Can You Love a Man Who Makes Less Money Than You?

July 11, 2014

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Are you following what’s happening with The View’s co-host Sherri Shepherd?

The short version is she’s been married for 3 years and now they’re getting a divorce. Their prenup states if the marriage dissolves before 5 years, he’s only entitled to $60,000. But they’re in the process of having a baby via surrogate, and as soon as they filed for divorce, her husband filed for sole custody of the child. Now, Sherri doesn’t want the baby because: 1) they used her soon-to-be ex-husband’s sperm, but not her egg 2) she doesn’t want to pay child support 3) she believes he tricked her into having this child.

So basically, Sherri doesn’t want her future ex to get his hands on her money, whether through alimony or child support, so she’s fighting it and wants to be absolved of all parental rights.

This story poses some very interesting questions for women today, especially those who are moving up in their careers or growing really successful businesses and making lots of money. How does a woman like this open herself up to all of her dating options, if she’s constantly worried about being taken to the cleaners by the man she’s hoping to love for the rest of their lives?

Some people might say this has been happening to men for years, why should women’s experience be any different? Well, the truth is many men in these situations don’t actually want the kids, but they play that card because that’s the only way they’ll get any money.

While I encourage you to date men from all socioeconomic backgrounds, if you’re making significantly more than the man in your life, you have to consider your options. I know, it’s not sexy to think about this kind of stuff when you’re in love, but you’ve got to do it. Questions to consider are:

1. By how much are you out-earning him?
2. Would you sign a prenup?
3. Is your man comfortable with you making more money than him?
4. Are you willing to lay it all on the line for him, even if the outcome of the relationship is not guaranteed?

Part of the struggle is women aren’t used to this. There have been wealthy women throughout history who have been taken advantage of by men, sure. But I’m not talking just about celebrities, I’m talking about the average business owner or corporate executive who’s making 6-figures or more, trying to date a man who earns significantly less than her.

Now, like I said, men have been dealing with these issues for years, but this is still new to women. And what’s hard about it is women are still being inundated with the idea that a man is supposed to take care of her, even if she’s in the top 1%.

So what do women like this do? They look for an alpha male, who’s earning even more than than she is. But many of those high earning men are perfectly fine dating the secretary or the barmaid at their favorite restaurant. These professionals aren’t less than, but I simply want to point out the fact that men are willing to date women who make significantly less than they do, and many men prefer it.

So what’s a woman to do?

First things first, keep your wits about you. Is a traditional marriage the right setup for you, given the circumstances? I support and believe in marriage, but if you make more money than your man, can you handle it? Can he? This also brings up all sorts of issues about gender roles, but we’ll dive into that some other time.

What do you think about Sherri Shepherd’s dilemma?

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