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Thread: Leader-in-training

  1. #1
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Leader-in-training

    I decided to open this thread (and not in the Den) after an exchange in another thread about men as leaders of a family.

    This thead is for OW who believe the man has to be the leader of their family, and for those who at least believe the man has to be the leader of himself.

    I will start by defining Leader:
    One that leads or guides.
    One who is in charge or in command (of others).

    In order to lead, guide, be in charge or command, the leader has to have some knowledge of the matters at hand.

    Depending on how young our YM was when we started a relationship, or how sheltered he was raised, he may be lacking in knowlege and sound criteria to be in charge. An OW may have a world of advantage over the YM in this regards, so what should she do?

    She can facilitate opportunities for her younger partner to learn things. Allowing him to make mistakes too, because that is how we learn. Sometimes this can take years.

    I do not know about other OW, but I definitely do not want to adopt an extra son, forever dependent on my wisdom, guidance and support.

    What do you people think? And by the way, YW and OM can also add their opinion, I imagine the idea is for YW to be mature, self-sufficient women, capable of self-determination.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  2. #2
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    I just want to say that while a YM may be lacking in experience in many areas what matters most is that he puts your needs first and wants what is best for you. And while he may not be as adept as an OM could be he can certainly learn. Much better than an "experienced" OM that could not care less about you and your needs.

    Just my 2c

  3. #3
    pinkunicorn's Avatar
    pinkunicorn is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    She can facilitate opportunities for her younger partner to learn things. Allowing him to make mistakes too, because that is how we learn. Sometimes this can take years.
    Early on in our relationship, my OM confessed to me that sometimes he had a hard time letting me make my own mistakes. He said it was mostly because his youngest daughter was ALWAYS making mistakes and asking him for advice.

    He got over it, though!
    Never try to fit in when you are meant to stand out.


  4. #4
    dragonflysky is offline Member
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    Couples bring various "strengths" and "weaknesses" to the table in a relationship. If one doesn't get caught up in allowing society, religion, etc. to define what is a "male" or a female" responsibility and divides out responsibilities based on strengths, weaknesses, interests, abilities, etc., I think it's much more effective in creating a positive functioning relationship. That relationship may look very traditional in terms of "male" as "leader" and "bread winner"...or not. "Leadership" could change based on the area of life being handled at any given time. (I always found it very curious that my first husband had a Masters degree in Business and Finance, yet I was the one who was best at paying bills and balancing the checkbook...me...the social worker who struggled through math classes! )
    Mebel, SheLikesKitties and Azureth like this.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonflysky View Post
    Couples bring various "strengths" and "weaknesses" to the table in a relationship. If one doesn't get caught up in allowing society, religion, etc. to define what is a "male" or a female" responsibility and divides out responsibilities based on strengths, weaknesses, interests, abilities, etc., I think it's much more effective in creating a positive functioning relationship. That relationship may look very traditional in terms of "male" as "leader" and "bread winner"...or not. "Leadership" could change based on the area of life being handled at any given time. (I always found it very curious that my first husband had a Masters degree in Business and Finance, yet I was the one who was best at paying bills and balancing the checkbook...me...the social worker who struggled through math classes! )
    I have a masters degree in Business and Finance and I'm also the least responsible with our bills and dollars. I think its a little like Doctor cure thyself... you just can't LOL!

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. My ex-husband had about 10 years on me and my role in our family at that time was breadwinner. My current husband is 17 years younger than me and my role in our family is breadwinner. It is more about what I feel comfortable doing, what I want for myself, and less about the "duty" society puts on our gender roles, which overall I find to be an archaic and ridiculous perspective in our modern world. How the heck does having a penis make you better prepared to earn money, provide leadership, and make decisions? I gotta tell you having a vagina hasn't made me more nurturing in the slightest. I went to work 48 hours after having baby number 3. Everyone brings strengths and weaknesses to every relationship. I think good relationships find a way to make both people more satisfied than they would be without it. My best friend is an extremely nurturing stay at home mother of five. I am a working woman who prefers to be out of the house. We balance each other perfectly. She makes me a better parent and I make her a better realist.

    It isn't about age. It isn't about gender. Its about trust, respect, and reciprocity.
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    Psycho hatchet wielding midgets deserve to die

  6. #6
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
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    Azureth: I definitely get you, but there has to be a balance... in general, I would not expect the YM to put my needs first all the time. There are times when a YM has to be assertive and put his needs first. For example, a YM may be needing to finish college before getting married, or getting a job so he could support her.

    Also a YM may want to make his own mistakes.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  7. #7
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    This thread is not about the man being the leader of the family, but the (young) man being able to be a leader. I believe that in every family both members should be able to take on the leadership role, that is, both have to be prepared to handle 100% of the resposibilities of managing the family affairs.

    And it works both ways. When I divorced, at 46, I had not paid a single electric bill in my whole life! Luckily I was knowledgeable enough in other areas of my life to feel competent to sign a utility contract, and paying my bills, but there are people, both men and women, who have been sheltered all their lives and they will not function on their own, to the point of losing their property because they did not pay the mortgage or the taxes.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  8. #8
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    Must there be a leader in a family? Can't there be true equality, with both parties having equal power/influence?
    gorillagirl and Ellethe like this.
    Odd Even

  9. #9
    chi77 Guest
    In my 17 year marriage I was the one in charge of everything. He and I got together when I was 18 and he was 17 and I was the one with a full time office job, car, bank account, etc. I fell into the role of the responsible one and wanted that role in the beginning. Problem was that never changed. We did end up sharing breadwinner role, but I was always responsible for taking care of everything, including our children when they came. Obviously we were both very young. Looking back I realize I shouldn't have taken all the responsibility to begin with. It ended up where I had little respect for him nor he for himself. Things went downhill and we divorced after 17 years. I'm not saying that our marriage would have worked if I had either made or let him have more responsibility, but who knows. It's not like I was the bossy type, just the responsible type and he was and is more selfish.

    So....if/when YM and I ever do end up living together it is going to have to be 50/50. In fact I do not want to be the fiscally responsible party. I'm just not interested and therefore not good at it. YM is brilliant when it comes to financial matters, and most everything. Plus he has a high paying job and I have been an unemployed student for three years.

    If its him, or someone else, whoever I am in a line-in relationship with next I want to fInd a place where we are equal and I can relax a bit. I want us to take care of each other and each of us do what we're good at and enjoy.
    gorillagirl likes this.

  10. #10
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Even View Post
    Must there be a leader in a family? Can't there be true equality, with both parties having equal power/influence?
    Brute force, knowledge(education) and money(social position) are sources of power. That is indisputable. That is how nature operates, and that is how society operates. As you can see, until recently, men have held and controlled all three. Women are slowly getting access to the last two. Now, in most OW/YM relationships women start with the last two.

    So from the get go, equality is not natural, unless both partners happen to have the same physical force, same education and same resources and social position. What is the likelihood of such match to ocurr in nature? Much less for AGRs, I tell you. So basically equality in a family can only be achieved artificially when the partners yield part of their power to the other.

    But how about if instead of yielding power and the attached responsibility, to a less resourceful partner, the approach is to help raise, or wait until the partner rises to an equal position, to an equal power level. That way decisions can be made with equally valuable input.

    So I think that sure, a couple can share power and influence, but that's up to the couple. I am personally more traditional though, and I want my husband to be the leader, and he is, in those aspects where he is ready, and is catching up in those aspects where he is not. It is not because of religion, but because I think leading is hard work. I never wanted to be a leader and I have ended up being one at work, in my profession and even in my first and second marriage... enough! Time to relax and let someone else lead the charge!
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    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  11. #11
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    I don't know what arrangement Joe had in his past relationships, but being a single man, but I know he does all his own housekeeping, cooking and laundry...plus, he is the one to sit down and pay bills. We've had many conversations about this, and I can tell he is looking forward to relinquishing most of these household management responsibilities to me, should we join domestic forces.

    In many ways, we are both traditional, in that we prefer assigned roles. Joe works VERY hard...sometimes brutal hours at his post. When the weekend comes around, he's so busy doing domestic chores that there is little time remaining for recreation. If he decides to take off to the mountains for the weekend, that man STILL cleans his house the day before he leaves.

    He is a bit dominant, in an Alpha male sort of way, but that's OK with me. I've always really hated trying to keep equal footing with a partner. On the other hand, he insists that I speak up when he does something that bothers me. "Just tell me what bothers you and I will change it." He is a natural leader, and yet he likes being told what to do.

    As far as money....he likes the idea of me working, but not so many hours that it would interfere with taking care of him. It's not the amount of money I might make....it's just time taken away from him. We've agreed that regardless of where the money came from, we would keep our household expense account separate and then we'd each have our own mad money.

    I like Maria Portokalas' take (My Big Fat Greek Wedding).....

    "Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants."

  12. #12
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    I have been bringing up kids on my own for 13 years, being the person in charge of everything.

    Even when i was married (same age marriage), although we had a traditional marriage with him the breadwinner, everything else aside from earning the money was down to me to deal with. He seemed unable to cope with any level of stress and i felt like i was his mother most of the time having to take care of him as well as the kids.

    In my relationship with an OM of 20 years difference, due to his commitment issues we never lived together even though we were together for 6 years, and he kept himself as separate as possible because he was 'afraid of losing his independence'. I couldn't rely on him if i needed help and he seemed emotionally fragile, despite being so much older, he was like a boy in many ways.

    My previous relationship of two years with a man 10 years older than me; he was an emotional wreck, drank too much and was in debt up to his eyeballs, with basic things such as gas, electricity and water. And he constantly needed my advice on what to do about this, or how to do that.

    It seems strange that it has taken me being with a man 13 years younger to find someone with whom i have a much more equal relationship and at times a relationship whereby i don't have to be the strong one all the time. There is a big part of me that wants my man to be dominant. We don't live together but he does little things i am not used to such as saying 'text me when you get home so i know you're safe' or ' can i do anything to help with that?'!!

    When we go out we tend to take it in turns to pay for stuff, but money is much tighter for me and when he knows that i am struggling he will just take over and pay even when its supposed to be my turn, without saying a word. Recently i was helping my eldest daughter through a really difficult time and i was very stressed out and upset myself. He said to me 'your job is to take care of L(my daughter) and my job is to take care of you so that's what i intend to do'

    That was one of the best things any man has ever said to me and it choked me up a bit ( i also found it incredibly sexy lol).

    At work things are difficult and i know he is often unhappy and feels like he has little control there and is surrounded by managers who are strong, ruthless females; i like to give him opportunities to be in control in our relationship as i feel it is important for a man to get to feel manly!
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  13. #13
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    I find this topic very interesting. I have spent the last 12 years with a man ten years older then me, yet I was the one in charge in our relationship...... and then some. In fact, I may have been the only one existing in this relationship. To describe it perfectly would be that my ex and I have been climbing a mountain together. We started off as even ( I thought) then he quickly was unable to climb and carry his baggage so then I had to carry his backpack and mine. The I had to carry him, his backpack, and my own. I spent years of extra energy and anxiety being his "mother".
    Now, the man I am with is 19 and is completely opposite. He has a very alpha and dominant personality. He quickly takes control of situations, went from making barely anything to making more then I in just a few months. So in this situation neither personality nor money are a factor, It is only his age! Somehow I still believe that age plays a role in someone's maturity and that is certainly not always the case. I wish I could get past this easier.
    Sorry I know this was a bit of a ramble, but I am having one of those "scattered thoughts" kind of days.
    SheLikesKitties likes this.

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