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You Asked: How Do We Even the Playing Field?

Dear Sugar,

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

To see DearSugar's answer,


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!


Join The Conversation
Jacinthe Jacinthe 8 years
Run for the hills, man. It's BOTH your job to do the cooking and the cleaning. Your his girlfriend, not his freaking maid.
mlen mlen 8 years
are you by chance dating my ex? LOL but seriously. i dated a guy who wanted a girl that would do whatever he said. basically yes him to death. and he was well aware that he wanted a girl who would obey his every command and he had no desire to compromise at all. as someone said above, he's now an EX. everyone has to do a certain amount of changing and adapting in relationships... and compromising. but compromising involves 2 people meeting in the middle, or at least both making the effort to. he just wants you to obey his every command. tell him what i told my ex- to get a dog.
ajennilynrushhh ajennilynrushhh 8 years
i definitely agree with the others, you shouldn't stay with him. oh my gosh, why does woman have to change for their man? my friend was in the same exact situation and changed for her boyfriend, but happy to say that they're not together anymore but she's not the same as she used to be. don't ever change yourself for any man. if he doesn't accept you for who you are, then he's not for you.
ema4124 ema4124 8 years
he just sounds controlling... hopefully you two can work thigns out but a relationship should be a give and take and it sounds like he is doing all the taking and your doing all the giving
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
I agree with everyone else. He isn't changing...get rid of him.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Oh my dear. Here's how to even the playing field. Dump him!
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I'm sorry, but this is disgusting: "All this is just to try and tame me or break me to become the woman he wants me to be." Meaning that he apparently won't accept you as the woman that YOU ARE. If you are so dominant yourself, why would you take that for even one second? If he can't accept you for who you are and compromise a little bit for you the way you've been doing for him, walk out that door and never look back.
bluestar bluestar 8 years
My ex was EXACTLY like EX...get it? I would bend over backwards and he would do whatever the hell he wanted to and guess who still has issues? Well, both of us, LOL. I saw the warning signs around the same time you are seeing them. I stayed off and on with him for 3 more years though...guess what? It never changed and I was a dumbass. GET OUT!!!! Let him control someone else. If you stay, in 5 years you'll look in the mirror and have NO IDEA who you are anymore.
designerel designerel 8 years
I concur with all these ladies. This screams abuse to me, even if it's nonphysical. Please don't let him change who you are.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Uh... he sounds like a misogynist!! very controlling and critical, besides that - even if he isn't really that sexist (which I think he is), controlling and critical are VERY bad things in a boyfriend. break up with him.
cubadog cubadog 8 years
You will not be able to change him or his contorlling, sexist views. I would definitely take a huge step back from this relationship, your only 6 months into this and this is how he treats you. Not good. If he truly cares about you and the relationship you will both run to counselling.
jaxon jaxon 8 years
This is BEYOND stubborn he obviously has control and dominanace issues...there is NO changing him b/c HE believes that is the way it is supposed to be...His parents relationship was probably the same way... ..things will only get worse..I can promise you that. You need to RUN not WALK away.
marcella marcella 8 years
you need to get out now!! right now! seriously. if you are reading this, stop and go tell your boyfriend you want to break up. if you stay in this abusive relationship, you will end up becoming a person you do not like or recognize. you are too good for this and need to love yourself more than him... by taking better care of yourself and ditching this jerk!
skigurl skigurl 8 years
he's more than just stubborn. he's ruling your life, and isn't compromising whatsoever. there's no way to change a guy like this! get out while you can, because 6 months isn't nearly long enough to be having him treat you this way. it will only get way worse! especially when he's a grumpy old man! you'll be the submissive wife, and you will have lost all your own personality and identity. i'm sure your family doesn't like the change they see in you either! move on! good luck!
MissJules5x MissJules5x 8 years
you can't make him understand. he's not dominant like you said. he's a controlling, and definitely has abusive tendencies. i would get away from this guy real fast. you're sitting here trying to change his mind while he's trying to change you completely and youre letting him. he's changing who you are. you used to be one to have an opinion and speak up and now you're his punching bag and slave. get away from him. he clearly has no respect for you and he's keeping you around because you allow him to control you. it will only continue to get worse over time.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
I'll be honest. He sounds cruel and sexist. Despite the positive parts of your relationship, if he is unwilling to compromise I don't see any benefit for you to remain with him. Why are there so many posts here lately from women dating cruel, abusive assholes? Why do so many women have such low self-esteem that they still love these men? It makes me feel sad that they don't love themselves enough to find a good, decent and kind man. I know there are lots of them out there!
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