By Yo Jeff! Carroll
Pop culture is fascinated with the role reversal trend in dating. The number of women making more money than their male counterparts is increasing every year, and the cougar craze looks like it’s here to stay. There are cougar conventions and even a cougar TV show. Well, for all of the women who are considering being in an “on top” relationship, or as the Tantra would say, A Pair of Tongs, I have a few tips. Whether you’re looking at a younger man or one who makes significantly less money than you, here are some suggestions that could improve the success and harmony of your relationship.
STEP 1: GET YOUR HEAD RIGHT
First off, it’s important to remember that the woman as senior breadwinner is a relatively new arrangement. This option originated from strides made by the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s, and is less than 30 years old in mainstream American culture. Therefore all of the kinks have not been worked out yet, emotionally speaking, for many of the men and women who find themselves in this situation. Get your mind right about what you are willing to give and what you expect, and learn his positions too.
Be mindful that financial success—or the lack thereof—isn’t directly tied to someone’s work ethic. In other words, just because someone doesn’t make a lot doesn’t mean they’re lazy. Next, not everyone wants to be rich. Some are happy being comfortable, and what that is varies from person to person. Finally, age or income does not equal maturity or intelligence. This is important to understand whether there is a woman or man on top. Those three tips will give you a good mindset for approaching your woman on top relationship.
STEP 2: TALK IT OUT
Communication can be a minefield in a role-reversed relationship—but it doesn’t have to be this way. Think about your man’s personality. Is he an alpha male, a supporter, easy-going or quiet? This can clue you in on how to approach an issue without arguing. Communication can be a minefield in a role-reversed relationship—but it doesn’t have to be this way. Think about your man’s personality. Is he an alpha male, a supporter, easy-going or quiet?
Alpha Males want to be in charge, so make sure you have a logical and thorough explanation for your idea. It doesn’t hurt to stroke their egos a bit as well. Supporter men like to make decisions cooperatively, but as they’re a little more nurturing, a few more “I feel” statements can strengthen your point. Easy going men are willing to conform to your wishes, so explanations are not as necessary, but they do help build the Easy going man’s understanding of your decisions.
Sure, you can bully your way around with Supportive and Easy going men, but over the long run that builds bad habits in you as the leader. Decision-makers should always understand their own reasons for their decisions, because any type of man can question your thought process.
A final note on personality typesa: Never automatically assume a Quiet man is an Easy going man. They can be either Supportive or Easy going; the tricky part is to figure out which. I suggest you treat a man who does not talk a lot as a Supportive man and get in the habit of explaining your decisions. Not having reasonable explanations when you are asked about your actions can erode trust in your leadership.
Another aspect of communication is how you talk to your partner, especially in front of other people. Do not humiliate or be condescending with him. Remember, you are not at the office and he is not your employee–he is your partner. Explain the dynamics of new environments before you bring your partner to them. Sure, the corporate shindig has an open bar, but can he limit it to two drinks since you’re gunning for that promotion? It’s okay to coach him, but you want to make your partner feel as though he’s your teammate, not your inferior.
STEP 3: GIVE AND TAKE
These last three tips are generally good for any relationship, but especially those with traditional gender role reversals.
— Don’t act like Archie Bunker or the way chauvinistic men did before the ERA movement. Be considerate and thoughtful, the way he should be towards you.
— Consider the sacrifices your partner makes to do things with you. It may be much harder for him to get a day off from work than it is for you, and he may have to promise some extra commitment down the line. This is very important to remember when it comes to vacations and holidays.
— Finally, love is an emotion expressed through actions, not by the price tag of the gifts you get.
Cougars and female breadwinners are truly liberated women. Having control of your relationship puts you in the drivers seat, but you also have the pressure to fulfill the both the traditional woman’s role as emotional caretaker of the relationship, and the male role of “fixing” or resolving problems that occur, so take your position seriously. The person on top has the power, and with that power comes great responsibility.
Yo Jeff! Caroll is the FIRST hip hop dating coach for men and women for questions and advice email: RBGWORLD@aol.com