“Adhering to an unhealthy relationship paradigm has cost far too many, far too much, for far too long. Change your relationship paradigm.” ~Lisa Merlo-Booth
Harmful messages regarding relationships have been around since the beginning of time. These messages keep men and women locked in an unhealthy, antiquated relationship paradigm. This paradigm—created when marriages were about strategic alliances, not love, and wives were property “owned” by their husbands, not separate, equal individuals—is not conducive to mutually fulfilling relationships.
Although we have come a long way from the days of women being the property of men, our relationship paradigm has not. The history above—entrenched in deep gender socialization, patriarchy, and misogyny (The Big Sham)—has ingrained many relationally detrimental beliefs in men and women alike. These beliefs include:
- Men should be the head of the household; women should be the primary parent.
- Women should be “nice” and nurturing and “not make waves.”
- “Real men” are stoic, unemotional, and strong (i.e., aggressive).
- The ideal woman puts the needs and welfare of others above herself
- Men should do the heavy financial lifting (breadwinners), and women should do the emotional heavy lifting
- Women owe husbands sex, and husbands should want sex often while not getting too emotionally “hooked.”
The teachings are endless, and their impact is immense. These beliefs have harmed countless marriages, families, and individuals throughout the years and will continue to do so as long as men and women adhere to them.
These antiquated straight-jackets no longer work for men or women. The fact is that women want emotionally available men yet, don’t know how to effectively ask for, and stand behind, this desire. And when women can move past their pull to ‘not make waves,”, sadly these teachings have rendered many men at a loss about how to meet this requirement. Culturally, women are tired of aggressive, silent, and emotionally disconnected men in their lives, and men are tired of being in a tug-o-war between cultural pulls to “man up” and marital pulls to “warm-up.”
Contrary to what some believe, women don’t want to turn men into women; they want to share their lives with psychologically strong, emotionally connected, highly competent partners who are strong enough to be fully human and emotionally engaged. And if the men can’t meet them, many of these women are willing to either search for someone who can meet them or find peace living on their own. Given the power and longevity of these antiquated messages though, men are sadly struggling to show up even when they want to. The pressure, still today, to “be a real man” continues to grip many men. Consequently, more and more men are left feeling relationally duped, disconnected, and often alone.
These old beliefs are killing men, women, and families, and our culture is playing along. It’s time for men and women alike to stop allowing messages from The Big Sham to take away their right to genuine happiness and connection. Radically New Relationships are yours for the taking. They require you to be courageous enough to change your relationship paradigm from one of hierarchy, control, and antiquated toxic messaging to one of loving mutuality, powerful partnership, and intimate connection. Which paradigm will you choose?
Challenge: Change your relationship paradigm. Let go of antiquated beliefs, dogmas, and behaviors that keep you in a painful relationship loop. Choose to create extraordinary relationships that leave you feeling strong, engaged, worthy, and happy. You deserve great. Take steps to embrace a radically new relationship paradigm with your thoughts, actions, and deeds.