Most men today are in love with strong women. Here’s how to make it work

For years now, American men have been groomed to take a step back and to let women take the wheel—not just in school and at work but in their relationships as well. In doing so, men have abdicated their masculine leadership.

When men surrender their manhood in their relationships with women, it causes women to step up and take control.

Some women enjoy this role, but most do not. As Jordan Peterson notes in his now infamous exchange with Cathy Newman, “I think there’s a substantial minority [of women who settle for a weak partner], and I think it’s very bad for them. They’re very unhappy.”

Indeed they are, but I would argue that the ‘strong woman/soft man’ relationship dynamic is more than a substantial minority. I think it’s an epidemic.

I received an email not long ago from a woman named Jessica who wanted to explain why romance novels are such a booming industry. Namely, because they cater to women’s innate desire to feel safe in the arms of a dominant male.

Not domineering—dominant. Those two words are often conflated. To be domineering means to be controlling; and no one, male or female, wants to be controlled. To be the dominant partner simply means to be the powerful force one leans upon. The provider and the protector. The leader.

Until recently, this role fell to the man. Men are physically larger and stronger than women, and they tend to thrive when they’re put in charge. Moreover, since women are the sex that gives birth, they will at some point be in need of provisions and protections.

Then along came the culture to tell women to become their own providers and protectors, and women have been giving it their best shot ever since. But it’s not working.

Not only are women burning out at an alarming rate, when they’re ready to marry they can’t find “economically attractive” partners—thus proving hypergamy, or the desire to marry dominant men, is alive and well.

What no one told women or men is that it isn’t natural for women to be the leaders in love. That’s why when women try to do so, they become angst ridden and stressed out. It may appear as though women want to make all the decisions, but they don’t—not on the home front. Indeed, nothing bugs a woman more than a man who’s indecisive or who turns all the decision making over to her. Women today are dying to relax, but they feel they can’t because they don’t trust their man to get the job done.

And to be fair, many men aren’t getting the job done. But that’s not because they’re lazy or don’t want to. It’s because they were told, explicitly, that women want to be in charge.

But women who manage everything on their own almost always eventually lash out at men for not stepping up to the plate. They don’t do this to be mean; they do it because they’re desperate for male leadership. And when they don’t get it, they feel contempt. And this contempt erodes the relationship.

“We alpha women are tired,” writes Jessica. “Tired of always feeling like we have to do it all ourselves, tired of feeling like we have to prove that we can handle it all the time. We want so badly for the dominant male to just come in and take over and handle things.”

Here’s what modern men need to know: When you step back in your relationships and let women lead the way, women don’t feel safe. For a relationship to succeed, you need to own your masculinity.

All that means is to take initiative and make decisions. It means to have plans, opinions and ideas of your own. It means seeing something that needs to be done and doing it, as opposed to waiting to be told what to do.

Don’t be afraid of your masculine nature because society tells you it’s toxic. It’s the opposite of toxic. It’s the cure.

Let’s face it: most men today are in love with strong women. For the relationship to work, you can’t take a step back. You can’t be weak or indecisive or passive. She won’t respect you.

Here’s my advice: don’t try to please her. Instead, lead her. And watch what happens when you do.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne is an author, columnist and relationship coach committed to helping women let go of cultural beliefs that undermine their happiness in life and in love.

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