February 23, 2018

I Want Him To Take the Lead In the Relationship- What Should I Do?

I Want Him To Take the Lead In the Relationship- What Should I Do

“Better to put your heart on the line, risk everything, and walk away with nothing than play it safe. Love is a lot of things, but “safe” isn’t one of them.”

~ Mandy Hale

# Name your why

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “You must be the change to want to see in the world”. 

If we desire a certain outcome in our lives, we must be ready to take the lead on this ourselves.  

Women oftentimes become influenced by gender role stereotypes, not even realizing the expectations they are placing on their partners.

The more women take the lead by making choices they wish to see, the more they will be happy in the relationship. Men also appreciate women who have conviction, know what they want, and can execute a plan to reach those goals.

If there’s a restaurant you want to go to, make a reservation and invite him.

If there’s a movie, museum, event, concert, or play you’d like to go to, book two tickets and invite your partner along.

By becoming a leader in your own life and not waiting for your partner, this not only bring you joy, but it will organically create a change within your partner.

By you taking the initial lead in the relationship, it will motivate him to do the same for you.

While you both have a quiet moment to talk, directly share how you would feel if he took the lead in the relationship.  Then, follow up by providing specific ways he could take more initiative.

Men respond to clear and direct forms of communication. Give your partner notice and let him know you would like to talk about whatever topic is on your mind.

Men respond well to timeframes, deadlines, and naming your why.

Timeframes and deadlines help provide structure within the relationship.

Naming your why is helpful for your partner to have an understanding why it is your wanting him to take the lead in certain areas within the relationship.

By your partner taking the lead in the relationship, do you then feel more loved, safer, more connected to him, validated, or understood?

Once you get clear on why you want him to take the lead in certain areas of the relationship, share how it makes you feel when he does so.

Healthy relationships are built on shared decision making and both people taking the lead in certain areas.

Brooke Campbell, MA, LCAT - www.creativekinections.com

# Give him opportunities to be a hero in your life
Kate Houston

We as women say we want a man to lead in the relationship; however, all too often what we actually mean is we want them to selectively lead, and to specifically lead in all the ways we don’t want to lead.

This is confusing to men. They want to make their women happy, yet if they can’t figure out when to step up and in without being criticized, they just will stop trying. If we truly want men to lead, we need to step out of their way and allow them to do it. That sounds simple enough yet time and time again we mess this up. Why?

Without awareness and intention, we women have a hard time letting go of control and an even harder time letting go of the outcome.

So instead we step in because we worry it won’t turn out right, whatever “it” is. The truth is this has nothing to do with the men in our lives. It has everything to do with us.

As women we have had to fit into a man’s world for centuries. We shoulder our masculine energy to enter the patriarchal work world every day. So we carry around our masculine doing energy daily. And there can be other reasons for our desire to retain control in our lives. Maybe we have a family history of a loved one showing up inconsistently for us so we activate old coping mechanisms to manage situations when that fear of disappointment arises in the present.

“But wait, isn’t all this giving I do feminine?” I’ve been asked.

Nope. This might be surprising, but the most feminine thing we women can do is simply sit back and accept the gifts given to us from men whether it be something wrapped up with a bow, expressed from the heart or in the form of a regularly emptied trash can.

Because when men decide to give effort for you, they are doing it for you.

Not for the family, not for the household, but for you. And that right there can feel incredibly intimidating if we struggle with accepting and allowing love from men. Our control creates distance, keeps us protected behind our armor, and deflects vulnerability.

How do I change if I do want a man to lead?

First, ask men for help, do so often and for small things.

And then thank them for doing it for us. We can safely reprogram our old stories of insecurity and inconsistency by replacing them with new, positive experiences in the present.

Next, let go of the outcome.

When we fix on only one way to do things, we set our men up to fail. And that is the last feeling men want to feel with their women. Be flexible and allow our men space to resolve and do things in their way. We might be surprised and touched by their ingenuity and effort. Wouldn’t it be more connecting and vulnerable to thank our men for doing something for us with a kiss on the cheek than to complain to him? 

They get to feel like the heroes in our lives rather than scoundrels.

And if they are the hero we get to be the wholly feminine women they would do anything for.

Kate Houston, Love Coach - www.fabulousandfearlessover40.com

# Define your own role and then act on that self-definition

What a paradox!  You want him to lead but you want to coach him how to do it?!

If you are the coach, you are the leader.  Is leadership what you’re really looking for?  Or are you wanting him to be more proactive and involved.  If that’s the case, tell him that you feel you are doing more of the relationship work and you would like him to be more involved.

There is an adage in the family therapy world that says, “The degree to which one member of a system overfunctions, the other member will underfunction”.

 This is incontrovertible; it’s always true.  So take a look at your own relationship behavior and assess whether you are overfunctioning.  It’s very tempting to take on more relationship work if you observe a lack of participation from your partner.  However, if you do more work, you will always do more work.  It’s not necessarily bad, it just has to be OK with you.

We cannot cajole our partners into functioning the way we want them to.  

We can speak up about what we want, but the action has to emanate from them.  We all know that you can’t change somebody.  This dilemma falls into that category.  Is he an introvert?  Is he shy?  Is he really committed to the relationship?  His behavior will be a reflection of who he is, not who you want him to be. 

We all need to define our own roles and then act on that self-definition.

We shouldn’t do less than we feel good about, and we definitely shouldn’t do more. Talk to your partner about your vision for your relationship and be open to his vision. Neither of you can make the other want what you want, but maybe some compromises can be reached that will be helpful to the quality of the relationship.

Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

# Consider the 6 tips below
Jodi Rabinowitz

For some women, it can be incredibly sexy when their partner takes the lead in their relationship. Sometimes asking for this or talking about it can be scary because many women have been raised to believe that this desire is anti-feminist. Moreover, men are given mixed messages about this topic which can cause confusion.

When I work with women who have this desire, we spend a lot of time deconstructing their beliefs about feminism and usually come to the conclusion that they can be a feminist and still crave a partner who takes initiative. During our work, I make it a point to explore the following ideas:

#1. Be direct

As I mentioned before, men are given mixed messages about taking the lead in a relationship. Some men will not take the lead because they have received messages that women do not want that. This isn’t a bad thing because some women do not want their partner to take charge and any assumption otherwise would be detrimental to the relationship. Therefore, you need to let your partner know that this is something you want.

#2. Be honest

Let your partner know that you’d enjoy it if he took the lead. If you have never had this conversation before there is a good chance that your partner doesn’t know that this is something you want. Let the conversation delve deeper into the parts of the relationship that you want him to have more control over and ask him to explore his own feelings about this topic.

#4. Be positive and affirming

Instead of addressing this issue as a deficit in the relationship, look at it as something that can enhance an already awesome relationship. Use positive and affirming language that lets your partner know what they are already doing well, and how their behavior turns you on. For example, you can say: “It really turned me on when you ordered my entrée for me at the restaurant last night. I love it when you take charge.” This example highlights something positive that has already happened and gives affirming and sexy praise. Another example would be: “It would turn me on so much if you’d decide what we are doing for date night.” This example addresses something that hasn’t happened yet, but uses positive and enticing language.

#5. Consent is Key

When two (or more) adults make a decision about the dynamic of their relationship, there must be informed consent. That means that there needs to be a conversation about each person’s needs, desires, and limits. Consent should be an ongoing conversation that can be re-negotiated and explored when necessary. Consent can also be changed or taken away by either party. Getting used to talking about such things can lead to greater intimacy and satisfaction.

#6. Consider their Upbringing

If you are worried that your partner may not be interested in taking the lead, consider how they were brought up. Was their Mother a working Mom who instilled values of women being independent? This could potentially make your partner uncomfortable taking the lead. Was their Mother a stay-at-home Mom and they vowed never to date a woman who had similar qualities? There may be deeper reasons why you partner is uncomfortable with such an arrangement. The key here is to keep an open dialogue about it!  

Practicing honest and effective communication about the things you desire in your relationship and sex-life is a great, life-long skill. Sometimes the scariest conversations to have are the most rewarding!

Jodi Rabinowitz,, LPC, MA, RDT - www.jodierin.com

# The answer is simply - communicate

Even though you think the man should take the lead in a relationship, you can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. Here’s why…

Your relationship is a partnership, an equal bond of give and take, compromise and flexibility.  But if you want him to take the initiative, then let him.  Go along with his suggestions and acknowledge how much you appreciate his incentive.

Women like to be courted.  Men like to pursue to win her over.  It comes naturally and men usually are up to the challenge.  He has to prove himself to her.  She has to like what she sees.

Women like men who display confidence. Men like women who are respectful and allow him to show what he knows and how much. 

Women want to feel safe and have a strong partner who is comfortable in his own skin.  Men want to make a woman feel secure and cared for.  It allows the relationship to move forward in a healthy, loving way.

Just remember, you have an opinion and if you feel strongly about something, you have a right to speak your mind.  

If that causes conflict or competition, you need to have some open conversation about why this is so.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

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