We have come a long way since men went out to work and women meekly waited for their husbands to give them a weekly allowance so they could run the household. These days, both men and women tend to work, and gender roles are generally much more balanced.
There are also many relationships where there is still a division of work, responsibility and power between men and women, but these are no longer necessarily based on traditional gender stereotypes. In fact, they can completely turn these stereotypes upside down.
Female-led relationships (often abbreviated “FLR”) are becoming more common in many cultures. In a female-led relationship, as you would expect, the woman takes the dominant position and the man takes a more submissive role, which has traditionally and for many, many years been seen as the woman’s role.
In such a partnership, the woman makes all or most of the decisions in the relationship, has more authority, and has more power in the relationship. This usually means that the woman takes the leading role in all areas family finances to marital intimacy. In fact, she may very well be the one proposing marriage or starting new levels of partnership, such as moving in together.
Women in female-led relationships may or may not earn more money than their male partners, but they certainly tend to be in charge of finances, making spending, saving and investment decisions with little or no input from their partners. In a female-led relationship, the female will take charge of the couple’s money and have the final say in personal financial decisions.
Of course, it is not uncommon for couples to appoint one or another partner to manage finances. Often it’s just whoever is best at it or likes to do it, regardless of gender. However, in a real female-led relationship, this role is definitely about a balance of power in the relationship that is the opposite of what we expect from traditional gender roles.
As with traditional male-led partnerships, there are variations in female-led relationships, and while there are no rules for how to be romantically involved, couples in female-led relationships will likely find that they fit into one of the following categories.
A female-led relationship
In this relationship, it may seem that the couple plays fairly balanced roles, but on closer inspection, it can be seen that the woman makes the decisions a lot of the time. It can, for example, control joint finance and make most of the decisions when it comes to household expenses. This is the type of relationship that might suit a couple where the female partner likes to have the final say in things and the male partner doesn’t like to take on too much responsibility. This is a fairly common situation and may go some way to explaining why studies consistently show that women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchase decisions in the US and other similar economies.
A moderately female-led relationship
As might be expected, in this type of relationship the woman has a moderate level of power and responsibility and tends to make more important household decisions, including how the family’s income is spent, saved, and invested. There may still be discussions and compromises, but ultimately the woman has more influence on most important decisions. This may work for couples where natural personality differences mean that the woman is much more comfortable making important decisions than the man, and the man is happy for the woman to have more of the power and responsibility in the relationship.
Extremely feminine relationship
In these relationships, the woman seeks to be in complete control and displays extreme dominance, often without asking for or taking into account any input from her partner. As most of us know, an extreme imbalance of power and control in a relationship is usually not healthy, but there are relationships where one partner can have complete control over an aspect of the relationship, such as finances, with the partner’s full consent. the other partner who just isn’t interested in managing the money and doesn’t want to be involved.
Even in this situation, many argue that this is not a healthy relationship. All adults should know the basics of money management and know where their money is and how it is used. Among other things, this can leave the non-dominant partner vulnerable in the event of a divorce or bereavement, unable to budget for themselves and manage day-to-day finances, and not even knowing where some of their investments are.
Are there advantages to a female-led relationship when it comes to finances?
Of course, it’s never fair to people to make generalizations based on gender. Some people are good with money and some are bad at making financial decisions, regardless of gender. Statistically, however, there are reasons why a female-led relationship makes sense when it comes to the finances of the average couple.
Research shows that overall, women are more financially responsible than men, more likely to stick to a budget, and less likely to spend on impulse purchases.
Further research shows that statistically speaking, women spend less and are generally better with money than men. Some might argue that this could be because men are more likely to make big purchases like buying houses, but then again, statistics believe that this is simply not the case.
In fact, after couples make up the majority of U.S. home buyers, women are far more likely than men to buy a home. Single women account for 19% of home purchases, while single men account for only 9%. And that’s despite the gender pay gap, where the average woman earns significantly less than the average man.
Ultimately, the best person to assume the power and responsibility that comes with being the major decision maker in a relationship is simply the person whose personality, skill set, and natural inclinations fit the role. It’s not gender specific, of course, but there are still a lot of traditional ideas that tell us guys should be in charge. If you’re in a female-led relationship and it’s working well for both of you, don’t let society tell you that you should do otherwise.
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About the author
I am a freelance writer specializing in online business, personal finance, travel and lifestyle. I also work as a content creator for hire, helping brands and businesses tell their stories, grow their audience and reach their ideal customers. I have lived, worked and studied in six countries on three continents. Stop by my blog TheSavvySolopreneur.net to learn how to run your own (very) small business on your own terms. You can also contact me on my website KarenBanes.com or follow me Medium.com.