What is equal in a relationship? After dating many, many men over the years, it’s been mind-blowing from a woman’s perspective. It’s not just me; other women have expressed the same issue.
Equal can be different. For sure, it should include effort and energy.
I had a guy once try to force the issue by saying things to me to get me to give to his standards of what equal was to him. I was really astounded at what he thought was equal.
He bought me dinner on the weekend for our date. He apparently thought that needed to be equalized by me buying a meal.
Now, before you jump the gun here and make a huge assumption, read to the bottom.
He spent every weekend at my house. Which meant I had to do more because it was always my house.
I felt like his wife when really we had only dated a short time.
The thing about equality is that it doesn’t have to be tit for tat. It doesn’t have to be one meal for another.
I found often, men minimized my contribution and overestimated theirs. Not all the men, but a fair amount, did.
Why is that? Society! It’s conditioning. Some think it is feminism, but I’m wondering if it doesn’t go back prior. Pop out that baby woman and get back in the fields and work mentality. That was for survival.
Most are totally unaware of this hidden belief. It shows up in what I hear men say.
I didn’t react, but I took it in. I was very curious about this concept and why it kept showing up.
So, in his mind, me getting the house cleaned in record time, having to wash the sheets more, making the bed more, and having breakfast, coffee, and other food there all were not equal.
I disagree! I had to do a lot of work (that ordinarily could have spaced out over the entire weekend) in a few hours. It totally wiped me out come Friday night. Not only that, but I really don’t eat breakfast. I contributed in other ways. It felt forced. It felt expected. I felt I was giving.
Really, it’s a matter of perspective. I just knew that this man was going to always have a far different view on equal.
I also knew that anytime he gave, he was going to expect something in return. I’m not that way. Nothing wrong with it. It’s just a different view.
Find out what equal means when you are dating
When we are speaking about equal, we need to communicate and make sure that equal means the same thing in relationships. Otherwise, you might find a covert unspoken power play happening. This causes conflict.
We need to pay attention to our styles of giving. Adam Grant writes about Givers, Takers, and Matchers.
When we are dating we want to find someone that is complementary to our style. Matchers do better with Matchers. Givers do better with Givers. Takers, on the other hand, are different. I’ll leave that up to you to explore.
So when we talk about equal rights in relationships, talk about what that means to you when you are dating, and don’t wait to find out later on it’s not compatible. If you are already in that position, start a conversation about how it feels and what you truly desire in your relationship moving forward. Begin to be conscious of your relationship dynamics.
If this is something you’ve struggled with and want to know more about conscious relationships, contact me for a Get to Know Me Session, and let’s chat.
Photo by Elisa Ventur