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Who is the boss or head of a relationship?

Who is the boss or head of a relationship?

January 23, 2022

Traditionally, relationships have tended to reproduce a class of affective bonds in which there are two distinct roles: the person who commands and the person who obeys. This phenomenon has been questioned recently with the rise of egalitarianism, but its effects continue to be noted in the small details of our love and intimate life: even today, there are often bosses and heads within relationships .

There are several factors that explain why, if we look closely at our relationship, we will probably see that we are likely to adopt the role of leader or obedient party without meeting reasonable criteria.

Something more than different personalities

That in couples there are bosses and heads can be seen relatively easily to realize that it is very common for one of the members of the relationship to worry more about content the other, apologize more often and with more emphasis, and always accept the decisions that the other takes.

It may seem that this is simply a sign that in couples always there are usually certain personality differences , but the truth is that there are more factors that influence this and that, to a greater and lesser extent, many people embrace the roles of bosses and vassals.

Who wears the pants in the relationship?

The dynamic of domination in which a person makes the decisions, assumes great risks and sends his partner in something that has been closely related to the role of man as a leader of the family. Not in vain in several Spanish-speaking areas is it often asked Who wears the pants in your relationship? , serving this resource based on metonymy to browse about who is the person who makes "man" in the couple.

At least in the domestic sphere, there are still good reasons to believe that women tend to be subject to obligations that men disregard: you only have to review the studies carried out in practically any country and explore the weekly hours that They dedicate both sexes to perform domestic chores. The female sex wins overwhelmingly in the time devoted to housework , in many occasions complementing these with those that men were making: work away from home and higher education.

Therefore, the heterosexual couple relationships in which both people live together are still prone to male leadership in terms of maintaining living conditions. Women continue to do most of the work at home and, on many occasions, they develop professional careers outside of it. But nevertheless, The boss or head of a relationship is in several aspects that go beyond the works of the house and the collective influence of culture. We must also take into account what we have been learning each and every one of us individually.

The comfort of the role of boss and obedient party

If we think about the concepts "boss" and "obedient part" as something abstract, it is very likely that we come to the conclusion that being the former is preferable to being the latter. After all leadership is related to the ideas of freedom, autonomy and power , while obedience transmits the opposite sensations.

However, to practice it is not complicated to put yourself in the shoes of people who prefer to assume the role of the one who obeys. Giving up the role of boss means not having to worry so much about the future, living less unpredictable situations and not making complicated decisions. This is, in part, what explains why there are so many relationships in which there is a clear boss or leader: the other party has come to internalize the idea that adopting a passive and obedient role interests or is "normal" . He has learned it from previous experiences.

In this way, if the fact of taking the initiative and leading teams (formal or informal) of people has left us with good feelings in most of the occasions, this will also have an effect on our relationships as a couple. The same happens in those cases in which, although unconsciously, we have learned that it is best to do what is asked of us. Courtships and marriages are not a world apart from those in which we learn to relate to all people in general.

A snapshot in real time

Of course, the emergence of the role of the boss in relationships not only matters the culture and that we live more anchored or less in our past experiences. As well the way in which we share a time and a space with the other person is decisive , the way in which our personalities fit in real time depending on the situations we usually live together and the context we share.

Thus, a proactive person with a good level of self-esteem could be displaced towards the role of an obedient party if their partner is a person not particularly determined but with a much higher socioeconomic level.

Different leaderships for different situations

In addition, it is also common for one of the members of the couple to be the boss or boss in very specific contexts, but not in others. Sometimes, this is so for well-established and to a certain extent rational reasons; For example, man can be the boss when it comes to maintaining the garden of the house because he knows more about that subject. However, they are the rest of leaderships, those that can not be justified based on values ​​such as equality, which put at risk the balance in the couple relationship.

Some of these cases in which unjustified leaders emerge can be reinforced by tradition and culture; as for example the old custom that man should pay a woman dinner. But the other cases of unreasonable leadership or based on community customs can be, simply, a symptom that the relationship is based on a false symmetry : in it, there is someone who unjustifiably believes that he has a higher value than the other person, with whom he adopts an attitude of authority and paternalism.

Avoiding extra leadership

Although the boss believes that this role corresponds to him by default and that this is part of normality, the truth is that this dynamic of daily and affective relationships is not based on anything that is not, simply, the idea that oneself He deserves to be the one who sends and who decides for the other person.

Avoid the emergence of these leaderships based on small-scale authoritarianism is essential to make the two people engaged in the project of the couple can give and receive equally.


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