What’s the Best Way to Handle a Large Disparity in Income with a new Dating Partner?

I’m a 36-year-old divorced female. I do not have any children and I operate a successful home business. Three months ago I got into online dating. After a few weeks of trying my luck, I finally met a man who was thoroughly charming and with whom I had a lot in common. We successfully survived the first date and, I am happy to report, that we have been seeing each other ever since. However, the more we see each other the more I can see that he is bothered by the fact that I earn nearly four times as much as he does. I have worked hard to make my business a success so I am not ashamed of making the amount of money that I do. Although my new partner does not admit it, I can tell that our income disparity is a source of friction for him. Is there something that I can do to minimize this discomfort and also prevent potential conflicts that could put our young relationship in jeopardy? I really like him, I would hate to lose him.

dating income disparity

In any relationship, whether you are just starting out as a couple, or if you have been together for years, money will play a role in the relationship. It is unavoidable. That being said, however, it should not be a cause for friction. Unfortunately, in spite of the advances that we have made in our society, many men still feel uncomfortable with their partner earning more than they do.

It would be best for the both of you to sit down and tackle the subject directly. Being that you are in the early stages of the relationship you may feel awkward doing so. We would suggest meeting either at your place or his so that you can have full privacy. Bring up the topic by stating that you want to clear the air. Do not open the dialogue by saying that you feel that he is uncomfortable. If you do, he might feel that you’re being accusatory or judgemental. Instead, explain to him how your current financial success is the fruit of many years of hard work. Explain to him that you are not with him because of money. Also, assure him that you know that he is not with you for money either.

You want to strike a balanced tone. Mention some of his strong points even though they are not financial. Then wrap everything up by indicating how he brings many positive attributes to the relationship, just as you do. The only caveat being that one of your contributions happens to be financial.

If he is truly understanding, that should put him at ease. It’s possible that you might still detect some unease over the income disparity, but it should subside over time. If it doesn’t — or if it intensifies — then you may have to consider whether his attitude regarding money becomes a deal-breaker for you.