Online entrepreneurship is giving rise to a growing number of women working location-independent in their own businesses who are earning more than their male partners. While it’s exhilarating and liberating for women to be smashing traditional stereotypes and leaving the slow train of wage equality in their wake, as with any change they may face resistance and discomfort.
Couples don’t usually struggle with sharing a juicier bank account but they do struggle with what it takes to create a significant increase in household income through building a highly profitable business. Making big money doesn’t just happen and online entrepreneurs put in countless hours of intense focus to get businesses up from scratch and keep the content flowing once they gather a following. Old-school gender mindsets about who the primary provider should be are not just challenged when a female entrepreneur starts killing it online – they’re obliterated. For many couples, if a female entrepreneur who used to earn less than her man starts pulling in the big money it brings a plethora of new demands and stressors to negotiate. It’s essential to be mindful of the changes in assumptions and the morphing of roles that may need to happen, so both partners can adapt fast and keep the core of their relationship connected, safe and trusting.
How do you do that?
Decades of couple research tells us that the major factor determining whether a couple relationship survives over the long-term or falls apart, is how partners respond when inevitable life pressures hit them.
Ladies bringing in the big bucks online and eclipsing their partner’s earnings is a relatively new phenomena – so don’t be hard on yourselves if success is messing with your assumptions and your egos. You’re pioneers – the first generation for this to be something that’s even possible, not just because we have the tech but because we’ve loosened up enough on gender roles to celebrate everyone’s success. But, that doesn’t mean it’s easy for couples to make the adjustments necessary for a woman to be a highly successful primary breadwinner as well as a mother and partner. Parts of us can still cling to wanting to control the traditional gender-role areas such as cooking or childcare even when we’re working such long or intense hours it’s impossible to do it all. You’ve both got to get your heads around surrendering some areas of control and ego in favour of love, growth, support and flexibility. Relationships need flexibility; growth demands flexibility – choose to flex and work with new circumstances because – WARNING – excessive rigidity leads to cracks under pressure.
Talk about your lives and how you’re feeling everyday. Keeping the conversation flowing about your goals and desires individually and as a couple means staying in touch with each other’s heart under pressure. You need to remember WHY you’re doing what you’re doing and why it matters for both of you to help stay aligned with each other’s values.
Create a strategy for how you make your core life decisions, including financial decisions as a team. Regardless of who is bringing in the bickies, it’s essential to share the power around important decisions. Lack of a shared decision-making strategy or an overall team attitude are the major reasons why money and business become relationship problems rather than things to celebrate and enjoy together.
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Be the love that you are,
Writer, psychologist and couple therapist, Debra has consulted on everything from panic to depression, parenting, grief and relationships. She collaborated for four years with maverick psychotherapist Dr Francis Macnab on thought-leadership and program creation around wellbeing and spirituality. Their Centre for Wellbeing project was a finalist in The Melbourne Awards. She ran Newport Yoga Centre for a decade while studying for a PhD in psychology. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals in Australia and the U.S. Debra is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and creator of The School of Love relationship-saving eCourse.