The economy in this country has been on a downward trajectory for decades now. As inflation has risen and the dollar has lost more of its value and buying power over the years, more households have required both adults to bring in an income. This, of course, means there are very few households that can afford to have a sole breadwinner any longer.
Traditionally, the man has been the breadwinner in the family. While this topic can get a bit heated at times, depending on the circles in which it’s discussed, the truth is that in human history, men have been responsible for protecting and providing for the family while women have been responsible for raising the children and managing the home. It has always been a part of our nature until very, very recently. You could say these roles are even natural for humans at this point because these are the roles men and women have had for thousands of years of our history.
So, when in the last few decades the economy has begun to tank and there has been a great push for women to join the workforce, we can now find many households where the man is not the sole breadwinner. In fact, according to data from the Pew Research Center, women now make up roughly 47% of the workforce in this country, which is up from 30% in 1950. And a growing number of women in married couples (31%) are the main (or only) breadwinners in their families (Geiger & Parker, 2018).
This change has left a lot of men struggling with their identity and role in society and the family unit. These feelings of insignificance, if not attended to, can lead to anxiety and depression.
What’s worse is that men are often told that these traditional roles are a part of the old patriarchal paradigm, a system that was created to oppress women for centuries. They are told that they should be celebrating the shift and if they don’t, then they are part of the problem. That’s hardly fair to the vast majority of men, who are good and loving people who only want to support and take care of the family they love in the best way, and often the only way, they know how: by providing for them.
Are You Struggling with Not Being Your Family’s Sole Breadwinner?
If you are a man that is suffering from depression or anxiety because you are not the sole breadwinner of your family, and maybe also not the one who earns the most, understand that it is normal, natural, and perfectly okay for you to be struggling right now.
It is also okay for you to want to speak to someone about what’s going on. Men tend to not be the ones who seek therapy although they are often the ones who are hurting the most. Please understand that it’s okay for you to need to reach out to others from time-to-time to get help for whatever issues and emotions you may be struggling with.
If you would like to explore counseling options, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.