07/23/2012 07:15 pm ET

Income Difference: Some Men Don't Mind Making Less Than Their Wives

Could hyper-masculinity be ruining your marriage?

According to a new study, published in the online journal "Sex Roles," men who have traditional notions of masculinity, and have higher-paid female partners, reported that the gap in incomes contributed to "poor quality relationships."

Conversely, the study also found that men who have less traditional views about masculinity don't mind if their wives are bringing home more bacon.

The study's authors suggest that men with non-traditional notions of masculinity don't feel that their gender identity is threatened by wives who earn more than they do. "Having a nontraditional masculinity ideology may allow for one to not use the role of breadwinner as a way of defining one’s manhood," the study's discussion reads.

Traditionally masculine men don't feel up to par if they earn less than their spouses, which contributes to their unhappiness in relationships, according to Kristy Archuleta, the co-director of Kansas State Universities Financial Therapy clinic. She argues that society makes men feel obligated to earn more than their wives, so being out-earned by a woman can lead to a lack of relationship satisfaction.

"Money is a symbol of male virility in our culture. This is one issue where society barges in and calls the shots. And if the husband is not the king financially, it's a recipe for disaster," Archuleta told the Daily News in 2010. "And that's not necessarily because the husband is demanding that kind of kingdom, but because society tells him he is a loser if she makes more money."

Whoever the breadwinner is, being married still might make you happier than if you remained single. A study released in June found that married people are happier than they would have been if they had hadn't tied the knot.

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