-“Doctor…I can’t tell my husband how much I really earn—no way.”

In the traditional marriages of yore, there was a clear cut division of labor as men went out to “earn the daily bread’ and women “stayed home” to take car of the children and the hearth. The resulting asymmetry of power gave men a more powerful say and women had to be submissive.The massive entry of women in the modern workforce changed that paradigm, creating another powerful motivation for emotional frustration.

The newfound labor equity empowered women with stronger rights. Nowadays the couple’s earnings go to a “common fund”, usually administered by women, that enables them to pay all the expenses and save something for a “rainy day.”  When one of the couple’s members earns more than the other, he/she/sie supposedly assumes the bigger expenses. But it is never that easy.

Women that earn more than their partners usually tend to hide their expenses in order not to offend them, especially if they are out of work or downgraded to a lower-paying job. Increasingly women are wearing the pants at home. Some women downsize their lifestyle to match their partners’ in order to preserve the male identity, their virility and their image for their children. When men earn more, there is not a similarly coy attitude, as many wrongly assume that the bigger paychecks automatically entitle them to more respect.

There are special circumstances where the financial infidelity of one of the couple’s members hides much more than an asymmetry in earning power. When they have an affair with someone else—a traditional escapade of men but women are catching up fast—there is a need to hide the extra expenses. Usually it implies using cash instead of credit cards and a great imagination to cover for unusual activities outside the family realm and at odd hours.

Sometimes the discretionary use of funds that belong to the whole family hides pathological conditions like addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling; it could be a bipolar manifestation of a patient in a damaging maniacal cycle. The whole family will suffer the consequences of this abnormal behavior.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

15 thoughts on “The financial infidelity

  1. It’s not rare to see wives earning more than husbands nowadays, in which case we’d assume that hub’s income is of less importance to the marriage than before. According to a research, this isn’t the case, male bread-winning continuing to be central for both marriage formation and its stability.

    Are we too traditional, too conservative or less emancipated? Which one is it, dottore?

    1. Good morning and Happy Sunday my dear friend; thanks for the nice commentary. I believe that the presence, and the active help, of the father in a household is very important for the psycho-social development of the children and, whether die-hard feminists like it or not, for the well-being of their mothers. Since prehistoric times men and women have joined their daily efforts and sacrifices to create that marvelous unit called “a family”, which still is the pillar of our societies. You might be separated from your former sexual partner (like I have been for 18 years already) but you cannot possibly default in the rearing and education of your kids, even at a relative distance. Children are always a sacred, shared compromise. Oh, we’re straying into religion now…I am getting ready to spend a leisurely day at the beach with my daughter and her boyfriend. My son is arriving with her mother from a week-long bus excursion to Mendoza and Chile to their home base in Mar del Plata, Argentina ( I had paid for that trip of course)
      Un baccione. Arrivederci!

      1. Don’t complain, we’re only humans…

        Sunday on the beach sounds like a perfect day to me. Kids ARE a bliss. Enjoy the Sun, says me, looking absentmindedly at the snowy rooftops.

      2. Guess what? It’s getting cloudy and there’s a good possibility of some rainfall. But in South Florida we have the blessing of sunshine most of the day, most of the time. I am going to put some sunblock on my face and work on my signature tan lounging on a chair in my patio. I close my eyes and I can picture you with a tight leather miniskirt, high boots and that whip ready to avenge all the bad moments you passed with me…Mmm.. Oh dear!

      3. You are obsessed!
        One post per day, that is how much my time allows.
        You’ve got a lot of catching up to do yourself.
        Did you read my last post, that is my first attempt at writing poetry (I swear, don’t freak out)?

  2. Major problem since the advent of Women’s Liberation and our ability to be “independently wealthy”. It’s much easier for us to grow into the role of major bread winner than it is for a Man to adjust to the new familial paradigm that has to be addressed. Honest communication,an acceptance of gender equality in its entirety and a good Life Coach/ Therapist are imperative if couples want their relationships/marriage to thrive.
    My marriage ended since my Ex accused me of “emasculating” him by earning X3 more than him effortlessly. Fact was that I had more business savvy than he did for Real Estate and I am nothing short of frugal while he had the Caribbean man’s disease “showing off” ITIS ie living above one’s means and refusing to budget. Always keep your $$$ in a separate account Ladies and let him keep his separate too…have a mutual household account that both of you can use.
    Money and Ego are 1 in most men over 50.

    1. My dear and enigmatic Nesta: good evening and thank you very much for forwarding “a piece of your heart” in this super-sincere commentary. So it seems that this is a real, pressing issue for many working women nowadays. Your sage piece of advice will certainly be followed by other ladies. Happy Holidays and please keep reading my blog. A kiss. Ciao!

  3. It’s time both male and female put on there big people panties and realize that they are in this together. For better or worse, it doesn’t make a difference in who makes what or who does what for a power supremency because being together should be for the best of both not one over one.. This is ridiculous!!! To equate money with power

    1. Dear Sisters: good afternoon and thanks for your all too accurate commentary. It seems that some of the power relationships,i.e. the boss and the subordinate, that are so pervasive in the outside world, get carried inside the homes by some of us to the detriment of the family’s conviviality and peace. Happy Holidays and please keep reading my blog. A big kiss. Ciao!

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