Ask the Coach: My partner needs to earn the same salary

Ask the Coach: My partner needs to earn the same salary

OR – The Truth Behind Your Requirements

Dear Coach Linda:

I posted a question to a singles forum the other day and they all seem to disagree with me on something- I said I do not want to date a man who makes less than me and expects me to pay for ALL the dates. They seem to think love is more important and they would date someone who had no or very little money for love. Am I off on this one? I do have personal experience that gives me bias. Thanks! ~ Carrie

money love scales


Hey Carrie,

Here’s my two-cents, as someone who helps singles create lives they love.

Your requirement that your partner earn as much as you do is a valid one as long as it doesn’t restrict you in ways that eliminate possibilities. The argument you’ve been hearing, that it should all be about love, is a romantic sentiment which could potentially only last a few years and then cause trouble.

Here’s what I mean.

Your desire for equal salary more than likely points to some deep needs that you have for a relationship to work. While you’d be the one to know for sure, my guess is that you need your partner to be responsible, hard-working, motivated and maybe even independent. You may also want to avoid anyone who has dependency problems … you might want to avoid being in a “care taker” role. I’m only guessing here. To be sure, ask yourself: “What’s important about this requirement? What does this mean to me?” Think about your top 5 most-strongly-held values and how this requirement relates to them.

Once you’ve identified what it means on that level, then ask yourself: “Are there ways for a partner to exhibit these traits without earning as much as I do? Are there other ways for my relationship requirements to be met?

The reason these questions become important is that you could potentially meet someone who reflects all that you value the most, someone who you are attracted to and have fun with, who isn’t looking for a care-taker, yet for some reason has not been able to earn as much as you do. Would you be ok with dismissing this person based on your salary requirements? By doing this deeper reflection on what salary truly means to you, you’ll be in a better position to clearly and consciously evaluate the partnership.

As an aside, these questions are applicable anytime someone identifies something on the outer level or externally as a relationship requirement — for example, saying that a potential partner has to be athletic or sporty … or must have certain physical attributes. Requirements are really all about what you must experience in a relationship.

All of this is raises another important point: Money issues is the number one contributor of relationship failure. Most people, before making a commitment, do *not* talk to one another about their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors surrounding money. To gain clarity and agreement on this topic is the difference between a conscious relationship (and one that has a better chance of long term success) and an unconscious one (which will ultimately result in failure).

Naturally this is the kind of topic that needs to be discussed when you’ve gotten to know him and feel there is great potential in the relationship … that a relationship with him would meet all of your other requirements. Yet, if you’ve clearly defined what this all means, you’ll know pretty early on if this has potential or not.

I hope this helps!!

Let me know if you have any questions or have some feedback to share.  If you want to explore your relationship requirements further, please contact me to set up a 1:1 coaching session. Articulating and understanding relationship requirements can mean the difference between joy and frustration.

Sending love!

~ Linda

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Ask the Coach Dating Requirements