You might want to stop that.
Dating and trying to find true love in romantic relationships can be a pretty tough gig, no matter what. When you add to that mix the most common male and female stereotypes and the traditional gender roles men and women have had drilled into our heads since we were young, it’s no wonder so many people are still struggling to find the love of their life as the decades pass on by.
The basic definition of a stereotype is “an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people. Stereotypes are generalized because one assumes that the stereotype is true for each individual person in the category.”
Just one of the many problems with stereotyping people of all genders is that we then use these perceived norms as excuses — excuses not to date, excuses not to begin new relationships, and excuses to break up with someone. Ultimately, these excuses allow us to avoid exposing ourselves to any meaningful level of intimacy and vulnerability, which translates to preventing us from finding true love.
So stereotypes turn into excuses that turn into self-harming behaviors as we unconsciously use them to sabotage our chances of giving and receiving authentic and genuine love.
Here are 10 examples of common stereotypes about gender roles for men and women, and why they may be keeping you from finding true love.
Stereotypes about women:
1. Women are only after money
I have heard this from so many men. They believe that a woman will only be interested in a man if he is wealthy and successful because she wants someone to look after her. Now, there is some truth that feeling secure in a relationship is a deep, primal need for many women, but this kind of security can be fulfilled in many ways, and not only with money.
Yes, there are a small percentage of women who look for a man with money, but the same can be said about a percentage of men. Don’t let percentage stop you from believing the woman in front of you now is truly interested in you for who you are. Otherwise, you could be pushing away the love of your life.
2. Women need to be thin and flawless
Just like men don’t want to be valued based only on the size of their wallet, women don’t want to be valued for their looks alone. One of the ways we sabotage our chances of love is by pushing people away based on their body shape or their looks.
Yes, we need to be attracted to a partner, but looks should not be a deal breaker. Women come in all shapes and sizes, with or without make up. If you broaden your scope a little bit, you might find the right fit for you.
3. If a woman is overly sexual, she won’t make a good wife
Many men still believe that if a woman genuinely likes having sex, or if she sleeps with you relatively early on in the dating process, it means that she’s too easy, and therefore, not wife material.
How a woman expresses her sexuality has nothing to do with the qualities she possesses on the inside, what kind of wife she would make, or how perfectly matched you could possibly be. If you keep thinking that way, you could be miss out on getting the best of both worlds!
4. Women want commitment straight away
Unless you have attracted a stage-5 clinger (and if have, you might want to have a look at why you’ve done that), chances are that a woman is not that keen on committing straight away either.
A woman who is dating in a conscious way will only want to commit to someone, and have them to commit to her, if she believes he is a good possible long term fit for her. So instead of resisting meeting women because you think they are going to put the ball and chain on you straight away, just go with the flow and relax a little bit and you might even find that you want to commit before she does!
5. Women always try to change men
I get it. You don’t want to give up certain things from your single life when you begin a relationship. Men have a need for freedom and fear being changed, controlled or turned into someone they’re not by their partner. Don’t let this fear stop you from being in a relationship.
If you feel someone is trying to change you, bring it up for discussion. If they are and are therefore not the right person for you, you can always end the relationship. You are never stuck! However, the ironic fact remains that the only constant thing in life is, indeed, change …
Stereotypes about men:
6. Men are only after sex
Ok, so just like women have a primal need to feel secure, most men also have a primal need to procreate.
If a man shows romantic interest in you, I can guarantee that he is sexually attracted to you, as well, but it’s quite possible he’s also searching for “the One.”
7. Men should be tall, fit and muscular
Just like women do not want to be judged on their looks alone, neither do men. The notion that the ideal man needs to be at least 6-foot-tall, athletic and have lots of muscles is simply not true.
Of course, there may be a certain type you are personally most attracted to, but don’t get caught in the trap of thinking a guy can’t be the man of your dreams because he isn’t tall, dark or handsome enough. A thin man of smaller stature can be more of a real man on the inside then some of the tall muscly men out there.
8. Once a cheater, always a cheater
When a woman finds out her man cheated on a previous partner, the advice she receives from many friends about men is, “once a cheater always a cheater.”
By believing this stereotype you risk missing out on what could be a great relationship. Cheating happens for many reasons, and the fact that someone cheated once should not fully define them.
If he has told you this himself, he is showing you great honesty and vulnerability, which is a fantastic trait to bring into a relationship. I know many men (and women) who have cheated, learned from their mistakes, and never cheated again.
9. It’s a man’s job to do all the chasing
A woman likes to be pursued. It makes her feel special. However, as women we should not put all the emphasis on the man being the one to do that work, because we’ve been taught to do this by the generations before us. You can’t sit back and wait for a man to choose you. You need to choose him as well.
10. Men are afraid of commitment
I don’t know why men are lobbed with the stereotype of being the ones who are too afraid to commit. Women are as well! I was even one of them for a very long time. People are afraid to commit for many different reasons. It isn’t just a guy thing.
If you find yourself putting men or women in to any of the above categories, stop and remember that what you resist, persists.
These generalizations have nothing to do with the unique individual standing before you. Take time to get to know the real person inside, and don’t let these gender stereotypes sabotage you.