What does a modern, egalitarian relationship look like? Is it that each person contributes to the household expenses equally? Is it that both partners take an equal share of household chores? I think that is a wonderful ideal… But then, what if one partner makes significantly more? What if one partner is laid off or wants to go back to school? How does maternity leave impact that 50/50 equation?
Egalitarianism in relationships is really easy in theory; each person in the relationship is equal. Their feelings are equally important, decisions are made jointly, etc. That’s fantastic until problems arise. For example, if one partner makes considerably more and wants more home than the other person can afford, how is that navigated? If one partner is laid off and is unable to half of the living expenses, how does that shift the power?
I’m in no way pining for the days when it was acceptable for men to have the last say in home but…. I’m watching some of my friends and clients really struggle with the need to keep up with their partners.
Scenario 1: person gets laid off at the beginning of the pandemic and must deplete their savings to continue to pay half of the expenses. It’s not that I think that’s wrong but the truth is, when those partners want to retire together, it will be more difficult. Is there another way to navigate that as a unit?
Scenario 2: person goes back to school in order to ultimately make more money and be a better contributor and happier person. Person has two options, work like mad to continue to make the same amount while in school, live off their savings and deplete resources while in school. What is the purpose of living as a unit if we aren’t able to ask for support from each other?
Scenario 3: a person stays home with small children because of medical support needs. Person can look to their partner for financial support or again deplete resources.
There is no one size fits all approach to modern relationships and it is still a relatively new concept to have two incomes as the standard in most households. My question is more around, what is the purpose of partnership? If the purpose is to pool resources so that I don’t have to work as hard… Well, I guess just get a roommate. If the purpose is to pool resources to ensure that we both grow to new heights, then why the need to not share those resources?
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to work on having the life you want, call me and let’s get started!