Women still want spouse to earn more

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 13/08/2014

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Money don't get everything it's true, the Beatles sang - but most women say they would not marry a man who earns less than they do.

New Zealand dating service Elite Singles, which was founded in Germany, surveyed 500 members to find out what role money plays in relationships.

Otago University gender studies association professor Chris Brickell said the most fascinating results were 27 per cent of men not seeing their partner's income as very important, compared with 70 per cent of women who did. "It shows that idea of men as breadwinners hasn't gone away."

The results also show Kiwi blokes are more forgiving than their global counterparts when it comes to their partner borrowing money and not paying it back.

While Australian, English, Irish, Canadian and South African men rate their partner not repaying money as their most irritating financial trait, Kiwi men were more annoyed by a partner telling them how to spend their money.

Brickell said most households today relied on both partners working, but the survey revealed that many women still believed men should earn the bulk of the income. "It's ironic, really, when you think how far society has come with equality."

There was also a big divide between genders when it came to marrying someone who earned less than them. While 54 per cent of women called it a deal-breaker, 92 per cent of men were happy to wed someone earning less.

Brickell said women were possibly ensuring they would be looked after if they chose to leave the workforce and have children. "It probably comes down to an economic decision."

Wages had not risen much, and women would find it attractive marrying a partner who had an income that would support the household if they had a family.

According to German psychologist and researcher Wiebke Neberich, the results showed a "conflict between women's evolutionary character and their desire for independence".

"Women today have long fought for social and financial independence from men, and rightly treasure this achievement. The female desire for security and a resource-rich partner may, at first, appear to be a contradiction."

Neberich said women were more dependent when starting a family so it made sense to look for a "well-off partner".

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- The Dominion Post

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