Strong relationships

Some time ago, I read somewhere that a man is successful when they can earn more money than their woman; a woman is successful when she finds a man that earns more than her. A part of me believes this is true, whereas another part of me finds this slightly offensive. 

I can say I’m a feminist. And to clarify, feminism means establishing equality in political, economical, cultural and social rights between women and men, NOT that women are better than men.

To be honest, I would love to find a man who makes more money than me. A man who can support me even if I lose my job. A man who is a good role model for our future kids. But also a man who can respect that I am, in my own way, successful as well. 

I work in the field of engineering, an industry dominated by males. As a female, I already expect to get a lower salary than men would at my experience level. The fact that I have already accepted that fact is quite unfortunate. Yes, I believe for physically demanding jobs, women may not be able to handle as much work as men. But regarding jobs that require no physical work, there should be no difference in salary based on gender; that’s just not fair. 

I remember an ex-boyfriend saying to me before that he couldn’t handle having a girlfriend who was smarter than him. And to this day, that statement he said still haunts my mind. The story of us is that we met in the 9th grade of secondary school. And at that point, I have already established a group of close friends, as well as network of friends with various groups/cliques within the school. He, on the other hand, was a newer student, still in ESL classes, and was pretty much not known in the school yet. Somehow, God placed us together and we began our relationship. Towards the end of our 2 year relationship, he started feeling bad about his grades, and his lack of popularity within the school. He constantly asked me why I’m so smart. I reminded him that I didn’t choose him for his talent in school or his ability to make friends instantly, I chose him because of who he is. When we finally decided to stay separated, for the second time, he told me how he always felt pressured having a girlfriend that would excel in academics and other parts in life. How he would feel belittled because of the amount of friends I had compared to him. And his last sentence to me was “Good luck trying to find a boyfriend who can handle having such a smart girlfriend.” And even after my valedictorian speech for our secondary school graduation, he said “I told you, not many guys can compare to you.” 

One might think that these are compliments, but since then because of those words, I refrain from telling people my grades or academic status when they ask (I never bragged anyways but I wouldn’t mind telling if people asked). I don’t tell people my major in school unless they ask. When I meet potential guys, I don’t tell them what I do. All this because I fear of history repeating itself. And so I find myself struggling with my heart trying to find a person who is more intelligent than me, but at the same time can respect that I, myself, am intelligent. 

I believe that a strong relationship rarely has two strong people at the same time. It is both people that take turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak.  

 

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2 comments

  1. JoAnne Silvia · July 15, 2014

    I feel sad reading about how your former boyfriend couldn’t handle you being smarter than him. It was not meant to be. He didn’t understand that there are so many ways to be smart/intelligent/wise…. I’m glad you can respect that you are intelligent. In my experience, it’s good to have balance. We all have strengths and things we’re not so good at. My husband doesn’t have a college degree, but he’s the first man I’ve ever been with who is a better speller than me. His strengths are not the same as mine. He knows how to fix things. He is very brave, but afraid to go in water over his head due to a childhood experience. I get a natural high from swimming in deep water. He is practical and I am more creative. He was discouraged from singing as a child, and I love to sing, he is learning to find his singing voice. We can both be strong at the same time, but in different ways.In strong relationships we complement each other with respect. Wishing you the best!

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