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Baby bottle and blocks on African American woman's desk

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When I was dumb, and in my twenties (no tea, no shade), I remember having a conversation about relationships with some random guys, at a homecoming I was attending with friends. During this conversation, I stated, with a very stank attitude, that I would not mind if my imaginary husband stayed at home with our imaginary kids while I worked. It was a statement made out of pure arrogance — that my career would be more important than my imaginary husband’s career, and, if need be, he would have to give his career up to tend to the children. The statement was made from a standpoint of someone who had not been in a long term/committed relationship for some time, and it was also made by someone who had never had to sacrifice or compromise in a relationship. Again, I was in my twenties, and stupidly arrogant and naive.

Today, after being married for two years, witnessing marriages of friends and loved ones, and also dialing down my arrogance due to life kicking me in the behind, I recognize that sacrifice, in all relationships, is inevitable.

In today’s society, women are making formidable strides in the workplace. Due to unfortunate situations, such as 2008’s recession, many families were faced with unemployment of a partner, or even both at the same time. Between 2008 and 2013, I was only dating, and not married, but during this time, both my boyfriend and I experienced being unemployed at separate times. He would take on all costs of our dates and trips when I was not working, and I made certain to not request extravagant anything while he was unemployed. It was also during this time that I saw how married people handled unemployment in their families, particularly my female friends who had an unemployed husband or male partner.

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Some of the men I knew absolutely abhorred being in this position and made every move possible to return to the workforce, even if it meant taking work that wasn’t as lucrative as their previous work. There was also some instances where I was made aware of some men who just lost all hope, and preferred to stay on the couch watching SportsCenter and eating all of the groceries while their woman was at work. Again, there were many faces and examples that I saw.

More than anything, every man that I personally have ever known to be unemployed, for whatever reason (i.e. – layoffs, a family move, unlawful termination, etc.), did NOT like it. No matter the age, where they lived, or how much they had saved in the bank, these men did not feel their best by being home.

Dating or being married to man who is not working is hard. Not only do the partners and wives to these men have to go to work to bring home the bacon, they also, most times, have to cook it and serve it too. Women who are making more than their partners, or are the sole providers of their families also have to offer encouragement to them to keep going for the job their man ultimately wants.

How does a woman being the primary breadwinner change relationship dynamics, and is it a deal breaker? Again, sacrifice is inevitable in mature relationships, but deep down, do women, who are the primary breadwinners in their family, feel a sense of anger, resentment, or disappointment towards their man? Do “antiquated” notions of specific gender roles need to be revised?

Speak on it !

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