It’s the twenty-first century, and, unfortunately, gender stereotypes still exist. When it comes to relationships, we are at a stage where empowering women includes being in a loving female led relationship. A traditional or male led relationship is what everyone knows better. Today, however, gender roles are becoming more fluid. It means the definition of masculine and feminine qualities is changing. Women who exhibited physical strength and were assertive were once frowned upon because these qualities were considered masculine. People judged men who were more sensitive or cared about their fashion sense as being more feminine. Today, highlighting women’s strong qualities are seen as a sign of feminine power. When a man can share his feelings or wear what he wants, it’s considered a sign of bravery these days.
In essence, smashing stereotypes and meeting a woman who seeks equality or aims to step out of a submissive role and be the decision-maker is part of a female led relationship. It’s not to put men down, disrespect males, or make men experience what women have had to endure throughout history. It’s about changing how society defines gender roles and bringing more equity across the board. Let’s take a deeper dive into what it means to be in a female led relationship or FLR relationship. Consider this a helpful female led relationship guide to aid those curious about gender roles in today’s dating, relationship, and marriage scene.
What Is a Female Led Relationship?
Some people may think that a female led relationship or a female led marriage sounds like the female partner is the dominant partner. There’s more to it than that. A female lead relationship doesn’t automatically mean a dominant lady has complete control. The very idea of one partner having a dominant role in a relationship is a toxic belief. Why should anyone person have more control than the other? Instead, a female led relationship has mutual respect and mutual understanding.
The urban dictionary defines a female led relationship as a romantic heterosexual relationship where both partners agree to have the woman act as the authority. However, placing all the decision-making responsibilities on one partner can lead to a negative outcome where the relationship isn’t as romantic as it was initially. The psychology of love and romance is complex. Not every man wants a strong woman to take the lead in everything. Not every powerful woman wants the man to leave every decision up to her. Leaning too far into one type of power dynamic can impact the intimacy and passion of both partners. In some cases, a dominant partner who doesn’t want all the power in the relationship can begin to harbor resentment. Even if they initially wanted the leadership role or they’re good at it, that doesn’t mean they don’t want some form of balance in the relationship.
When people think of a strong woman, they may think she’s most likely in a female dominated relationship. That assumption is often incorrect, even if it looks like the power dynamic is in her lap and she holds that “defined control.” Many people fail to realize that in a female led relationship, it all depends on the degree of leadership. Have both partners agreed to one role or another? If so, what exactly are those roles they agreed to?
The important thing to remember about a female led relationship is that some couples are content under a strict power structure, while others thrive under a balanced one. The former, where the female leads the relationship, will mirror the type of relationships people have seen in the past. For example, a traditional male led relationship tended to have the male lead and make all the decisions. No matter how trivial or important the decision was, they typically had the last word. In a female led relationship where the woman is more dominant, the last word goes to her. If this is a power dynamic that both parties agreed to when beginning their committed relationship and both are happy with it, then you must respect it.
The power structure is balanced in a more progressive female-led relationship. It got that way because both parties wanted to break away from the past’s stigmas and traditional relationship structures. For example, there is a type of female led relationship where they discuss every decision. Both parties reach a mutual decision, or they decide which partner will make the final decision. Either way, there is more balance in this type of female led relationship.
Breaking Gender Stereotypes
History has shown us we live in a patriarchy where complete control in a relationship was often a gender role for males. Arguably, the concept of a patriarchal power structure is often exemplified in social hierarchies and perpetuated by social constructs. A female wasn’t considered a confident, dominant woman who could make a decision. Instead, an important decision was left to the male. Dominant women were stigmatized for their strong will. It is a traditional role that no longer holds any water in a world where strong women are coming into their power.
Other stereotypes that bleed into the very idea of female dominance in a relationship include presuming “the woman wears the pants.” Well, who doesn’t wear pants these days? That saying isn’t literal, but confident women, who know what they want in a relationship shouldn’t have the label of one who is picking up the mantle of the “authoritative male” figure. There is a social stigma when traditional gender roles aren’t followed. For example, domestic chores were believed to be the woman’s job, while the alpha male was the breadwinner. When couples break away from those stereotypes, it isn’t “normal,” and they would be stigmatized. If the man did any chores around the house, the couple was shamed. In the past, domestic work, like house chores, was referred to as “women’s work.” If the dominant role was given to the woman, it was easy for older generations to judge and shake their heads in disapproval.
Toxicity: Breaking the Cycle
It’s easy to fall into believing stereotypes about relationships and what each gender should be doing. Promoting gender stereotypes in any relationship can give rise to a toxic relationship. One where the expectations of each partner aren’t met. A lack of support for each other, a constant power struggle, and unclear communication can be signs of toxicity, regardless of whether it’s a male-led or female led relationship.
Recognizing what toxic behavior looks like is the first step in working towards breaking that cycle. Just as society works to smash stereotypes, a couple must work to understand themselves better and realize a toxic trait. Knowing that it’s happening or has happened will help you figure out how to stop it and change. It is a sign of maturity. Of course, both partners who had negative behaviors have to be willing to see it for what it is and open to change. If neither party is willing to work on changing toxic aspects of their relationship, the cycle of negativity will continue.
What are specific examples of toxic behaviors in a male-led relationship and female led relationship? Physical abuse, emotional abuse, and verbal abuse are instant signs of toxicity and don’t belong in any loving relationship. Physical abuse occurs when one partner exacts violence on another and is considered a crime. Constant put-downs aren’t fun for anyone and are just a form of verbal abuse. Insults, constant ridicule, and threatening language are the common signs of verbal and emotional abuse. If it happens in a relationship, it’s a sign of disrespect, and it’s toxic. As these abuses continue, their possibility of escalating increases, especially in a female led or male-led relationship.
A Successful Female Led Relationship
There are different levels of a female led relationship. For example, different levels of control are agreed upon by both parties, and in some instances, the male chooses to step back and give the decision-making floor to the woman. The male agrees to give the female defined or full control in other cases. Defined control is when both partners agree that the female can decide on certain aspects of the relationship. Full control means the woman is completely dominant in the decision-making, regardless of whether it’s a trivial or crucial choice. It’s not up to people outside of that female led relationship to pass judgment. What you may see on the surface isn’t the sum of that relationship. At every level, the initial aspects of the relationship were agreed upon by both partners. Once you fall into applying labels to each person, you are perpetuating stereotypes instead of recognizing what a healthy relationship is or can be.
Everyone’s idea of a romantic female led relationship is subjective. We all have different experiences, likes, and dislikes. What’s considered romantic for one couple might not be the same for another. On the other hand, we have established what toxic traits are, and they need to be in the past. Doing so will help us move away from a patriarchal belief system and enter a time where relationships have mutual respect and understanding. Changing toxic belief systems on a fundamental level will lead to a happier and more successful female led relationship.
Effective interpersonal communication skills or open communication are positive in any male-led or female led relationship. Being able to calmly discuss one another’s wants, interests, and needs without judgment or conflict is a communication skill that needs constant practice. In this way, problem-solving becomes easier, and conflict resolution becomes smoother. Both partners tend to be more honest and are receptive to one another’s thoughts and feelings in an FLR relationship.
Having good communication skills isn’t an easy feat. Whether you just began a new relationship or are reaching a significant anniversary, the ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings doesn’t come easily. It’s a skill you will have to continue developing until it becomes second nature. A female led relationship typically has more communication because being open to talking is often encouraged. Both partners tend to express how they feel more often.
When you truly respect each other, trust, support, and patience are easy to come by. Both partners support each other in their endeavors, from creative and professional goals to domestic and academic ones. Both partners reciprocate that support. An example of respect is supporting your partner’s career goals or being supportive of their hobbies, even if you don’t understand their choice or approve of it. It applies to simple pursuits, such as rearranging the living room or remodeling the kitchen. One partner may not consider such domestic projects as important, but they understand that it’s important to their partner, so they show support for the projects anyway.
Being appreciative and empathetic is integral to any loving, romantic relationship. Showing your partner that you appreciate them is important. With so much going on globally, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day routine. If you aren’t actively practicing voicing or showing your appreciation for your partner, it’s time to start. Doing so is just another way of practicing mindfulness and respect. Engaging in thoughtfulness makes it easier to be empathetic because it shows an attempt to understand and shows that you care. This trait helps in a female led relationship and other healthy relationships, but it can also help with social and professional ones.
Respecting each other’s boundaries is important for each individual. Just think, when you first met, there were individual qualities that attracted you to each other. Over time, as the relationship grows more comfortable, those qualities may change, and sometimes those lines can blur. When that happens, you might forget about boundaries and unintentionally disrespect them by crossing those boundaries.
The ultimate testament to a strong, long-lasting female led relationship is when both partners are open to growth. No individual in a relationship continues to be the same person they were when they first met. Who you were in your 20s isn’t the same person you become in your 40s. The ups and downs of life take their toll, and the strength of any female led relationship at this point comes down to how you were able to grow together.
True growth as an individual and a couple doesn’t come from each partner always getting their way. It comes from overcoming obstacles, being able to help one another up from rock bottom, and loving each other enough to work towards something better. A healthy female led relationship isn’t one in which one person is uplifted, and their goals are being met. It’s one in which each partner is genuinely supportive and reciprocates that support, despite any misgivings or shortcomings. Lifting each other through support and encouragement can contribute to individual positive growth while strengthening the relationship.
A healthy female led relationship is one in which the holistic needs of both partners are being met. Each individual’s physical, mental, and spiritual health is intrinsic to the intimacy, passion, and respect they have for each other. In a traditional relationship, where the male dominates or the person with more “masculine” qualities lead, being mindful of each other’s holistic and romantic needs may fall by the wayside. To be in a respectful, understanding, and romantic female led relationship, the mutual needs are met. It may require some sacrifice from both parties because, let’s face the facts, there will be disagreements. That doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t successful—quite the opposite. A healthy female led relationship involves trusting each other enough to openly practice effective communication, respect, and a willingness to grow. Being able to come to a resolution after having disagreements or getting upset with one another is a sign of a positive and healthy female led relationship.
Aim for a Happy Female Led Relationship
Breaking down barriers between the genders means ending the power struggle in relationships. It means ending the idea that an authority figure and a submissive figure need to be in a relationship. That type of thinking feeds into stereotypes. A well-balanced, healthy female led relationship is one where both parties have their wants, needs, and interests met.
You don’t need a relationship coach to learn how to approach beautiful women or talk to a male partner. There are so many avenues of possibilities and advice for people who are online dating, learning how to flirt, moving on to their second date, or starting a new relationship. New relationships can be difficult to navigate, especially if you are still in the dating stage. Taking that leap of faith and asking your partner to be in a committed relationship with mutual respect doesn’t have to be an awkward or scary experience. A happy relationship is just around the corner. You have to be willing to put in the work and leave any doubts behind you.