I have a good job at a good company making good money. I just turned 31, and I really want a man – someone who can provide for a family. But, as a Black woman, I find it hard to find a Black man with a good salary. Also, I must say I haven’t received a lot of attention from non-Black men . But, the ones who are paying me attention don’t seem to be doing that well financially. Maybe I should just be looking for a good man, but it’s hard for me to seriously consider someone who makes less than I do for marriage.
I would like your help in thinking this through.
PS I love your articles and read them all the time.
Dear Loyal Fan,
First of all, thanks for your patience. I’ve had some family and health challenges lately, which have prevented me from writing. Things are a little more stabilized now, and I’m slowly getting caught up with everything. So, thanks for your loyalty and patience. It is much appreciated.
Now, about your situation … First of all, you are not alone. The reality is that even though on average, women still make about 70% of what men make on the job, there are more and more single women who find themselves dating men who make less money. This is a by-product of the great strides women have made in the workforce, shattering many of the glass ceilings which had previously held us back. Things still aren’t equal, though. We still have a long way to go.
However, while there have been changes in women’s salaries, our attitudes about who should be the breadwinner in the home should be haven’t changed. Your own attitude about it proves this. You admit that it would be hard to seriously consider a man for marriage if he made less money than you do. And believe me, I understand how you feel. I mean, we all grew up with stories about Prince Charming sweeping in and taking care of us, right? And no matter how accomplished we become professionally, in the back of our minds, many of us still want that fairytale.
But we all need to get real! Those fairytales were written when more women stayed home than were in the workforce. And honestly? None of those stories were really written for us Black girls. So, we need to release those unrealistic and antiquated ideas about what marriage really is and face facts. In today’s economy, it usually takes two incomes to live comfortably. And if both of those incomes are coming into the same household, does it really matter whose is larger, the man’s or the woman’s?
Listen, the reality is that a wealthy man can be a wife beater, chronic cheater and low-down, pumpkin eater just as well as a hard-working, but lower paid man can. Conversely, a hard-working, but lower paid man can be a sweet, supportive, loving husband, just as well as a wealthy man. My point is that what you want is a good man, period.
A good man will take that less than huge salary and stretch it, save it, invest it and do whatever it takes to provide for his family. A bad man can take a huge salary and squander it on other women, drugs, alcohol or gambling, leaving you with far less than what you started with.
Stop looking at paychecks and start looking at personalities. Stop looking for someone to take care of you, and find a man who will take care of business WITH you. After all, if a man is working and bringing home a paycheck (even if it’s smaller than yours), he is contributing to the household. You still have more with his smaller salary than you do without it. And with that smaller salary, you’re not sleeping alone.
Besides, just looking at dollars alone doesn’t give you the whole story. Maybe he’s at the top of his field in an industry that just pays less than yours. Or maybe he doesn’t bring home as much cash, but his job includes other perks like cheaper health insurance, better life insurance, travel perks and other things. Maybe he doesn’t make a whole lot of money on the job, but he’s so skilled at mechanics or household repairs, he can make double that under the table on the weekends doing side jobs. Maybe he doesn’t make as much because he works fewer hours, but that means you get to come home to a clean house, a hot meal, a hot bath and some good lovin’!
Money isn’t everything, my Sista! Give me a good man with a moderate income and I can turn that into a lifetime of bliss!
Don’t get it twisted, though. I don’t believe in supporting a man who isn’t at least doing his part. You may not be making as much as me, Brother, but you’d better be making something! I don’t believe in raising a grown man! And if he is looking for a free ride from you, then he needs to go with a quickness!
You’re only 31, Girlfriend. There’s still plenty of time for you to find the right guy, so stop fretting. I just want you to focus on finding someone who is good to you and for you, and that doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of his paycheck. You’ve got a good job with a good salary, and can take care of yourself. You don’t need a man to do that for you. What you need is a man who will enhance your life in ways that can’t be measured in dollars and cents.
Seek a man who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated; who will love your truest and most authentic self. Find someone with whom you’re compatible … someone you enjoy spending time with. And as long as you two are compatible socially, sexually, spiritually and intellectually, then a disparity between your salaries won’t matter at all. Because if you find the right man for you, you will find a life partner with whom you can build a great life together.