Monday, April 30, 2012

When she makes money ...

In my marriage, I was the breadwinner three-fold over the STBX.

Photo Credit: slate.com
For what it's worth (pun intended), it never really mattered to me that I made more money (at least it didn't initially, but more on that in a moment), because I have never been the type to weigh one's income when falling in love.

It just isn't my style.

While being showered with gifts from a man can be flattering, and even though being financially supported by a man toys with the overly romanticized idea of "chivalry", it all feeds into that old-fashioned and materialistic assumption of a man having to provide for his woman that just rubs the independent feminist inside of me in all the wrong ways.  Male "masters of the universe" that flaunt their wealth in an effort to impress me have always pissed me off more than they've ever turned me on.

I'm too much of an, "I can provide for myself" type-of-woman to hold any sort of value in a man's ability to financially provide for and support me.  Instead, I've always treasured a man's generosity of his time, affection, spontaneity and caring so much more.  I find being both adored and respected as both a companion and lover a hell of a lot more attractive than being doted on with the giving of material things.

Accordingly, the STBX's dismal earning potential as it compared to mine never played a significant part in the factors of why I got hitched when I should have ditched.  The dynamic that played out, however, over the course of our engagement and marriage due to the uneven financial contributions to our lives did play a part in the ultimate demise of our marriage.

Why?


First and foremost, I think the financial burdens we went through as a married couple stemmed from the fact that we didn't share common financial values and goals from the get-go.  While I actively sought to live within our means, wanting to build up our savings and retirement while we paid down our debts, he squandered away every extra dime made whether I had a say in it or not.  In fact, he had gotten so far into credit card debt behind my back, he was forced to file for personal bankruptcy less than two months into our legal separation.  Words can not even begin to express how grateful I am to have gotten out of that mess when I did before he was able to drag me farther down the dark road of debt ...  

Divorce may be expensive, and I may be struggling a bit right now managing it all as a single, working mother going through a divorce, but oh-boy is it worth it when I think of how different things could have been had I stayed.

I knew that love and money didn't mix well for us when I finally realized that I wasn't being supported in all of the other ways that are generally expected when supposedly in a loving relationship and fulfilling marriage.  I started to resent what I began to view as my unfair contribution to our life together because I felt as if I was being taken advantage of.  Ultimately, actions were made on my part that were fueled by said resentment and I ended up emasculating the STBX to the point where we constantly found ourselves in a vicious power struggle tied squarely to our bank accounts.

Now that I'm dating again, I'm finding myself looking back on the economic experience of my failed marriage so that I might somehow piece together what went wrong with how we mishandled money as a couple in hopes that similar mistakes might be avoided in my future. Not only am I dating in a recession where women my age are more likely to out-earn their male counterparts, but I recently read that one of the biggest issues that can plague a second marriage after one or both partners have been previously divorced are those surrounding money.

As unromantic as it may be to think about money when thinking about love, I'm smart enough to know that I have to think about money and what it might do to the dynamics of a new love.  I can't afford not to.  Starting over wonderful is going to take some serious work in some aspects, and I know for a fact that learning from my mistakes is part of the journey to get there.  Once again this blog is my attempt to do just that. I come here to try and figure this stuff out.  You, dear reader, get to read along and either watch me fail or rise up out of the ash ...

For those ignorants that think I should be intentionally looking to date someone with a higher earning potential than myself merely because of the "exonomics" that led to my divorce, as if that might somehow save me from ever having to deal with similar issues with a man ever again, I hope the brick of reality I'm about to throw out there right now doesn't hit you too squarely between the eyes.

Some women may get wet when a man makes more money, but I am not just "some" woman. Not only do I find choosing a mate based on financial criteria to be dangerous, but I particularly find it nonsensical.  Just because someone might be 'ole Moneybags, or even just a regular-Joe who's been consistently financially responsible, the promise of financial "security" that might be offered up by a man more well-off than myself does not automatically translate into the makings of a healthy and happy relationship.  One word proves my point in a nutshell:  Hollywood.  If money bought happiness, then celebrities wouldn't have a divorce rate more abysmal than the national average.  'Nuff said.

Still, I find myself wondering how to ensure mixing up a more appeasing cocktail of love and money the second time around.  Especially since I've recently started seeing a man (who I'll be referring to here from this point forward as my own personal, James Dean -- because yes, he is that damn sexy!) that I am currently out-earning.  I don't think that I would definitely be forever out-earning him, but there is a possibility depending on a variety of factors.  Throw in the curve-ball that we are both divorced with children from our first marriage and yeah, I can't help but feel haunting pangs of those "exonomics" stabbing at my insides.

My past is screaming at me so that I will learn from it.  Starting over wonderful as a woman with earning power means love and money is something to not only think about moving forward with James Dean, but something up for some serious discussion between the two of us.

Why?

Because I am totally in love with him.

For what it's worth (again, pun intended), I treasure the generosity of his time, affection, spontaneity and caring so much more than anything else in the world.  And that's worth everything.

31 comments:

  1. Reading your blog and taking in what you say not only when we are together but being able to see other things that are on your mind when we are apart (for the extremely short spans of time we actually are not together) makes me fall even deeper in love with you day by day... Neither of us knows what the future holds but IMO I hope and kind of know that things will fall into place the way they need for our already loving relationship to further blossom into the even more amazing one we already share. I see daily of our future entwined together and that makes me more happy than anything else in this world... Yes we both have "exonomics" but its something we both have to deal with... especially seeing we both have children but I know that even if I have to work a million hours a week for you to be able to accomplish the dreams that you want to make come true I am more than willing to do whatever it takes so that we grow into and even better couple than we are now... All we need to do is be honest and talk to each other... If my marriage taught me something its that you need to be able to be completely open and honest with the person you are with and plan on spending your life together with, because without communication then the walls of anger and resent begin to show their ugly faces and I DO NOT want that to ever happen to you and I Phenom... I treasure and appreciate you and how I am when I'm with you way too much to let that feeling ever fade...

    Missing you
    YA Tebya Lyubulu

    <3 James Dean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you sure about all of this? *smirk*

      Apparently, I'm dead inside baby. Just in case you missed the troll below's opinion on the matter ...

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    2. Well then I have no soul either and I'm dead too... I must be totally doped up on stuff that makes me numb to any and all types of emotional output

      <3 You
      James Dean

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    3. We can be dead together! Whoop Whoop!!

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    4. Thats it. You are officially allowed to keep this one :) You may continue with the wonderfully adorable sentiments, Mr james dean, ONLY if you come teach it to my SO.

      lol Phenom!

      Delete
  2. As any other blog I've read about divorced women, yours is pretentious and self inflicting. By labeling yourself as a " divorced " woman and leading us through these mindless dronings of yours, you somehow self assign yourself a deeper wisdom and understanding of life than any of your stable, mature, and possibly married counterparts could possibly understand. Furthermore, you overextend your use of the English language to veil your fundamental lack of insight. Your new relationship is clearly based on the fact that you are completely dead inside and cannot handle facing the current situation of divorce without an emotional distraction, however superficial it may be.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, hater. Thank you for sharing.

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    2. Shut the hell up, dude. If you don't like what she has to say, then don't read it and definitely - DEFINITELY - don't comment on it.

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    3. For fun, let's analyze your venom ...

      First of all, if you're so happily married why on earth are you spending time reading divorce blogs? You start off your hatred admitting that you have experience reading this type of material, so I can only assume that you're either a) unhappy and researching about divorce or b) jealous of the divorcee's freedom.

      Secondly, all blogs are pretentious. Then, you clearly display your utter lack of intelligence by alleging that I am somehow both pretentious and self inflicting. The two are conflicting concepts. Get a clue.

      For the record, I am not divorced. I am in the middle of one. I have made that clear here. Maybe you should click over through the archives and start from the beginning. You know, since you have so much time on your hands?

      One thing you are right about is that I have "self assigned" myself a deeper wisdom through blogging. Isn't that the point? In the last six months, I have learned more about myself, human nature, social media, divorce, co-parenting, dating post divorce and the general fuckery that encompasses blog troll haters like yourself. Blogging has taught me tons. Usually, when people gain knowledge they inherently become wiser.

      As for your allegations regarding married people in general, I know plenty of married folk who are the most immature, asinine people out there. A marriage licence does not automatically grant you any more maturity, emotional stability or even a deeper understanding of the meaning of life any more than a driver's license does. Your arguments here lack any basis in logic. Your insight is dim.

      Regarding my new relationship, if I were dead inside I highly doubt I would have attracted such a giving, caring, loyal and generous man that lights up my world like no other before him.

      Lastly, it is ludicrous for you to try and make others reading here believe that I am merely seeking emotional distraction from my divorce. This blog is about my divorce. How can I be running away from something I am actively confronting on a public forum for all of the world to read about?

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    4. Wow, Phenom. That response is EPIC. Good for you!

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    5. That's because I am EPIC, Emily. Isn't that what being pretentious is all about?

      I am obviously important enough for the hater to not only read my "mindless dronings" (WTF, are "dronings"? anyway -- try spell check, much!?!!!), but they felt that I was SO important they had to tell me so. In a comment. On a blog they don't like. Hmmm ...

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    6. FABULOUS response, Phenom :)

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    7. What the hell is wrong with you? Why do you go out looking for people you disagree with just to tell them they're stupid. Phenom doesn't claim to be smarter than us, she claims to be searching for a deeper wisdom. Anyone searching for a deeper wisdom is living a more purposeful life than someone going around randomly telling people they're stupid. It's a choice to read her blog and to learn with her, from her mistakes and from her epiphanies. I am happy to join her on the journey. You should find someone else to journey with. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. I couldn't have said it better myself anonymous.

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    Replies
    1. If you're the "real" Phenom. Than whom am I? Damn it! Now I am surely screwed.

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    2. <3 haters

      They make me laugh

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    3. I love them for many reasons. The laughs being first and foremost, of course. But also because they generally give my traffic a bit of a boost. With traffic comes more influence and exposure in all the right ways ... this blog is important to me and I am really proud of it. The few asshats that like to troll around in the comments can't take my success away from me for one second. Sadly, if they knew that they wouldn't bother commenting ...

      Delete
  4. I have to agree with your troll there Phenom. You do talk about yourself a lot. I mean what do you think this is? Your journey? What are you trying to accomplish? Something wonderful?

    Oh, maybe you are just trying to help other women who are in the same situation but have no clue how to get out of it or maybe do not see the signs? Or maybe those same women have no clue just how wonderful getting rid of a crappy husband is?

    *Gasp* How dare you!

    I have been married for almost 8 years. I paid $80 to get my marriage license. Well only $25 of it was to get married. $55 of it was for a spousal abuse tax that the state of MN charges. I laughed and asked the lady to explain why I was paying so much and she said because abuse starts when you day "I DO".. So remember that ladies.. The County Clerk office in Olmsted County, MN will explain this to you if you ask.
    She looked at me shocked when I said that I would get my $55 worth of abuse out of him. (Hey, I didn't make the tax and I am sure he likes it ;) )

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that my $25 makes me an expert. I know all!!
    Oh wait, I think the all knowing came from being a Mom.
    Damn.

    Either way, keep it up Phenom. I a happily married woman love your blog. While I am not going through what you are, I love to see how strong a woman can be when there is no other option. You have helped many. Some have commented, some have not.

    As for your trolls, have fun because you sure do make me laugh and those laughs make me happy that no one poured bleach in your gene pool :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now this is what I call EPIC.

      Love!!!!! Where is the love button? Hello, blogspot ... it's me, the real, REAL Phenom. Can we add a love button here? Mmmmk? Thanks!

      Delete
  5. Honey, I think you're in lust. But that's how love usually starts, soo... you go girl! And good luck.

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    Replies
    1. Have you ever read up on the three stages of love based from our biology and psychology?

      Stage 1, The Initial Lust and Desire Stage
      Stage 2, The Attraction and Star-Struck Stage
      Stage 3, The Attachment and Bonding Stage

      Based on what I've studied in my very limited dappling in psychology, I would confidently argue that we've moved past the Lust Stage and are wholeheartedly in the second stage where real relationships are built upon ... that stage where you're madly in love and can't get enough of one another? Yeah, we are totally there :)

      http://www.youramazingbrain.org/lovesex/sciencelove.htm

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  6. Stage 4, When he realizes you're a lunatic and runs.

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    Replies
    1. LMAO!!! Thanks.

      If I am crazy, why are you reading my psychotic babble? What does that say about YOU, dear anonymous hater?

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    2. That I am bored.

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    3. It's ok I like crazy people... If you can't beat them you might as well join them

      :)

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    4. LMAO. I fucking love you, James Dean.

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  7. To get back to the point of the blog entry being a married woman who also makes significantly more than her husband. Money is a significant issue in many marriages. But the curent role reversal we are finding in our culture is a new phenomenon. I did not learn from my parents "discussions" about money anything I can use in our "discussions" anout money. My husband is much more fiscally conservative much like you Phenom but I "make" the money so it is hard to be told no when I want something that we have not budgeted for. Open ommunication on all issues and a sincere desire to make everyone heard is key to the issue of money as well as any other of the myriad of challenges a couple faces.

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    Replies
    1. Finally! Someone has something to say about female breadwinners and how this is an increasingly more and more common phenomenon for our generation. Thank you. SO MUCH!

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    2. Well seeing I am on the receiving end of this blog post I do have to say this one thing. Statistically speaking men are losing jobs in this country like crazy the unemployment rate statistically showing "between the sexes" is very different. The male population of the country is currently sitting at a 9.2% unemployment rate which is a lot higher than the national average of about 7-8%. women on the other hand are being hired into jobs quicker than men for some oddball reason. Maybe it's because many women are better organized than men or it could be the fact that they can handle multiple tasks easier than men can I have no idea, but the mommy aspect of things does come into play when I see the decisions why women in the workforce are growing faster than men... This HAS been an ongoing trend since the turn of the 20th century and is now coming around to more equal rights for both within the workforce... (If you would like a decent example of this check out my publication from this past winter (my shameless plug)
      http://pvhn2.wordpress.com/1900-2/women-of-the-springfield-armory-world-war-i-world-war-ii/

      but anyway back on the subject... When I started to date the amazing woman you all know as Phenom I had no idea how much she made, nor did I care and I still don't care if she out earns me at all... She is a strong independent woman and I love her for who she is as a person, NOT how much she takes home... That is not a measure of love. When my career finally dos take off within the next 6 months I will actively pursue her to go out and make sure that she accomplishes her dreams so she can go out and do what she really loves to do within her life... Reason being is I love her wholeheartedly and want to see her succeed in whatever she does and if she fails at something well I will raise her up and tell her that I'm still proud of her because she tried and made a valiant attempt and no matter what happens I will be there to hold her hand every single step of the way through all of her endeavors...

      <3 you babe

      ME

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  8. I've never been with a man who earned more than I did. The one I met and dated who did earn more ended up calling me pretentious and breaking things off when he realized he couldn't buy his way to my heart. Odd that that same word got thrown around here as well!

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    Replies
    1. I prefer the word, "pompous".

      I even more so prefer the phrase, "pompous windbag".

      Tidbit of Phenom Info: when I was in first grade, I got in trouble for calling some kid on the playground a "pompous windbag". Cinderella was my favorite movie at the time, and I was merely quoting the genius writers of Disney!! Anyway, when my teacher called my Mom and told her, dead serious PO'd at me being the little shit that I was, my Mom busted out laughing. The teacher retorted, offended, "I don't think this is funny Mrs. Phenom". My Mom was like, "She's six! Obviously, the kid is a genius!!"

      Classic!!

      Delete

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