T Nation

Men and Women, Women and Men

We seem to keep beginning conversations about the nature of male/female relationships that begin with an article or video, but devolve into either approval or disapproval of the source material, and eventually a fight over that. A complaint that’s leveled regularly is that people are talking about their personal experience rather than speaking more broadly of societal trends or staying “on topic” with the source material.

Personally, I’m more interested in people’s experiences, wants, and needs, since we have a fairly diverse group here in terms of age, experience, locale, ethnicity, etc. So what I would like this thread to be is an “in an ideal world” discussion of this issue.

@BrickHead @usmccds423 @planetcybertron @polo77j @dagill2 @chaoshander @Jewbacca and of course all the rest of you.

What is the role of woman, ideally, from your perspective?


In terms of a partner, I would literally just want them to be happy.

My better half and I tend to share chores, she’ll do most of the cleaning as she genuinely enjoys it, I do the DIY and I’d say the cooking is pretty even.

I strongly believe in a relationship you should be a little team, always working together. That’s how you get through life when it’s tough and I also find I enjoy the good times so much more with my SO than if I’m on my Todd.

I fully appreciate that doesn’t work for everyone but for me, the role of a woman in my life as a life partner is exactly that, a partner.


This was the exact sentiment and wording I was planning to use before I read your post.

I want a partner. Not just a friend. Not just something to stick my willy in. Someone who’s both of those things, but also someone who’s going to help me get the most out of life in whatever form that takes.

The most “unusual” test I have, once relationships get serious, is the cancer test. I ask myself, if I developed cancer, would I trust this person to be able and willing to help me get through it?


I think you’ll find that most rational, reasonable, happy people will share the sentiment of the first two posts here. There’ll be some variation, as different couples balance each other out differently, but the spirit will be the same.


I don’t think there’s an ideal role for men or women. I think the best a man can do is look for a woman that compliments their strengths and weaknesses. This of course will be completely dependent on the individual(s) characteristics.


I think this is a good point. I do all of the DIY, and stuff like buying new tires for the cars (buying her tires this evening).

I struggle to get her to appreciate my work as it is in large chunks, vs more routine work, but sometimes it will be all day tasks for me (fixing her car’s transmission is an example of this). I guess I do most of the cooking too.

I suppose I need to work on my expectations in that regard. Always something to work on.

In an ideal world the role of woman for me would be to run the household and provide care and nurturing for the family. She would compliment my skill set and I hers. That’s how we do it and its fairly successful for us.

In another life it may be me who is the more nurturing and caring person so I should do that job and if my wife is a high earner then she should do that job. I suppose it comes down to if you have children and how you want to raise them and split the duties. Horses for courses so to speak.


Not cancer, but in June when I got messed up and woke up in the icu, the first person I saw upon waking was my wife, right there beside me. She had already gotten the kid taken care of, set up communication with the rest of my family and got my best buddy there. Not knowing any of that, I just felt safe and relieved that she was there and so was I.

For me, she’s about as good as it gets. I really can’t ask for more/better.


We are a bit of a different couple. Starting that both of us are introverts and we don’t have kids or want kid.

We are best friends, parthners and very happy together. We like most complete each other. He is more preditable and bring stability. I am the shit disturber.

Being not typical is also fun as it throw a curve ball to the outside wold. I am the one who is car crazy, he just want to go from point a to b. Going car shopping is fun.

As far as sharing task. He can do most of the cleaning and fold the fitted sheet. I will do the snow blowing, grass cutting. But a lot is it need to be done so it get done. No one count how often one take the trash out.

It all balance and work for us. He is detail orriented aka an engineer. I am the big picture and need to move now person.

Been together for 15 years.


My wife and I are both working on “turning our expectations into appreciations” (something she heard on a podcast). It’s a bit corny, but has actually been helpful for us.


Not as serious, but I had a similar experience with my appendectomy. She took care of everything and waited through the whole thing for me.

That kind of caring and patience is really admirable.

I care about people but I’m impatient. Even with myself. I was even my brothers attendant for a long time, but we also had a woman that would come in. She was just as physically capable, but also had a way of just making things better.

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If I’m being honest with myself? ::puts on flame repellent::

Simple: the old saying “take care of your man” which is sacrilegious to even whisper this these days so to be more precise

  • Stay healthy looking
  • Know how to cook
  • Know how to clean
  • Don’t bitch too much

At the end of the day this is what I want but it’s something I have not been able to achieve since my choice of life and where to live has left me without the financial means to support a full time house wife but I’m working on this, I thought this would be my year but it didn’t turn out, so I’m hoping in the next 2-3 years to be able to provide like that.

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Ya, I hear this. Probably more so with myself than others.

Worked well for people for generations, as long as both sides are happy with this situation.

To expand on this:

My parents lived exactly this way for essentially their whole lives. Worked absolutely fine for them, because it played well to their strengths. I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t work, especially without kids in the picture.

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I’ve come to believe that happy couples prioritize their own and the other’s happiness at the same (top) level. I want him to be happy just as much as I want to be happy myself. Not more, not less. My impression is that he wants the same. He’s for himself at about the same level as he’s for me.

My ex-husband had/has trouble generating his own happiness, and it seems like we both spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get it organized, with negative results at times.

Yes, a best friend and partner in crime with whom I can have sex.

So, interestingly, I had cancer at age 28, while pregnant with my third child. I think I’ve posted before, but who knows, that I found out years after the fact that my ex was having an affair with a teenager (19) during that time. He was 35-36. I guess all that stress got to him. I found out because I found viagra in his travel bag and when I mentioned it to a friend she told me. The 19yo broke it off. We didn’t divorce immediately because of kids and financial stuff, but he was not someone I trusted deeply once I was grown enough to reasonably judge character. Related is that we didn’t see his mother, who had a devastating stroke when I was 25, unless I initiated it. It was like he’d just…never think of her again without my prompting.

My current husband saw his mother, who lived 3 hours from us, pretty much weekly until her death last year, despite her severe dementia. I fully trust that if I need him to get me through terminal cancer, he’ll be there.

Like, I sometimes feel that way on regular mornings. He’s here. Yay! lol

My client is here, so I have to think about his marriage now.


I would like to more often but I thing our appreciation and gratitude for each other gets lost in the mix sometimes and expectations, conditions on happiness and other negatives begin to outweigh the positives.

We’ve been communicating much better in the last few months though. Less (statement -> retort) and more active listening, confirmation and resolution.

I don’t say it happens every morning. But some. Many, even. I run easily to gratitude, which is mostly good, but occasionally has its challenges.

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Late response, long work days. I’m going to reply without reading anyone else’s post for the sake of objective accountability, so i apologize for parroting anything else already said.

Personally, what I seek in a woman is far more associated with traits than interests.

I prefer them to be strong and able to stick up for themselves against others (and me). I have very few reasons for this, i just dont like the idea of a “pet” girlfriend. I also dont like the idea of another human being solely dependent on me, or vice versa.

I like them to be cold and calculated during most decisions. Under most circumstances, as long as there is mutual repect, will always lead to constructive debates, and never an emotional argument.

I prefer a true partner. My fiance turned 18, moved in with me and my father, and within weeks we were in an apartment. It took years of roommates, shitty paychecks, and smart mutual financial decisions to get what we have. Yes I love her, but we both know when it’s time to go nuts to butts and treat our longevity with business sense. We wouldn’t have made it if it was solely emotionally driven young love. We both wanted something more and knew we could help eachother.

I need someone who knows boundaries and space. I’m honestly a man of few words in person. I dont always want to talk, I dont always want to be isolated to a room with one person. I want me time, and I dont want to feel bad for desiring that.

These are probably the most important, that I’ve only learned through young failed relationships. Not that the exes are wrong, they just didnt desire the same things.

Yes there needs to be common interest, but I think it’s much more important to know how to discuss unlike things with care and compassion, than dating a clone of yourself. And it’s important for them to be truly proud of what you do, while not necessarily caring about it themselves.

Basically, I seek someone that can accept I’m not emotionally driven in any aspect of my life, while still understanding that I greatly care for them. They need to know space. And they need to know that they’re free to live their life however they see fit. Just because I trust them 100% doesnt mean I dont care. I just desire to see them live their best life, and not wait for my “approval”.

*edit: liking cats is non-negotiable.


I wasn’t aware of that, sorry to hear. Somehow not surprised to hear you made it through. I feel it would take a lot to stop you.

But on the topic at hand, that is exactly the kind of situation I mean, the epitome of “in sickness and in health”. For me, if I’m going to spend my life with someone, odds are one of us is going to get seriously ill at some point. It’s important to know you have the support there.

In and of itself, I don’t see this as particularly important, although I’m aware there’s plenty of backstory here that doesn’t fit into your original post. People have different relationships with their parents and family. Some regular posters on here, for example, I know have very little/no contact with family and yet I’m in absolutely no doubt are fantastically devoted to the family they have made themselves.

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