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Dating and Divergent Gender Roles

By Devlyn Steele

"The only thing worse than a man you can't control is a man you can." -Margo Kaufman

Things sure have gotten complicated in dating. Changing gender roles often leave us confused about how we should interact as men and women in our relationships. How can a woman be strong, educated and independent yet remain feminine? How can a man be sensitive and understanding while maintaining a strong sense of his own masculinity?

We are so confused in today's culture about the roles men and women should play that it has taken much of the fun out of dating. It seems that the ideas of old fashioned dating have been lost. We see this exemplified in the younger generations where "hooking up has all but replaced dating in most instances.

The truth is that there is a distinction between the actions and objectives of dating and the conditions of being independent, respected by your peers and having equal rights. Dating is still about the difference between the sexes. Even though women want to enjoy the empowerment of equal rights, most still want to be treated like a woman and pursued by a man. Shifting gender roles have lead many women to report that they feel unfulfilled in romance and dating as men have just become too passive.

Women, consider allowing yourself in dating to let the differences in these roles come alive. When polled, most men report that they enjoy taking a woman out and enjoy planning dates. Allow the man you are dating to be a man and show you who he is and allow yourself to be the woman you are and appreciate the differences.

Men, consider being more romantic. More and more women are affirming that even though they desire equality and to be listened to, they still want to be wanted and swept off their feet.

Romance doesn't usually increase as a relationship progresses so if you don't start with any, don't expect it to magically appear later on. Our journey through unsuccessful relationships and dating disappointments has lead many of us to approach dating clinically and detached. The object of dating is to have fun and get to know someone to see if you want to continue dating and possibly develop a long-term relationship. We can choose to make dating more fun while we are searching. Be sexy, romantic and allow women to be women and men to be men.

Jessica Hanan in her book, "Coping with Changing Roles for Young Men and Women put it this way, "People now have more freedom to make choices for themselves and how they want to live their lives. Sometimes these choices can be confusing."

I am not suggesting we go back to the days where a woman was only expected to look pretty and keep quiet, allowing the man to be everything. What I am saying is that dating can be fun again when a more traditional view of romance is applied. A man can respect and be interested in a woman and still be romantic.

Why stop half way when you can have it all? Develop everything in your life"your education, your career, your independence and your freedom of choice, thought and expression. Be treated with respect, courtesy and equality; then after you have all that, love being a woman and being treated with romance. As a man, enjoy being more romantic and strong. Then you really will have it all!

About The Author
Devlyn Steele

About Tools To Life Developed by Life Coach Devlyn Steele, Tools To Life is a revolution in self- development, a 77-day program in which thousands have implemented successful changes in their lives. Devlyn Steele is a public consultant, a private counselor, a radio host and an author. He has hosted his own radio show called "Tools To Life" and has been a guest on over 150 various shows. For more information, visit:

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