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Much ado about winning the family bread!

india Updated: Feb 01, 2007 16:56 IST
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Traditionally, we are taught that the man is the breadwinner of the family. But what happens when the wife earns more than the husband?

Everyone will agree that sex is probably the number one issue that couples fight over. Not far behind is the issue of money.

With women matching steps with men in almost all the fields, money has become all the more contentious.  Parents are happy if their daughter does well in life, which also means being on solid financial ground. But then they also worry about finding a groom who can match their daughter’s earnings. It’s a Catch 22 situation for them.

So what happens when there is a role reversal in terms of being the bread winner of the family?

The fact is that most of the men and women, however metrosexual, feel incomfortable with the role reversal, especially since we are Indians.

In our growing up period, we are conditioned that the man is the bread winner of the family. This stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Men feel that they are the “protector and provider” of the family. For them, supporting the household fulfills their ego. Women think no differently.

Maybe, it has also to do with the fact that women fantasise about getting married to a man who will not only protect her but also provide her with financial security.

Whether we like it or not, a man who earns less than his wife is looked down upon by relatives and possibly even the wife.

This may lead to problems in some couples. Some women feel resentful if they shoulder most of the household’s financial obligations as also the domestic responsibilities.

So what’s the way out?

For starters, having open and honest discussions about the gender roles.

The woman should make it a point not to mention finances during disagreements or quarrels. Doing so will alienate the man and make him feel inadequate.

Both, the man and the woman need assurances here. And only you, as a couple, can figure out ways to make each other feel comfortable in your gender roles.

If he is the one who fixes things round the house and you make the dinners, you still have tradi tional male-female roles.

Divide responsibilities so that no one is unfairly burdened. Don’t take on everything yourself and be a martyr, blaming him for everything that may go wrong.

The key here is communication. Be upfront, discuss budding resentments early before they fester and grow.

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