“He likes to wear the pants in the relationship”

A good pal was telling me about a middle-aged, tall, athletic, single lawyer friend of his. I said, “He sounds like someone I’d like.”

My friend responded, “I don’t think it would be a good match. He likes to wear the pants in the relationship.”

I was taken aback.

Responding as non-defensively as I could muster, I said, “I like a man to wear the pants, too. I’m not interested in a subordinate or timid man. I want an equal partner, not someone who dominates nor subordinates himself.”

I wondered if this was a common assumption strong women face. Their friends think because they are assertive, accomplished and ambitious, she wants to dominate the relationship. I know some women do. But not all.

No wonder it can be difficult for powerful women to be set up by their friends. If their pals think they only want submissive men and the friends only know powerful men, they won’t think the two could be a match. How sad.

I know I assume that my friends know me well enough to know I don’t have to always be the alpha. But clearly that isn’t the case. So what’s a formidable gal to do?

It seems a frank conversation is called for, explaining to one’s friends what you are looking for. Not only the superficial trappings (has a job, good dresser, well groomed, smart, mannerly, at least 6′ tall), but the personality traits as well. It’s always good to describe the values you want to share, although friends may have no idea if someone is a cheater, closet alcoholic, or privately verbally abusive.

Have you experienced your friends assuming you’d like — or not like — a certain type of man and they are wrong? How’d you set them straight?


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5 responses to ““He likes to wear the pants in the relationship””

  1. Vicki Avatar

    I had friends who would fix me up without properly vetting the guy at all.

    I met one guy through a couple of my married friends who thought would be “perfect” for me. I met him at their home, when they invited both of us to dinner. Something about him was “off”. He talked a lot about stuff he *knew* about – and he was very well read and erudite – but he said *nothing* about his family or his own relationship history.

    I couldn’t figure out if he was born or hatched!

    My friends were very insistent about fixing me up with him, and he was very interested in me, but I couldn’t shake the suspicion that something about him was “off”. I turned down the fix-up and refused to go out with him. My married friends thought I was being too picky and they stopped fixing me up with anyone after that.

    About a year later, after I turned down the fix-up, my friends confided to me that they had found out (recently, not at the time of the fix-up) that he had already been married and divorced three times.

    After that, I decided my number 1 most important requirement of any date is that he must feel comfortable talking about his family and his relationship history (I don’t need gritty details, just general information).

    If he’s completely zipped up on any topic that is remotely personal, that’s a MAJOR red flag. I would actually be more inclined to go on a date with a guy who is frank and tells me up front he has been divorced more than once, than go out with a guy who says nothing about himself for a year.

    It might be because I’m a Sagittarius, but I put a premium on straight-up, blunt honesty. If a man feels he has to hide all of his personal life from me, what does that say about his self-esteem, or his potential for being a liar or a cheater later on?

    Since then, I’ve read widely in dating literature, and I’ve decided that in addition to the above requirement, a man should have a good relationship with his parents, and his father should treat his mother very well.

    If the man’s parents aren’t happy with each other, it’s lottery odds the guy will be happy with his own wife or girlfriend down the road. Men from happy families make happy, well-adjusted partners. The way a man’s father treats his mother is the way he will treat you. Period!

  2. Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach Avatar

    DG – this happened to me as well. We think what we want is obvious since we talk about the man we are seeking. Yet, some people just don’t get it. I completely agree with you! Spell it out to the girlfriends you trust to fix you up with men. Don’t assume they get it until you have this conversation.

    This is also true if you are trying to get an honest opinion about a guy or looking for sound advice. Many times girlfriends aren’t completely honest with you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings or make you mad. So they might agree with you even though they really don’t. Or give you the advice they think you want to hear.

    I recommend telling your trusted girlfriends that you REALLY WANT to KNOW. I had to do this, narrow down my list of “trusted advisers” to women who really knew about men and the advice I got was more direct, honest, and eye-opening – just what I needed to make more informed decisions about my dates.

  3. Jordan Avatar

    I too have had this happen. The person was waaaay over 50, but was very discreet about how he spent all those years. Why I don’t need to know every woman he dated, it just seemed odd. Also, at my age, I’m not interested in hearing someone vent about their parents.

  4. Leggy Avatar

    I must disagree with the idea that a man treats you just like his father treated his mother per the above commenter. I fell for a guy whose parents were wonderful and he sold that big time. In reality he never treated me the way his father treated his mother. He was a mere shadow of the man that his father was. Dont get me wrong, he loves loves loves his Mom and always will love her. Later I found every woman he had ever known left him after knowing his real character.

  5. Dan Avatar

    I don’t like blind date set-ups, but I accept them just to be positive.

    The reason I don’t like them is because your friends have no idea what you really like. You could have certain private preferences, or there are intangibles.

    I also hate it when people do set-ups out of stereotypes: set him up with someone with the same line of work / hobbies / cultural backgrounds / political viewpoints / etc. Superficially, that sounds fine, but I don’t to date a clone of myself. It is the new things that a partner can share with me that adds to a relationship IMO.