Alpha women, beta men

BY PENDA HONEYGHAN

Monday, December 10, 2018

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THE dynamics of families are changing, with a growing number of women out-earning their partners and assuming the role of breadwinners. But this does not sit well with some men, who are socialised to be chest-beating breadwinners, resulting in massive bruises to their egos and often unhappy consequences at home.

And while it may be difficult for some men to cope with the women having more financial muscle, relationship counsellor Wayne Powell said there are a number of ways that a man can still retain some amount of masculine appeal.

“The reality is that as the economic landscape changes, so do the dynamics in relationships. More women remain in school and so are more qualified to secure high-paying jobs while men are less inclined to do the higher education journey. It is not surprising therefore that many women are the sole breadwinners in the family. As a result, men have had to redefine their roles in relationships,” Powell said.

Below Powell explains how men can still retain some amount of masculine appeal when the fairer sex is the family's main economic actor:

Reassess relationship roles

The woman may be earning more but that does not make the man's contribution any less, and a good man will want to make sure that his contribution is substantial. He can also offer greater support with completing maintenance work around the house that the couple would have had to pay to get done. His willingness to make work lighter for the woman will make a happier woman and a happier home.

Don't try to compete

Recognise that it is not a competition; a relationship should be a partnership. The moment a man learns this the easier it will be for him to function in the relationship. When a woman is earning more and is therefore the main economic contributor to the family, a man may want to focus on supporting his wife instead of being thin-skinned and acting out. Be her biggest fan, cheer her on, and help her even in advancing her career.

Don't quit your job

Even though the woman may be the breadwinner of the household, a man shouldn't quit his job to take care of the household and/or children unless it is completely necessary. In addition, he should continue to contribute to whatever bills that he can. Not only will this lead to a healthier savings account for the couple, but it will lead to a greater feeling of satisfaction in the relationship and reduces the possibility of the man feeling less than a man.

Explore other ways of earning

He may never earn as much as she does, but he can make an extra effort to bring more to the table financially by exploring other avenues in addition to his primary source of income to earn extra money. So, for example, invest in the stock market, learn a skill, or find creative ways to earn extra online. Having an additional source of income will definitely make the man more comfortable since he will be earning more and will be able to do more.

Improve yourself

He should consider improving himself — so whether this may be trying to find a better paying job that will provide added benefits or going back to school, this can make a woman respect and appreciate a man more since he will not only be positioning himself to earn more, but women appreciate men who value education.

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