Can Female Breadwinners Exist in Successful Relationships?

15 Apr

Female breadwinners are affluent, independent and successful in their career - but what does it mean for their relationships? What does stigma have to say about female breadwinners and how can you lead a successful relationship being a female breadwinner.

Two business people taking a break at work, female breadwinners

There have always been discussions and debates revolving around gender roles. Although we’ve come a very long way in terms of gender equality. Certain facets regarding gender roles are still impactful when it comes to dating and relationships. One that I’m most interested in is The Female Breadwinner.

My career as an elite international matchmaker has allowed me to work with some of the most successful people in the world- both male and female. Research around the topic of female breadwinners is astute and diverse, but how does it affect some of the most affluent members of society?


The Quarterly Journal of Economics published a study that found that long-established gender norms “induce an aversion” to women as breadwinners. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, nearly 30% of American heterosexual women make more money than their husbands. This number has been gradually increasing over time- having been only 18% in 1987. Seems like progress right? Unfortunately, the idea, among young men, that men should be the breadwinner in a relationship has actually risen drastically since 1994.

Of course, the strides in women’s rights have been substantial in the last few decades, however, it’s quite obvious that there is still an omnipresent assumption that men should go to work while women remain at home. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center discovered that 71% of adults think that in order for a man to be considered a good partner that he must be able to financially support his family. Only 32% had the same opinion of women.

This suggests that men may attempt to remain the sole financial provider even if it doesn’t make financial sense. For example, if childcare becomes too expensive and one parent is needed to stop working to care for the children- the husband may be less inclined to offer to become a stay-at-home dad even if his wife makes more money than he does- solely based on the stigma and expectations of gender roles in a family.

Why does this happen? The American Psychological Association conducted a study that found that in general, heterosexual men feel their confidence is threatened if their partner performs better than them. Women, on the other hand, have no issue with this. These feelings might have a correlation with relationship difficulties. Research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research discovered that marriages that had a female as the breadwinner were ‘less satisfying’ and more likely to get divorced. Income disparities can also cause a strain through long-term, and even every day, spending decisions. What are our plans for our pensions and retirements? Who’s paying the electric bill this month? Who’s paying for gas today?

Tips for a Successful Marriage Involving Female Breadwinners:

  • Communication is Key. In any relationship, it’s important to tackle issues straight away rather than letting them fester under the surface and eventually explode. Men shouldn’t be taking their frustrations or insecurities regarding their masculinity out on their wives. And women should feel proud- not uncomfortable or awkward being the breadwinner of the relationship. Both individuals must work to see the other’s point of view and communicate clearly to become a stronger, united front.
  • Husbands – create a goal. If men are feeling like they aren’t making enough of a contribution to the financial funds, we recommend making a personal savings goal to set aside portions of their own income. The goal can be used for something the couple will use daily like a new car, a pool for the backyard, or remodeling the second floor-bathroom. A concrete goal will have a lasting and positive impact on a couple and the future of their relationship.
  • Husbands – money isn’t everything. Husbands need to remember that financial contributions aren’t the only thing that keeps a marriage or household running. Research shows that marriages with female breadwinners were less likely to end when the husband contributed to more housework and chores. There are plenty of ways to be a good husband that have absolutely nothing to do with salaries. Being there for your partner physically, emotionally, and domestically are vital in maintaining a happy and healthy relationship.
  • Men – get over it. The only reason the subject of female breadwinners is still an issue in modern times is that people keep making it an issue. Just because you and your spouse aren’t following deep-rooted societal norms founded on misogyny- doesn’t make you any less of a man. In reality, being mature enough to overcome these stereotypes will lead to a strong relationship full of respect and love. If you love someone and want to make a life with them, then anything is possible – don’t let something like your paycheck keep you from being with someone incredible.

Here at Maclynn International, we understand the struggles of being a strong, independent, successful female – especially in the world of dating.  If you’re on the hunt for love and tired of wasting your time endlessly scrolling on various dating apps, then let us help! Get in touch today- all of our members have one thing in common, they all are looking for true love.

by Rachel Vida MacLynn

Founder & CEO

Rachel Vida Maclynn is reputed as being a world-leading matchmaking and dating expert. Registered as a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, Rachel advocates a professional matchmaking approach based on psychological principles and professional consultation.More by this author

LinkedIn | The British Psychological Society |