My boyfriend and I have been together for more than six months and although we are from drastically different backgrounds, we love each other very much. The problem we face stems from the fact that in our previous relationships, we were each the one who wore the pants and we were both the dominant ones. He is loud, outspoken, highly opinionated, and sometimes very arrogant — I am exactly the same way.
He expects me to be the perfect domesticated woman — cook, clean, and listen to every word he says without a complaint. I have tried to give in and meet him halfway by doing things I have never done before (like cooking and cleaning up after him), and I have toned down my attitude by listening more, but he does not feel the need to compromise as well. His responses always end with "because I am the man and you are the woman," and it infuriates me to be treated this way. If I anger him or say something wrong, he will retaliate by hurting me 10 times as much as I may have hurt him. All this is just to try and tame me or break me to become the woman he wants me to be. I know deep down this relationship has potential — we push each other to be the best we can be, we think alike, we are each other's best friend, and the sex is fantastic — but without any help from him, I'm starting to lose faith. How do I make him understand that this has to be a two-way effort? — Making an Effort Emma
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Dear Making an Effort Emma,
When two people with the same stubborn personality date, it's not uncommon for them to butt heads, but unfortunately this situation sounds a bit more extreme. Since he wants you to be a domesticated woman, something tells me that's what his mom was for his father, but he needs to understand that's not the role all women play. It's also pretty clear that he has a volatile temper, but the foundation of a good relationship is based on love and respect, not who can hurt each other more.
Since you say this relationship has potential, I think it's great that you're trying to meet him halfway, but if he's not willing to do the same, you might be running uphill for the duration of this relationship. His chauvinistic attitude will most likely not change, so instead of trying to be someone you're not, try talking to him and letting him know that you're not willing to sacrifice your beliefs. You need to stand up for yourself, Emma, and as scary as it might be to potentially lose your boyfriend, if he's not willing to accept you for you are, I think you'll be better off if you go your separate ways. You deserve to be with someone who's not afraid to let the woman wear the pants every once in a while!