Home  >  Love Couch  >  Better Love

Wearing The Pants In The Relationship: How to Stop Controlling Love

How do you know if you are wearing the pants in the relationship? Or is that even a thing anymore? Should it be present in a healthy relationship?

wearing the pants in the relationship

Wearing the pants in the relationship is a phrase that has gone down in history. You have probably heard it mentioned on the Newlywed Game or in a teen magazine. But what does this term actually mean? Well, essentially it means whoever is wearing the pants in the relationship has the control.

If you read that and saw a lot wrong with it, you are right. First, it eludes to the fact that if a woman is wearing the pants, she is taking on the man’s role as the controller, the one with the power. As pants until the last 60 years or so were mostly a man’s domain, this is a pretty outdated phrase.

Next, any one person having control in the relationship is unhealthy. Call it what you want, but being in control when two people are involved is no good.

Now relationships are also not always 50/50. Some days they are 70/30 and others 90/10. And maybe one partner has more control with the finances as the other has more control over the house or vacation plans, but sharing decisions is vital.

For the sake of argument and writing this feature coherently, let’s say wearing the pants in the relationship is a politically correct way of saying having control. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship you should not ignore]

How do you know if you are wearing the pants in the relationship?

Well, if you are 100% happy all the time in your relationship and your partner gives you everything you could ever want, well, you probably wear the pants in the relationship. And in that case, your relationship may not be as wonderful as you think it is.

If you get your way all the time and control all the decisions you should be making as a couple, chances are your partner is not as happy as you.

Does your partner think you wear the pants in the relationship?

This is an important question in your relationship. Do you both think the other wears the pants? Or do you agree who is in control? Answering this question could greatly benefit your relationship.

Finding out your partner thinks you wear the pants could clue you into the fact that you may need to loosen the reigns sometimes. But if you both think the other does, then you may both quietly be resenting one another for trying to control everything.

On the other hand, wearing the pants could also mean that what you say goes. And that is not always a bad thing. For instance, my dad might say my mom wears the pants because she has a take charge personality.

It isn’t that she controls him and makes his mind up for him, but she is more motivated while he is more relaxed. What matters is that both partners are honest about how they’re feeling and happy with the pants wearing situation. [Read: 12 clear signs you’re the selfish one in your relationship]

How to stop wearing the pants in the relationship

Does you partner think you wear the pants? And they have an issue with that? Maybe they would like a bit more say? And this could be from something as small as where to go to dinner to as big as where to live.

So if you want to loosen the reigns and let your partner take control once in a while take baby steps. First, let them choose what movie to watch. Then what color to paint the bathroom. From there you can both give your input into the decisions you make together as a couple. You may even learn who should take the lead in certain situations.

Perhaps you should wear the pants when it comes to directions because your partner is directionally challenged. But maybe your partner should when it comes to picking movies because you always pick duds. Each of you have your own strengths and weakness, so make the most of them. [Read: Rules for being a good partner in your relationship]

Do you want to be wearing the pants in the relationship?

Other than feeling controlled by your partner, being the one who is wearing the pants and always in control can be exhausting. As someone who is very decisive I sometimes find myself wanting someone else to take over.

I always pick the restaurant, decide what to eat, decide where to go, etc. And having that responsibility all the time may sound nice, yet it is not always a choice but a burden.

Someone can be forced to wear the pants because their partner never does. Some people lack motivation and direction so they look for someone to take charge. But that can cause friction in the relationship. The person sitting pretty may love having no worries because their partner has to make the tough decisions.

And unlike feeling controlled by your partner, the person wearing the pants may feel resentful to their partner for putting them in that position.

No matter how you look at it, it seems that either way when only one person in the relationship wears the pants it is unbalanced, unhealthy, and maybe even doomed. [Read: How to let go of codependence and have a healthy relationship]

How do you both start wearing the pants in the relationship?

Compromise is the key when you want to balance your relationship. And as I said earlier, that does not mean every decision needs to be 50/50. Maybe you take turns naming the pets. Or maybe you choose when you are ordering in, but your partner chooses when you are dining out.

Both being able to wear the pants in the relationship makes things more stable and allows both partners to feel heard and respected. Knowing how to both give up something you may want for the person you love is so important. It shows you put them first and appreciate their insight.

You will never agree on everything. It is impossible. But you can both be happy with every decision because you made it together. [Read: 12 easy ways to compromise in a relationship without feeling like you’ve lost]

Relationships work both ways

If I still have yet to convince you that wearing the pants is not all it is cracked up to be and that lacking the pants can feel controlling too, maybe this will do it.

Relationships require effort on both sides. You need to give and receive, and so does your partner. But maybe you work perfectly because you love making decisions and your partner goes with the flow. And that is great.

But there will be situations in your life together that require joint decisions. There will be times you don’t have the energy or capacity to decide. And times that one of you wants things your way. That is what relationships are all about. [Read: 16 secrets to a perfectly happy relationship]

Even though wearing the pants in the relationship is something you have probably heard about since you were a child, there really is no one person in a healthy relationship that has all the control.

Plus, it is 2018. You can wear the pants, dress, shorts, skirt, or assless chaps. Who cares? Just be sure to love each other and show it.

[Read: The right way to handle controlling behavior in a relationship]

Wearing the pants in the relationship may be a stupid and sexist phrase, but controlling a relationship is a serious issue. Having balance, honesty, and compromise are the backbones of any healthy relationship.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...