Luv Doc: Breadwinning
There’s a pretty good chance that the robot uprising is probably just around the corner
Dear Luv Doc,
I never thought money would become an issue in my marriage, but I am getting close to my breaking point. When my husband and I first got married, he worked for a tech start-up and made almost twice my salary. Three years ago, that company was bought and he lost his job in the buyout. After eight months searching for a new job, he ended up at a much larger company but for lower pay. His new job is steady, reliable income, but there isn't a lot of potential for job growth or increased income. I, on the other hand, through hard work and a bit of luck have gotten two promotions in that same time and now make quite a bit more than he does. Sadly, this has caused quite a bit of tension in our relationship. Instead of being happy about my success he has grown increasingly bitter and withdrawn. He has told me point blank that he was raised to believe that a man should be the main breadwinner and that he doesn't like that I make more money than he does. Mostly he spends a lot of time complaining about work and feeling like a victim. This isn't the guy I married. How do I snap him out of it?
– Success Story
Well, you might want to suggest to him that regardless of how he was raised, he is the captain of his own ship. Just because he was raised a certain way doesn't make that way the right way. A lot of people were raised in racist households, but that doesn't make it OK to be a racist. That's not an acceptable excuse. Yes, the mind of a child is impressionable and those impressions can be strong and long-lasting, but ultimately we are built for evolution. We have an amazing ability to adapt if conditions warrant.
Now, it very well may be that your husband's ingrained sexism is what is holding him back in the business world, but I don't think it's that alone. You probably know as well as most people that being a sexist rarely holds you back in the business world. However, the inability to get out of a sexist mindset might be indicative of an inability to adapt, and that, in most business environments, is a real career-killer.
Things change. The Greeks discovered that the world is round. Enslaved people were freed. Women won the right to vote and make decisions about their own bodies – and guess what? Even those things might change given the current presidential administration. If they don't, there are plenty of monumental changes just around the corner: For instance: Cars can now drive themselves (or at least better than the average drunk teenager) and there's a pretty good chance that the robot uprising is probably just around the corner. Imagine being some robot's prison bitch. Now THAT would be a true test of someone's ability to adapt.
What that means is your husband better get his shit together because not being the breadwinner might be the fucking least of his worries in a few years. It sounds to me like he is a good candidate for counseling, but if you do try to talk him out of this malaise, you and he might do well to focus on his potential rather than his shortcomings. And in the end, regardless of whether he becomes the breadwinner, being an accepting, open-minded, and more adaptable person will do wonders for his personal happiness, and ideally that's what money's about anyway, isn't it?