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Posted on Sep 29, 2009 at 01:54 AM

Male/Female "Roles" in Today's Relationships I've been listening to my nieces and nephew discuss the issues they have with their relationships. They've also talked about their friend's relationships. I've listened to them in amazement. It seems to me that both genders are completely confused by their potential mates. Maybe confused isn't the right word. From what I've heard, men and women have very different expectations of the opposite sex than what I've grown up to understand and have experienced. Now I get that there is a generation gap between me and them, but that really doesn't account for the major differences between what I understand male/female roles to be in a personal relationship and what they think the roles should be. Yes society has changed, and most households can't survive without two wage earners. But I have a hard time believing that this fact alone accounts for the new views on who does what in a relationship. Something else is going on, and I just need a little more understanding on what that something else is. I'd like honesty, but I respectfully request that sex be left out of the discussion. We tend to reduce everything to sex. What I'm after is information on what men and women believe on a societal level what each other's roles are. In other words, who provides, nurtures, teaches, cleans, pays for a date, etc. If things aren't the way you'd like them, how would you like them to be? I'm not going to say what I think male/female roles should be just yet. I'd like to get an honest response from all sexes in all age groups.

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Posted on Dec 25, 2009 at 03:59 AM

Dave - I know couples who switch off being the stay at home parent. Most of the time it involves getting an advanced education degree. One friend worked while her husband finished college and then law school. He dealt with their son more at that point. Once he was situated with a firm, she quit to stay home and have a couple more kids. I think that's healthy. The man understands what it's like to deal with a child or children for hours on end, while also cooking and doing some of the cleaning. Their wives aren't taken for granted so much because he knows exactly what she goes through on a daily basis, and can really appreciate it. Things really are changing. That's one of the reasons I thought of this topic. What I knew to be true for male/female relationships or roles has really been challenged. I also just really would like to get a handle on why relationships aren't working in this society. We're not "getting" each other. But I refuse to believe that we can't get it together and have healthy, happy, loving relationships.

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Posted on Dec 24, 2009 at 05:55 AM

OK, this just in... Went to a Christmas party at a friends house last light. Met his son for the first time, he left the Army recently after 8 years, Ranger, two tours in Afghanistan, one in Iraq, bright and educated. In short, my kind of guy, and exactly what I would expect as the son of this friend. Now the surprise, he is a stay at home dad and loves it.I was initially quite surprised when he mentioned it and indicated that is all he plans until his children are grown. In a way, it's admirable that this young man has the confidence to not need society's approval. This couple seems very happy and secure in their roles. Guess there is a generational aspect to this too.

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Posted on Oct 23, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Thanks Dave that's it! I could never be on that show because I wouldn't know the pop culture questions. I'd have to use lifelines before the questions below $1,000 were over. That's what happens when you watch everything but network tv.

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Posted on Oct 22, 2009 at 03:35 AM

Who wants to be a millionare?

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Posted on Oct 20, 2009 at 12:43 PM

What game show was that final answer thing from? I've been racking my brain trying to remember...

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Posted on Oct 17, 2009 at 11:44 PM

McG all I can say is that it sounds like you raised your kids right. There are so many lost souls that didn't get that kind of guidance. I see it everyday. It just dawned on me that it might also be regional. Folks on the west coast seem to have a different understanding of partnership than what I experienced when I lived in the south and know to be the case from my family... I want to fix it for them, but of course I can't.

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Posted on Oct 16, 2009 at 11:12 PM

Wow... this is a wonderful topic... because I have grown children and teenage children of my own... now my grown children are more like a cross breed of our generation and generation "x"...(being the next generation behind us) so they are like 25-35..o.k.!.. and they feel that there roles are to support each other in what ever course of life that they lead so long as it is positive and supports growth for all concerned... which is good I think... now as for the teenagers... they feel that through independent growth and freedom they will control there destiny... (whatever that means!) of course that's just youthful thinking, but at the same time I can't say that they are wrong... now I need you to know that this is coming from a male and female prospection.. so in answer to your question I would have to so this... the new roles that males and females portray in todays society is changing as we speak... and just like Jammer I would have to agree with his answer....whatever works for those involved has my vote... (as I hit the button) and yes that's my final answer!... LOL!..

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Posted on Oct 14, 2009 at 11:46 PM

Hi Dave, I really had to chew on this one for awhile before I could respond. I really hadn't thought about the legal aspect of the issue. I don't personally know about the effects of divorce and the legal system's "interference" with a boy's journey to manhood. My parents were married for 51 years before my mother passed away last year. My brother was lucky to have my father's influence his whole life. I started thinking about what might have happened if my parents had split up. My brother would have been affected way more than me and my sister. We were used to my father being overseas most of our lives for work. But the person who was molding us to be young ladies was my mother. My brother and father were thick as thieves when my father was home from a trip. Would my brother have turned out as well as he did living apart from my father and seeing him even less than usual? Would my father have balked at paying alimony and child support? Would my brother have learned that he didn't need to support his daughter if he saw that the man he idolized didn't pay his mother the support ordered by the court? I completely follow your logic about how boys remain boys nowadays. The thing that escapes me about this whole legal scenario Dave is that most divorces were requested by men in the early days which produced the "boys" we're now talking about. They outgrew their wives and moved on. If they are the ones who wanted out of the marriages, then why would they be resentful of what the court system ordered? You can't have your cake and eat it too. Most of the single parent families living at or below the poverty level in the census statistics are divorced women whose ex-husbands aren't providing support. Divorce is a huge creator of poverty. I'm having a hard time reconciling the hows and whys of the whole situation. But like I learned in college, this is a doctoral dissertation subject. Many books have been written on the subject. I understand the issue completely on an academic level. It's the emotional level that's an issue for me. I deliberately didn't get married because I knew that I still have yet to meet the man who is "perfect" for me. I don't believe in divorce. I want the first time to be the last time. I have difficulty understanding why folks jump into marriage before figuring out if their partner is really and truly the right one for them. But back to gender "roles". Women look at the ultimate man a little differently. Yes, everyone wants an alpha male who will support, protect, and provide for them to the maximum. Not every woman uses the same gauge to decide who or what an alpha male is. Many women consider a nerd an alpha male because they have the extreme ability to provide (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc.). That man has the ability to buy whatever attribute he's lacking. If he abhors violence, he can hire a security service to protect his family. They can also provide a life of leisure for their partners. This man can be preferable to a more physically dominant "earthy" man who wants his woman to do everything for him. There are more moderate examples, but these are the two extremes. I'm always surprised to find that a lot of women don't cook. My feeling is that it's an ability that's necessary to raise a family well. Cooking also helps facilitate money management. That's what I learned in a required cooking class in junior high school. I know that the schools don't teach subjects like cooking, sewing, metal, auto maintenance, and wood shop anymore. If neither parents nor schools are teaching these things, how is anyone supposed to learn the basic skills required to economically take care of a family? OK here's my theory of how women choose their partners. It seems they choose a man who can afford to "overlook" the fact that she's domestically challenged, or has no culinary ability. If he can pay a housekeeper and eat out everyday, then it's all good. But a lot of men with means still want a domestic goddess. How do we reconcile the two points of view? That's what I'm trying to get at. Any more suggestions folks? I know you have some thoughts on the matter. I'd love to hear them.

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Posted on Oct 05, 2009 at 09:36 PM

Hi evrythg2gain, Thank you for your comment. I wasn't intentionally not responding to your post. I was processing it more than anything else. I agree with your response for the most part. I was really processing your thought that we tend to over analyze relationships too much. This site wouldn't be in existence if people were actually in relationships. The site fulfills a need. I'm wondering why relationships aren't working - specifically where are the areas that they are breaking down. One of my thoughts is that each sex is confused by what is expected of them. Communication is the key to any good relationship. But it is really hard work to get there if we don't have some reference point to start a conversation and then move on from there. It's easier to respond to the guys because they're the ones who are dispensing information that isn't known to me. But don't feel slighted. I'm hoping many more women will weigh in on the matter. Thanks again and feel free to keep responding.

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Posted on Oct 04, 2009 at 07:11 AM

Hi Anewworld, I don't think it's a matter of Jung having relevance for today's young men. His findings/teachings are always relevant as they are as old as mankind and never change. What has changed is society. The young men of today grew up/came of age in a fatherless society and as such, never were taught how to be men, what is expected, their responsibilities as men, etc. This is probably still some residual effects of the womens movement when men seem to have lost their way and not understanding what their role should be. It was cdertainly exascerbated by the courts in divorces when the fathers were mostly declared irrelvant. All of this is probably the single biggest source of the ever growing prison population. Almost makes me think it was intentional to create the largest legal industry in the world. I.E. take sons away from thier fathers, and you have a future "client" for lawyers/judges/procecutors/police/jailers. In any case, take a look at the male prison population and you'll see an overwhelming majority of young men who grew up without fathers. A father doesn't want to provide for his family because a judge orders him to do so, he wants to do it out of LOVE when unable to do so, the Lover in him is suppressed. When it's the legal system that causes it, he has no where to turn, no way to fight the system, the Warrior in him is suppressed, feeling 'hollow' he skips town let's the welfare system provide for his kids, the Magician in him isn't needed anymore. Following the logic here? Little by little, the legal system has taken over a man's role in society and robbed him of his soul. The end result is America has a bunch of aging 'boys', but real men are a rarity. That's why I emphasized "let a man be a man". DAYUMM, I love it when you guys come up with thought provoking blogs :D

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Posted on Oct 02, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Quoting: Originally posted by dave45039
OK, Here's my long winded comments/beliefs, based on the Jungian school of thought. According to Carl Jung,the male psyche is made up of four archtypes, each with a specific responsibility for men to live their life to it's fullest. When any of these archetypes are not being fulfilled, the consequences can range from mild dissatifaction with oneself OR his partner, to personality disorders, to anti social behaviour. etc. The archetypes are named 'King' 'Warrior' 'Magician' 'Lover'. The last three relate directly to a man's needs/responsibilities to 'protect', 'provide', and 'procreate'. All must function under the influence of the King. For example. the Warrior would be responsible to establish boundaries that he or others should not be allowed to cross, with the influence of the King, these boundaries should be fair to all, (the person, those under his protectorate, and potential violaters.) The Magician would be responsibile for problem solving, earning a living, getting educated, etc. The lover, besides the obvious, would also be responsibile for the man to experience joy thru art, music, nature, lovemaking, etc. Keep in mind, all the archetypes must be influenced by the King. A man's satisfaction with his life would depend on how satisfied he is compared to the requirements of these archetypes. Obvious there are a mountain of books written on the Jungian school of thought, this is a very small interpretation..... Obviously, my answer to your question is that a man's role is to protect, provide, and procreate and he should be allowed to do so. I'm quite sure women have similar psychological make up and their role whould be based on what those archetypes are and it seems obvious that there will be some overlap. In a perfect world there would be no conflict.


"Obviously, my answer to your question is that a man's role is to protect, provide, and procreate and he should be allowed to do so." Forgive me for quoting the old fashioned way. I couldn't extract only what I wanted to... Dave - the young guys aren't taking this on any longer. The procreate part they really have down. It's the other two factors they seem to ignore. I can't tell you how many times I've heard them talking to their woman about going to take care of "business", and then in the next breath telling her "I bought some pampers last month when she tells him the baby needs things. That isn't protecting or providing for either the mother or child. Maybe the question is if Jung has any relevance for the younger folks...

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Posted on Oct 01, 2009 at 05:39 AM

OK, Here's my long winded comments/beliefs, based on the Jungian school of thought. According to Carl Jung,the male psyche is made up of four archtypes, each with a specific responsibility for men to live their life to it's fullest. When any of these archetypes are not being fulfilled, the consequences can range from mild dissatifaction with oneself OR his partner, to personality disorders, to anti social behaviour. etc. The archetypes are named 'King' 'Warrior' 'Magician' 'Lover'. The last three relate directly to a man's needs/responsibilities to 'protect', 'provide', and 'procreate'. All must function under the influence of the King. For example. the Warrior would be responsible to establish boundaries that he or others should not be allowed to cross, with the influence of the King, these boundaries should be fair to all, (the person, those under his protectorate, and potential violaters.) The Magician would be responsibile for problem solving, earning a living, getting educated, etc. The lover, besides the obvious, would also be responsibile for the man to experience joy thru art, music, nature, lovemaking, etc. Keep in mind, all the archetypes must be influenced by the King. A man's satisfaction with his life would depend on how satisfied he is compared to the requirements of these archetypes. Obvious there are a mountain of books written on the Jungian school of thought, this is a very small interpretation..... Obviously, my answer to your question is that a man's role is to protect, provide, and procreate and he should be allowed to do so. I'm quite sure women have similar psychological make up and their role whould be based on what those archetypes are and it seems obvious that there will be some overlap. In a perfect world there would be no conflict.

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Posted on Oct 01, 2009 at 12:49 AM

Jammer you've directly hit on the point that I was trying to make. In your example, those societies have very clearly delineated "rules" or codes of conduct. It works for them. It seems to me that now, anything and everything goes. No one fully understands what is supposed to happen. Women make assumptions about what men are supposed to do, thinking that men have the same understanding of the issue that they do. Turns out that men have completely different ideas, but don't know how to communicate what they think to their women. I'm gonna stick my neck out here and wonder if feminism sent messages to men that told them they didn't need to think that they HAD to be the primary breadwinner. After all, the movement wanted equality in all things. I think many women still expect men to be providers in the traditional sense. Young women in particular, don't remember what the movement was all about. But it seems that younger men got the message loud and clear that women also wanted to be breadwinners. I think many feel that they are "off the hook" so to speak, and don't feel they have a responsibility to fulfill a traditional provider role. In the end, lots of folks are unhappy because the couple in question doesn't clearly communicate where they're coming from to their partner. The divorce rate validates that. Would it be better if there were more clearly defined "roles"? I'm not advocating going back to the Leave It to Beaver type situation. Our world has changed too much for that to be feasible any longer. I'm just wondering if people would be happier if they had some sort of framework to go by. There was a recent study that revealed that more than half of the women surveyed were unhappy (I don't remember the exact percentage - only that it was really high). I haven't heard that men are in such a bad place lately. That leads me to think that men are in a pretty decent place overall, and they get really confused that women aren't happy. If only everyone knew what to expect... What's going on now is like a dog chasing its tail. No matter how hard they try, the tail (happiness, contentment, etc.) is just out of reach....

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Posted on Sep 30, 2009 at 07:57 PM

Even though "roles" for men and women morph and change based on issues in today's society/current social issues, I still think there is a simple explanation, in my experience/view.

I believe most men want to provide and take care of family and women have an desire to nuture that family.¿ This by no means is to say I think that either gender has a more important role/opinion in relationships/family life.¿ And there will always be exceptions.¿

Sometimes I think we can overanalyze who and what we're all suppose to be when it comes to relationships.¿ Regardless of what we all think these roles should be/want them to be I think we all still want communication, love and respect in that partnership.¿


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Posted on Sep 30, 2009 at 10:48 AM

What a loaded question! There are so many ways to confront the situation i think the¿ answer can only be: Whatever works for both parties....

TRUE EXAMPLE: There is a small tribe in South America that has the custom of two seperate compunds for the men and women. The men hunt and gather food from far away and the women concentrate on leadership of the tribe and raising children, and garden farming.¿Men are not allowed in the female compound unless invited and submit to the council of female elders...

My point is it works for them and has for a very long time. Will that work in an industrialized nation like the U.S.? Hell no. So...whatever works for those involved has my vote


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