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Confronting Male Passiveness in a Relationship


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After reading/posting to several cases not so different from the long-term relationship I just exited. I thought this topic may merit its own thread.


I believe male passiveness in a relationship is a big killer of many relationships out there. Not saying women want a dictator. But the typical "yes dear" mentality (heck there was even a sit-com named this) permeates our society. We are taught (indoctrinated really) that as guys it's just a prudent way of dealing with women. "Yes, dear." "Whatever you say dear." Women and men from all walks of life would compliment me when they observed this behavior in my past marriage. Little did they or I know how destructive this behavior can become.


I'm not an especially religious dude but I remember a particular sermon a few years back a preacher had on the topic of male passiveness. His insights were fascinating. We all know the story of Adam and Eve. And we all know that Eve ate the apple. But go back and read about who God rebuked first. He rebuked Adam. The preacher's contention is that (and this is a tough one for guys like me to hear) in a relationship/marriage........that relationship as a guy is "your monkey". The direction/tone/success of that relationship ultimately falls on you. As guys we don't want to her that. In a relationship the guy has to set the tone "in this relationship we don't eat the apple." The modern day version is "in this relationship we don't live in a sea in of criticism and contempt. In this relationship we build each other up. And when you criticize and tear me down; I will look you in the eye and build you up." Now that's hard. Sometimes feels impossible to do. But that is the kind of man I aspire to be.


After reading/listening to alot of other posts. I've come to conclusion that I am far from alone in dealing with this issue.

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Male passiveness and female passiveness are not good in a relationship. However what often happens is that the passive person has married someone with emotional issues who becomes a drama queen/king if they don't get their way. So the passiveness is learned behaviour in order to keep the peace. Also, some people may appear passive but really they are passive aggressive..in other words, verbally they do the "yes dear" thing, but their actions show that they find other, more subtle ways of doing what they want to do irrespective of what the domineering partner says. I don't think it is solely up to the man to set the tone of a relationship...it is up to both people to have good communication and have respect for the other person's needs.

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As men, we need to be leaders in life and in relationships, otherwise slowly but surely usually the woman will resent us and/or lose attraction and things fall apart. As nice as it seems to the logical mind to let her run the show to keep peace or to regularly let her make the final decision for plans that night, it's not good. She may not even realize but deep down, she doesn't want all that power in the first place and it leads to resentment. I've done a lot of reading on this stuff. The two serious relationships I've been in I was very passive and this happened, so I learned the hard way and have worked on myself a lot since. Like you said, it happens all the time...

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