From Being a Single Spender to Becoming the Breadwinner in a Relationship
I started my current relationship while unemployed and in graduate school. At that time, I was near the end of the second year of nearly three years looking for a job after being laid off.
I suppose I should count my lucky stars and stripes that my partner thought me worthy enough to keep things moving, as many women aren’t keen on starting down a path with a man subsisting primarily off of federal aid. Given that she was employed, she often found herself shouldering the financial burden during several of our outings; While not conservative, she’s traditional enough to prefer playing her “role,” as it were.
Over a year later, the tables have turned: I’m now working full-time in a new career and she is working part-time, in search of gainful employment. Only now our relationship is more significant since we’ve left the courtship stage and have finally moved in together. As the primary breadwinner, I have to, at times, consider and help cover bills that she can’t pay on her own; grocery shopping and evenings out are financial onuses that typically come to me nowadays.
To say it’s an adjustment is putting it pretty mildly. Ever since graduating from college seven years ago, I’ve lived alone and have become used to what little paper I’ve had and earned being my own. There’s a good reason I’ve been so averse to having any little crumb snatchers (aka, children) anytime soon…because I don’t want them snatching my crumbs.
Of course, it’s also an added pressure for her: for a strong-minded, college-educated woman, dealing with asking for help or financial assistance is challenging. I realize this because I’m exactly the same way. When I got laid off, the most agonizing thing for me to do was ask others for money. I dreaded the thought of asking my parents for money, and I would rather have sold my last pair of hole-laden boxers before I ever asked a friend, or…ugh…a woman I was dating.
The experience has been a learning one for me about how to give back to others, albeit a rough one. I had to learn through a couple of small battles to give before waiting to be asked for money, and not to raise a stink about paying for a somewhat expensive meal–especially when I actually have the money to spend on doing so.
It’s also a good test run to having kids who will happily seek to bleed me monetarily until I’m ready to be placed on the spit. We want to have at least one little bugger someday, so I should just consider this s*** right now as practice.
Getting used to this lifestyle has been one of my biggest personal areas of growth; being forced through what feels like poverty (but isn’t quite really) is one of those things that helps any couple, if not any individual, to grow. She said to me the other night that we’ll never be as poor again as we are right now. Hopefully she’s right, but if she isn’t, I’ll start getting prepared now.