Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

And Then The Fight Started

Today the husband and I had to put on pants. Trust me, we didn’t want to. But it was for a good reason. We had a meeting with friends of his to discuss some different directions we could begin to take his career.

Having friends who have done what you’re trying to do is invaluable. And we had the meeting at a cafe up the street from our house, so we also had dinner. Roast beef and short ribs, yum.

The meeting led to a discussion of new revenue the husband could potentially bring in. This led to a discussion of our changing revenue stream over the course of our relationship.

When we first met, I was unemployed and he was looking for a new school to teach at. Then he got a job teaching in St. Louis and I was still unemployed. I finally got a great job here in Illinois. Then we got engaged and he moved back to Chicago.

After working for a year here, while working on his first CD release, we decided we could afford (no mortgage or kids) to have this year be when the husband focused solely on his music. There’s been a definite difference in disposable income. But it’s been so worth it.

How many people get to spend their time building a career they are so passionate about and also so good at? I’m grateful that with my income plus the money he makes on gigs, tours, and CD sales puts us somewhere in the higher range of what the government considers middle class.

The husband doesn’t like to think or talk about the difference in our income. Don’t misunderstand, he’s not some macho man that can’t handle his lady making good money. He just wants to feel like he’s an adult who carries his own weight and isn’t dependent on anyone.

This is when the fight starts. I know that it is only because of my income that he was able to stop teaching this year and focus on his music. I think he should acknowledge that fact and then move on. We made the decision for us to focus on his dreams as a family, but sometimes I feel like I’m forcing him to let me be the primary breadwinner.

The husband is no starving artist. Without his income, I’d barely qualify as middle class. But if he were single, he would have to have several roommates to live somewhere other than his parents’ house.

I think until he wins a Grammy or something, this will just be an ongoing discussion between the two of us. He’ll say he hates any feelings of dependency and I’ll say get over it we both depend on each other.

All I know is if and when his career takes off and he becomes an internationally acclaimed jazz musician who makes a bunch of money for all his shows, we won’t ever have this fight. I’ll gladly stop working. In between shopping, I’ll put together a business plan for the lounge we dream of owning someday.

But for now, just don’t ask about our bills. They all get paid from our joint checking account, which both of our paychecks go into, and that’s all that matters.

2 responses

  1. silverneurotic

    My Mom was always the breadwinner in the family, I don’t think it bothered my Dad too much. He worked as well, just never had a professional job…I think it’s harder to deal with when, at the beginning of the relationship the roles were reversed.

    October 16, 2012 at 10:18

    • I think in the time since I’ve written this post, the adjustment has gone better. Having just the one account where our money goes helps because it’s not “his” money or “my” money. Now it’s just “ours.”

      November 8, 2012 at 14:29