Here are three things to try when, as a working artist, you find yourself bringing in far less money than your mate does.

1. Explain that you don’t want to feel—or be made to feel—one-down, inferior, or dependent because of this disparity in income. By announcing that you recognize that this disparity can have negative consequences on how you feel about yourself, and by further announcing that you don’t intend to countenance those feelings, you put your mate on alert that he or she shouldn’t “go there” in your interactions and try to make you feel one-down, inferior or dependent.

2. Problem-solve financial issues. If, as a couple, you really need more money, what can you do short of you taking on an onerous full-time day job or launching some second career or your mate working more hours or finding a better-paying job? What are your other options? None of the options you put on the table may feel wonderful—it may not feel good to contemplate asking relatives for financial help, giving up restaurant dining, downsizing to a small apartment, etc.—but by calmly generating a list of options you just might land on a viable one.

3. Remain friendly, respectful and loving. If two people remain friendly, respectful, and loving, and if each believes in the good will and the good intentions of the other person, disparities of this sort will not ruin their relationship or even do it much harm. If, on the other hand, the relationship is already troubled and the partners aren’t feeling very friendly, respectful or loving, then solving this financial matter will not do much to shore up the relationship. Your relationship does not rise or fall on income equity; that is a minor matter compared to the two of you actually wanting to be together and actually liking each other.

It’s easy for a serious disparity in income, especially if it lasts for some time, to cause practical and emotional problems in a relationship. These six tips can help ease tensions and keep the relationship on a solid footing. If you find yourself in this sort of situation, give these three tips a try! And take a look at my new book, Lighting the Way, that introduces something very special, the first new philosophy of life in forever.

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