A 50/50 Relationship

by Kristina on July 19, 2010 · 12 comments

heart necklace

This week I have encountered two situations where two of my colleagues, who are both women, have started dating and married men with money.

Now, one of them expects her husband to spend his family riches on her, and the other accepts her boyfriends lavish gifts with open arms.  She never demands, although she does expect. I know that we have discussed this subject before on DINKS but I just can’t stand it when women (or men) expect to have things handed to them, especially if those things are money.

I think that searching for a husband is a mission, and finding someone with money is just a bonus like finding a buried treasure.  I would never make money criteria for dating.  However some people do.  Our culture promotes money and sometimes exploits the women who are looking for it by disguising it as if they are looking for love through TV shows like MillionaireMatchmaker and TheBachelor.

Every relationship is different.  I strongly believe in an equal financial contribution into a relationship, but only if your income permits that contribution.  Of course there are other ways, such as taking care of the home, that people can contribute into a relationship.  My boyfriend Nick and I earn approximately the same annual salary.  Although since I work in finance and due to the turmoil market these past few years, his income has been higher than mine.  Despite the recent difference in our incomes I would never expect him to shower me with expensive gifts or to assume all of our housing costs.  If your relationship is not a 50/50 contribution is it doomed to fail?

Tamara is an assistant manager of customer service at my bank branch. She started dating a man about 3 months ago.  He earns almost double her annual income. He wanted to go on vacation but she can’t afford it. Needless to say, she is going on vacation at the expense of his Visa card. We were discussing tips and she said “Oh he will take care of it.”  Next Sunday Tamara leaves for Cuba on her $2300 all inclusive vacation on a private island.

Jane is the head teller at my bank branch. She married and now has a child with the son of the wealthiest client in our branch.  He isn’t very nice to her, but she stays with him so that his family can provide for her and her son.  The son has everything handed to him and now since they are married she expects the same.  She drives a car paid for by the family business, and she lives in an apartment owned and paid for by her father in law. She earns her salary at the bank and spends it on expensive material goods such as $20 Butter Nail polish because all of her living expenses are paid for in full.  She has been pushing her husband for some time to open a joint bank account, and therefore, free access to all of the money.  However, for one reason or another he always refuses.  He just pays her with a weekly allowance.

These two women have become so financially dependent on their other halves that they would never be able to survive on their own.  In my opinion this is not a sustainable relationship or good financial planning.  It is ok to depend on your other half in your time of need, but it is not ok to become financially dependent.

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(Photo By Kanir)



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 leslie July 19, 2010 at 9:13 am

I’m betting that both relationships consist of child->adult communication, rather than those people acting & contributing as adults. To some people, that is comfortable.

2 Jane July 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I think it’s unrealistic to expect to always have a 50/50 contribution in a relationship. There are times when one partner may not be able to contribute as much due to illness, job loss, etc.; I don’t think that means the relationship is doomed to failure. On the other hand, I would not personally choose to go into a longterm one-sided relationship.

It’s hard to judge other people’s relationships from the outside. While I wouldn’t personally choose relationships like Tamara’s or Jane’s, I can sort of see where they might be coming from.

3 Donna Freedman July 19, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I think of it more as an *equitable* contribution, rather than an equal one. If I made $20k a year and my significant other made $100k then sure, he could put in more than 50% toward expenses. But those expenses would have been agreed-upon costs in the first place, and he would also have to have been comfortable with my small salary when he entered the relationship.
As for living in a family apartment, driving a company car, not having access to joint funds…Nice work if you can get it. But what happens if the relationship ends? You’ll be out of practice of living like a grownup, i.e., a person who pays her own way.
He pays her with an allowance…Ick. Why not just leave it on the dresser, if you know what I mean?

4 danielle July 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

i agree with Jane, no relationship is perfectly 50/50, especially if you’re comparing income. also, wanting to have someone spend money on you isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive of love … i.e. if a woman wants very extravagant gifts, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him. just as in, if a woman doesn’t want any gifts, it doesn’t mean she is 150% whole heartedly devoted to him. also, what if the woman is a stay at home mom, with zero financial income?

it’s realistic to say that many woman find men with good incomes as stable — women like stability — at least, a lot of my friends see it as a plus (for many reasons). and if the man wants a wife who enjoys his company (money, or not) then it can work for them. seeing as how your two friends both have jobs, it’s hard for any of us to say if they are completely financially dependent. since one is an assistant mgr and the other is the lead teller, isn’t it a bit unfair to say they “would never be able to survive on their own”? they would experience a drastic life change, but the two scenarios you laid out seem pretty realistic IMO (meaning, not too out of the ordinary) for this day and age.

5 Kristina July 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I agree there is a fine line between marrying for money and the world’s oldest profession. If a womans job is to take care for the man, and in return he pays her… well, some may consider that as the definition of the world’s oldest profession.
Yes, it is true that both women do have jobs but they would definitely have a major shock if they were to ever leave their men. In the case of Jane she knows it, and even though is isn’t the best husband she stays with him, and in my opinion it is for the money. He provides her with a nice lifestyle where she can only work part time and travel to Florida and Europe whenever she wants.

6 Martin July 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

I think Leslie is right. These relationships are about power and they turn into adult child relationships.

7 Elizabeth July 20, 2010 at 11:38 am

But what about the men in these relationships? My honey makes more than I and is 10 years older than me (saving longer) and he has his own tastes and extravagences. He doesn’t blink at a $200 meal whereas I feel like I can’t afford it. Should being with me limit him? A good example is hotel rooms; he looks for comfort and then cost whereas I only look at cost. The first time we went out of town I insisted we split the cost which meant it had to be on my budget. This felt wrong even though I was trying to do the right thing.

I think 50/50 would be great but it limits who you can date in almost the same way marrying for money does. It is a type of dating within your class.

8 danielle July 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

the consistent trend atm among my female friends is almost exactly opposite of the article. they’re all on a very successful path (we’re all in our 30s now), where their guys are still “trying to find themselves” all the while not being able to pay the rent or bills. the women have to support them so it definitely goes both ways. so what about the guys who are being supported by their women as a mom figure? ew, but i mean, it happens! again, as martin and leslie say, child-parent relationship… definitely a GREAT topic of discussion!

9 Suzanne July 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I am a firm believer in equal contribution in a relationship. I do not like to feel “kept” by a man. I have always enjoyed earning my own money and contributing to finances in both of my marriages; I am recently divorced for the second time. I think equal contribution keeps things fair and reduces arguments about money.

10 Tim July 21, 2010 at 12:21 am

the notion of marriage for love and companionship is for poets. Marriage has always been about a consolidation of power, wealth, and status. a 50/50 relationship is more doomed to fail (look at our divorce rate) compared to non-equitable one (but define equitable please) if you look around the rest of the world. I do not know what it means when people say 50/50 relationship. i know of no marriage that is a 50/50 split. i would think that if you wanted to remain so independent you would remain single. the poets would suggest that you marry, because the other person makes you a better person, making up for your deficiencies in one area while enhancing in others and vice versa. we seem to get lassoed around the notion that an equitable marriage is equitable finances. Even the poets would disagree with that notion. i’m amused by how much we want to expunge the notion marriage is about the consolidation of wealth, power, and status, that we end up back to marriage being about equitable financial disposition.

i love the millionairematchmaker, and my wife and i constantly joke that if either one of us kick the bucket we will use the insurance money and call up Patty.

anyways, the reasons for marrying is a value judgment, and to criticize someone else’s reasons for marrying simply based on our own definition of marriage, seems disingenuous. the more important question is why you even care and why it even bothers you so much. if we focused on how we are doing, it doesn’t matter what others are doing—that is, unless you are trying to compare yourself with others. that isn’t healthy now is it?

11 Honey July 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

My boyfriend makes about twice as much money as I do. We split the rent proportionally to our income since that is the biggest expense and then divide utilities, cable, etc. 50/50. He has billable hours at his job though, and works about twice as many hours a week as I do – so as an added deal between the two of us I do almost all the cooking and household chores (which is fine with me as I am a hobby cook and have a higher standard of clean than he does) and he pays for everything whenever we go out. This has not been a problem for us for the most part – there have been a couple of times where things get skewed one way or the other (usually he gets busy and we don’t go out for awhile) but then I am free to tell him that he needs to take me out more and he does :-) Works for us!

12 ichimunki August 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Whew! This is something I have been privately grappling with for awhile. My husband makes more than 3 times as much as I do. He currently pays for our rent, utilities, cable and vacations. We have separate accounts. We also have a pre-nuptial agreement which stipulates that if we divorce, I leave with my money and he leaves with his. However, we understand that I might end up being a stay at home mother and have to quit my job in which case he will contribute to my retirement account and savings account the same as if I was working. In case of divorce, I get a small settlement to keep me going for a couple of months as well. I take care of the cleaning and other household duties. However, I feel unsettled by the prospect of perhaps relying too much on this lifestyle. I don’t actually spend very much on myself and I don’t expect my husband to shower me with gifts either which is why I save close to 40% of my gross salary. The rest of my funds are consumed with regular (small) spending and high taxes. I’m really hoping I can save enough to be financial secure without my husband and feel financial secure as a stay at home mom as well without having to act like a child asking for allowances. I think this situation of having a wealthy spouse can be very tricky. Gifts are never free!

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