What’s wrong with being a female breadwinner?

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Dear Koren,

My boyfriend and I live together and he lost his job during Covid. He is not vaccinated so he never got back a full-time job. I took the jab, not because I really wanted to but we have a child to feed. Now I am practically taking care of him because he only gets part-time jobs. I’m fine with it because he collects our daughter from school and takes care of her and he helps my mom out and is just very helpful and supportive. However, my father and my best friend are saying he wotless and I should put my foot down and he using vaccination as an excuse and all that. Do you think I am being naïve about the situation as I’m being accused by my father and friend?


Dear wondering lady,

Are you being naïve? I don’t know. Have you accepted your situation for what it is? It sounds so.

One of the things I learned in life, a bit later than I wanted to, is that we cannot control other people. We cannot read their minds, we cannot always accurately interpret their motives and we sometimes have a hard time explaining their behaviour. We barely understand our own selves. So sometimes we need to focus on what we know and what the facts are.

The facts are that he is not vaccinated and you are. The fact is that you are working full-time and he is not. The fact is that he picks up your daughter from school, takes care of her, helps your mom and makes life easier for you. The fact is that you are comfortable with the situation.

Your friend and your dad don’t have a say in your relationship. I will say it again. Your friend and dad don’t have a say in your relationship. If you were being abused, I can understand them trying to defend you, but that is not the case. Your eyes are open and you have to decide what you want and what makes you happy.

It is traditional in our culture that the man is the breadwinner. Some people still have trouble accepting that times have changed and every household is different. For example, if you have to pay $400 a week for day care and his salary is $200 a week with no benefits, then doesn’t it make more sense to have him baby-sit? Gender roles and expectations have also shaped our thinking and our determination of what is normal and what is not.

You and your partner have to do what works for you. If he is lazy, unsupportive and not interested in working, that’s a different story. You then might need to consider his suitability as a partner. However, that is not what you described. If he is making an effort to work when he can and he helps out when not working, then that should count for something.

Watch the patterns, be observant, talk with your partner and make a decision based on what works for your family. There is no manual that tells you how to survive the effects of Covid and the impact it has had on our income and well-being. We are all learning together. Listen to those who have your best interest at heart, but be brave enough to do what feels right to you.

Send your questions and comments to [email protected]. Your confidentiality is assured.

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