Valentine's Day Role Reversal

I am the assistant manager w/a local loan company and now make $11.84 hourly with complete benefits. I pay 80 to 90 percent of our bills and he feels that he is not providing for me as he should. He has told me several times that he does not feel like a man due to the circumstances. I have tried to comfort him by telling him that he is doing his best he can and the economy is a huge factor in him not finding better employment.

We are both traditional people to an extent and are use to the man being provider and the woman being the mother and keeper of the household. He feels worthless and emasculated by the fact he is not the "bread winner."
-- Mandy Little, Jena, La.

Manageable Overspending

My wife earns nearly double what I earn. She graduated college at 23 and got her career going. I didn't graduate college until I was 34. She's been in her career field for nearly 10 years; I've been in mine for 2 years.

All our finances are together; we don't have separate accounts. We live well within our means and it's never a problem except during Christmas time. I handle all the finances so I'm the one that sees the overspending during Christmas. There's some tension/stress; but I've backed off some because her overspending isn't really causing us money problems.

We're a team when it comes to any decision ($$ or otherwise). Since I handle all the financials, my wife laughingly told me once, "Honey, I feel like all I do is work and spend!"
-- Chris Crider, Austin, Texas

Caring for Their Ill Son

My husband and I have been married 22 years ... I have been the major breadwinner since we got married in 1988. My job in insurance had the best benefits and carreer growth potential and we wanted one of us to be at home for the kids.

He is infinitely more patient than I am. I value his contribution of taking care of the family & he values my contribution of earning the money. We both feels the other does more, which makes us appreciate each other possibly more than traditional roles. When the check comes for dinner at a restaurant, my husband slides it over to me.

My husband has a checking account for small daily expenses (gas, school supplies, etc) and I have the checking account with the major bill paying and big expenses. Both names are on each account, but mine is to pay for monthly expenses...

We have 2 biological children and 2 adopted children. Our adopted children are both special needs and our son is severally mentally ill. In 2006, my husband even home schooled him when he was too ill to attend public school.

My husband is 53 years old. He is my most precious gift. I wonder how many other men would give up their jobs to take care of a mentally ill son? I don't think that there's that many out there. We are blessed.
-- Cyndi Purtee, Pearland, Texas

'It Didn't Bother Me Until Now...'

I have been in a relationship for almost four years and during that time I have made more money than my boyfriend. It didn't bother me until now. He's always broke and I lately I have to pick up the bill!!! I also have kids and just bought a house so that's another expense I have.

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