According to a recent American Community survey, women are now the primary breadwinners in roughly a quarter of American family households. Cultural norms are changing, and professional women are finding more and more that their relationships and marriages can be strained by their schedules. Marriages that break conventional income norms can create challenging dynamics in the relationship. Here’s how to manage them.

Recognize That The Male Ego Is Going To Take A Hit

Societal standards have a heck of an impact on even the most progressive husband. Guys are programmed to fill specific roles. Deviating from them can disrupt confidence in a way that builds resentment in the relationship.

A study published in the American Psychological Association found that men have lower self-esteem when their heterosexual partner makes more than them. This can cause him to distance himself from the relationship without realizing it. There’s a natural aversion to female breadwinners built into male psychology.

The Trickle-Down Effect Of Income Resentment

Women don’t seem to be bothered when their male spouse makes more. It goes with the flow of societal norms, so it doesn’t add friction to the relationship. When women earn more than men, it can strain the relationship to the point of breaking.

One study found that marriages where women make more than men are more likely to end in divorce. Another study found that men are more likely to cheat when their spouse makes more.

The Trick To Staying Together

Be aware of the ego-hit that your husband may experience. Compensate by doing things that make him feel empowered to provide for the family and satisfy you.

Keep your sex-life HOT. Many women don’t realize that sex is primarily an emotional need for men. Frame your financial accomplishments as family accomplishments. You’re traveling through life together, not competing against each other. A team mentality can strengthen your bond and reduce resentment.

Don’t let an unconventional income erode your relationship. Be aware of the forces at play, and get proactive about addressing them.