We are raised with the notion that men, being all pragmatic and powerful, are responsible for providing for the family. Whereas, the women – feeble and sensitive, cooks, cleans, takes care of the children, and manages household chores. However, more women are stepping out of these society-defined cliched roles. The dynamics of a man and woman relationship are beginning to change too. One of the finest examples of this unconventional change is female-led relationships.
At this point, most of you must be wondering what is a female-led relationship, also known as FLR? Or, even worse – is it even possible for men and women to switch roles, and let each other swap responsibilities without any power struggles?
Let us delve deeper into the intricacies of such a progressive kind of relationship.
What is a Female Led Relationship (FLR)?
In short, a female-led relationship is the one where the woman takes the lead and is responsible for making important decisions for herself as well as her partner.
Truth be told, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. To understand FLR, it is important that you know how it functions and what are the positives and negatives of it. So, let us try to define it in as much detail as possible.
There isn’t an official or formal definition of FLR, however, it suffices to say that a female-led relationship is different than the age-old male-driven relationship norms. As opposed to male-led relationships, an FLR enables women to be in charge of their everyday life. She not only takes care that the household is provided for but is also the one to make important decisions for the family and her relationship.
As it is expected, many men would find it difficult, even emasculating, to be in a relationship where the female leads and acts as the decision-maker. But history proves that despite being born in a patriarchal society, powerful women such as Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and Indira Gandhi have ruled nations, driven the world, and made decisions that no man could ever come up with.
Female led relationships do not undermine or disrespect the existence of men in our society. It simply denies the banality of male roles and the belief that, traditionally, male members of a family are supposed to lead the way. Instead, it gives women an opportunity to be the dominant partner – to be what we call an ‘alpha female’.
4 Different Types of Female-led Relationships
Yes, there is more than one type of FLR. The types vary according to the level of intensity. While female-led relationships are slowly making its way in society, we have to understand that the human mind has spent the last 200,000 years believing that men lead in every day and women just offer support by taking care of him and his family.
As much as this gender role distinction feels derogatory, we mustn’t forget that society is willing to change. But it cannot happen overnight.
While there are four different levels of female-led relationships, most couples are comfortable with only one or two of them at most. Let us take a look at the various categories.
This is the mildest level where the woman most likely doesn’t even want an FLR, but the man suggests it as something new and interesting. And, while she doesn’t agree or understand female-dominated connections, she allows her partner to take over some of her tasks while she takes some of his.
Slightly more advanced than Type 1, the women at this level may not have wanted this kind of relationship at first, but the taste of what it feels like was too good to give it up. However, they still aren’t confident enough to take complete control, and some may even believe that it could ruin their relationship. They only accept this experiment to try something intriguing and eccentric.
The women at this level are more confident and know what they are doing. They refuse to succumb to a patriarchal society and do not shy away from leading the relationship. The man enjoys and supports being with such a strong woman. In this type of relationship, the woman is in charge of everything – finances, family decisions, sex, and almost everything else in the relationship.
Honestly, this level isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. At this level of a female-led relationship, the man is nothing but a servant whose only purpose is to follow the woman’s orders and dedicate every moment of his life towards keeping her happy. The woman dictates every single aspect of his life.
While such a relationship equation may be extremely difficult for men to understand or accept, the biggest advantage of an FLR at this level is the intimacy. As women start taking complete control, the sex gets kinkier and takes extreme forms.
As women start exploring their dominant side, they become more open towards experimenting in bed. At level 4, they could be open to exploring anything from mildly kinky sex to extreme BDSM.
10 Advantages of a Female-led Relationship
Although society is still confused about the pros and cons of a female dominant relationship, those who have experienced it or researched about it point out that there are certain advantages of being in an FLR.
1. It makes everything more efficient and organized
Let’s be honest – after spending years keeping the home functional and managing every family member’s needs, there is no doubt that a woman is better organized than a man. It’s not that a man can’t do these things, but they probably can’t be as efficient as a woman.
After all, they had a few centuries to practice it. Also, because women are more sensitive towards the feelings of others, when they are in charge of assigning roles, rest assured that it will be fair and equal.
2. Women know everything
Whether you like it or not, it is true that a woman knows everything. She is aware of how you feel and what is going on in your mind. She is also aware of what is happening in every nook and corner of her home.
So, when she is in charge, you can be certain that she will get to the root of every problem and fix it, no matter how long and frustrating it gets.
3. FLRs offer a better communication channel
Women love to talk – about their daily routine, their problems, their achievements. They are also extremely mindful of the emotions and feelings of those around her. This is why a loving female-led relationship has endless opportunities for partners to communicate their thoughts to one another.
They understand that being silent or shouting for no reason won’t take the relationship anywhere. Thus, they believe in honest and open communication.
4. FLRs allow people to multitask
Undeniably, women kick ass when it comes to multitasking. They can cook for you, put out fresh clothes for you, talk to you about your problems, and feed the cat all at once.
There are women entrepreneurs around the world who run their business, feed their families, keep everyone safe, and ensure the heat never fades away from the bedroom. As offensive as it may sound, there is no doubt that men are one-directional – they only deal with one thing at a time.
5. FLRs support equality
A female-led relationship isn’t necessarily about taking all the power away from a man. It is more about equal distribution of power. FLR supports the idea that women shouldn’t stay behind when it comes to making decisions and taking charge of their relationship.
Irrespective of whether the man earns more than the woman or not, both partners have equal say in the relationship – gender equality at its finest. As long as nobody abuses power, it is good to let women dictate certain aspects of the relationship.
6. FLRs allows both parties to not shy away from seeking help
Men always complain that it is tough to keep a woman happy. Well! If you simply allow the woman to be in charge, you wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. Women can multitask. They can be fair and compassionate. They can communicate. And, unlike most men, she doesn’t hesitate to ask for help. If she needs you to step in for a while so she can take a break, she will ask for it.
She understands that by consenting to a female-led relationship, you are showing her that you love her and respect her for more than just her physical appearance. She knows that she can rely on a man who isn’t afraid or reluctant in letting his woman be in charge.
7. Women-led relationships allow men to be vulnerable
Most men are told to be tough and non-emotional as they grow up. This mentality of teaching young boys to stifle their emotions makes them mentally distressed. This behavior is also harmful because it forces men to be macho and tough, even in their weakest moments. As a result, they cannot share their problems with their partners or families, and develop mental health problems over time.
With female-led relationships, men have the space to become as vulnerable as they want. Instead of conforming to societal expectations and acting all masculine without showing a hint of fragility, men in FLRs can be openly emotional without their masculinity being questioned.
FLRs allow men to be vulnerable, show their tender side, and reveal their raw emotions – all without any fear of judgment.
8. FLRs allow men to free themselves from the pressure
Traditional dating standards expect men to take up all the responsibilities of a relationship. Whether it is paying for the dates, getting their girlfriend or wife flowers and gifts, bearing the expenses for everything, etc.
This creates an imbalance in the relationship, and even though most men do not complain about it, it does make them feel financially crippled. In fact, it is one of the most unfair things that the dating culture perpetuates.
Men who are tired of feeling pressured by these traditional standards will benefit immensely from FLRs. This is because, in a female-led relationship, they do not have to spend a lot of money to seek the approval of a woman. Because of the fact that women-led relationships are garnered towards equality for both men and women in every aspect of the relationship, they allow men to get free of all the social pressure related to dating.
9. It allows women to develop into the person she wants to be
Due to the traditional nature of modern-day relationships, most women are stifled by society and an expectation to stay one rung below the man. In a female-led relationship, the woman is supported unconditionally by the man she loves.
FLRs allow women to define their own identity without any pressure from society or anyone else. With this freedom, she can overcome any problem, feel her own power, and become her own person. Women with a supportive spouse can dream bigger, and achieve more in life because they are not suffocated by someone else’s idea of who they should be.
FLRs put women in a position where they can bloom on their own with the love and support of their partner.
10. FLRs allows both parties to pay more attention to their needs
A couple that is engaged in a female-led relationship is capable of paying more attention to their needs. This is because the man is freed from the expectation of being the breadwinner, and the woman does not have to live up to the ideals or expectations set up by society.
This change in dynamic results in both parties feeling more free to be themselves without any traditional notions barging in. This, in turn, leads to more attentiveness towards their own needs by both the men and the women.
Additionally, FLRs take off the responsibility from the shoulders of both the partners. The man no longer worries about pleasing his woman, and the woman does not have to think about leading the family unit to success anymore. Both of them share a common perspective and lead each other towards success, happiness, and satisfaction.
5 Disadvantages of Female-led Relationships
Every relationship has some cons that can emerge if it is allowed to run free. Here are some disadvantages of FLRs:
1. FLRS can turn into power struggles
A loving FLR can very quickly become a disaster if nobody sets boundaries. The idea behind a female-led relationship is to avoid a power struggle and experiment with something new. While giving all that power to women is amazing, you must keep in mind that not everybody is capable of making the best use of what they have. It is important that dominance doesn’t get the best of them.
Indeed, if the power struggle becomes too intense, it can lead to a lot of distress for both parties. Due to the fact that our society has some very clear notions of the role men and women play in relationships, a Female-led relationship can seem like something completely against your instincts.
Couples that are not mentally prepared for this kind of change in dynamics can quickly become frictional and even hostile towards each other.
2. FLRs may make it difficult for men to develop into homemakers
You must also understand that men may not be as good at multitasking and household chores as women. It isn’t their fault, but they weren’t raised into such a notion. Thus, even when they try their best, they may need a lot of practice before perfecting the role of a homemaker.
Again, this comes down to instinct. Most men do not have these instincts. Forcing a man into this kind of situation can only result in disaster.
3. Unhealthy boundaries can lead to a change in dynamics
If boundaries aren’t defined and roles aren’t clear, FLR can soon start to look like a mother-son relationship. All that pressure can be extremely stressful for a woman while the man may feel hesitation in speaking up about his thoughts. This change in dynamics can ultimately become too stressful for the relationship to handle.
4. If the woman grabs too much power, it can lead to an imbalanced relationship
Furthermore, to ensure that the relationship works smoothly, the woman must balance everything and allow her man to contribute his ideas and thoughts. Both partners should make decisions together, and respect should be of utmost importance in the relationship.
5. It can lead to loss of personal identities
If the woman has a perfectionist streak, she may struggle to have some clear boundaries. Overly indulging in perfecting her role, many women in an FLR have a tendency to lose their true selves. But this is not limited to women – even a man can lose his real self if he is always trying to keep up with his wife.
This loss of identity will not be quick either. It happens gradually and over a long period of time. Couples who are new to FLR, should, therefore, observe changes in their behavior carefully, to prevent any resentment and regrets in the future.
While you may be open to trying something new, the same can’t be said about your family and society. You may have to face negative comments and disrespectful remarks from society as well as your loved ones. This could easily hamper a relationship, if not handled cautiously.
When experimenting with female-led relationships, it is important to keep in mind that the main objective is to break away from the stereotype and give equal power and significance to men and women. No one should get an upper hand and feel entitled. Respect and love should be mutual. When all these conditions are met, you can enjoy a perfect relationship.
Namrata Singh is a dentist turned writer and clinical researcher. Eager to learn about anything and everything, she is what you would call a jack of all trades and master of none. With a zeal for reading novels, books and anything she could get her hands on ever since she was little, she embarked into a writing career purely out of luck. After indulging in a freelancing career for nearly two years, she can now write on anything - from dentistry to decor, travel to technology, medicine to management - but psychology remains her first love. Having dealt with mental health issues in the past, she hopes to raise awareness for the same and help people with her work in association with The MindFool team