At a baseline, bringing two people together creates an inherently different environment for the two individuals to deal with. And then jealousy can easily rear its ugly head. Love is a great equalizer, but the awkward obstacles still have to be surmounted.
So an anonymous Reddit user appropriately came with the question:
Couples with a very significant achievement gap, be it academic, professional, financial, intellectual, or any other you can think of that may fit, how do you live with each other without feeling like two aliens?
And the internet came back with good advice.
I have 2 degrees and work as a lawyer. My husband never finished uni but has a job that he loves. He's a great father and husband. It doesn't really matter that I earn more than him because it's all just family money. We're both working hard and supporting each other and our kids.
Finding someone that you respect as a person is way more important than the status bullsh-t of degrees and cash. I'd take my husband over a hundred high earners. Just because he didn't get a piece of paper doesn't mean that he's not intelligent, and just because he doesn't earn as much doesn't mean he's not successful. Without his support I'm sure I wouldn't be where I am.
Just find someone who wants to be in your team. Forget keeping score.
I think being fair and honest with each other and taking care of which areas of the relationship you are better suited/equipped to do. The whole idea of a relationship to me is that you're better off combined than as individuals.
For example: in our relationship I work in IT and she's a teacher. I make four times what she does so we split all bills etc. by that ratio. She contributes in a meaningful but manageable way. I pay for most of the "extra" expenses (e.g. holidays) and I bought her a laptop, but she doesn't feel like a kid as she's still involved in the majority of "living expenses" expenditure (and it's not my home, it's ours).
Alternatively, she's at least 374 times smarter than I am and far better educated (bilingual with a top-tier Uni education). She makes the decisions around things like housing (her dad's an architect so she knows what's what) plus things like education for our future kids, as that's obviously an area she knows far more about than me.
The guilt of me knowing she works longer hours and is smarter but makes way less than me is a bit hard to stomach sometimes. I was lucky to fall into an industry which is in demand and has good rewards. We were both pretty poor when we met, so that helps.
Overall though, we have a shared long-term plan - the details of how we get there are less important. My success is her success, and vice versa.
I have a doctorate in my field and make almost 200k more than my husband yearly. He helped me get through school and pretty much raised our children on his own while I climbed up the ladder. It wasn't just my achievement, it was ours. I don't know many men that would have sacrificed as much as he did. Our marriage is strong because of mutual respect and admiration. If that doesn't exist, I don't see how the relationship can work.