Dear Level

Your Partner Makes Significantly More Money Than You. Congrats, Man!

For many men, this results in shame. It shouldn’t.

Aliya S. King
LEVEL
Published in
4 min readOct 17, 2020

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Illustration: Olivia Fields

Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting LEVELMAN.com.

There’s a case to be made for Friday as the best day of the week. For 9-to-5 workers, it marks the end of a workweek, with all the fun, freedom, and limitless possibility of the weekend shining their way. There’s even a classic film franchise named in its honor. And for those of us on a biweekly payment schedule, Friday is the day when direct deposit hits your account — along with the bonus dopamine hit to your system.

But how would you feel knowing that every time you get paid, your partner is raking in three times as much? Would your ego be able to take it? Would Fridays still be so sweet?

Let’s flip it and reverse it: How would you feel if you were bringing in significantly more money than your partner? Would you encourage them to try to make more, simply hope they contributed in other ways — or do neither, and let it be?

Money issues are the number two cause of divorce, right after infidelity. It can be a form of real or perceived power in a relationship, and when that power isn’t equally distributed, the resulting imbalance can cause miscommunication, resentment, acting out, even depression.

I’ve been in relationships where I literally begged my partner not to look for a higher paying job because his time and presence at home was far more valuable than a little more money — which would inevitably have gone to cover added expenses like commuting and childcare.

If you’re not bringing home nearly equal slices of bacon — or if one person has a clearly defined nonprofessional role, like stay-at-home parent — things can get sticky. Here’s how to keep the difference in dollars from leaving your relationship with a negative balance.

1. Consider what each person contributes — outside of money

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Aliya S. King
LEVEL
Writer for

Aliya S. King is an author, freelance writer and editor.