Understanding Relationship Dynamics Essential to Success in Dating

Understanding Relationship Dynamics Essential to Success in Dating

Posted By: Kelly Seal Date: 10-03-2016 Comments: 0

Dating has changed a lot in recent years, causing men and women alike to question their identity, sexuality or role in romantic relationships. Never before have singles been so confused about what is rightfully (or wrongfully) expected from each other in a relationship. Gender roles are no longer defined as clearly as they once were in light of shifting paradigms that have leveled the playing field.

Women are starting to get more comfortable with reaching out to men and expressing what they want from their relationships. And as women have started to assert themselves more in both their economic and romantic lives, studies have shown that they are also delaying marriage and kids to pursue their own interests and career goals.

Despite this sense of empowerment, women are still being sent inappropriate photos and messages by the men they encounter. It’s almost as though men have started viewing women, even more so,  as sexual conquests the more independent they become. This can be frustrating for women who are increasingly embracing their sexuality while pursuing new relationships, and want to be treated with respect as individuals.

Traditional dating roles are overrated.

Men get a bad rap when it comes to dating and the use of apps. In fact, a recent study conducted by Match.com revealed two surprising results: 1) Men are more likely than women to fall in love at first sight. 2) More men than women believe in lifelong commitment. As it turns out, men are more romantic and have a more positive outlook on finding love than their female counterparts!

Despite men wanting a relationship as much as women do, many women cling to the idea that they want it more than men. As a result, they tend to be most susceptible to traditional gender roles. These type of women prefer men to take the lead, ask her out and pay for the date, and some may even expect it. Many women also like the idea of a man chasing her and enjoy being pursued over a period until a man can “woo” her enough to win her affection. This sends mixed messages to men.

Should a man pursue a woman, even if she initially seems indifferent? Should a man always be expected to pay for dates, even if their dates earn more money? And how should they behave with women who don’t subscribe to these traditional roles? Managing expectations throughout the dating process can be difficult. As a result, some men take an extremely casual approach to dating. They decide not to have expectations at all in a relationship, and don’t know how to be caring, considerate or respectful.

Old notions of romance no longer seem relevant today.

So where do men and women fit into the dynamics of a modern-day relationship? Traditionally, the man has been the one in a better economic position, and assumed the role of protector and provider in a relationship. However, especially among millennials, many women are more educated, more affluent and have better jobs than their male counterparts, making the traditional power dynamic obsolete. This presents men with the difficult challenge of forming relationships without any certainty of what’s expected of them or what they truly have to offer in a relationship.

But men are not alone in this challenge. Women are also grappling with expectations. They want to pursue career interests before settling down, but they also want to have romance in their lives. They tend to exercise more power in relationships and can sometimes be assertive and even a little demanding, which can be a huge turnoff for men derive sexual attraction from feeling powerful and needed.

While women are stepping into their masculine energy to advance in their careers, men are falling into their feminine energy to make sense of their own self-worth. Both genders have fallen into an essence that’s not truly theirs in response to shifting dynamics brought on by the widespread use of dating apps coupled with the female empowerment movement.

Attitudes toward intimacy have changed.

Our sex lives have no doubt evolved as well. There are big differences between men and women when it comes to sex within the context of a relationship—we experience it and respond to it differently.

Many women now enjoy casual sex outside the bounds of a relationship. While this is becoming more common, there’s still a lot of lingering guilt among some women as a result of societal stigma that says it’s more acceptable for a man to have casual sex, but not for a woman to do the same.

As for men, they are more likely to connect with a woman emotionally through the act of sex, while women require emotional intimacy first before they feel safe enough to truly connect through sex. There’s a huge problem with this dynamic: men often don’t feel safe expressing their emotions, as they have been taught to be more stoic, so it’s harder for both to open up and become vulnerable with each other.  

Things become more complicated when men and women don’t define their relationships and clearly communicate their feelings, murking the waters between casual and intimate relationships.

Here’s what we can take away from all this.

Our shifting dynamics are leading to new relationship roles, where men and women have a more equal partnership going forward. The key is understanding the individual needs of your partner without relying on stereotypes.

Instead of cultivating romantic relationships based on gender roles, people are turning to the individual wishes and desires of their partners and seeing what works for them. Women are assuming more control over their own lives, which carries over to being less dependent on a relationship for their overall happiness and well being. Men are becoming more aware of their own shifting gender roles, and are starting to embrace their own vulnerabilities and emotions with the right partner. But we need to continue the process by keeping the dialogue going and staying attuned to the needs of our partner.

When we work harder to understand each other as individuals and let go of roles in relationships, we can be more open to love fully and freely. After all, you aren’t dating a stereotype; you are dating a unique individual, someone with flaws as well as amazing qualities. It’s time to embrace our differences and our strengths so we can enjoy more fulfilling romantic relationships.