Gender Role Reversal in Relationships -- Have Women Become The Men They Want to Marry?

Gender Role Reversal in Relationships -- Have Women Become The Men They Want to Marry?

By Gina B.

I think we’ve gotten away from the basics in relationships.  

My aunt once told me that she feels sorry for my generation.  In her day, women were looking for men who could be the best providers, and men were seeking attractive women who could run a household and mother their children.   She insists that our generation has added too much complication to the process. 

I agree with her.  In fact, I’m of the opinion that gender roles have been confused over the years.

I have many beautiful, successful, accomplished single girlfriends.  They don’t understand why they’re single, and in most cases I don’t understand why they’re single either.  They lament: “I don’t get it.  I’m successful, I’m educated, I’m a homeowner, I’m cute, I’m in good shape.  Why hasn’t someone snapped me up yet?” 

They’ve highlighted a lot of great qualities, and while their points have merit, unfortunately those aren’t the qualities that always attract men.    Sure, there is value in having a great job and being a viable financial contributor.  But there’s something about being able to make a mouth-watering mac and cheese that makes a man melt.   

I have a male friend who is considered a good catch.  He’s in a social circle comprised of highly accomplished men and women – many of whom are single.   When (if) he marries, he is prepared to assume the responsibility of being the family provider.   He considers himself a “traditional” man; however, he complains that it’s hard to find a “traditional” woman.  And by “traditional,” he means a woman who is a good cook and who isn’t afraid to clean.  He would love a woman who feels that it’s her job to be beautiful for him.  Also, he noted, there are a lot of aggressive women who won’t allow the man to wear the pants in a relationship.  He feels that he should be the decision-maker for his home and his family, and he doesn’t know a lot of women who are willing to acquiesce.

His sentiments are like sour notes to the ears of many women who pride themselves solely on accomplishments and ability to be stellar financial partners, and often consider themselves too busy to worry with cooking or housework.

On the flipside, I know quite a few men (more than I should) who are looking for wives who take on the traditional husband role.  Some of these men are vocationally challenged, but they’re seeking women who are corporate heavy-hitters with salaries that could support families of four.  They feel that women should pursue them, and with the perceived shortage of men, a lot of them believe that they shouldn’t have to exert much effort to attract a woman.  A few of these guys have expressed interest in becoming stay-at-home dads, and would have no problem with their women being the primary (if not sole) breadwinners.

So, how did we get this way?  There are many theories and several answers. 

I was raised by a mother who watched her friends become financially devastated post-divorce because they weren’t prepared to have their own careers and make their own money.  Although she and my father remained married, she was determined that I was going to understand the value of having my own.  (To counterbalance her, my father also insisted that I learn to cook gourmet quality meals.) 

I’ve heard other theories that men who are raised in a matriarchal home can seek situations where they are taken care of by the women in their lives.  Or perhaps they’re just lazy and looking for sugar mamas. 

We can pontificate all day about gender roles, and argue about which sex has unfair expectations.  But at the end of the day, aren’t most women looking for a man who makes them feel like a woman (whatever that individual definition may be)?  And likewise, aren’t most men looking for a woman who makes them feel like their definition of a man?  It’s up to the individuals to figure out what those definitions are, and determine whether or not they’re with their ideal partner.

I agree with my aunt . . . relationships are very complicated these days.  The only thing that hasn’t changed since her day is that it’s still good when it’s right.


Tell us … what role do you play in your relationship?

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