Wrestling With Gender Roles
How gender roles play into a relationship is interesting to observe—either directly or indirectly. Traditionally, we’ve had fairly defined gender roles placed on us by society and culture. The man is rough and rugged and provides for the household monetarily. The woman is soft and emotional and meets the domestic needs of the family. Although there were some obvious issues with that setup, it was very clear who did what in the household. Each person knew what their role was and how they contributed to the family’s needs.
Fast-forward to today—the way society has evolved has had a clear impact on gender roles and it has had a clear impact on relationships. For instance, I am extremely independent, I make decisions all day in my Corporate America job, I am very opinionated and don’t like to clean. So those traits and attributes spill over into my relationship. Therefore, I can be bossy, domineering, selfish and messy—all traits that I don’t think any man would intentionally sign up for. So I try to suppress those traits. I try to be more open, more patient and more inclusive; however, since those things aren’t natural for me, I often revert back to the selfish, impatient side.
As a woman, I am struggling with being a strong, independent woman while also letting a man be a man and allowing him to make decisions. I’m struggling with being self-confident without being self-centered, being decisive without being domineering, being independent without being exclusive. I need to strike a balance in my life, but I don’t know the steps I need to take to find that balance.
I’m a traditional girl is so many ways; I actually do desire the man to be the head of the household. I would like to be able to come home from work and have a partner there to help make decisions with me. I even like the thought of putting on an apron and making dinner for my boyfriend/husband. But the independent side of me won’t let myself submit fully—that side wants to wants to run the show. Actually, that side does not necessarily want to run the show, but feels like she needs to run the show in order for the show to run properly. In order for everyone to be in their place when they need to be, in order for everyone to know their lines, in order for the show to start on time, the independent side feels a need to be the director.
Can there be two directors in a relationship or will I need to step down? Or better yet, maybe he needs to step up?
Let’s see how the roles we play in this relationship evolve as the weeks/months go on. What is clear is that in order for this relationship to be a success, we will both need to clearly understand our role in the relationship and we will both need to be satisfied with the other playing that part….