Nowadays, there are several factors that point to black women turning the tables on that age-old mentality that the man should be the main baller and shot-caller in a relationship. Research shows that black women are the fastest-growing population of entrepreneurs in the U.S., and 35% of married black women outearn their husbands, according to the Institute for Family Studies. Add to that the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics findings that indicate 36 percent of black women work in management, professional, and related occupations---the bureau's highest-paying major occupational category---compared to 25 percent of black men. Considering these factors, there's a possibility that sis might make more than her bae.
Money is always an awkward but important topic in any relationship. Below, five men, all from various walks of life and occupations, sound off on how a woman's coin plays a role in dating and choosing their mate.
She Can Make More, But at Least Reach for the Check
"I've honestly never filtered anyone initially based on salary, as I think other qualities mean more to me. That said, it would be nice if the person I am dating is relatively comfortable in their specific financial space as well as driven and ambitious. I understand why it is difficult in a situation where a lady earns more, especially when the man desires to be the provider. I think it can work once the woman doesn't hold it above his head, and once the man is secure enough in the pillars of the relationship itself so that her extra earnings don't intimidate him. I find that when you are a man, your line of work doesn't even matter. The expectation is that you will take care of things financially, especially on dates. What I do like is a woman who is fair. If we are dating, at the very least, I sometimes want to see you reach for your purse and show some intention to assist or even pay sometimes. Allow me to tell you, 'No. It's OK. I got this.'"
--Mario Guthrie Evon, medical doctor and musician, single, Kingston, Jamaica
Bae Supported My Entrepreneurial Glow Up
"We've been married about a year but lived together for over 10 years while in a relationship. Over the course of that period, our salaries fluctuated. Not long after graduating college, I landed a couple of promotions and held a role that paid extremely well. When my girlfriend (now wife) finished graduate school, she moved into my place. While she was job hunting, I paid the mortgage, bills, etc. And even after she landed her first position, I continued to pay in full instead of splitting things up, not because it felt like a masculine action but because I was making so much more than she was. Later down the line, as we went through career transitions, she did the same for me. I started my own business, and she covered the expenses in the meantime."
--Christopher Taylor, founder of Occupation Optimist, married, Atlanta
What’s Hers is Mine, and Our Roles are Fluid
"In my line of work, I meet women who make more than me all the time---especially women who have MBAs or multiple degrees. I'm here for it! I can leave my job [if I want], take care of the kids, and do some entrepreneurial things. If you're good, we're good. Some of us have career passions and jobs that are just not going to have high salaries. It just is what it is. For so long it's been told to us that we're supposed to be the providers and head of the household financially, but we also don't live in the age in which that was a thing. Women now have jobs and are obtaining titles that their mothers and grandmothers didn't have the opportunity to do. That's where the shift [in mentality] needs to come in terms of men. The idea of being a provider or protector doesn't have to be tied to finances. As a self-sufficient man, I should find a self-sufficient woman, and we can build something together that's amazing."
--Brandon Frame, Nonprofit Professional, founder of The Black Man Can, dating, New York
He Still Has to Hold It Down
"I'm pretty old-school and traditional. I feel like men are supposed to be the providers. I can go to work to get money, so some of the other things really count. The person's heart is definitely important. My father [taught me] that as long as you're doing what you have to do to contribute--holding down your family--that's what's most important. As long as I'm doing what I have to do to lead our household and set an example, that's all that really matters. It's one pot, really. It shouldn't be looked at as whoever has the bigger pot has more control or power. We're a team. Naturally, as a provider, I'm going to cover as much as I can. If she can contribute, then she should but if the situation calls for her staying home because we have children that we're raising and that makes more sense, then I don't mind. You should welcome someone who makes more money. That's more money for the both [of your goals.]"
--Jonathan Charles, IT Professional, founder of Carnivalist App, in a relationship, New York
If We Live Together, We Split the Bills
"I once dated a legal professional who also owned a barbershop. She definitely made more than I did at the time. Due to career obligations, it just didn't work out, so money had nothing to do with it. The fact that she had a nice salary and a business was nice, but I liked her for her outgoing personality. She was fun to be around. If living together, though, I expect my girl and I to both pay the bills, and for dates, it's interchangeable; I'll pay some, and she could sometimes. The split of household bills would depend on how much more she makes. For example, if she can afford an S550 Mercedes and I can only afford a Toyota Camry, she should pay for the Benz. Granted, I wouldn't leave her hanging if she doesn't have the funds to cover the bill one month."
--Deven Robinson, Digital Media Producer, single, New York
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