are those whose incomes were fairly equal until he lost his job. But whatever the cause, what matters is how we cope in response. And figuring that out takes time. Financial and emotional equanimity are moving targets in any relationship, Torabi says, and this is so true in my experience. Ultimately, it’s a process.  

One last point I liked in the book and would love to see play out: the suggestion for a shift in the campaign for paid parental leave that puts the focus on the benefits for families. How could anyone be against working families?

But ultimately, the biggest strength of When She Makes More is that it’s not too concerned with how things should be; it’s about how they are in reality, and how to cope with that. Yes, things should be perfectly equal at work and at home. It shouldn’t matter who makes more, practically or emotionally speaking. BUT. We live in an imperfect world and we as humans are flawed – we just have to work within these constraints the best we can.

6 thoughts on “When She Makes More: 3 outtakes from this breadwinner

  • Reply FF @ Femme Frugality October 30, 2016 at 02:55

    I haven’t read, but can see how writing about the way things are would come off as sexist. We still live in a very sexist world. Might have to pick this one up. I’m the primary earner at the moment, though I haven’t hit the resentment due to money. We planned for this to be the case while he was in school. If we hadn’t, the mental burden around the issue would probably be a lot larger

  • Reply Brittany October 30, 2016 at 04:01

    This is so enlightening! I’ll have to check out this book. I make more in my current relationship, but my boyfriend is constantly striving to increase his skill set. He’s even getting his MBA! We don’t live together but obviously would if we get married. He is literally the first guy I’ve dated that wasn’t intimidated, resentful or frustrated about the fact that I make more (I’m a lawyer). I know the stories in that book that you described are SO TRUE. I feel really lucky that I’ve found someone who can handle it, but also suspect it’s a fine balance and will not always be so easy.

  • Reply Miss Mazuma October 30, 2016 at 04:03

    Though I haven’t read the book, I listen to So Money so I get a good gyst of her viewpoints. I think this is an interesting conversation that is just getting its bearings in the PF world. I make more than my BF (due to his divorce) and, though it isn’t a source of contention thus far, if we were to live together it would quickly become one. I often feel like I have to hide my financial wins so I don’t seem braggy about them…even though he is really supportive I fear resentment in the future. It isn’t that he spends a ton on extravagant things – he doesn’t. But he is paycheck to paycheck and refuses to set up a budget which he desperately needs – I tried in the beginning but with his resistance I have pulled back. Quite frankly, it is none of my business unless we combine forces. Until then, I plan to lead by example and hope that he eventually falls in line…and he can continue to go to chipotle for lunch and support my stock! 😉

    If anyone wants to set up a Skype chat on this subject let me know!

  • Reply Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial October 31, 2016 at 13:14

    I considered picking this one up when the SO and I were going through the rough patch during his unemployment, but the sexist stuff I read about it turned me off. I also take bit of umbrage at how the title frames the problem context as her making more rather than him being underemployed. At least for us, once BF got a new full-time job, our relationship got a lot better even though he makes much less than I do still.

    • Reply eemusings November 7, 2016 at 08:51

      I’ve been thinking a lot about your comment, hence the very belated response.

      That sentiment is exactly why I still haven’t read Lean In at this stage.

      As I said, I found no new practical solutions in the book. Only emotional validation/commiseration. I’ve returned the book now, but here’s what sticks with me: Many of the successful couples profiled had a dude who made less, but pulled his financial weight. Or the dude actually had a really successful and lucrative career also but they made the choice to focus on hers, and dial his back. There were like 2 couples I recall that were more in the camp that you and I find ourselves in. One was planning to move to a smaller town where he could find work. One, well they just seemed stuck in limbo. He was working FT I believe but not earning much. I related SO hard to her anxiety and stress. But they had no solution and no specific plan they were working towards. Sorry, depressing, I know.

      Here’s the funny thing about unemployed/underemployed partners. There’s this assumption that they make up for it with non financial contributions – ie, taking care of things at home. But that’s not always the case, especially with dudes (the topic of this week’s post, actually). EVERY SINGLE TIME I have blogged about inequality/unemployment etc someone pipes up with ‘what about all the other stuff he does?’ And quite frankly, it just has not been enough. There are a few domestic things he can and does own, but not enough to be Mr Amazing Househusband. Not enough to make up for being unemployed or underemployed.

      It’s like there is this huge taboo against talking about underearning, particularly underearning partners. I get it, it’s just one step away from calling them lazy or freeloaders. And that’s not a conclusion to jump to immediately. But it is something we should be able to acknowledge openly and talk about freely, without hasty judgement.

  • Reply Liz November 7, 2016 at 02:41

    I just want to say thank you for this article. It hit home for me because I am the breadwinner and I do have feelings of resentment towards my husband because he is the complete opposite of me. He is unmotivated to do anything extra. He has a good job and works hard, but rarely picks up overtime when offered to him and then comes home and acts as if he is just completely exhausted and there’s no way he can do anything in addition to his work day.

    I love him and I have a lot of energy, so most of the time, I just deal and do all the work. But I can feel the resentment there in the back of my mind. It’s very tough. I think I might read this book now.

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