50/50 In Relationships Sounds Fair, But Is It Possible?
Getting even on the financial responsibility in relationships and the unequal power it conveys
When Destiny’s Child dropped their #1 hit, Independent Women (Part 1) in the summer of 2000, we bobbed and shook our fingers alongside lyrics: “Pay my own car note and I pay my own bills, always fifty-fifty in relationships.” Hell, I was only nine then, but still there I was, throwing my hands in the air, unbeknownst the reality and responsibility of deciding how financially independent I’d need to be in a relationship.
However, it has always occurred to me that while the 50/50 ideal is the American dream of relationships because it implies equal partnership, what it really conveys often complicates how we should get even, — even in the best of relationships.
During an interview with Noah Callahan-Bever on Idea Generation, American actress Gabrielle Union-Wade opened up about the anxiety and security of financial responsibility. When Bever asked Union about the moment she felt a sense of security in her 30-year industry career, she confessed that moment hasn’t arrived just yet.
“I struggle with that. I think I just have more responsibilities for my money. So, I get nervous like, ‘Oh my God that movie didn’t open [well]. What does that mean? Am I going to have enough to hold everybody up? And everyone’s like, ‘It’s coming. Calm down.’ I’m trying to find peace in the journey, not using my anxiety and scarcity mindset to be my engine, which is hard.”
“In this household, we split everything 50/50,” she added. “But in the other households that each of us have to support, there’s always this gorilla on your back that’s like, ‘You better work! You’re going to sleep in? Somebody might not eat.’ It’s hard. It’s hard to let that go, so I’m working on it.”
Of course, the clip was only a snippet of a larger interview conducted for Bever’s Bloomberg originals series, but social media’s tendency to find the needle in a haystack of a story and develop a bigger one, instantly caused this portion of the conversation to go viral and left the internet divided on whether the Wade’s financial arrangement, (one the couple seems fine…