Farnoosh Torabi: Avoiding divorce when the woman is more successful than her man

I’ve been so excited for this book to come out (and no, not just because it quotes me a few times!). Today’s the day! My friend Farnoosh Torabi’s When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women addresses the very essence of this moment in feminism: We are winning the war on the pay gap, with 24 percent of married women earning more than their spouses and 40 percent of women being financial head of households (accounting for many single moms).

Yay us! Right? Well … not so fast.

When you earn more than your man, you have a 50 percent higher chance than divorce and a greater chance that both parties will cheat. This is a bitter pill to swallow for professional womenfarnoosh when she makes more — and single moms in particular. After all, you already face a significantly higher chance of divorce in the event you remarry. Farnoosh tackles these facts head-on: The book assumes that a marriage in which a woman earns more is rife with peril, and she offers up advice for navigating the omnipresent landmines.

I think about this dynamic often. As I date and explore the kind of relationship I need in this next phase of life I’ve come to realize that I need to be with a man who is at least as professionally ambitious as I am. That usually translates into financial success, though it really isn’t about the money. My career is a huge part of who I am– I need to be with someone who identifies with my drive to use my gifts and resources to contribute to the world and build a huge and awesome life for myself and my kids. A part of me also equates a the courage to pursue professional dreams with the courage to love deeply. If a guy can’t stomach risk in business, can he have the bandwidth to take the ultimate risk — heartbreak?

In this video my friend Farnoosh, host of “Financially Fit” on Yahoo! Finance, and I have a candid discussion about why it is so hard for both men and women when she is the breadwinner. We pick apart her admonishment that one of the main ingredients in making such a a partnership work is for the woman to stroke the hell out of her lesser-earning man’s ego (isn’t that patronizing/embarrassing/even more work?).But I wonder: What is your experience with this dynamic? Do you seek out men who earn more than you? If you earn more than he does, how do you make it work? Share in the comments! 

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2 thoughts on “Farnoosh Torabi: Avoiding divorce when the woman is more successful than her man

  1. This problem is absolutely a huge issue in divorce. It takes a strong, open-minded man to handle the role of “support” to his “monied” wife: one who can understand that the whole functioning and well-being of the relationship involves more than just salary contribution. This is the successful dynamic in which I was raised. It is the (currently successful) dynamic of my living situation now. But it was horrible during my own failed marriage, in part because my ex- was not able to deal with the shift of my income over his (of his own doing!) and help support me in ways beyond income. Right when I had our first child and was facing “Partner vs. Mommy track,” he took a massive pay-cut, in a job that provided him with extreme work hours and the inflexibility of a para-military organization. I struggled to do it all, and miserably failed!

  2. Very interesting interview. I agree with Farnoosh in the fact that you need to be mutually respectful in a relationship and men can have insecurities in this area but I think you have to be careful not to mommy your husband too. You don’t want to encourage complacency in him either. I think there is an issue of underachieving people in this generation, both men and women. Discussing issues respectfully is always a safe bet. It is essential to communicate not patronize either party.

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