Like macho men? Be prepared to earn less

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Shine On

In the age of mandatory double incomes (well, for most folks, anyway), you'd think when a woman earns more than her live-in boyfriend or husband, the extra dough would be welcome.

But… nope. A new study out of Fordham University in New York claims "macho" men are still threatened by their female partners pulling in a higher salary.

What's more, the small study claims, these same rugged, manly men say the income difference leads to a strain on their relationship as it wounds their male pride.

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But don't worry, ladies. If you're cohabiting with a man for whom these masculine conventions are less important, the fact that you're bringing in the bacon won't make a whit of difference.

In fact, the study claims men who care less about traditionally constructed gender roles tend to enjoy better quality relationships with their female partners even when their partner earns more money.

Researchers Patrick Coughlin and Jay Wade interviewed 47 men in a romantic relationship with a woman who pulled in bigger bank on the job.  Their findings are published online in the journal Sex Roles.

Through a series of online questions, the researchers analyzed their subjects' responses on everything from their beliefs on masculinity, the quality of their relationship, and how they felt about their female partners earning more than they did.

As two-income families have increasingly become the norm and more women than ever are choosing career over kids, Coughlin and Wade were interested in exploring how a shift in traditionally held roles has affected both the experience of marriage and the quality of romantic relationships.

They found that men who clung to old-fashioned notions that a husband's status as breadwinner was also tied to his power and authority in the family couldn't handle the idea of a wife challenging that position. These men also reported lower quality romantic relationship than their more progressive counterparts.

The same applied for non-married men in domestic partnerships.

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These findings are curious in light of another recent survey from Prudent Financial which claims American women are currently outpacing men as primary breadwinners.

Perhaps macho American men might want to consider a move up north. The latest Statscan figures reveal Canadian women still earn on average 25 per cent less than men and are performing the bulk of all household chores when they get home.

What do you think of the attitudes expressed in the study? Should more traditional family values be upheld, or do these guys need to get with the times?

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