Friday, July 6, 2012

The Shift in Gender Roles

The way a pendulum swings back and forth and eventually comes to rest in a neutral position is reflective of how both individuals process their emotions as well as how society reacts to new ideas. 

For example, look at the issue of women’s equality, specifically in regard to relationships. Not so long ago, women used to be regarded as chattel – mere property that was owned by a husband. She did as she was told and had no rights to speak of, in or out of the house. 

Women eventually rebelled and gained more freedoms, such as the right to vote. They started attending college on a regular basis and becoming a force to be reckoned with in the workplace. In general, gender roles started to be less clear cut and more confusing, and this was reflected in the relationship arena, too. 

While once women had limited options so they stayed in loveless, unfulfilling or abusive marriages, they now were able to support themselves and the divorce proceedings initiated by women started to increase. 

The balance of power was shifting. Whenever freedoms once denied are experienced, the pendulum tends to swing wide with emotion to one side until the freedoms are tempered with common sense. 

Here’s the problem. The pendulum hasn’t come to the middle yet. Both women and men are still confused by what will actually bring them, if not happiness, at least contentment with their lives. 

Women want BOTH to be independent and in charge AND taken care of by a man. Add in the survival instinct that all humans have imprinted in their DNA of women wanting strong men that offer protection and men seeking out women of an age with whom they can procreate, and we are at the mercy of our primal instincts. 

It seems as if no matter how you slice it, many remain unhappy, wanting their cake and to eat it, too. No wonder the divorce rate is so high! 

So, can you have a relationship where you are both the care-giver and the care-taker? You can, if you don’t get caught up in a power struggle and an overriding need to always be right or to feel as if you have won. Additionally, you must remember that giving and receiving are simply two sides of the same coin, so when you give to your partner, you’re also receiving and vice versa. Lastly, in a relationship, the “balance of power” is always shifting according to the particular circumstances encountered. It is unlikely that a relationship can always remain at 50/50, although it is the striving to reach there that makes up the days of your life. Learn to enjoy each of the days that you're granted. Good and bad, struggle and triumph, even winning and losing -- each of these circumstances,  while reflecting the natural duality of the world, allows you to experience the wholeness of life.  

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