What Is A Female-Led Relationship And How It Works

New-Age Couples | | , Expert Blogger
Updated On: December 13, 2023
what is a female-led relationship

What is a female-led relationship? Well, for one, a sign that the times they are a-changin’! What was once considered traditional and acceptable gender norms have now undergone a 180-degree flip, and it’s only right that we accept and adjust to these new options.

In the past, we all accepted and inculcated a single popular model of romantic relationships or marital partnerships. That of the breadwinner, career-driven male, and the passive, homemaker female. But what happens when we flip this concept around? When there is an exchange of power between a man and a woman?

Ta-da, you have female-led relationships — a non-traditional relationship allowing women and men to alter positions of power and dominance. So, what is the meaning of an FLR? Is it healthy? Can such a relationship even succeed? We are here to answer all your questions.

What Is A Female-Led Relationship?

So, what is a female-led relationship? A female-led relationship or even a wife-led marriage is part of a new wave of relationships with something different to offer. This is the kind of feminism that benefits men too.

When we speak of female-dominated relationship signs or FLRs, we refer to a situation where the power dynamics in the relationship are unusual as the woman occupies the dominant position in the partnership. Now, you may ask, what does being “dominant” entail? Much like a matriarchy, where women run the family, make the important decisions, and exert most of the authority, a female-led relationship aspires to all of the above. Let’s break this down:

  • The FLR meaning extends beyond just establishing equality in a relationship and tips the scale in favor of women choosing who they want to be. Men get to decide their roles as well
  • In an ideal situation, the meaning of an FLR allows the female partner to enjoy a dominant position over her partner (and not only in the bedroom). It implies an exchange of power between a man and a woman
  • It aspires to a new level of equality but can rarely be achieved without a commitment from both partners and a healthy sense of discipline, as well. After all, it’s generations of patriarchy, traditional gender roles, and sexism that one is dealing with here — no small feat!

While exact female-led relationship statistics are hard to come by (since many people are not open about their alternative lifestyles with regard to a woman being in charge of a relationship), a recent survey conducted by dominantguide.com reports that 72% of the respondents were in or have been in an FLR.

Another survey on female-led relationship statistics indicated that nearly 60% of couples interviewed have experimented with an FLR. Overall, these high percentages confirm that alternative relationship choices such as female-led relationships are becoming more and more commonplace.

Related Reading: Changes In Family Structure And New Demands In Marriage

How Does A Female-Led Relationship Work?

What is a female-led relationship, and how does it succeed in our patriarchal society? Even in the most progressive parts of the world, men holding a dominant role in relationships is commonly observed and accepted. No matter how hard we try to establish equality amongst the sexes, our generational conditioning and societal upbringing creep in, one way or the other.

Even if a man and woman living together earn the same, cook together, and even have a laundry chart to determine who does the load on which day, we still adhere to many-minute relationship roles that we don’t even bother deconstructing. Apart from flipping the script on age-old gender norms and roles, some of the common female-led relationship signs include:

benefits of female-led relationships
One of the benefits of a female-led relationship is that there is mutual respect
  • Power is placed in the hands of the female partner
  • Female-led relationship levels vary depending on the role she assumes — one that demands authority and empowerment
  • The sexual dynamic is revisited as well, resulting in experimentation and new levels of sexual satisfaction
  • Simultaneously, the male partner is allowed a back seat in terms of decision-making and financial responsibilities
  • Men can surrender power and be more vulnerable
  • FLRs can enhance communication and result in deeper emotional connections

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s delve deeper into the world of female-led relationships.

Related Reading: Different Types of Relationships | Find Out Yours!

Types Of Female-led Relationships

Female-led relationships can be categorized into different types depending on the intensity of control. These include:

1. Low-level control

In this type of romantic relationship, the female exerts low authority. While still a non-traditional relationship where both partners are granted equitable control over decision-making, this low-control partnership is rarely considered the gold standard of FLRs. Here, the woman may not be fully in charge of the relationship but is still not completely under her partner’s thumb.

2. Moderate-level control

Female-led relationship levels move into a moderate control FLR when the level of female control becomes more obvious. Here, the male partner enjoys and accepts his more submissive role in the relationship. The woman is accepted as the more authoritative figure who makes the day-to-day decisions. However, she also decides where to draw the line and when to relent on the power play.

3. Defined control

A defined control FLR involves a partnership where the woman’s role and authority are clearly defined and listed. She may be in charge of most of the decision-making and is the more dominant partner in the household. The lines of responsibility in the relationship are clearly drawn, and both parties acquiesce.

4. Extreme control

A woman can safely proclaim, “I am in a female-led relationship”, if she rules the household entirely. An FLR with extreme control defies all social conventions. Here, the woman is the dominant personality in all facets of the relationship. The man assumes the submissive role and relents all power in the partnership.

Related Reading: 4 Signs Of An Unequal Relationship And 7 Expert Tips To Foster Equality In A Relationship

Benefits And Drawbacks Of An FLR

Naturally, female-led relationships, like any other type, have advantages and disadvantages. It ultimately comes down to both parties involved and factors such as their inherent compatibility, mutual respect, and willingness to adjust and accommodate the desires and boundaries of each other.

Benefits of an FLRDrawbacks of an FLR 
Being in a relationship where the female is dominant can allow for more sexual freedom and enjoymentExtreme female-led relationship types, such as ultimate control relationships, can be demeaning and abusive if not kept in check
Less conflict as a result of fewer power struggles in the relationshipThere is always the fear of an imbalance of power and one person suffering as a result
The very nature of the relationship demands open and honest communicationThere is a social stigma attached to non-traditional relationships. Criticism of family, peers, and society can be tough for any relationship to weather
Both partners are on the same page with regard to goals and future plansThe submissive partner may develop a co-dependency problem that can stultify personal growth
FLRs can relieve pressure on the male and lead to more time for self-discoveryInflexibility of relationship roles in some types of extreme female-led relationships can prevent personal development and hinder the growth of the relationship

Related Reading: Confessions Of Five Women Who Say, “My Husband Cheated But I Feel Guilty”

7 FLR Rules To Make The Relationship Work

No surprise, navigating an FLR can be tricky since this is a fairly new concept and female-led relationship advice hasn’t made it to mainstream discourse about romantic partnerships in true earnest. But like with any other relationship, you need some rules to make a female-led relationship succeed. These include redefining gender roles in terms of household chores and splitting responsibility between partners, financial management, and daily decision-making.

A Quora thread on the rules for a healthy female-led relationship to thrive throws up some interesting insights. For example, Quora contributor Matthew Naidu lists out specific rules for the male partner to follow in an FLR. He reiterates that “the rules of a female-controlled relationship must always be decided upon in advance and, more importantly, mutually agreed upon by both partners involved.”

So, what is a female-led relationship’s secret to success? Let’s take a look at some rules that need to be followed to make an FLR succeed:

Couple Dynamics

1. Communication

The number one female-led relationship advice to pay heed to is about communication. No matter the woman’s role, the lines of communication need to be open and respected in an FLR. Both partners need to be open and honest in their interactions.

2. Respect

The shifting power dynamics in female-led households demand a level of respect for the dominant figure in the partnership. No FLR can succeed without the male partner respecting his female partner’s opinions and decisions.

3. Appearance and grooming

In certain extreme-control FLRs, the woman can have a say in the physical appearance and grooming of her male partner. And before you all start hooting and hollering about how ridiculous this sounds, let’s take a pause and think back to the men who “insist” their wives dress and look a particular way. So, this is not so different at all, except that the submissive role is switched, right?

Related Reading: Recognizing The 13 Red Flags Of A Controlling Relationship

4. Intimacy

In relationships where complete control is afforded to the female partner, decision-making even enters the realm of sexual dynamics. The dominant woman is responsible for determining the couple’s romantic life and sexual fantasies. The male partner, in turn, needs to ensure that his wife or girlfriend’s physical and emotional needs are always prioritized.

5. Personal growth

Apart from decision-making and day-to-day management, female-dominated relationships can also play a role in defining the personal growth of the submissive partner. He may be encouraged to pursue specific paths leading to personal growth and career development, according to the wishes of the woman in the dominant role.

6. Daily chores

Societal norms are turned on their head in female-led households. In a traditional relationship, the man is the breadwinner and the woman is the housekeeper; in an FLR, the male partner is often a stay-at-home dad despite all the stigmas around it and is given more household chores such as cooking, cleaning, and looking after the children, while the female partner has a more demanding career.

7. Money matters

One of the biggest switches in the power exchange between a couple involves financial decisions. Male-led relationships offer the dominant male partner the final say on expenses and budgeting. In FLRs, however, men may seek approval on financial decisions from their female partners.

For an FLR to remain healthy, a set of rules needs to be agreed upon by both parties. These should ideally include:

  • Having honest conversations
  • Being open to each other’s expectations
  • Regularly reviewing the structure of the relationship
  • Accepting boundaries
  • Ensuring that the relationship is mutually beneficial
  • Understanding that it’s ultimately a decision and lifestyle that concerns only the two of you, and no one else can or should have a say in it
  • Accepting help from therapists and counselors if required to make the relationship work

Marisa Rudder, female-led relationship author and life coach, said on a Quora thread about moving into an FLR, “The best way to find a female-led relationship is to discuss it openly with your partner. There are also several good books out there that will help you make an educated decision. Once you both have decided to get into an FLR, it is important for the man to figure out how to please his woman. This can take some getting used to, so it’s important to give it time to develop.”

How To Find A Female-led Relationship?

If the idea of a female-controlled relationship sounds idyllic to you, it’s understandable. Most relationships operate on skewed rules and responsibilities, and mutual respect can play a tiny role in the power dynamic. The idea that women can actually call the shots AND be respected for it can be an undeniably attractive prospect.

If you want to sign up and proudly claim, “I am in a female-led relationship”, you may wonder how to get started. This leads us to our next question: where does one find these female-dominated relationships?

best way to find a female-led relationship
A female-dominated relationship is not impossible to find in today’s day and age

First, let’s ask ourselves why a woman would seek a female-led relationship in the first place. Well, a few reasons stand out apart from just needing control:

  • When a woman is in charge of the relationship, there is an exchange of power between the man and woman
  • More importantly, in a successful FLR, there is a lack of power struggle and arguments in the relationship, leading to more peace overall
  • A man who is confident in his masculinity and willingly agrees to hand over complete control to his female dominant partner is encouraging a new level of mutual respect
  • Sexual relationships are usually ignited in most female-led relationship types. When women play the dominant role in the sexual dynamic, it can be extremely liberating and fulfilling

Related Reading: How To Deal With A Controlling Husband?

So, why would a man seek a female-led relationship then? Male-led or traditional relationships have been the way of the world for years and years. But this is slowly changing. There are men today who appreciate a dominant woman. Who are happy to hand over the decision-making and breadwinning to their female partners.

Some of the other reasons men seek an FLR could include the following:

  • The possibility of shedding masculine expectations and pressures
  • Lack of guilt or shame around taking on non-masculine roles
  • Allows for a sense of security and comfort
  • For a naturally submissive male, an FLR can be more fulfilling than a traditional relationship

Irrespective of whether you are in a female-led relationship, a male-led one, or an equal partnership, there will always be challenges and trials that come your way. How both partners maneuver these obstacles and agree to move forward is what ultimately counts.

Key Pointers

  • What is a female-led relationship? It is a partnership that offers a new power play between male and female partners
  • In an FLR, the woman leads all decision-making and financial plans
  • The household tasks are left to the male or submissive partner
  • For an FLR to be healthy and successful, open and honest communication is essential
  • There is no shame in asking for help when navigating the terms and conditions of this type of partnership

As with any alternative form of relationship dynamic, female-controlled relationships may not work for everyone. It’s important to understand that this is also ok. No one should force anyone into a partnership that leaves them uncomfortable or at odds with their beliefs and goals.

If you are a person who is looking for a relationship that defies social expectations or you are interested in exploring a non-traditional partnership, a conversation around the possibility of a female-led relationship may be what you need. Remember, if you need help in hashing out the details of such a partnership or need guidance on how to broach the topic, you can (and should) speak to a relationship counselor or a therapist who specializes in gender and sexual diversity for all the support you require.

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