How to Be the Female Breadwinner Without Becoming Resentful

by Kristina Tahnyak on November 13, 2013 · 1 comment

Basically Perfect Bread Dough | This is the recipe I use to make pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, donuts, and more!

Good morning Dinks.  This is a guest post from Casey at Enjoy!

Women who are financially-independent and the breadwinners in their relationships often find a profound sense of empowerment with each paycheck — but often, that feeling quickly turns to disappointment.

Female breadwinners may feel as if they aren’t crushing any stereotypes at all, but simply falling into the position by default thanks to a pervasive, lackadaisical attitude among the men in their lives. It’s not uncommon for a woman to handle the cooking, cleaning, and financial obligations in her relationship — it can be incredibly disheartening when her significant other, who earns much less, contributes little more than inquiries as to when dinner will be ready.

To ensure that partnership doesn’t lead to resentment, there are a number of steps you can take if you’re the breadwinner.

Female Breadwinners: Dos and Don’ts

Do: Talk openly and early on about money issues

Experts often point to financial issues as the number one cause of problems and break ups in relationships — but that’s not entirely accurate. The real issue in these cases is a lack of communication between partners, and money so happens to be one of those major topics couples would rather not discuss.

However, the only way to ensure resentment and misplaced expectations don’t build up in a relationship, especially when one person in earning and contributing a significantly larger portion of income, is by putting everything out on the table — and early. Open and honest conversation is the key to addressing any resentment a person harbors due to financial strain, and ideally, preventing it in the future.

Don’t: Accept a one-sided situation

Generally, when a woman is the breadwinner in a relationship and struggles with feelings of resentment, it’s because she feels as though her partner is not contributing his fair share. This situation is neither healthy or acceptable.

However, it is not always the financially disadvantaged partner who is totally at fault for those feelings. Once the conversation about money is opened, it can become apparent that clear expectations regarding how each person should contribute were never set in the first place.

Do: Plan for changes to your lifestyle

Of course, life does happen, and it’s not uncommon for couples to find themselves in unexpected periods of lower earnings. April Masini says it’s important to consider your options as a couple when this happens, which include downsizing, cutting back, or changing your lifestyle to preserve cash flow. “These changes can be terrible tests,” she warns, “or they can bring a couple closer together because the couple realizes they’re meeting their changed goals successfully, together.”

Don’t: Compromise your own needs and goals

Even though it’s important for both partners in a relationship to have their perspectives considered, it’s critical the breadwinner also be assertive with her own needs and goals, and not allow the financial shortcomings of her partner to prevent her from reaching them.

For example, if the relationship is so financially strained by one person’s inability to contribute that the breadwinner can’t grow her retirement savings account or pay down expensive debt, it may be necessary to reevaluate whether that relationship is really worth the sacrifice. Sometimes the situation is temporary due to things like health issues or job loss, during which a person may be more willing to compromise. However, when it’s clear that one partner will never fulfill the expectations set forth by the breadwinner, the relationship simply may not work out.

Casey Bond is the managing editor for, your source for the best CD rates, savings account rates, personal finance news and more.


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1 Clarisse @MakeMoney Your Way November 13, 2013 at 6:09 am

I’m the breadwinner in my family, my father was passed six years ago and I need to help my mom and my younger sister. I paid the bills, do the groceries and give my sister an allowance. We already full paid my father’s hospital debt, sometimes it’s really hard but seeing my family will bring me more courage and strength to work harder.

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