Good relationship advice will tell you that money problems are the worst to have – most divorces are caused by them. Stop fighting over this before it starts.
Not a lot of people talk about it, but it can feel pretty bad when your partner makes more than you do. Though stereotypically it’s the man who gets upset to discover his girlfriend out earns him, the envy can go both ways. It’s particularly tough if you’re competitive by nature or happen to work in the same field.
Things can be even worse if you suddenly find yourself unemployed, while your partner continues to succeed in their job. With the way the economy has been going, this problem is more commonplace than ever. So what can you do to get rid of some of the awkwardness and animosity? Whether you’re the one who’s broke or the one who just got the big raise, there is lots of relationship advice to make your wage gap less problematic.
If Your Salary Is Greater
If you’re the one who’s doing well, you need to attempt to be as empathetic as possible. Try not to go on and on if you get a big raise or promotion. You deserve to be happy and you certainly shouldn’t hide it, but one night of celebrating is enough. No need to keep referring to it over and over in front of your S.O. They will still be happy for you, but if they’re having a particularly hard time themselves, they may not fully express it. The truth is that they’re probably feeling not only jealous, but also guilty about that jealousy.
As a result, their congratulations to you may not be as thrilled-sounding as you’d expect. Don’t let this hurt your feelings or diminish your own excitement. Just be aware that the subject is a little touchy. Though you may feel like enjoying some of your hard earned cash by going on more extravagant dates, try not to go overboard. If it’s your turn to treat, you can go somewhere a little pricier than normal, but don’t make a habit of it.
If you typically split the check, be sure to pick a destination with your partner’s budget in mind. It’s likely that you’re partner won’t feel comfortable saying that something is out of their price range, so don’t put them in a position where they have to protest.
If You’re Salary Is Less
On the other end of the equation, if you’re the individual who isn’t making the big bucks, you also need to be able to consider your mate’s feelings. Don’t rain on their parade because you’re feeling bad about yourself. Even if you’ve been out of work for a month, if your sweetie arrives home and informs you he or she was just promoted, let them know how proud you are. Celebrate with them a little. Remind yourself that you want your partner to be happy, and that their successes are your successes as well.
If you really feel like you can’t handle one more minute of hearing them talk about their good fortune, calmly say as much. Simply state that you’ve been feeling down about your own situation. Explain to them that you are happy for them, but you can’t help feeling a little jealous. Then ask them if you can change the topic for awhile, and make sure to do so without any rancor in your voice. As with most relationship issues, honesty is the best policy and good communication is important.
Keep Yourself Grounded
No matter which role you’re currently playing, you need to stay in touch with reality. Remind yourself that you might not always be the one in your current position. If the roles were reversed, how would you want to be treated? Someday they very well may be, and you’ll be counting on your significant other to show you the same respect and love you showed them.
You should also remember that a big salary isn’t everything in life. If you both woke up poor tomorrow, you would still be lucky to have each other. A little career or monetary envy isn’t worth breaking up over. Keep that in mind, and you’ll be able to bridge the gap.