Creating an Equal Partnership

So You Can Say, “We BOTH Wear the Pants in this Relationship”

By Kristin Manganello, Copy Cutie

Once upon a time, Father always knew best. He wore the pants while his wife donned the poodle skirts, and both parties knew their place in the relationship. But the times were a-changin.’ As the world sped into a new era, society swapped its black-and-white Leave it to Beaver perspective for a Technicolor rainbow of new ideas and relationship norms. Although some time has since gone by, there are still complications when it comes to being equal partners in a relationship. Whether it manifests itself through gender roles or personality hierarchies, mutual pants wearing is still difficult to attain. Here are five tips to help you and your lover even things out.

1. Speak up.  In a relationship, your voice is an integral part of a duet; don’t let your tune blend in with the background. It’s crucial to express your opinions: your sweetie isn’t psychic and might never realize that you really hate camping every weekend if you don’t tell him or her. Letting your likes and dislikes be known and offering suggestions doesn’t make you bossy — it makes you a more proactive person.

2. Relinquish some control.  Part of successfully sharing a pair of pants is knowing when to take them off. Don’t take over the decision making process if it involves something that isn’t your strong suit. If, for example, you and your au pair are balancing a joint bank account, don’t insist on doing the math if you have trouble making two plus two equal four. Instead, accept your strengths and weaknesses and recognize the same in your lover.

3. Share responsibility.  Don’t set your chores and responsibilities in stone. Life is fluid like water, with each day bringing different challenges that need tailored solutions. If it’s your lover’s turn to take out the garbage, but he or she is exhausted from having to work extra hours at the office, then grab that Hefty bag and bring it to the curb. Doing small favors encourages both parties to accommodate each other in small ways, which will eventually translate into the bigger picture.

4. Talk a lot.  You’re always getting to know your partner. You and your lover change in subtle ways every day, and you’ll always learn something new about each other. Talk about what’s important to you, how you see the world and the things you know about. The deeper you understand each other, the easier it will be to compromise and make decisions together.

5. To hell with tradition … and progress.  Sometimes you’ll feel confused between what you want and what you think is right. You might be happy in a relationship, but what if it contradicts your previous romantic ideals? At the end of the day, you have to design your life in a way that fits you rather than try to contain it within a set of theories. If you think too much about abstract meanings, you’ll lose sight of what’s true for you and your boo.

It’s not always easy to share the proverbial pants in a relationship, but with a little work and understanding, you two lovebirds are sure to walk hand-in-hand towards the sunset and live happily ever after.

What are your tips for creating an equal relationship? Tell us about it in a comment below!