First of all I'd like to point out that I am not a nurse. My girlfriend however is nearing the end of her nursing school. I find myself in a very unusual position. My father was a single father he was the breadwinner of the house and he showed me how a man is supposed to be. He showed me what is expected of a man what he supposed to do what he's not supposed to do and how he should live his life. Unfortunately my mother was not around at all during my teenage and growing and learning years. So I never learned the value of a woman. Never learned how to treat them properly and care for them and give them all the things that they need. I had to learn those things on my own through trial and error and find myself at the ripe old age of 30 and barely having grasp on such things. But that's beside the point. My girlfriend is going to nursing school and she's very near and graduation. She will be the most successful person in her entire family if she becomes a nurse. It will be a massive turning point in her entire family history and for our family going forward. No one else in my family has achieved something similar or close to becoming a nurse and prestige your earning potential. So I find myself in a difficult position where I've always been taught that a man provides for his family but very soon my girlfriend is going to almost triple my earning potential. While this is incredibly good news it's also putting me in a place that I've never experienced before. My earning potential over my career has been sufficient to sustain myself and I am learning now sufficient to sustain my girlfriend and my son, but once she becomes a nurse my salary will be woefully insufficient and I fear unnecessary. In essence I will be no longer be essential to our survival and will become useless. So this brings me to my question.
How can I support my partner without slipping into a jaded depression as a result of my sexist gender role upbringing?
It's good that you understand that you base your self worth and identity on what you learned as a child, but I think you have a lot of room for growth. Do you really think that your girlfriend sees you only as a source of income? Don't forget about the emotional, companion/ partner aspects.
Seriously, I suggest counseling for you alone, or the both of you because this is going to be quite a transition. And your child deserves to have parents with a relationship based on mutual respect and companion/partnership, not some outdated caveman mentality.
Welcome to the 21st century!
My first question to you would be - are you a church going man? If so - then other men in your church can help teach you these valuable skills. It isn't always about money - sometimes its about coming home to clean sheets and dinner on the table. We as females aren't any different from you. These assigned gender tasks are losing ground to a true partnership. It doesn't matter who makes the money, if today is her day to work - then its your day to make dinner and do the dishes. If she is off tomorrow, then maybe she can cook and do a load of laundry. It isn't about who does what - its about having enough. Enough time, enough money, enough patience, enough love, enough hugs, enough space, enough sleep, enough food..... enough. At the end of the day it doesn't matter who did it - it just matters that it needed to be done and it got done. Most women are just as touched by a man using the vacuum as they are coming home to jewelry - and the vacuum is probably more special since its cheaper and can be done more often!
She didn't fall in love with you for your money. But she will fall out of love with you because of lack of motivation in the partnership. Figure out how to be her complement.
FYI - if you aren't a church going man, observe men in your life that value their women and watch them. Spend time with them. Learn from them.
Get counseling if you need it - but get over the idea that you have to make the money. What you HAVE to do is support her, make her feel special and loved and valued. Its a partnership - not a competition. Work together so that your family has .... enough.