I was speaking to a friend of mine several years ago about relationships. Nothing really specific, just shooting the breeze and sharing our expert opinions and so on. It’s important to note that she’s doing well in life. Six figure income, owns her place, owns her car, has stuff and is by all accounts independent. She was single at the time; we have since lost contact so I couldn’t tell you where she stands now. I’m not sure the exact words I said, but I’m sure they were taken wrong given the reply. The reply was “I don’t need a man for shit”. I’ve heard this line more times than I can recall and each time I wonder why it has to be said with such hostility. Especially considering we were simply having a conversation, not a debate or anything like that. Conversely, I have never heard a man say “I don’t need a woman for shit” in conversation, because that would be a lie and we know it.
Outside of procreation, I agree, neither men nor women necessarily NEED the opposite sex in their personal lives. Just my personal opinion here, but I don’t think relationships should be built on dependency in any way at all. Maybe this makes me a modern man, but I’ve never wanted a woman that depends on me for the basics in life, (food, shelter, clothing). I also have never had interest in controlling a woman or being in a hierarchical relationship that demands obedience or submission to me because I’m the man. I guess you could say I’m an idealist when it comes to relationships, a seasoned veteran in the live and let live category if you will. On paper, I’m the type of guy a woman who doesn’t need shit from a man would be cool with, because I’m not trying to take care of anyone but the children I help create and those created by my siblings and close in-laws.
Going back to the conversation I was having, I expressed the same sentiments shared in the previous paragraph, and somehow, she disagreed with my stance. Not at all to my surprise though. She went on to clarify her position as being a financially independent woman that brings a lot to the table, so in a relationship she should have equal footing, however, there are still roles and responsibilities that a man must have in the relationship. She stated that a man should want certain things for the women they’re with and be ok with providing them for her. So just for my own amusement I said, “and those women should be ok with cooking and satisfying their men sexually whenever he wants” knowing it would get her riled up, and it did. I understand that she doesn’t represent all women or even all the women that don’t need a man for shit, just like I’m not a rep for all guys, but there are some consistencies with her stance that I’ve heard repeatedly in my years.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any guest writers to contribute a woman’s perspective for this month. You’re stuck with my opinions on both sides…and I will admit that there’s no way to truly escape male bias. Remember that as you agree and disagree. Moving on.
I know and have known a lot of women that are well accomplished, in relationships with men varying from equally, more, or less accomplished than they are. From the outside looking in I recognized patterns in their perceived “happy” which makes me think the game is rigged, and not in their favor. For high achieving women with guys that are on the same level, almost always the perception of happiness was shaky. In most relationships where the high achieving woman was with a more accomplished man, things were cool on both sides. In cases where the woman was well accomplished and the guy was far from it, the woman was relatively cool about it, but often abusive of the power they feel comes with earning more than their partner. These women were more likely to cheat with very successful guys and talk in a way that is condescending or unnecessarily disrespectful. It’s not across the board, but common enough in my observations.
With high achieving men, the pattern is a bit different, but more consistent. The guys that I know that make a lot with women that make a lot, they’re relatively cool about it, but the relationship is usually shaky, and they cheat with women seemingly nowhere near the same level as the women they’re with. The men out earning their women, they were all cool, but the dude’s were more likely to be faithful depending on their woman. In the cases where the guys made significantly less than their women, I saw two types. Those that were faithful, but seemed to walk on eggshells around their women, or those that cheated often, sometimes with women close to their high earning mate. It kinda sorta gives women that think men are dogs some ammo, but there’s way less involved than that. Oft times guys cheat out of curiosity and newness, not malicious intent. Women typically cheat if they’re disgruntled in some way, less so when they’re happily attached.
Results May Vary
To be fair, I did not conduct a poll on this, so I’m just going off memory, from a really small sample size, results will vary in the rest of the real world. Especially since there are a lot of factors that ultimately get people into their relative financial/relationship positions. That said though, the perceived power of financial success is wielded similarly in men and women. High earners with low earners are likely to stray regardless. People on equal footing behave like they are in competition with each other. Low earning women with high earning men are cool with the set up and are very faithful, low earning men with high earning women seem to overdo “masculinity” in the form of cheating or something to make up for what they may feel is an inadequacy…if it is something the woman holds over his head all the time. If it’s not held over his head, he’s going to be solidly on her side.
Another disclaimer that I feel the need to throw out there, I personally believe there is more to it than money. The factors that drive one to making a lot or being dependent, properly using or abusing perceived power are more likely to blame than gender and salary, but I’d have to do a full on study and get it peer reviewed to make that claim with a higher level of confidence than my personal belief.
No Answers Here
What I can say with a higher degree of confidence is, the non-traditionalists are having a rougher go at relationships compared to that old school, patriarchal stuff commonly demonized in the media, but no one seems to truly be having a good time as a whole. I say that as a non-traditional kinda guy that hopes for a better way for the non-traditional folks out there. There could be a natural order that we aren’t following which leads to many of these issues we see today. There could be far too much peer pressure on how people live their personal lives. Maybe we haven’t advanced enough as a society to sensibly handle non-traditional roles. Despite giving it much thought, I have no idea how to improve any of this.
There are differences in how men and women communicate, what we value and want in life, as well as our partners. Dealing with egos and varying advancements, the dynamic has shifted to a place where more and more women “don’t need shit from a man”, but they still desire old school chivalry and protection, while simultaneously shirking what men of every generation desires. Men want women that are able to stand on their own two, can and will hold a real conversation without being distracted, as well as a certified freak with few to no limitations in the bedroom. Based on these generalizations, maybe we’re delusional to think that what we want in our ideal partner will also fit with who we are as a partner to them. In theory, compatibility should lead to happiness and fidelity, but humans are very complex and often stimulated in various ways. These varying ways of stimulation are rarely achieved by a single source, so we have friends and familial relationships. Sometimes, that turns into side pieces. That’s not really the whole point of this though. The idea I had for this month was battle of the sexes, but as I started to write, I thought more about the differences between us, because at the end of the day, we’re fighting for the same thing and in many cases on the same team. That said, let the “battle” begin!