How to deal when you’re more successful than your man

So you got a raise and now you out-earn your man. Or maybe your boyfriend just got laid off, so you’re pulling in all the bacon now. Or you’ve decided that it makes the most financial sense for your family to have a stay-at-home daddy. Whatever the case, women out-earning their men is a reality for more and more couples. While it’s becoming more common, that doesn’t mean that it’s the norm. It’s actually going against gender norms in our society. And going against the grain like that can be a strain on your relationship. So here’s how to deal when you’re more successful than your man.

Be proud

Woman, you’re doing all kinds of awesome in your career. Congrats! Never sell yourself short just because your dude isn’t banking the same number of dollar signs. You worked hard to get where you are, and you should be proud of yourself. And any man who loves you will be proud of you too.

Don’t make it a thing

Don’t make your financial situation a cause of friction. As a couple, you two need to have a discussion about how you’re going to handle finances, even if you’re not married. If you decide that you’re only going to do activities he can afford, then don’t act like you’re making a giant sacrifice when he can’t come to the ballet with you. Or if you decide that you’re going to be footing the bill for most dates, don’t sigh and roll your eyes when you put your credit card down after an expensive meal. You make more money, you two made a decision, don’t make this a bigger deal than it needs to be.

Get him involved

I’m guessing that if you’re successful, you spend a ton of time at work, thinking about work and talking about work. I know I do. So I say get your man involved in your work life. Of course I’m not recommending that you hire him (working with your honey is a whole other post!), but you can bring him to the office or invite him to a happy hour so that he meets the cast of characters you spend your days with. And be sure he understands the details of big projects you’re working on. That way, you can have meaningful conversations about what’s going on in your day. With me, David definitely knows what’s going on at PattiKnows, and he gets a brief report on some of my higher-maintenance clients so he knows whose call I’m taking at dinner.

Set home office hours

If you care about your career, you probably regularly bring work home. Believe me, I know that you can only get so much done between nine and five. To keep this from overtaking your entire personal life, set up home office hours. This will manage your honey’s expectations when it comes to time together and, more importantly, keep you focused on one thing at a time. For example, maybe you leave work at six, hang out with your family until nine and then from nine until bedtime, you go through all of your still unread emails. If you establish this with your man, he’ll know when to expect your attention and when to give you some alone time with your MacBook. For those three non-work hours, put the Blackberry away and make sure your man knows he’s your priority.

Hopefully, that helps some of you career-minded ladies out there. Anyone else with tips on balancing a love life with your professional life?