Dating breadwinner wives
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I’d rather a bunch of roses from Tesco he bought with his own cash and feel genuinely treated, than this sense I am romancing myself.” For nearly 20 years Wanda, who is in her early fifties but looks a decade younger, has run investment funds on a salary of about £500,000 – plus bonuses of usually double that.
I feel nobody’s there to care for me, to say, ‘Let me run you a hot bath. ’ A male breadwinner expects that sort of support from his wife, but Martin is always defensive and entitled.
“But now they’re all at school, I feel Alex should get a job. I’ve been nagging him to find something, even a few hours in the local supermarket, but he says I’m ridiculous. My male colleagues don’t ask their stay-at-home wives to work in supermarkets.
But, despite my feminist beliefs, I have this prejudice that a man who doesn’t work is somehow a lesser being.
“My illness was a road-to-Damascus moment that things had to change, but scarily everything has stayed the same.
Martin was horrified to see me sick, not because he realised how stressed I must be, but because he worried he would lose the lifestyle I fund – big house, nice holidays, designer clothes, fancy cars.
In Britain, Helena Morrissey, the CEO of Newton Investment Management, admits that it would have been impossible to get where she has and raise nine children if her husband hadn’t quit his journalism job.
Nick Clegg may be the Deputy Prime Minister but his wife, the international lawyer Miriam González Durántez, earns four times as much as he does and the couple are scrupulous about splitting school runs and bedtimes.
“It’s been great for my career,” Wanda acknowledges, waving at the barman to top up her champagne glass.
“I couldn’t have done all those trips abroad, the client dinners, the schmooze days at Wimbledon, if the children hadn’t had one parent at home.
Most of her colleagues at a similar level are men who appear to assume her husband has an equally high-octane job, but recently she’s been joined by more women who have confided that they’re primary breadwinners too.
Philippa’s husband Martin runs a small art gallery that often operates at a loss.
But high-powered careers demand commensurately long hours, and many couples find it logistically impossible for both parties to work full-time.