Who holds the power in Dating, Marriage and Relationships?

Men or Women?

IMO men do, because they choose who they want to date. And for the most part in our society, they choose when and who they get engaged to. Yes women have the right to say no, but it's usually the men asking. Now I have heard of women proposing, but apparently it's still pretty uncommon.

Any relationship I've ever been in, it's felt like I've given it all and the guy has just chosen to leave. So I've felt pretty powerless in situations, maybe that's the problem?

I know some people would argue women do, because they choose who they get into a relationship, they choose whether they get married or not and to whom, and who they have kids with.

I'm interested to hear everyone's thoughts!


Most Helpful Girl

  • Here are my thoughts, when did relatioships stop being about love and

    start becoming about power? Last time I checked, when I man askes a woman

    out. It's because he's attracted to her or he just thought she seemed nice

    and wanted to take her on I date to get to know her! Also, last time I checked.

    When a man proposes to a woman, it's because he loves her and realized there's no one

    else he'd rather spend his life with! None of that, is based on power. It's based on

    what you feel inside, men do those things because of how they feel. Or, at least that's

    what I thought.

    As a woman, I can't speak for all women. But, I would assume women say "yes" to

    a date because she's attracted to him, or thought he seemed nice and also want

    a chance to get to know him as well. When he asks her to marry him and she say's

    "Yes" it's because she loves him too and can't imagine spending her life with

    anyone else ! And, all of that is also based on feeling, not power. But, maybe

    I'm wrong about that too!

    Now, when someone say's "no" (whether it be man or woman). That's also based

    on feeling and not power! Feelings are a very VERY powerful thing and it's what

    compelles us, to do that stuff. You can't control what you feel, it's just how you feel.

    That's why some people say "yes" and some people say "no". If it's there, it's there

    and if it's not then nothing you could do would ever make it be!

    See, power is the ability to know you have control over the situation and the ablity

    to get away with whatever you want, without having to worry about conquences. Like, all

    the billonares and celebrates who do whatever they want, whenever they want!

    They know they have power and no one is going to dare stop them! That's power,

    power is control and relationships and marriages are not suppose to be like that!

    In my opinion, I think relationships and marriages should based more a feelings

    and equality and less about who has the power to control the other!

    I don't know if this is a real saying or not, but I heard once that "absolute power, corrupts

    absolutely" And, if that's the case. I can see why most relations don't last, because it's

    just one big power trip. And, with all those power trips, there's bound to be a power surge

    and the lights will surely go out because no relationship could possibly survive one controling

    the other! I know we all have the right to say "yes" or "no", but that less about power and

    more about a privledge of being a human being. I do things I want to do, not things I have to do!

    In relationships, it's about whether I feel it or I don't .I go by feel, but it's NEVER about power!

    But, if this is how relationship are now a days, I'll just stay single. Because, I don't have the

    patience for this power crap, I just don't! This is just my opinion, it's how I feel!

    • All of those things are true for most people, but power structures exist in every relationship, even if they're unconsciously exerted. Parent/child, siblings of different ages, employee/employer, student/teacher, even the de facto leader among a group of friends exerts power over the more submissive friends that follow the others' example.


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What Guys Said 11

  • I'd say women in general, although it depends on the couple

    The reason is pretty simple. While men might be the initiators, its the women who make the final decisions. They decide who is worthy to date/marry them, they decide when to have sex, they decide, they decide what is acceptable and what is not. Men court women, so like someone applying for a job, the employer (women), has more power than the applicant (men).

    I also think that in many relationships and marriages, the success of that marriages is based on the happiness of the woman. It's why we have the saying "happy wife, happy life". It's why so many men joke about their wife approving of the things they do, the things they say, the things they buy, etc. It's why holidays like Valentine's day, sweetest day, Christmas, etc. all mostly focus on making the woman happy. The man's happiness is generally secondary to the women's. A man is expected to sacrifice is happiness and well-being for the sake of the woman's, just like a parent is expected to do the same for their child.

    Now that being said, I don't think this is always the case. I just think its the case the majority of the time, or its at least an underlying theme that is always floating in the background. I know in some relationships, the man takes a very dominant role and pretty much calls all the shots whether the women likes it or not. I know my parents are like this. They are very happy but by dad definitely is the decisions maker. That's mostly because my mom is very more passive and shy and my dad is the opposite, so he naturally takes the lead in making final decisions and plans.

    So while it really does depend. I just feel that in the majority of cases, while men do seem to be making the decisions and holding the power on the surface, women are always in the background giving or not giving their approval of said decisions. Women are the filters for which men take action. Don't confuse initiative and work with power, just as an employee isn't necessarily more powerful than his/her boss just because they're the ones physically doing the work. The boss still approves or disproves everything they do. I see the male-female dynamic in American culture to be very similar to this.

    On a final note, I think part of the confusion and degradation of our dating culture has come about because women are actually giving up their power. Women used to actually have quite a lot of power in terms of what type of men and male behavior they approved off. Women held men much more accountable for the way in which they interacted with them and treated them. Today I think women are much easier (not just in the sexual sense), this gives power back to men because a man can do just about anything he wants and women will still approve of it. Women are simply lowering their standards of male behavior in my opinion. Using my analogy, they are becoming lax bosses who let their employees get away with murder, meaning less power.

    • Wow, that's actually a very interesting analysis and analogy.

    • Show All
    • I really like your answer. I agree with you, I think some women have definitely given up power, I'm probably guilty of that too by the sounds of it. I never thought of it that way. If I use your employer/employee analogy, as the boss, I have the right to 'fire' a person who I feel isn't treating me right.

    • This would have been my answer, maybe said in my own way of course. But wow, that is basically how I feel about it. Fantastic!

  • I believe women ultimately do the choosing, the way this guy explains makes great sense: link


  • It takes two to tango, at any time in a relationship.

    It's not a matter of power, it's a matter of willing to get to know each other, to get together, and to stay together.

    Of course, there is the weight of tradition, as the guy is supposed (expected?) to initiate every big step in a relationship. But that doesn't really empower him, as he's always subject to rejection.

  • Why should relationships be about power? Why don't people share in responsibilities? The whole power thing is such a weird concept to me. Isn't it supposed to be two people working together towards a common goal?

  • 18-25 women

    25-death men

  • Women control sex though. They can cry wolf, even if they said yes, and the court would still side with her, because she's a woman

  • The outlet on the wall holds the power...

  • It depends on the relationship.

  • Hmm, when women are college age and at their hottest, they rule the dating market, they have options, and they can pick and choose.

    A bit later, like late 20's and on? Men hold the power, because more and more of us are coming into our own, becoming more confident, more desirable, and we get to pick and choose.

  • Men do have a little more power today because women are more sexually open and it's therefore much easier for guys to get laid without commitment. In the past, sex was a motivator for men to be in a serious relationship and/or get married. Also, a lot of women have compromised their appeal to men by being more masculine in their personalities and behavior. Marriage has lost its appeal to a lot of men these days. link

    • I'm curious, what do you mean by women being more masculine in their personalities and behaviour?

    • Show All
    • So you think any person, who doesn't conform to standard gender roles is doing it in order to appeal to the opposite sex?

      That was an eye-opener, thank you. All this time I thought I wore jeans, played video games, competed in sports and was into computers because it was FUN. But now I know that all of these things were done for the sake of attracting men. Brilliant.

    • Wow, that completely went over your head, didn't it? LMAO!

  • Historically It is the one who loves less in an equal partnership or the one who economically superior

    Guys tend to hold more power because ya'll have higher standards for us than we do for you. When you have higher standards less partners will be available and you will put up with more flaws to hold on to the relationship than to search for another man who reaches the standards you set


What Girls Said 9

  • Dating: women, mostly. Depends.

    Marriage: men (they're the ones doing the proposing etc), but it also depends. Sometimes women.

    Relationships: both.

    In my opinion, dating, relationships and marriage shouldn't be about holding the power. It's about making compromises, being equal to one another, communication and so on.

  • Interesting question. I think at the end of the day, men TRY to keep the power, but it is up to the women if she will let herself be in that position, or not. I tend to resist it when I think the man is controlling and does not have my best interest at heart.

  • I think women like to Jedi mind trick men to let men think they're in control. But overall it's a balance, leaning a tad more toward women. Just a tad.

  • It depends on the type of man , and type of women its not like this in all relationships.

  • In general, women.

    In my relationship, my boyfriend. I'm not a pushover, but I prefer him to make decisions for us. Obviously if he requests my input and I have something to say I'll mention it. But even for small things like where we're going to eat or how we'll spend a night out I let him make the decision for us. I trust he'll make the best decision for us both.

  • Sex and dating? Women.

    Marriage? Men.

  • For sex, women hold most of the power. But in dating, relationships and marriage, men do.

  • The only thing women control is sex

    I agree with you tho

  • I would say men take the initiative in marriage.