Female Breadwinners Renegotiate Relationships

Maria Shriver’s team at NBC recently interviewed me to discuss my relationship advice for female breadwinners based on my book, When She Makes More. You can check out an excerpt here. For the entire Q&A please visit NBC News.

Farnoosh Torabi is a financial expert, author and speaker, but she’s also a breadwinning woman, and in her new book, “When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women,” Torabi uses her own experience, as well as a host of research, to explore how a woman’s paycheck can impact her dating life, relationships, and marriage.

Torabi’s data presents a pretty grim picture, showing female breadwinners are less likely to marry and are more likely to divorce if they do so. And while she did find couples who are navigating the dynamic with success, she also found breadwinning women who feel resentful of their partners and find themselves asking: What do I need you for?

Here, Torabi discusses the pull of primitive instincts when it comes to gender roles, the pressures men face when it comes to work-life balance, and why she felt the need to state her book is not about feminism. 

How has your husband handled your decision to talk about the fact that you’re the breadwinner?

He has been really supportive and throughout the process we have been very communicative. We did have some ground rules, not because I was trying to protect his ego, but because money is something that I feel very passionate about, but I also believe that some things are best kept private. We decided as a couple that we weren’t going to disclose things like our income. I don’t mention where he works. I was very sensitive to the fact that while I was writing what I thought was the reality of our life I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just my interpretation of things either.

You have refereed a lot of heated dinner party conversations about female breadwinners. Why do people get so charged up about this issue?

Well, money, for both genders, is a very emotional topic. And then when you add to the topic this layer of gender complexity, and people coming at this idea of a woman earning more with such different ideas of whether it’s appropriate or not, or how they would feel about it, or how this dynamic can or can not work, or whether it’s healthy.

It all stems from the fact that we all come from various backgrounds culturally and also in terms of our upbringings. How we were introduced to money and our memories of financial events in our lives, all shapes how we relate to money.

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