How a wife earning more can affect her husband - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

How a wife earning more can affect her husband

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -

In the last 20 years, the number of women making more money than their spouses has grown from about four percent to 22 percent. For some men, that's a problem.

"Some men may feel a sense that their manlihood is being challenged. Many men want to be the provider. They see being the provider as the most important thing that they bring to the family. If they're not the primary provider, in some cases the men can definitely feel a sense of inadequacy," said Beaumont psychiatrist Dr. Howard Belkin.

Research done in Denmark found when a woman's wages surpass her spouse's, the men are about ten percent more likely to battle erectile dysfunction, insomnia and anxiety.

"Many men are uncomfortable with the concept of being a house husband and the concept of a working wife with a house husband. In certain cases, this is the new way of society. It's something that's important for men and for women to become accustom to," Belkin said.

He has seen the salary struggle firsthand.

"There can be a good deal of anxiety. There can be depression, and definitely there can be anger, irritability and resentment," Belkin said.

So what is a guy supposed to do? Admitting or being aware of the problem is the first step, and Belkin said you need to look at your spouse as a member of your team. It's not a competition between the two of you.

"There really isn't a lot of relevancy who it is who's making the money. As long as the family is healthy, the family is doing well," Belkin said.

Maybe if the wife is the breadwinner, the husband finds another way to contribute to the family in a way that the wife is unable.

One interesting note, the researchers found if the woman was already making more money than the man when they first met, salary did not have a significant influence on the man's health and well-being as the marriage progressed.

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