How the Internet Perceives Gender Role in a Relationship Satisfaction

6/27/2017 01:49:00 AM

A dear friend of mine asked me once about how to maintain her relationship with her partner; What she should do in order to keep the joy in her currently boring situation. She sensed her relationship isn't going anywhere pleasing for him. At first, I wonder why I am getting this question, since I am anything but a relationship adviser (I am more of the one who asks back then, to be honest.) I did some research, mostly on the internet, on how to answer the question of my best friend who was struggling to keep the joy in their relationship. And I stumbled upon many websites and videos that tell you how to be a decent girlfriend instead. More like, dictated.

"How to be a decent girl that get boys like", "How to keep your partner company by text" or "How to keep the man interested in you" which is what I stumbled upon most than the otherwise stuff; how a man should behave. The foundings got me into thinking that I shouldn't actually tell her what to do, because I thought the struggle for them to keep interest in the relationship can only come from both of them, no? And why is it that only the women who have got to be dictated to be a decent woman in order to fulfill the joy in the relationship?

The list goes with empowerment such as confidence, intelligence, and self-esteem. However, the list ended with being submissive, being good in bed, not being more intelligent than the man, and almost all part sensual stuff. It suggested that some parts of the internet still think conventional stuff of sexism in this modern era. Alas, that concludes why my friend was asking me in the first place due to her insecurities of being not good enough to please her partner. 

However, there was a study from students from the University of Texas at Austin and Boston College which says the normal insecurity of women in a relationship. It suggested that women’s perceptions of men’s gender role conflict did not predict somatization or self-esteem, but the gender role conflict factors were significant predictors of women’s depression, anxiety, and satisfaction with the relationship. It said that women were reported being more depressed and anxious when they viewed their romantic partners as having higher levels of intimacy with other men. That's also the thought of my friend with the saying "Shouldn't I be the one who's listening to him intimately?" 

As women perceived their male partners to have more intimate relationships with other men, greater depression and anxiety levels were reported. Several tentative explanations can be provided for why the pattern emerged in that study. For one, it said women who evaluated their partners as being comfortable expressing closeness with other men may have experienced an underlying competitiveness for connection with their partners. As such, women might feel “down” or worried if they viewed their romantic male partner as not valuing their romantic relationship as much as he might value his relationships with male friends. A second speculative explanation may be that the participants had homophobic attitudes that contributed to their feeling more depressed and anxious. For example, women who perceive their partners as being physically and emotionally expressive toward other men may not feel comfortable with their partners’ interactions with other men, thus potentially leading them to feel depressed or worried. 

I think the suggestion that I would give to her would be the fact that the importance of examining how men and women’s interactions can reciprocally contribute to stressors and/or well-being for their partners. Therefore, it is not only women who need to change (or dictated) to make the healthy relationship back. It is from both parties that could make the difference---to make her less insecure--and address the problem solving of their current situation instead. Only then, both ways can reciprocally try to make their relationship alive again.

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