I was raised by a single mother as the oldest of three girls. I've always loved how my mother raised us - making sure we knew that the femininity and uniqueness we were blessed with as women was a beautiful thing to be celebrated and acknowledged, without ever diminishing the fact that men are damn awesome too. My mom has always been badass like that. This, together with teaching us to be independent & concentrate on building the lives we want, while never undermining the importance of finding strength and support in relationships.
She raised three young ladies in a mix of two cultures with very different views on independence and relationships.
While Sweden often offers a mentality of extreme individualism (like...don't you dare depend on people or choose being a stay at home mom instead of being a CEO, don't ask for help unless you are dying and remember one man is an island), having latin or middle eastern backgrounds and families sometimes offers the total opposite: being forced to be dependent in unwanted areas and aspects of life, having to deal with the man being the only one who gets to decide and also him being the one under the incredibly unfair pressure of having complete responsibility for girlfriend/wife, family and kids.
I'm totally mentioning the backsides of both cultures, there's a whooole lot of goodness and exceptions too, but I'm mentioning this because it exists and because both are kind of missing the whole point of being loyal, loving and treating each other as equal.
I can't remember who told me this, but this is probably one of the best advices on relationships I've ever received. A relationship will never be fifty-fifty. It'll always be thirty-seventy, eighty-twenty or sixty-forty. There'll always be someone who's the first one to fall in love, someone who uplifts the other and someone who works incredibly hard on keeping things rolling smoothly while the other is sailing along for the ride. And then, role switch. Because we're human like that. Being valued as an equal has really nothing to do about everything being 50-50 (hello unreachable goal) but rather about two people doing their best whenever they can and how much respect is to be found in their ways of communicating and choice of actions.
The other day my sister came by my place and we ended up in a conversation about relationships and this time specifically: financial support. We both agreed that we wouldn't have any issues with supporting our boyfriends/husbands financially for a period of time if we knew it would help them and we had the economy for it. I mean, building a future together equals supporting each other in different ways and helping out financially is just one of the many ways of doing so.
Of course, some decisions have to be made because of factors fuera de control, like whatever jobs we have or do not have or maternity and sick leave for example. And don't get me wrong, I don't think a guy providing for his girl and family is wrong. My point is, whoever is the one doing what as long as it's based on mutual & respectful decisions could matter less, right?
I will help out my ways and he will help out his. I'll be the one taking more responsibility for stuff at times and he'll be the one doing that at times too. I will hit rough patches where he'll step his game up being the strong one, while I'll be just that when he needs me to.
So...being a woman and financially support bae? I'd say, why not? :)
Sometimes love might be cancelling a game night to care for your girl with fever and period cramps, sometimes it might be paying for three date nights in a row because you know your salary was the bigger one this month and sometimes it might be paying the full rent as you want to support your boyfriend as he starts his new business.
Teamwork like that.
Artwork by Mark Chadwick / www.markchadwick.co.uk