How To Deal With Spousal Envy

Theoretically, when a couple gets married, they are supposed to treat each other as equals regardless of income, social status, intelligence, career tracks, and backgrounds.

They should have an equal say in all decisions.Β In the event of a disagreement, they should compromise to reach a decision that makes both happy.

They should be supportive and happy when their spouse succeeds in their career since they are in it together.

Your spouse’s success and pride is also yours and vice versa.

Reality: I envy Mr. FAF’s intelligence and success.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, envy is defined as “the feeling that you wish you had something that someone else has.”

In the case of spousal envy, that feeling is directed towards your husband or wife.

If you have read my blog for a while, you might already know that I’m honest and open about some of the most personal issues in our marriage.

I do that to fill a void in my life.

Whenever Mr. FAF and I run into a marital problem, I would turn to Google to find stories I can relate to and to seek a solution to our problem.

However, what I usually find is general advice and recommendations from experts.

Such advice is helpful, but I want to learn from a real person who has gone through what I am experiencing.

I want to read something that resembles what I write in this post.Β Wring about my thoughts and emotions has also helped me understand myself better as a person, a wife, and a mother.

One of the key reasons I started Frugal Asian Finance was also to fill the gap in the personal finance (PF) blogger community – a lack of female Asian PF bloggers. And what’s a better way to continue filling that gap by sharing the experience that I go through but rarely see shared anywhere else?

Background

One thing you may not know about me is that I have spent most of my life wishing I were someone else. Those thoughts crept into my mind when I started elementary school. My mom, though well-intentioned, did what I dreaded every single day: comparing me to other more intelligent kids who excelled at school.

I know she did that to motivate me, but to a little kid, it did damage to my self-esteem. I never felt like I was good enough, even to be her daughter. “Maybe she regrets living birth to such a dumb person like me,” I used to think to myself.

When I was in elementary school, I envied the girl who was the top performer in my class. She got all the preferential treatment from all the teachers. In middle school, I was jealous of my best friend, who did much better in Math and Chemistry than I did.

In high school, I was jealous of pretty much all the kids in my class since they were so smart, especially when it comes to Math, Chemistry, and Physics. And let me tell you, those were not happy thoughts and feelings.

I then realized there’s a pattern to my envy. I’m jealous of people who are good at hard sciences. I am ok with math, but not to the point where I can be a mathematician or a computer scientist. And I’m pretty sure I’m terrible at Physics and Chemistry. I don’t know why, but I just never understood those subjects, and they never understood me.

Dating

Ever since I started my first lessons in Physics and Chemistry in middle school and bitterly realized I never did well in those courses, I have always admired guys who excel in Math, Chemistry, and Physics.

The reason is simple: They are good at something that I’m not, so I adore them. They can complement my weaknesses with their strengths. Little did I realize that such a feeling stems from my own insecurity with my intelligence. What can I say, I was young and foolish.

Mr. FAF

When we met, Mr. FAF was pursuing a PhD in Computer Science. I actually didn’t have any particular impression of him when we were introduced to each other. I was going through the biggest crisis of my life, and dating was at the bottom of my priority list.

It was frugality that actually brought us together as a couple. But I have to admit that one reason I knew Mr. FAF was the one for me was because of his knowledge and intelligence. I was impressed when I got to know him better.

Throughout the past 3.5 years we’ve been in a long-distance marriage, I can assure you there’s no one else in this world (besides his parents) who would want to see him complete his PhD program successfully and get a high-paying job more than I do.

Mr. FAF’s future income, career, and success are so closely intertwined with mine that I do not want to think that he has another option other than to succeed.

Envy

It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that my envy towards Mr. FAF began. Mr. FAF was finishing up his PhD program and started looking for a job. He ended up with three offers from three well-known tech firms all of which are among the biggest in the US and the world.

In the months leading to those offers, I just couldn’t sleep well. I kept getting up in the middle of the night to see if Mr. FAF had sent me any updates (we were in two different cities). I helped Mr. FAF prepare for his behavioral interviews and prayed that he wouldn’t miss his flight or get sick during his on-site interviews.

When we got the good news, we were so happy we couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks! I couldn’t feel more proud of my husband.

Then reality set in. When I started sharing our good news with my colleagues and friends, these were the responses that I got:

— “Oh!”

— “OHHHH”

— “Oh wow”

— “WOW”

— “That’s amazing!”

— “Whoo fancy!”

— “He must be making really good money then.”

Their eyes were wide open when I told them about Mr. FAF’s offers. It’s like they were star-struck for a few seconds. One of my colleagues even went so far as checking the salaries at those companies online and accidentally told me about it. They know where those companies are headquartered and always ask me if we’re going to move to those cities.

At first I was flattered. Then I started feeling a bit uneasy and, yes, jealous. When I tell people where I work, a non-profit organization, these are the responses that I usually get:

— “Sorry, what is that?”

— “How do your spell the name of the organization again?”

— “So what do you guys do?”

— “Where is it located?” (I usually have to use a well-known private company nearby as a landmark for people to actually know where it is exactly in DC.)

— “Oh cool.” (unimpressed look)

— “Does your organization have enough funding to pay staff?”

— “I actually don’t really like non-profit organizations because I think they’re not really doing actual work. They’re just taking money from other people.”

Whether the last comment is valid or not varies on a case-by-base basis. I wouldn’t say it doesn’t happen, and there seems to be a certain stigma associated with non-profit organizations.

I just tell them I like what I do and move on with my life. It actually hurts a bit to hear the last two comments above, but I understand why people feel that way and don’t blame them one bit.

But now that I have someone so close to me, my husband, working at a big private corporation, what I do seems to be so obscure compared to what he does – software engineering.

It also irks me to think about how the job at the nonprofit organization that people don’t really think highly of has supported our family for the past two years when Mr. FAF was in school.

You might think I should just enjoy the income Mr. FAF earns and forget about who actually makes it. But I can’t. It’s our money for sure, but Mr. FAF makes it, not me.

How I deal with spousal envy

When it comes to spousal envy, there are three main ways to deal with it:

1. Deny the feelings and move on with your life.

2. Let it consume your thoughts and make you do things that are destructive to your spouse’s success.

3. Try to improve yourself while supporting your spouse wholeheartedly.

I admit that I’m envious of Mr. FAF. But I have never thought about or tried to do anything that will harm his career. I know that if something bad happened to him, I would be the second person (after him) to suffer from it together with our son. I want him to succeed, and I need him to succeed for the sake of our family and our parents.

I know my problem is nothing compared to a lot of the more serious issues that other couples are going through. But I also know that spousal envy has destroyed many marriages just because one spouse can’t take it when their other half is more successful than them.

I don’t want that to happen to Mr. FAF and me. I want to acknowledge the problem so that I can find an effective solution to it rather than letting my envy build up and maybe explode one day.

After Mr. FAF got his offers, I’ve found myself talking to him more about how I will run a successful business one day as the CEO of Frugal Asian Finance Inc. and our future real estate company. I think I do that to mask my insecurity. If I weren’t insecure, I’d just share my plan with him and work hard to make it happen.

Mr. FAF just says “Ok” and smiles. Of course, he doesn’t believe it will happen, which irks me even more. One reason why I work hard on my blog is to show him that Frugal Asian Finance is not a joke, and that I will turn it into a business one day. In other words, I like proving him wrong when he thinks I can’t do something successfully.

I want Mr. FAF to succeed and will do anything I can to support him. But at the same time, I want to keep improving myself to not fall behind. I wan to turn my envy into a positive channel of energy that motivates me to keep learning and working hard.

I need to deal with my own internal conflict: I admire Mr. FAF but also envy him. And I will do that by letting him be the example I want to emulate and exceed. If I can’t do that yet, then I just need to keep trying.

Conclusion

I am by no means a perfect wife or a perfect human being in any shape or form. Sometimes I feel sorry for Mr. FAF because he chose to marry me. Sometimes I doubt if I will ever figure out what I’m really good at in life and can do it well.

I realized that my insecurity is the main reason why I envy Mr. FAF. I admire him for being so good at hard sciences, but I also feel uneasy about him having the kind of intelligence that I don’t.

It is my problem, not his. He has done nothing wrong but try to be the best husband and father he can possibly be. And if I don’t like it, that’s too bad. I have no choice but to look at myself in the mirror and ask myself what I can do differently to be happy with the person that I am.

It’s still a work in progress. But I know that Mr. FAF is and will be an endless source of motivation for me to better myself. That is exactly what I find inspiring and admirable about him. And that is why I chose to be with him in the first place.

Related:

How Frugality Brought Us Together As A Couple

The Struggle For (Financial) Power In A Marriage

How Mr. FAF and I Handle Our Finances As A Couple

How To Find A Frugal Husband

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44 thoughts on “How To Deal With Spousal Envy”

  • You are not alone in this feeling. I’m a SAHM and homeschooling mom to our 3 kids. And I have always struggled to deal with not making an income.

    That’s probably why I’ve always started side businesses, to prove I can provide for us too. But I’ve had to realize that God’s plan for me isn’t my plan. And I’ve also realized that I can help people, through my actions, words, or my blog, and it doesn’t have to make an income to be important. And that I make a difference in my kids lives daily.

    Does this make my envy go away? Nope. But it does serve as my reminder of why I do what I do.

    I just want you to know that you are in good company with that feeling.

    • I have a lot of respect for moms who make a huge sacrifice in their lives to stay at home and take care of the kids. I have only one kid, but I already see how exhausting it can be staying at home with him on the weekends while taking care of all the housework. Put homeschooling on top of all that for 3 kids, and you’re totally a rock star mom!

      I love the fact that both of you and your husband are dedicated to your blog, which is doing amazingly well. I have also learned a lot from your business lessons as I’ve been thinking about launching side businesses too. I’m sure a lot of other women also find the experience you share on your blog helpful! πŸ™‚

  • When people who are close to me are successful, I actually feel happy for them. If they are more successful than me, I would try to learn from their success. I don’t compare myself to them and I don’t envy them because I am not them. I follow my own path and set my own goals.

    From what I have seen, Asian people tends to boast about how great their kids are and tend to compare them to others. I am strictly against that. Instead of comparing, I would observe my own kid’s strengths and nurture those strengths and give them the tools that allow them to magnify their strengths.

    At the same time, I also understand that not all people are good at hard science. It’s okay not to be the smartest person in the room, you don’t have to be in order to be successful. The most successful people surround themselves with people that are smarter than them.

    • I don’t want to follow the path of comparing my kids to other kids either. It’s psychologically damaging. I totally agree with you about nurturing our kids’ strengths. I will need to keep this in mind as I raise Baby FAF! πŸ™‚

  • Excellent post. I would be lying if I didn’t struggle with this as well. Fortunately through open communication (and learning from a lot of past fights), we’ve learned to move past it. I think it’s especially difficult too when both individuals are starting out in their careers. Although it’s in two totally different fields, it’s hard not to be envious when someone else is starting to experience some success.

    For me, I used to get jealous that my partner, who is a nurse, had a different work schedule than me (rather than salary). Since she works shift-work she works two day shifts, two night shifts and then off for four days. I was so envious that she only had to wake up early around twice a week. She also got to schedule all her appointments and do grocery shopping in the middle of the day when it wasn’t so busy and crowded. I also was envious of her amazing pension – she’ll get to retire in her early 50s if she stays working at a hospital in Ontario. I totally downplayed the negative aspects of her job – i.e. 12 hour shifts, not having a regular sleep schedule, no one to hang out with during the days, working on weekends, etc. I now remind myself that during her days off she tends to do more around the house & grocery shop so that I don’t have to when I come home tired from work.

    In terms of being good at something you’re not, I also now see it as a blessing that my partner has strengths that I don’t have. It balances our partnership out!

    • I once had a roommate who was a nurse, and she worked crazy hours for a couple of days during the week too! I know she had a 4-day weekend, but the rest of the week was super exhausting to say the least >_< I'm glad your partner helped out with housework when she was at home. That's a HUGE plus!

  • In my previous relationship my ex boyfriend openly told me he wanted to make more money than me. I must admit it made me feel a bit uneasy when he said that.

    In my current marriage i make much less than my husband but I am not jealous per se, he worked hard to be where he’s at (of course I did too) but we support each other as a couple.

  • This is coming from your not-so-stereotypical male with 2 Computer Science degrees, but I want you to hear it: you kick ass. Seriously, you kick major ass. When I first started Zero Day Finance, I had about 100 views my first 2 months, then I was really excited to hit about 750 views my third month. That’s about when you came along and took the world by storm, captivating readers with your very well written and interesting articles. I remember reading your first blog report, and I was extremely jealous, and envious.

    I thought to myself, “how can this new blogger attract such a large audience, and so quickly?” Well, you attracted such a large and supportive audience because you are Ms. FAF: you kick ass. You’re an excellent storyteller, you can relate to an entire segment of the population that never had a voice. You have given them that voice. You’ve achieved more in the past few months than people aim to achieve in years.

    I envy you. I envy anyone who can take on something new, lift themselves up by their bootstraps, AND be extremely successful doing it. It took me 4.5 years and $225,000 to be in the top 50% of all CS people (thank you wealthy benefactor for paying my college tuition). It took you 3 months and your own wit, charisma, and hard work to be in the top 1% of all writers. Be proud of your accomplishments, because you’ve earned them 1000x times over.

    Good Hunting,
    David

    • Thank you so for such encouraging feedback, David! It me smile reading our comment. You’re doing extremely well with the Zero Day Challenge as well. And I can see that many people have come to adopt and adore such a simple yet effective concept. I never told you this but sometimes when you talk about technical/computer-related topics, I just think to myself “I have no idea what he’s talking about, but he sounds so smart!” πŸ˜‰

  • Mrs. FAF, you should write a post where you tell us all about your non profit and the type of the work that you do there, now I am very curious. I have always had a huge amount of respect for non profits and the people who keep them running. If I ever go back to school, my dream would be to work for a non profit.

  • This post is my lifeeeee. It might as well be an autobiography! I think it’s an Asian thing…my mom did the same too motivate me. Didn’t really motivate, just made me depressed. I told my husband that we were raising our kids the “white way” with less pressure and more “do your best” like his parents.

    I’m jealous of my hubby’s success all the time. He works for Google and everyone’s eyes go wide. I accidentally said I worked for Airbnb and they were like ooooohhhh but I had to correct myself…I’m a HOST. Not a developer. Doh!!!

    • Mr. FAF and I also plan to raise our baby the “white way” so that he will be happy and won’t feel depressed about being compared to other kids.

      Sometimes I wonder what’d be like if I were a developer and told people that haha. Anyway, back to reality. ^.^

      • Haha yes – I didn’t have a hardcore tiger mother but definitely had high standards that I think could have been relaxed. OTOH I don’t want to be as loose as T’s family was because that was just too much in the other extreme. Sigh. Oh well, no kids yet so time to figure that out!

  • Usually marriages are happier when the husband makes more money. It’s an innate thing that men are supposed to be the providers and women the nurturers. Nowadays that may not be the case, but there is still that feeling that that is the way it’s supposed to be. I think it’s a good thing that you acknowledge the envy instead of suppressing it to even yourself. It will burn itself out after a while. If envy is suppressed even to oneself, it is apt to surface in some unpleasant way. Of course I’m speaking as a certified amateur psychologist.

    • I think you’re totally right about the stereotypical division of labor in a family. Mr. FAF wants to be the breadwinner in the family and is happy when I take care of our son. I feel a bit conflicted since I want to make more than Mr. FAF, but I also want him to make more than me at the same time. >_<

  • I think it’s natural to feel envy. You have to think of your family as a team, though. If Mr. FAF is doing well, then your team is doing well. That’s how I think and I don’t envy Mrs. RB40 much these days. It’s us against the world.
    On the other hand, she is a bit envious of me being a SAHD/blogger. πŸ™‚ Someday she’ll join me in early retirement.

    • I agree with you, Joe! Mr. FAF and I are a team as much as you and Mrs. RB40 are. If a team doesn’t work well together, we just can’t do our job well.

      I think I’d be envious of Mr. FAF if he were a SAHD/blogger too hehe. I’d love to have that freedom and flexibility! I’m working on it. ^.^

  • Look at what you’ve created with this blog; you’re an entrepreneur! That takes a lot of guts, discipline, and faith in what you’re doing, even when the payoff is not immediately obvious (and may not be for months or years). I think you should be extremely proud of what you’ve accomplished. Also, traditional pathways to success are great (and stable and predictable), but they’re not necessarily what change the world. Look at Bill Gates, a Harvard dropout. My point is that you’ve had real success with your blog; be proud!

  • It’s all about being a team and supporting each other. I hope your husband is more actively supporting your aspirations and efforts for your blog than just saying “ok” and giving you a patronizing smile. It takes a lot of courage to admit your insecurities and personal challenges, even anonymously on a blog. A lot of people would just ignore them or make excuses rather than face them head on as you are. Honestly, much respect to you! Also, supporting a family for two years on your own is a huge fucking deal, and a big sacrifice. Sometimes it feels like when the woman is the breadwinner, people tend to downplay that dynamic or ignore it, but when it’s the husband who is the breadwinner, then that gets all of the accolades and attention. I’ve definitely seen this type of response more often with the older generation, so try not to let it get you too down if that’s the case.

    • Thank you, JM! Yes, people tend to downplay the fact that I’ve been the breadwinner of the family by saying one day Mr. FAF will make a big salary, implying mine effort is needed only temporarily. I think I just need to work hard on my blog and show Mr. FAF and others the results (if any) one day. I think part of him is a bit insecure that one day I might make more than him. But it’s all in the future, and there’s no telling if it will happen or not. ^^

  • A team needs all kinds of players to win. Some players score the points, while others play defense.

    In the end, it’s about being on the winning team, not who scored the most points.

    Marriage is a lot like that. We spend so much time going through life as individuals it’s easy to forget marriage is about teamwork.

    • That’s a great reminder, Mr. Tako. It’s easy to isolate ourselves and think about what we can do alone while marriage is more about team work as you mentioned. I’ll try to keep that in mind. πŸ™‚

  • Ms. FAF, thanks for sharing this. I’m 3 years younger than Mr. FH and always feel behind in everything – career, smartness, net worth, salary etc. He is a Software Engineer in the Bay Area and I’m a CPA — clearly one profession is in much higher demand, especially given where we live. I love what you said about channeling these feelings into positive energy to motivate you. You’re both playing on the same team — it’s awesome to leverage each other’s strengths to make your family better as a whole!

    • It’s not easy to be a CPA, and I have a lot of respect for you and your profession. I know what it’s like when a spouse is in a career that’s more popular and seems to have more prestige. But I’m sure a lot of people wish they had the credentials that you do! πŸ˜‰

  • Let me say something from the other side of the fence. I am a software engineer too, I don’t have a PhD but I do have a masters from a good University. I have worked for 3 world renowned companies in the past. And most of the time, I hated it. Once you reach a certain level, there is so much team politics and competition and stress. I was pulling in so many all nighters and I had little freedom to do things I way I wanted, sometimes we would put in so much effort on something and the client rejected it outright. I was having so many health problems. I finally had enough and I quit, and now I freelance. I make far less money but for now it is ok, my health is my priority. I am not saying any of this will happen with Mr.Faf. I hope with all my heart that it doesn’t, and that he loves his job and experiences tremendous success. What I am trying to say is that the grass is not really always greener on the other side. Sure, people go ooooh when you tell them where you work but after a few times, the charm wears off and it doesn’t really matter what they say. What difference does it make what people say if you are happy (or unhappy) with what you are doing? I really, really envy someone like you who is so passionate about things they are doing, and have the talent and patience to make it a success. I envy your storytelling skills….I started a blog once and I think I had around 5 readers, 1 of who was my husband, lol. Going by your track record so far, I have no doubt your blog will be a huge success so don’t be envious of something that is hardly a big deal anywhere except in your mind.
    P.S.: And let me assure you, being able to do well in science subjects is hardly a mark of intelligence, it just means you are good in a certain subject, nothing more nothing less. I can assure you that you are as or more intelligent than me and maybe Mr.Faf too.

    • Thank you, Pooja! It’s not easy for a women to enter and work in the software engineer profession, so I have a huge amount of respect for you! I’m glad you finally found what makes you happy and stick with it. πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, I am on the other side of the fence too – I am not sure if T feels envy toward me ever but I do sometimes feel guilty that I have grown my income quite a lot in the past few years and without too much pain along the way. And as I’ve written before, I’ve dealt with a lot of resentment on my part. Through the times when he was unemployed, particularly when not pulling his weight at home either, and then more recently when I realised how my being the breadwinner means I can only take a limited time off to have kids because we simply can’t live on his income. In that sense it’s so much simpler if he makes more.

  • One of the reasons I have my own blog now is because I loved reading all of your content and still do. I wanted to write my personal finances experience like you did. You brought your past and current life experiences on how you grew up and your current family situation and wrote them on your blog. You write them in great detail and sometimes I could picture your story based on how you wrote them. It’s no wonder you have so many page views and it’s increasing every month. You have this passion to do great at it because you try hard to put a great number of content with great quality too. And you push hard to market it on social media especially with Pinterest and your ongoing drive to solve that platform.
    Maybe it all stems from being envy from the classmates you grew up with to Mr. FAF, it has pushed you to be great at this. I believe you will be, probably within the next few years you will write for CNBC or Yahoo while owning FAF Inc. and be an annual speaker at FinCon. You have the ability to do all of this. We are all just happy to witness this part your journey Ms. FAF!!!

    • Thank you, Kris! You’re just so nice and encouraging as always. I’m not sure about CNBC or Yahoo, but FinCon would be a dream come true hehe. I was super excited when you started your blog too. And I LOVE your logo!

  • Honestly, I haven’t ever felt this way towards my partner but I think that’s because we have always been in similar positions with our careers and we work in fields that the other person doesn’t have much interest in. I guess I have sent bad vibes his way when he loses weight faster than I do πŸ˜‰

    That’s not to say I’ve never had such feelings towards people I love though. I have certainly felt jealous of friends and their success in their careers. Sometimes this even spreads to people I haven’t talked to since high school. Every so often I’ll browse through Facebook and read a post from an old friend about what is going on in their life and I’ve felt envy. Sometimes it’s about their job, sometimes family, or sometimes something completely different. I can’t imagine any of us are above jealousy, hopefully we can use it as motivation.

    • Hehe Mr. FAF was also jealous when I lost weight faster than he did. He was determined to go on a diet to catch up with me but gave up at one point since he loves his food too much. πŸ˜€

  • Thanks for your honesty as always, Mrs. FAF! That must have been a really tough way to grow up. I hope as you and Mr. FAF increase your net worth and you continue to build your business that you will feel self-esteem from that. Also, Mr. FAF hasn’t been working long, and as some other commenters have mentioned, working at corporations can stink. Because it’s political, they don’t care about you, treat you like a commodity, etc. I think as Mr. ThreeYear and I have gotten older I’ve worked the hardest on caring less about what others think about me. It’s an on-going battle, and I struggle with it daily, but I am most free when I’m proud of myself and love myself for what I actually am. πŸ™‚

    • I still struggle to care less about what people think about me as well. It’s a work in progress, but we can both get there one day! ^^

  • There is another option. You are a team! His wins are your wins, your wins are his wins. I’m a SAHM. My husband recently got a big raise and promotion at work. His boss wrote him a letter commending his talent and hard work. He came home and showed me and thanked me for helping him achieve this. He said, “Hey! We got a raise!” I said, you mean YOU got a raise, right? He said, “No, no, no. I’m able to do this because of your help and support. We are a team. This is OUR raise.”

    We do this with our kids as well. We try very hard not to compare them or put them in competition with each other. So when one brother achieves something, we all celebrate together.

  • Another excellent post Ms FAF πŸ™‚

    Everytime I read your post, it kinds make me write better for my blog. The way you approach the topic is really good.

    Talking about the topic, I nevery envy on my wife πŸ˜› that said I am not such a nice guy too πŸ˜€ hehe just kidding .. nice post !

  • Ms. FAF,
    I like this topic. Not everyone has the courage to admit the feeling of envy . But as a human being, once a while, many of us do envy someone else.
    I know exactly what you were talking about, in terms of your mom comparing you with other kids, as a way of “motivating kids”. At the place I grew up in China, many parents did similar things, and seldom worked. Every kid has strengths, and everyone is different. When I was a student, I was good at math, science, English, but was very bad at Chinese, especially horrible at writing.
    Regarding professions, I feel it should not be measured by the type, salary or how big the company is. There is nothing wrong working for no-profit, as long as you like it. I was a software engineer for a long time, and retired several years ago. It’s hard to say if I really enjoyed that profession. I might like it at the first couple of years in each job, then got fed up with the tedious routine/politics, moved on to a different employer, then the cycle started again. Most of the time, it was just a way of making a living to me. My point is, you did just wonderful!

  • This resonates so well with me. I used to struggle with feelings of envy of Mr. Steward a lot. We have a somewhat different situation–I was pursuing a PhD, decided it wasn’t for me, and am now in entry-level positions. Mr. Steward, who has worked the whole time, makes almost double what I do with an Associate’s. He’s also six years older.

    The feelings of envy, per se, have faded. Your post has inspired me to think about why, but I think it’s because we work at the same place now so I get the same perks he does. I do still often feel like I’m playing “catch up” to him, though, in ways I do not think I would feel if our incomes were more equal.

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