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From a date to a relationship

Relationship type casting

An interesting article titled “Why men secretly love bossy women” has gotten me thinking about the way people (both men and women) type cast their partners in their relationships. The author of the article wrote about how he loves his bossy, controlling girlfriend. Now, obviously, some men love bossy women while others don’t, but you can’t ignore the fact that you do see a lot of laid back guys with domineering women.

Relationship type casting

Freud would tell you to look at the guy’s mom and his relationship with her. I dare you to find a woman who doesn’t know that men with domineering mothers are likely to want an equally domineering partner. On the other hand, many women do make the mistake of dating the sort of guys who like bossy girlfriends without actually being bossy. These women may well feel sorry for the guy after meeting his mother or hearing about his terribly bossy ex girlfriend (that monster!) and decide that what the guy really needs in order to grow and achieve his potential is someone who’ll be open minded, relaxed and accepting.

This, imagines the woman, would allow the guy to finally learn and express his own wants and needs, without always having to do what his mother or girlfriend want. Of course, the profusion of men who “marry their mothers”, should be telling you why this is a losing battle. It’s not just the bossiness of mothers that gets passed down to the type of partner a man wants, but this is probably the best example.

You might look at a guy with a bossy girlfriend and think “how awful for him”, but for many men this sort of relationship provides just what they need to keep their inner child alive.

A man who grew up with a loving but bossy mother may well associate bossiness with love. If the woman he’s with doesn’t boss him around enough, he could actually start thinking that maybe she doesn’t care about him enough. Following orders is also a way for many guys to find security in a relationship. If the woman gives a man an order when he does what she says, he knows for certain that he has fulfilled his duty, therefore he can assume he’s made her happy, thus securing his future with her. A world where he has to think for himself about how to make his partner happy may be uncertain and confusing in comparison.

Either way, by failing to live up to such a man’s expectations and trying to “rise above” situations where the man is blatantly type casting you in the dominating woman role, you could be unwittingly throwing your guy well out of his comfort zone and proving yourself to be a totally different woman than the one he actually wants. It’s a mistake to think that every man you meet secretly wants freedom from what you perceive as oppression. For many men it’s exactly this sort of one-sided bossy relationship that gives them freedom from thinking about stuff they don’t want to bother with.

Now, this might not be a bad thing if you don’t see yourself mothering someone for the rest of your life together, but, like all things, such decisions are best done with awareness.

It might not look it if you’re the sort of person who hates being bossy, but if your partner is casting you in that role, he’s actually trying to make the relationship work. You might think that the sort of behaviour that pushes you into the role of the boss is annoying, but it’s a sort of subconscious way for the guy to teach you what he needs to be happy. It might not be the relationship dynamics you want in your life, but it’s certainly not an indication that your guy is taking you for granted.

On the other hands, some people will try to subconsciously cast their partners as the villain, this making the relationship fail. People who are afraid of losing their freedom, for example, may subconsciously act in ways likely to make their partners feel insecure, upset and annoyed at being taken for granted. Once the partner raises an objection, a fight may well ensue and the partner is blamed for being too needy, demanding too much and blowing things out of proportion. This form of type casting is where you really should try to rise above things or, at the very least, not be too harsh when bringing things up.

Shimrit Elisar Written by Shimrit Elisar
Parship GmbH

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