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Does it matter to you how much your partner earns?

(767 Posts)
brusslesprout Tue 07-Jan-14 23:52:45

Not wanting to start a debate or anything like that just a general musing really if this is a really important factor for everyone?

I wonder when looking at the bigger picture does it make the relationship better/easier?

My bf doesn't earn much which bothers me a little sometimes but on the same merit has no debts or bad spending habits as he's always had to be careful.

Growing up my Dad had quite a well paid job but isn't too good with money so still is in a lot of debt when he should be relaxing into retirement.

So yes does it matter in the grand scheme of things?

LauraBridges Fri 17-Jan-14 11:21:45

Indeed, nooka, that is correct. I never like comments like "behave like a man" but then I was the child who loved to climb tress and my penknife so even as a young girl I didn't fit sex stereotypes and yet am as much a woman as those women who spend time on their hair. Lots of women have a range of hobbies - plenty fish and race cars even. Many of us love success at work and are ambitious. These are not male or female things. They are just things humans have or don't have.

You can certainly be a feminist as a man or woman and shave, wash and look smart.

nooka Wed 15-Jan-14 15:59:31

I think it's very dodgy to think that women and men are intrinsically different simply by virtue of their gender. But then I have a strongly individualist streak and hate the habit of segregating and stereotyping people in general (I hate marketing generational guff too).

The trouble with this narrative is that it 'others' and justifies inequalities by saying things like women aren't say as successful as men because as a group they just don't want to be. Now some of the narrative might hold true of some women but we're not some sort of homogenous mass.

GarlicReturns Wed 15-Jan-14 14:39:30

Doctrine & Gosh - One of XH2's many complaints about me was the amount of time & money I spent on cosmetics (broadly speaking.) I eventually resolved this by getting him to understand that this was a hobby of mine, like his vintage car to him. I don't NEED five different kinds of highlighter; I don't need any at all. But decoration is an interest of mine - I enjoyed finding out about different techniques & experimenting with different products.

It also showed that he saw my self-decoration as a basic function - not so much a creative interest as a gendered necessity. But that was a stride too far for his philosophical desert of a mind!

GarlicReturns Wed 15-Jan-14 14:30:19

a brand of feminism that would have women behaving just like men

I love this strand of (anti) feminist discussion. It spotlights the question: What does it mean to behave like a man?

Which of those behaviours are inappropriate for women, and why so? Which behaviours are 'like a woman', and what would it mean for men to behave 'just like women'?

GoshAnneGorilla Wed 15-Jan-14 10:22:48

Doctrine - Exactly. We had a thread recently on women's hobbies over on FWR and it was quite interesting how women's hobbies are marginalised, or that women aren't expected to have the same time/access to leisure activities as men. Also, that basic grooming, like having a bath, face masks etc, are dressed up as pampering and a treat.

TheDoctrineOf2014 Wed 15-Jan-14 09:02:17

Feminism recognises that often cooking and sewing are seen as less valuable hobbies than, say, car rallying and fishing, and considers why that might be.

in my experience a brand of feminism that would have women behaving just like men.

ime that's a very very infinitesimally small barely there brand of feminism. And that the majority of feminists would prefer to sort out the behavior of men rather than get more women to act like them grin

NearTheWindmill Wed 15-Jan-14 07:58:21

It was said tongue in cheek nooka - a mum and her grown up boy having a nice conversation.

I probably am a feminist but whilst I believe men and women are equal I also believe they are different and for me being a feminist also involves being feminine and there is a bit of feminism that tries to marginalise that. As a woman I like dresses and nice hair and some traditionally feminine things like cooking and sewing and I don't think those things make me less of a woman but there is in my experience a brand of feminism that would have women behaving just like men.

nooka Wed 15-Jan-14 04:46:48

I'd be pretty sad if my son said that unless he meant that being a feminist was in fact normal, as it should be. I can't see from what you have written why you think you aren't a feminist unless you have in your mind's eye something 'other' that is a feminist. You can be a feminist SAHM indeed you can be a feminist SAHD (assuming that the theoretical 'you' is also a man and a father of course!).

and you can hold some feminist views and some more conservative pro-men/anti-women views at the same time. Being a feminist doesn't mean all your opinions and actions are always in line with feminist beliefs (and depending on the school of feminism the beliefs can vary quite a bit) the only real exclusion I think comes when you believe that men are better than women and that women should therefore subordinate their needs and desires in order to please men/a man.

My mother for example is not a feminist when she puts my BILs happiness before my sisters because she thinks my sister's fundamental role is to support him (even thought he is an arse)

funnyossity Tue 14-Jan-14 23:38:54

Agreed Laura!
I've been a SAH feminist too, it is possible.

I can see my son being a SAHP at some point.

Crowler Tue 14-Jan-14 20:56:08

(raises hand) feminist

LauraBridges Tue 14-Jan-14 20:55:01

Any normal man or woman in the UK who believes men and women are equal under the law and want fairness at home is a feminist. I would be surprised if any mumsnet or her partner was not a feminist. If they aren't we need to convert them.

NearTheWindmill Tue 14-Jan-14 20:50:57

[Grin]. Thanks. I've skyped DS today and asked him if he thinks I'm a feminist. He said "nah, you're just normal". It pleased me.

Creamycoolerwithcream Tue 14-Jan-14 20:06:45

I'd give you an A minus.

NearTheWindmill Tue 14-Jan-14 19:44:48

What about us though. Both A but I was happy to have 8 years with the DC. Still am A but have compromised because of the DC and wanting them to have best off both worlds. Feel I can straddle both camps - one of my good friends is managing p of a magic circle another is a subordinated B who has been at home for 16 years. They are both valuable. I work f/time on a professional salary but public sector because it gives me the best of both worlds

LauraBridges Tue 14-Jan-14 17:53:05

I think we can agree that it is wise that parents ensure both daughters and sons equally realise how important being able to support yourself an earn a living is rather than bringing up daughters to think all you do is marry and then a man keeps you. The latter is too risky.

None of us want our children to suffer although if you have a reasonable amount of money you do need to consider how not to make things so easy for children they don't work at all which is common with some rich people's children.

You could almost do a mathematical model on the thread of the combinations. If A is ambitious hard worker of ether gender who wants to get to the top and earn a lot and B is unambitious want to trug along not doing much in career terms you might have marriages of

A+ A - two alphas each helping the career of the other, proud of the other probably go out to dinners with other A As where both husband and wife are wealthy and successful, dual careers. Can work. I know a lot. You have the money to pay for cleaners too and usually you take it in turns as to who gets home from work first.

B+B - probably most people in the country, average pay is about £24k in the UK - he might drive a taxi and she's a nurse, probably doing shifts so they don't pay for childcare etc They can be very happy too.

Then we might have the A+ B coupling - alpha male man who is probably rather sexist and thinks a woman's place in the home and she loves the home as her sphere and that he cares for us and says she's a saint doing the hardest job in the world. Or happening more these days A woman with the B man - who out earns him or he just works part time and is around at home a lot. Can work fine for some couples.

I think the problems come with A man marries A woman but A woman for whatever reason is at home or part time and she hates it and he keeps her at home. Or both are BB and neither really wants to work but they are forced to in jobs they hate.

LaQueenOfTheNewYear Tue 14-Jan-14 13:18:29

Yes, it does matter to me.

What very first attracted me to DH was that he was very ambitious and that he was never going to be a 9-5 plodder - he had set up his first company before even leaving university.

Having said that, we've had some very lean financial times, and believe me, there is nothing romantic about lying awake at night stressing about money. That type of worry wears very, very thin very quickly - it eats away at you, and erodes you and your relationship.

Having money just makes life so much smoother.

NearTheWindmill Tue 14-Jan-14 09:23:52

Thanks creamy I did prof quals when I went back to work at 43 - rare without a degree but they made an exception. I then did a Masters on the back of them so that one's out of my system! I doubt I'll do much travel - DH isn't very intrepid but I really don't have many regrets except for not having the security of sorted parents to enjoy "freedom" in my youth. I think I have it now. I'm not temperamentally very wild smile

Thumbwitch Tue 14-Jan-14 09:13:37

Rudy - when I was teaching on a degree course, we had students who had retired and gone back to university! Never too old. smile

Thumbwitch Tue 14-Jan-14 09:12:49

Nearthewindmill - I dunno about the others but I'm in Australia, so it was early afternoon for me! grin (11h ahead at the moment).

Your post is interesting - you have achieved everything you set out to, and congratulations on that - but somewhere down the line you feel you've missed out, and that is sad. Sad because you missed out but also slightly sad because it's possibly colouring your feelings about how fantastically well you've done in life. But your life isn't over - you've still time to do some of those things, travel, be spontaneous (I wouldn't necessarily recommend clubbing, one night stands, and hangovers every weekend though!) and you can do that safe in the knowledge that you did the sensible and safe things first. Be very proud of yourself - you should be. smile

RudyMentary Tue 14-Jan-14 09:10:43

Creamy - mature?
How old though? There does come a point when you have to accept that horse has bolted!

Creamycoolerwithcream Tue 14-Jan-14 08:57:18

NearTheWindmill you still could go to university. DH and I both went as mature students. I just knew if I didn't go I was going to regret in when I was older.

RudyMentary Tue 14-Jan-14 08:47:32

NearTheWindmill. What an honest, frank and interesting post. We all go through life making choices that we hope are the right ones. Realistically, the right choices are different for each individual and this is further complicated when we begin to introduce other people into our lives such as partners and children.
None of us truly know for sure, if we have taken the best route and I think that for many, particularly those who've worked particularly hard to get where they are, the concept that there could possibly have been a better or easier option is too hard to contemplate.
I think the reason many people have such strong opinion on this is partially them trying to convince themselves that they made the best decision.
Interesting debate.

NearTheWindmill Tue 14-Jan-14 08:32:50

I learnt Leavenheath's lesson. That's why I drove myself to earn in my 20's, that's why I had my own home before I met my DH, why I took a very long time to settle down, why I would not have married my DH if he had not shared my outlook and my work ethic (it wouldn't actually have mattered if he hadn't been wildly successful because I brought the initial financial security to the relationship), that's why I had a "pre-nup". That's why my life has revolved around our home (but yes I do work full-time) and children and making sure that to the greatest extent I can make happen they have absolute security and a joyful and carefree childhood to look back on.

That's why my life has been about planning and discipline and to a certain extent success. It's also why I mourn not having fun a bit in my 20's, why I mourn spontaneity and why I have very little about my years from 9 - 18 that represents happy family memories let alone a fairytale existence yet none of those memories comprised poverty or want, just major emotional disruption and domestic upheaval. It still saddens me at 53 that during that time some of my lights went out and I lost a little bit of the joy that every person should have and became rather quiet and serious but sadly not very hard working at school because I had too much to deal with. That's why a childhood shouldn't be replaced by a lesson in wisdom.

I have done loads and am very satisfied with what I have achieved not least a very happy marriage and home but there are things I missed: I didn't go to university, I didn't travel the world (too spontaneous, impact on career), I didn't go clubbing or have wild nights out or take part in fashion (although to be fair, it was the 80s). Instead I bought a flat at 22 to start making sure my future was secured because I didn't actually have a home I could return to if life went tits up. So when everyone else was having fun I was paying the mortgage in those early years and working and working.

That is not a lesson I want my children ever to have to learn. That's why I'm not sure if I'm a feminist although I believe totally in equality between men and women and totally that women should be financially independent but I became financially independent so that one day I could be secure enough to have children and make them my priority (with DH) and provide them a safe and happy home.

Having said all that I think it's been a good debate. Don't you lot ever go to bed - some of us have to get up for work in the morning wink - see still missing out on the action because of work.

nooka Tue 14-Jan-14 05:27:03

Hopefully one of the changes that feminist thinking has brought about is that you can be inspired by either parent.

My mother gave up work when she married as that was expected and genuinely enjoyed being a SAHM to us when we were small and doing various voluntary things on the side. Very much as she had been brought up although she had a nanny and went to boarding school as opposed to her more hands on role. However her life was pretty much the same as most of the other mothers in the family. She then studied and started to teach when I (the youngest) went to secondary school, again pretty much the norm. She then got really into a particular charitable role more and more, went part time and retired. She was really great at that role, I really admire her for the success she made of it (not at all easy) and I wondered how much more she could have achieved if she hadn't felt she had to give up her working life way back when.

My dad had a great job that he really really enjoyed, where he was highly respected and that made him wealthy. He only finally fully retired at 75. He was my role model. Growing up I thought he had the best deal by far.

My mother thought we should all have her life, with jobs that could easily go part time or be dropped and picked up later, and essentially support successful husbands. I on the other hand looked for a 'wife' grin. I've never been that highly maternal person who yearned to be with her children and it irritates me that that stereotype is pushed so much. Where I work parents can take a year off shared between them, and it usually is split between the parents. Fathers can be plenty maternal too.

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