{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Something has been bothering me, but I feel guilty for thinking it. Basically I'm making about 20K more than my partner after I got a new job (annual salary before tax), because he decided to switch to software development later in life. He is about 31 now with a junior/intermediate developer position. I'm worried that he's too late in the game and will never catch up to his peers and even to me...I know I shouldn't think this way, but just can't help but worry im with someone who is too behind", "post_id": "611f1f3bb63092002241a200", "reply_count": 142, "vote_count": 38, "bowl_id": "59e88be7e2808e00149b0443", "bowl_name": "Women In Consulting", "feed_type": "bowl" }
null

Something has been bothering me, but I feel guilty for thinking it. Basically I'm making about 20K more than my partner after I got a new job (annual salary before tax), because he decided to switch to software development later in life. He is about 31 now with a junior/intermediate developer position. I'm worried that he's too late in the game and will never catch up to his peers and even to me...I know I shouldn't think this way, but just can't help but worry im with someone who is too behind

funnylikehelpful
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I had the same thought when I was in my 20s. My boyfriend at the time and I were about making the same, but I always knew he’d surpass me and he did. I also thought this is how it is supposed to be for the relationship to work. But he was working crazy hours and his career was always more important. Couldn’t even make time for a birthday dinner. My partner now (we are both mid 30s) is making a little less than I and I am sure the gap is going to increase over the years. But he puts so much effort into the relationship, he finds joy outside of work and has a much more balanced lifestyle than I which is actually good for me because he reminds me there is more to life than work. And very importantly, he doesn’t mind I am earning more, he actually admires it. My ex had huge issues with me earning a little bit more in my first job, the amount was ridiculous… didn’t even make a difference in net salary.

likeuplifting

@OP sorry for the delayed reply! It’s never weighed on me. I only ever thought about when my best friend (who is a guy from the Midwest) would raise it every now and then. That was 100% about his own insecurities. I wasn’t raised with gendered parent roles, and it was just me and Mum from 10yo til I moved out at 18, so it never crossed my mind that someone else would support me, but honestly, always that I would support someone / anyone else, whenever I could. So long as I had enough for me, all the rest is up for grabs!

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Why do you feel he needs to catch up to you?

Why do you feel he needs to catch up to his peers? And in what way?

It feels like, embedded in your question, there are assumptions about age, achievement, and parity in a relationship. It may be worth exploring those further. If you were raised in a household that praised achievement or had outright competition with siblings to be the best or smartest, this underlying conditioning may be playing out in your adult beliefs now. The question is how does that serve you now?

Often, we continue to play out tropes that were modeled for us from very young ages. These could be cultural or fear based. An example here is a father who grew up very poor May focus on achievement with his children hoping they will reach success and make enough money not to suffer. But that serves us only to a point. What if we become one dimensional and only focus on success and money? Our emotional lives may suffer, we may distance ourselves from loved ones because we believe them inferior based on our achievements relative to their own. We may undervalue things like friendships, connection, hobbies, satisfaction and contentment with what we have, and gratitude.

In social work, there’s a concept that says we learned things because at the time that tool helped us in some way. As we grow, we acquire additional tools for our life building toolkit. The point is not to shame our use of old tools, but to evaluate them differently. We can appreciate that a tool served us at one point in our lives, thank it for what it gave us, yet set it aside for different tools now that may serve us better.

What other tools could you use to look at your SO and appreciate his value and what he brings to your life and relationship? What do you bring to your relationship beyond your career success?

My point is not to undercut your success, but to place it in context of a rich, multi-dimensional life.

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It’s 20K…

likefunny

Right this is ~1700/mo pre-tax so maybe a $1200 difference monthly. I don’t understand but this may be a lot if the salaries are sub $100k.

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20k is literally like $20 after tax and col considerations

likefunnysmart

Exactly!😂

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LOL try $120k. And yes I am a cougar.

likefunnyuplifting

I love this. Thanks for sharing.

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$20k doesn’t seem like a big gap 🤷🏼‍♀️

likefunny

LOL *laughs in my husband’s a teacher* 😂

likefunnyupliftingsmart

Married to a teacher too. They are the best!! Way more than a 20k difference.

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I’m pretty sure he will surpass you in a few years. Software engineering/ programming is a hot market with lots of long term potential.

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This. How will you feel when he questions his relationship with you because he's earning 50k more?

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Multiple questions.
1) Late 20s/early 30s is late in life? Now I feel old.
2) $20k is more important than a faithful, compatible partner?
3) Have you looked up what SWE’s make long term? He’s probably going to have you beat by 200k. My cousin is a SWE in his late 30s and dude is pulling in more than I make in 5 years.

likesmartfunny

Agree with ALLLLL of this. Especially 1. 😭

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Depends what’s important to you in a partner. My husband is not money motivated and is happy living a simple lifestyle. I work more because I like expensive stuff. I actually admire his ability to find fulfillment in many different ways outside of work. He actually has proper hobbies while work is my primary hobby lol.

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My goodness do I relate to this. Work is my primary hobby too.. when people ask me what I like to do for fun and my mind flashes to all the stuff I do at work 😭

likesmart

Everyone is on their own journey; the idea of being "behind" is troubling because it sounds like you're looking for external validation from peers. Your boyfriend made a change to go in a direction he wanted to which takes courage to do, especially at 31. The career and salary trajectory for a SWE is big, they'll surpass a consultant salary quickly

likehelpfulfunny

This! SDEs make way more than EY Consultants with the same year of experience. Probably in a couple years he will surpass you wayyyy beyond

20k is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I think he has at least 10-15 years of runway to peak (in terms of salary and position).

likehelpfulfunny

Why just 10-15 years? Salaries keep going up unless you hit a cap?

I make 40k more than my husband and I don’t care at all. We both make over 100k and I’m happy to cheer him on if he wants to jump for a bump or stay where he is.

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Being with someone who is not happy in their job is miserable. I haven’t been happy in the past and after being that way (eventually fixing it), I could not handle that long term with someone else, even for a little more cash. It’s not with it. 20k is nothing to be with someone who is happy and stable.

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If it makes you feel better if you have children your career trajectory is likely to stall for a few years while his continues to increase - at least statistically speaking. But half joking aside, 20k is nothing. I make 130+K more than my husband and I never once had the thought that he is “behind me”. If your SO is pulling his weight financially and enjoys what he does why try to compare him to others, including yourself? If he is a software developer I assume he makes decent money.

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You know, I kinda respect your husband for trying something new. He will "catch up" when he has to but wow, I so respect him for pivoting and entering a new space (which is what im assuming he did, leaving a non-tech space for tech). That's something to be proud of!

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I quit at 34 too! (Well, one month shy of 34). The first year I made a loss - hey, at least I paid no tax ;) then over five years I’ve clawed my way back up and project my company will *net* 300k for me this year. My 39th year too - am 40 in January. It’s been a hard slog, but entirely worth it. Now to get it running smoothly so I don’t have to work 60+ hour weeks every week. Even though I love it 🥰.

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$200k more here - I’ve really had success the past few years w a company change and promotions.
And my husband makes quite a lot.
All it means is that we get to turbocharge our savings and I get to think about when / how to retire early. He’s not interested in retiring early so 🤷‍♀️

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Same here! My husband makes a lot, just because I make a lot more doesn’t dilute his worth. He’s driven and successful in his field.

$20k is nothing !

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Hah, given he is in tech, he will surpass you in no time! This is quite closed minded thinking if you ask me

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Lol 20k is nothing

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What are you expecting from your partner? Sounds like he’s set himself up for a pretty good future.
Software developers have great earning potential or at least great job security / desirable skill set. Maybe not in base pay but equity is far greater. Also 31 is still pretty young. Maybe he won’t be upper management but only a handful make it there anyways. Do some reflection to try to understand why you feel this way because you seem insecure.

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It doesn't matter in the long run. My husband made more than I did for years... But he had maxed out his pay band and was in the highest level, but it was a government job. We knew my long term earning potential was much higher (and I enjoy working; he never did)... So by the time I was pregnant with our 4th child, he quit his job (he'd worked long enough to receive a pension) and has been a stay at home dad for over a decade now... And I make almost double what he did when he retired. We're all much happier with him at home all the time. It's about what works for both of you, not about how much money you make. You comparing him to his peers and wondering if he'll ever catch up is just an insult implying he's not good enough.

likesmart

Yup! He joined the military at 17... Spent 10 years in.... Bought back his military time as a civilian... And retired with a full pension before 40. We debated having me take an SES position one day...I only need 5 years to have a full pension and can buy back 15 years of military service.

likesmart

The question is - why are you worried he won’t “catch up” to you or his peers? Let’s dig deeper here. What does “behind” look like and why is it such a negative or something to fear? Are you combing over compensation statements and LinkedIn profiles at dinner parties and worried you can’t keep up with the Joneses? Irrational fear, don’t seek external validation. Or are you worried that with the current salary and X amount of debt from school, it will take longer until you could buy a home or feel comfortable enough to have kids? Ok, I can see that concern a little better if the debt feels insurmountable.

Ultimately, happiness and a fulfilling career aren’t dictated by titles or earning potentials.

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Totally agreed. Everyone has their own pace.

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