Earlier today, I came across a short article labeled “’Marrying down’ is an up-and-coming trend among women.” Of course, that prompted me to find the complete article. It went on to briefly discuss the findings of a Institute for Public Policy study, which found that women in their 20s and 30s are more likely to marry men “beneath themselves” – as in, those who marry men of lower income or social classes. (Interestingly enough, they found today’s women still tended to be drawn to older men.)
At the risk of infuriating modern women all over the world … this makes me really sad. Call me old fashioned – I know that I am – but I don’t want to be the high-earner in the relationship. I still want that man who will sweep in and take care of me. Essentially, allow me to work because I want to … not because I have to (thus allowing my someday life plan involving my mommy job of fitness instructor extraordinary to come to fruition). I don’t want to give up on my childhood dream of being a “corporate wife” – putting on a formal dress, dazzling his boss … essentially being one of those women my mom always found annoying (but she knew I’d be great at being one of them). I refuse to give up on my Prince Charming (white horse not necessary – but I will take a nice suit) … I keep telling myself he is out there. Somewhere.
Continuing with my sadness … I can’t help but wonder if such a mindset is what has brought me to very much still single at 31 years old. Did Disney brainwash me into thinking that men should always hold the dominant role in a relationship? Or is it because I was raised by a workaholic dad and a stay-at-home mom? Because honestly, looking at my parents’ relationship, and my childhood … it’s exactly the kind of marriage I want for myself, and the kind of childhood I want for my (someday) children.
I’m not a gold digger, and I’m certainly not willing to sacrifice love for money. I do think I’m a pretty strong woman, and I make enough money to support myself and still save for the future, while having fun and enjoying nice things today. That said, I know that I could never be with someone who would allow me to walk all over him. In my early 20s, I was in a relationship where I was the more successful person, and quite honestly, I did look down upon his lack of drive, or ambition, or desire to climb the ladder. It didn’t work because I didn’t respect him – and it was because I felt like he didn’t respect himself.
I know times have changed, and it’s not the 50s anymore. I’m probably angering some feminists by saying this … but I don’t want to marry down. I’m not comfortable being the more successful partner. I don’t want to be the one bringing home the bacon – I want to be the mom who is there to help with homework, or make cookies for the soccer team. Yes, I want to find that man who will view me as the most important part of his life. But, for both of our sake – I also want his successes to go far beyond just being happy with me.