Many people are quite comfortable with the roles that they take on in their relationships. You may find that you are happy with you or your partner being the slightly more dominant person and the other being slightly more submissive. Or you may be in a relationship where both partners take on an equal role within the relationship.
The fear of the ‘role’
But sometimes, people have a fear of becoming a certain role. We usually fear becoming the more submissive partner, and the submissive role often has a bad connotation. It is sometimes referred to as being the ‘wife’ in the relationship. This person is seen to be the ‘girl’ in the relationship, and they are expected to be cooking, cleaning, and generally looking after the house. I have found that sometimes, even though people are very equal in their relationship, the fear exists of becoming the submissive wife in the relationship. I think this fear is spurred on by how friends will ask a couple directly the question of “who wears the pants?”
The fear is destructive
In my relationship, the fear is unfounded – we consider ourselves completely equal. But due to our natural insecurities, the fear pops its head up occasionally. Society sometimes makes us insecure about our roles in life and in our relationships.
The problem with this fear is that we tend to overcompensate for it. We will avoid any activity that can be associated with being submissive, even if it is actually an activity of being equal. For example, I might not want to cook dinner for my partner in fear of being seen as a ‘wife’. However, cooking for him is actually showing love and is a sign of being equal, rather than being submissive. It is only submissive when there is an expectation for me to cook dinner rather than an appreciation.
People have fought for years to get rid of the view that there must be a role for a wife in a heterosexual relationship who should stay at home to cook and clean. But we seem to have a similar fear in gay relationships.
How can we overcome this fear?
I try to think about all the things that my partner does for me. I look at his circumstances. If he comes home late from work, it may be unreasonable for me to wait for us to cook together, fearing that if I cook early then I am seen to be the wife. I try to remember that my partner appreciates rather than expects me to help him out in the home. Showing this love will hopefully inspire your partner to show the same love, even if it is in a different form.
It is that mutual appreciation and readiness to always want to help your partner that keeps the bond between you strong.
Set the example
Lastly, we as gay people can show the world how an equal relationship can work. We can show the world that two people of the same gender can get along quite well without having to be assigned specific roles. We just need to get rid of our fears and insecurities.