The Rise in Female Breadwinners Led to a More Insidious Rise: Men Who Take Advantage of the Women They Profess To Love.
Women are stepping up. They’ve opted out of a life of domestic servitude and moved en masse into the workforce, where they can pay their own bills without relying on anyone else for financial security.
Unfortunately, women’s newfound fortune sometimes attracts the worst type of mate: the hobosexual. These men seek out higher-earning partners to coast through life, riding their coat tales and not worrying about caring for themselves.
These men rely on societal expectations and gender roles to suck everything they can from their unsuspecting partner, giving back as little as possible.
How Women Find Themselves with Hobosexual Men
It’s easy to fall into the trap without even realizing it. It starts with small things.
You want to go someplace exciting that they can’t afford, so you offer to pay their way. Soon, they can’t seem to afford anything, and you find yourself paying all the bills while they blow their money on junk like video games.
You find yourself buying everything for the household while also doing the majority of the housework and emotional labor.
You’re not just the breadwinner, you’re now the sole provider, maid, cook, and household manager, and you aren’t sure how you got there.
The relationship didn’t start so one-sided. He gradually offloaded all his responsibilities to you. Like a frog in boiling water, you didn’t realize how hot it was getting, how much you were taking on until it hit the boiling point, and you found yourself handling everything while he sat back and coasted through life.
Not Just Women
This isn’t just a women’s issue. Anybody can be taken advantage of in a relationship. Awful women are out there trying to get men to pay for everything, and same-sex relationships face the same challenges.
It’s not men that are users. People, in general, can be users. It’s a humanity issue. When someone sees a free ride, they try to hitch on, regardless of gender.
However, there are unique issues affecting women that make it easier for female breadwinners to get sucked into this trap, and this article focuses on those issues.
Social and Psychological Reasons Women Get Taken Advantage Of
Female breadwinners find themselves in the “mom” role for numerous reasons. Some are societal, based on social expectations related to gender roles. In contrast, others are psychological, related to how a specific woman internalized messages from their childhood about how to treat people or behave.
As a high earner, I’ve found myself in relationships with men seeking to take advantage all too many times.
My reasons are a mix of both.
When discussing the rise of female breadwinners, we highlighted the feelings of guilt and shame that come with outearning your male partner.
I feel guilty because I can do things my partner can’t do. I don’t want to exclude him, and I don’t want the shame of telling my friends that he can’t come to a particular event or outing because he can’t afford it.
Rather than explore the root of my issues or explore them together to reach a healthy compromise that worked for both partners, I overcompensated. I tried way too hard to ensure that whoever I was dating didn’t feel bad about their lack of income, going so far as to call it “our money,” letting them pay for dinner with my credit card and allowing them access to my funds, so they didn’t feel like they were missing out.
How Feelings of Shame & Guilt Attract Users
These feelings create prime conditions for the manipulative user to strike. They understand your feelings. Some are even empaths, having the innate ability to feel them with you, though not all are.
It doesn’t take an empath to learn the complex feelings surrounding changing culture and find ways to use that to your advantage.
Hobosexuals became masters of it. They seek out high-earning women who have complex feelings about their societal role and use that to their advantage.
Overcoming these Feelings
It’s difficult to overcome these complex feelings arising from outearning your partner.
However, learning that their issues aren’t your problem and relationship take two caring partners are essential steps. Therapy can help drive the message home.
Their Feelings Aren’t Your Problem
Although we want our partners to be happy, we shouldn’t sacrifice our well-being to accommodate their feelings.
Passing him my card so he could feel “manly” about paying for dinner is one of the ridiculous things I’ve ever done. I was so concerned about protecting his ego that I couldn’t enjoy myself.
If a man can’t graciously accept that his partner earns more and wants to pay, he shouldn’t be with a higher-earning partner. He could also work to increase his income to make it more even if it really bothered him.
His complicated feelings about being with a woman who earns more are his problem, not hers. He needs to deal with them without resorting to taking advantage of her.
What Partnership Is
Learning what true partnership is helps you recognize those who want to take advantage. A true partner will care for you just as you care for them.
The contributions don’t have to be financial. We often fall into the trap of thinking that a man, as a provider, must provide an income and nothing else, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Men can give domestic labor and emotional support just as well as women. Some men are better at it; some women are worse.
True partnership plays to each other’s strengths and weaknesses, with both contributing something to the relationship.
Relationships should be give-and-take on both sides, not just give on one side and take on the other.
If you can’t overcome these feelings alone, consider seeking therapy.
When trying to navigate an abusive relationship that I didn’t realize was abusive at the time, I saw a therapist. I opened up about my guilt.
I expressed how uncomfortable I was even doing simple things for myself, like ordering take-out. I didn’t want to pay for him (because I paid for freaking everything!), but I felt terrible about bringing food home for just myself.
My philosophy has always been that you should take care of each other if you are in a relationship, and I felt guilty if I did anything that made it seem like I wasn’t caring for him.
In my twisted worldview, I made more money, so I should pay for everything. It didn’t matter that he didn’t care for my needs; I should give more and more of myself because that’s what you do when you love someone.
Therapy taught me how messed up that way of thinking is. You should want to take care of your partner, but not to the point where you limit yourself.
Your partner should care for you in return. If they don’t, they aren’t a partner. They’re using you.
Socialized to be the Caring Nurturer
Another issue that tends to affect women more and lead them to get taken advantage of is that society often sees us as the caring nurturer.
We’re bombarded with messages about our role from an early age. Our toys are baby dolls and kitchen sets. The media shows us doting mothers and working fathers. We even see it in our own homes, with dad on the couch while mom runs the household.
For the past few generations, that’s how things were. Women were forced into the role and didn’t have any other options.
Although our legal options have completely changed since our grandmother’s time, culture is slower to adapt, and the messages we hear often fill our brains with the idea of how we’re supposed to act.
My Experience As the Caring Nurturer
My caring nature has led me to make some really terrible decisions.
I care so much about people, especially someone I’m in a relationship with, and I’ll do anything I can to make them feel special and loved. I’ll go above and beyond to make sure their needs are met. I feel the need to take care of them, and I genuinely want to do those things for the person I love.
It becomes a problem when the things you once did to show your love become a baseline expectation for the relationship and when they refuse to do similar things to show their love and appreciation in return.
In fact, it can even become abusive when one side is giving everything and the other is only taking.
I love taking care of people. I was raised to believe it’s what women do, but I’m okay with that because I enjoy doing it.
An important caveat, though, is that I want them to take care of me in return, and all too often, I’ve found myself in relationships with men who refuse to do so.
How Do I Stop Being Taken Advantage of?
If you’re reading this, seeing yourself in my experiences, recognizing the one-sided nature of your relationship, or realizing that most of your relationships end up this way, rest assured there is hope.
Here are some things you can do to prevent yourself from falling into the same trap.
Choosing Your Partner
The “not all men” crowd is right. Not all men are seeking women to care for them. Millions of men out there want equal relationships and will give just as much as they receive.
Choosing the right partner is one of the most important things you can do to prevent yourself from being taken advantage of as the female breadwinner.
It took wading through many hobosexuals, but I finally found someone I connect with on an extraordinary level who loves taking care of me in all the ways I need.
My horrible experiences don’t have to go to waste. I’ve developed a list of red flags to be on the lookout for so you can avoid similar problems.
Red Flags that Someone Would Take Advantage
There are eight huge waving red flags that you should look for in the dating phase to weed out hobosexuals, those looking for a free ride from their partner.
- Lack of household items
- Serial Unemployment
- Blaming Others
- Too Agreeable
- Too Invested too Early
- Expecting you to Pay
- Emotional Abuse
Let’s look at each of these in-depth and uncover why they’re red flags.
It’s common sense to avoid addicts, but unfortunately, they aren’t as easy to spot as it would seem. Addicts are great at lying about their behavior, at least in the short term. If you’ve never had experience with addicts before, it’s hard to see the signs.
At what point does his having a six-pack every night become a problem? Watching someone you love fall deeper and deeper into addiction is a horrible experience.
Don’t fall into the trap that “you can help them.” They will not change for you. They will only make your life miserable as they spiral further and further.
Watch for the signs while in the dating phase. Get out early if you see them.
Lack of Household Items
If you’re dating an adult, they should have adult things. Their house should be filled with items adults use regularly.
A lack of household essentials is a massive red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
When I first started dating my most recent ex, I’d have to bring toilet paper with me when I went to his place because he couldn’t be bothered to get it.
I thought it was funny at the time.
Now I realize he couldn’t even really care for himself like an adult, so how could I expect him to care for me in the adult ways that I’d need? The answer is that he couldn’t.
A thirty-something-year-old man who can’t afford basic household necessities is a giant waving hobosexual red flag. He doesn’t care for himself because he’s looking for someone else to take care of him.
It doesn’t have to be you.
I believe in the best in people. Naïve, I know.
If someone tells me they are out of work because they just fell on hard times, I tend to believe them. I don’t hold anyone’s job (or lack thereof!) against them. I don’t want to be that “golddigger” who only dates men with high-paying jobs.
However, I have learned that serially unemployed men tend to be the biggest users.
They don’t want to work; they want to find someone to take care of them. They purposefully quit their jobs at any slight to their egos, real or imagined. They feel like they’re “too good” for lower-paying jobs but won’t do anything to improve their career outlooks.
Men like this are poisons to women. They’ll use any excuse not to work and are unlikely to pick up the household slack in return. That’s “women’s work,” and they’re above it.
Of course, one or two periods of unemployment aren’t deal breakers. Anyone can fall victim to hard times. However, be on the lookout for those whose bosses are always against them, who can’t get along with coworkers, and who seem to burn every bridge they encounter.
A man who can’t admit when he’s wrong is unlikely to be a good partner. If he constantly blames others for his failures, he may be unwilling to do the work necessary to succeed, both in life and in a relationship.
Did he lose his job because there was a layoff and he didn’t have the experience to stay, or did he lose his job because Jan from accounting talked badly about him to the boss? Does he blame his parents for his behavior, or does he hold himself accountable?
People who want to play the victim about everything and refuse to accept responsibility for anything in their life are not ready to grow up and have an adult relationship. They want to be taken care of. They will blame you and gaslight you when you don’t do what they want.
Agreeableness seems like an excellent quality for a partner on the surface, but you must tread carefully.
If someone just agrees to everything you say, are they really listening? Or are they just saying what they think you want to hear?
An excellent way to tell is to pay attention to their actions rather than words. Someone who is just telling you what you want to hear won’t follow through. They will repeatedly disappoint you while promising they care and will do better next time.
Don’t fall for it.
Watch for the early signs of a smooth talker – they will agree with everything but won’t follow through with anything.
All in Too Soon
Manipulative people employ Love Bombing to get what they want. They will tell you how amazing you are, how they’ve never met anyone like you, and how you must be their soulmate within the first few weeks of dating.
Many people recognize it as the giant red flag it is, but for some of us Disney Princess wannabes, meeting someone who you instantly connect with on that level is a dream come true.
Unfortunately, more likely than not, it’s just a fairy tale. It isn’t real.
You can’t know someone well enough after a few weeks to know that you want to be with them forever. Although some people marry quickly and make it work, there’s nothing wrong with waiting and taking things slow. If it’s meant to be, it will still be if you marry after two years rather than six months.
Expecting You to Pay
In the dating phase, both parties should offer to pay on occasion. It shows you both care about the partnership moving forward and both want to contribute.
A hobosexual will stop paying as soon as they can. They’ll stop reaching for their wallet the second they know you will cover the bill. He’ll say make grand plans knowing he can’t afford it, assuming you’ll cover it.
If he doesn’t even attempt to pay anymore, he might be taking advantage of you.
Clearly, this doesn’t apply if you are in a long-term relationship and have had discussions about who pays for what. But if you just started dating someone who expects you to pay all the time, you may want to re-evaluate.
Emotional abuse is a clear sign that your partner is taking advantage of you, but one that’s difficult to see when you’re in the thick of it. Identifying it is incredibly challenging because we don’t teach people the signs of emotional abuse.
Instead, we’re taught that we have to take care of everyone, be nice, do everything around the house, and be thankful that we even caught a man, regardless of how he treats us.
The idea that being in a relationship is the pinnacle achievement for women leads to a rampant amount of emotional abuse, and the worst thing is that most women don’t even recognize the behavior as abusive.
I was one of those women.
I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for over five years, and it just kept getting worse and worse. The thing is, I didn’t recognize the behavior as abusive. We aren’t taught those things.
So, to help other women who might be in similar situations, I wrote a mini-ebook outlining some of the signs of emotional abuse, using stories from my life.
It was tough to write and may be challenging to read, both for the content and lack of a decent editor, but if my example can help anyone else avoid abuse, it was worthwhile to write.
More Ways To Avoid Hobosexuals
Choosing the right partner is paramount to avoid getting taken advantage of. There are other things you can do, though.
You can also use discretion when disclosing your salary, take things slowly, set clear boundaries, and protect yourself.
Disclosing Your Salary
I’ve mistakenly told guys how much I make way too early in the relationship. I tend to be overly honest about everything.
Fortunately, I’ve since learned that oversharing probably isn’t the answer. When a hobosexual knows how much you make, they seek ways to benefit.
It might be something simple, like asking you to borrow a few bucks they have no intention of paying back, or it might be something more expensive, like a weekend getaway that they expect you to pay for. In their minds, you make more than enough money to cover it, so it’s all ok.
I’ve learned not to disclose my salary to anyone unless we are at the point of combining finances. The “what’s mine is yours” mentality only works when both people are on board.
Take It Slow
Fools rush in, as they say. And I’m not going to lie; I’ve been incredibly foolish.
I’ve since learned that taking things slowly is a better approach. It takes a long time for the rose-colored glasses to wear off, and you want to be sure that you are still independent when they do.
When wearing rose-colored glasses, red flags look like regular flags.
Many women struggle to set and enforce boundaries. However, this work is vital for protecting yourself, especially if you’re a breadwinner.
Make it clear from the beginning that it is not your job to take care of anyone but yourself. Don’t feel obligated to buy him things that he can’t buy himself, and don’t let him make you feel guilty over it.
Ensure that the relationship is moving at a pace that you are comfortable with. The boundaries that you set need to be what is comfortable for you. If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, they don’t respect you, and you should reconsider the budding relationship.
Sometimes it takes a long time for a manipulator to show their true colors (or for us to notice them!). One of the most important things you can do to avoid getting taken advantage of as a female breadwinner is to protect yourself.
Keep all of your accounts separate. If you decide to merge finances at one point, maintain at least one account in your name alone. It’s always wise to have a safety net.
Don’t cosign for anything unless you’re married. I stupidly cosigned a car for a previous partner, which left me holding the bag for years.
A final thing you can do is request a prenuptial agreement before marriage. I know it’s an incredibly sensitive topic, but a prenup is a good idea if there is a significant financial disparity on either side.
How Do You Tell if a Guy Is Taking Advantage of You?
Identifying hobosexuals isn’t easy. Some are master manipulators. Their entire goal in life is to make you think they love you so they can continue their life on easy mode.
First, ask yourself if this article resonated with you. There might be hints of inequity in your relationship if it did.
Some other signs you might be taken advantage of are that your boundaries aren’t respected and your partnership is incredibly unequal.
Boundaries Aren’t Being Respected
A giant waving red flag that you are being taken advantage of is when your boundaries get disrespected. A solid partner should respect your boundaries and work to ensure that you feel safe and secure in your relationship.
Users will push those boundaries and do everything they can to get you to ease up so they can push the line further and further back.
A great example of this is spending money. I’m more than happy to help with basic living expenses, but I expect a partner to pay for his needs before his wants. My ex would spend his money on video games and then be unable to afford his bills.
Of course, there was always a sob story behind it. His work cut his hours unexpectedly, or he got paid later than expected. I stupidly accepted these excuses, and eventually, it became customary for him to buy games while I paid his bills.
They say that relationships should be 50/50, but it’s fair to say that it will never be 50/50 at any given time.
We all have ups and downs. In a good partnership, there will be times when you give 100% and times when you give 0. That’s life – you carry each other when needed.
But when you’re being taken advantage of, it will feel like you constantly give 90-100% while never getting anything in return (hint: because that’s what’s happening!).
If you are constantly giving and giving and giving without getting taken care of in return, you are probably being taken advantage of.
What Do You Do When Your Boyfriend Takes Advantage of You?
So what should you do right now if you’re in a relationship where you’re being taken advantage of?
The first step is to see a counselor. If you think the relationship can be salvaged, bring him with you and do couples therapy. He may notice that his behavior is detrimental.
Therapy only works if both partners want it to work. Some men specifically seek out relationships like this. They don’t want to change. They enjoy life on easy mode. They chose you because they knew you would be an easy target.
These hobosexual men may even talk a big game in therapy. However, pay attention to their actions. If all they do is talk without following through, they’re just trying to keep their free ride.
In cases like this, it’s best to get out. I know it’s not as easy as just leaving, so check out this post about how to plan to escape.
Your safety is the top priority.
Women Don’t Have to Settle for Hobosexual Men
Society is rapidly changing, with culture lagging. Even highly accomplished women who save lives, develop new technologies, and run global corporations feel that their life isn’t complete with a man. Hence, they settle with hobosexuals that refuse to contribute.
Fortunately, culture is shifting, and more and more women realize that they don’t need to settle with these users. They’re choosing to remain single rather than play housemaid to a man who doesn’t earn his keep.
There are also plenty of men out there who will contribute. Finding one is worth the wait.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.
17 thoughts on “Beware the Hobosexual: Reasons Women Get Caught in the Trap and Ways to Break Free”
Been there, done that. Glad you are learning. My learning was very hard also. My own, and only, child also? Yes. It amazes me how many people seem to only be interested in destroying what I had accomplished, so they could benefit.
Yep, exactly. Some people are just manipulators. But I think others fall into it unintentionally, just like we fall into the habit of taking care of them unintentionally. Either way, things turn out bad for us though.
Also been there done that. Back in the midst of it. Sigh.
Big issue I think is we got together so young, he went straight from living at home to living with me.
I had to leave him during one of his unemployed periods and blogged about it. Hardest thing I ever did. He got his shit together after that but now we’re in a rut again. Being the female breadwinner sucks. I’m also working on my codependency issues right now.
Codependency is so tough to beat. It’s hard to see the patterns. I don’t think any of this is due to being the female breadwinner though. I have faith that I can make more money than a partner and have him take care of me in other ways.
I’ve been there too. With many of my exes – I think being taken advantage of financially is just another facet of the greater being taken advantage of. In fact, I’m willing to go so far as to say, if this person is taking advantage of you financially, they are probably doing it in other domains too.
I definitely find myself nodding to a lot of the why’s and hows. Love your tips for prevention.
I agree. All of my exes took advantage of me in multiple ways. It wasn’t just financial…I did the majority of the housework and bore the mental load as well. I’m glad they are exes.
I so appreciate how open and honest you are here – hopefully it helps other women take care of themselves in the future.
Thank you Angela! I hope it does as well.
Welcome to a mans world
I think it’s a human’s world. There are always people who are looking to take advantage of someone, regardless of gender. Sucks for everyone really.
As I was reading this post, I definitely saw things that have happened to my older brothers, including taking on the house work and childrearing. While I definitely know this happens to men, I’ve also been on the receiving end as a woman, so I know it goes both ways. Opportunists abound, and the more giving you are to the wrong person, the more likely you are to get burned. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. The key is not rushing in like Melanie references in the article. Take your time getting to know the person first, so you can gauge the person’s character because it shows up quickly.
Thank you for covering this important topic, Melanie!
It’s so true that opportunists are everywhere. I’ve been on the receiving end multiple times as a woman – and you’re right, you give and give because that’s what you’ve been taught to do (and you’re a good person) and you just get burned more. I think people from both genders need to learn to the signs of a user.
Thanks for writing this, Melanie. I can definitely relate!
You’re welcome! I’m actually saddened by how many women are relating to this. I wish people wouldn’t purposefully take advantage of each other, but unfortunately that’s just not the world we live in.
Been struggling with thoughts like these myself lately, with my husband being chronically ill it is difficult to work, and their freelance income is modest at best.
I”m glad you liked the article! I think a lot of women can relate, so I think we need to have more of these discussions.
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