An Unvarnished Look at Female-Led Relationships

Updated October 20, 2018
Woman pulling man's tie

Female-led relationships are ones in which women typically take the lead, initiate, and make the decisions. These women-led relationships work well with a strong female and a man who doesn't mind being along for the ride.

What Are Female-Led Relationships?

While there is no formal definition for a female-led relationship (FLR), the FLR relationship meaning may have the woman as the authority and break the old-fashioned notion that the man should always be in charge. When a female leads a relationship, the man might be the one who primarily cooks, cleans, does housework, and stays home with the kids, while the woman goes to work and makes sure the bills are paid. In another sense, the dynamics might appear more traditional, yet the woman behaves as the primary decision maker and head of the household.

Types of Female-Led Relationships

Female-led relationships can generally be categorized into four different levels of intensity. While it is possible to move from one level to the next as the relationship progresses, each man and woman is typically most comfortable on only one or two levels.

  • Low key - Man asks the female to lead in a few certain ways and she hesitantly permits requests
  • Moderate - Woman sees benefits from the arrangement and takes the lead in everyday life, but sets boundaries for how far she is willing to go
  • Formal - Woman likes to be in control, takes over most traditionally male roles in the relationship, and may spill over into kinky bedroom behaviors
  • Extreme - Woman exerts total and complete control over her man and treats him as a servant in all aspects of their relationship

The Good

Female-led relationships when dating might imply that the woman initiates the first kiss, takes a man out to dinner and pays, and could even be the one to ask a man to marry her. For some couples, this type of relationship is ideal, even though it goes against social norms. Women who like to lead are usually happier without constrictions and with the freedom to make choices. Here are some other good things about this kind of relationship:

  • Women who lead are more likely to communicate frequently to their partner
  • A lot of men feel pressured to lead and provide and would welcome a strong woman
  • Many men seek female approval and may secretly desire a woman to lead
  • Power struggles are eliminated leading to fewer disagreements
  • Unconditional support from a lover builds confidence in women
  • Increases attentiveness from both partners
  • Men can freely express their tender, emotional side without fear of judgment
  • Both partners feel safe in their relationship to express all parts of their personalities

The Bad

A relationship in which the woman leads works for some couples, but for others, this can turn into a power struggle in which neither partner is truly happy. Whenever one person has too much power things are bound to turn tense. Here are some other downsides of a strong female running a relationship:

  • A woman who is too dominating might walk all over a man or even be abusive
  • Men who do more traditional women's roles may not be as good at multitasking
  • The dynamic may start to resemble a mother/child partnership, rather than a healthy adult relationship
  • The pressure of being in charge can be stressful for a woman
  • A partner who is too needy can become annoying
  • If a man becomes dissatisfied with the arrangement, he may not feel he can speak up
  • Social stigmas could lead to negative comments and reactions from friends and family
  • Higher levels of female-led relationships could lead to a loss in personal identity

The Importance of Balance

No matter what type of relationship you're in, it's important to have some balance. Sharing more equally and having both partners participate in both leading and following usually keeps everyone happier. Here are some ways to create balance:

  • A strong female should encourage her partner to contribute his thoughts
  • Respect should be of high importance on both ends of the relationship
  • When important decisions are made, both partners should participate equally

Female-Led Relationship Dating Sites

If you are a man or a woman looking to engage in a female-led relationship, there are several specified dating sites that can help you find a like-minded partner.

  • She Makes the Rules features tons of resources for women in female-led relationships and with a premium membership you can use their custom dating system.
  • Dating website Plenty of Fish allows you to see other users who are interested in female-led relationships and it's free to sign up.
  • If you're looking more for a low key female-led relationship, Loving FLR features personal ads and a paid matchmaking service.

Keeping Everyone Happy

There is a saying, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy," which implies that keeping a woman happy is vital to a strong relationship and family life. While this might mean having the woman in charge, more often it means giving her what she wants, whether it's to lead more often or to be a strong follower. Most women have a basic desire for communication, so it can be said that the best relationships are not necessarily female led, but more based on good communication and figuring out what works best for both people.

An Unvarnished Look at Female-Led Relationships