Can Being the Breadwinner Hurt Your Love Life?

by Nathalie O'Neill

In a growing number of couples, the woman is now the one who brings home the bacon. This is great news for everyone who hates the glass ceiling, but how are female breadwinners' relationships affected? Well, according to Farnoosh Torabi, financial expert, female breadwinner, and author of When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women, there's a whole lot of renegotiating involved.

According to Pew Research, between 1997 and 2007, the number of couples where the woman makes more money than the man has increased from 4 percent to 22 percent. And since money is one of the top reasons couples argue, female breadwinners can lead to lots of issues. In her new book, Torabi presents some pretty gloomy data: female breadwinners are less likely to get married, and if they do marry, they are more likely to get divorced.

But this might have a lot to do with our traditional conceptions of gender roles — for centuries, we've been told men should provide for women while women should focus on childrearing. Of course, this sounds totally outdated. Yet an April 2013 Pew Research Center survey found that 51 percent of respondents think children are better off if mom stays home with the kids. Yikes.

While Torabi does get into gender "instincts" and "biology and evolution," she argues that this primal urge men have to provide is not something that should control us, but something we should recognize and let go. Her guidelines are pretty simple: financial decisions should be shared, and salary should not be taken as a measure of character or career success. Torabi also emphasized the importance of work-life balance, for both men and women.

Tobari's points are interesting, if a little obvious. Her rules should clearly apply to men as well, and her advice sort of sounds like hand-holding for men with successful partners. After all, when women in the workplace are still talked about as a threat to masculinity, a whole book dedicated to helping female breadwinners save their relationships just tells us once again that it a woman's job to pay extra special attention to her man's insecurities.

Image: Claire Joines/Bustle