Relationships stronger with one dominant partner

Relationships|February 10th 2015

Relationships where one partner is ‘in charge’ are stronger and happier than those which are considered equal, a new study suggests.

Researchers from universities in Prague questioned 340 men and women about the structure of certain relationships. These included romantic partners, friends and parents.

Levels of “hierarchical dominance” were assigned to each person within those relationships. The Czech researchers pointed out that, despite the phrasing, “a mild within-pair disparity” in dominance did not imply violence.

Within a romantic couple, those which displayed a difference between the partners’ levels of “dominance” were much more common than those described as equal. Women were regarded as the dominant partner in 24.2 per cent of such couples.

Dr Eva Jozifkova of Purkyne University was one of the lead researchers on the study. She said that the results “challenge the frequently held belief in equality within couples as a trademark of functional partnerships”.

She added that many people view “even mild dominance and submissiveness as a problem”, whereas her study does not back that up. Couples who were equal had 15 per cent fewer children than their dominant counterparts.

Social pressure for equality within relationships “represent a form of oppression”, she said. Couples who exhibit similar levels of dominance will experience problems as “even minor conflicts may escalate due to competition”. On the other hand, she claimed, having one dominant partner reduces how often conflict occurs in a relationship and how intense those conflicts become.

The research titled “Why do some women prefer submissive men?” was published in the academic journal Neuroendocrinology Letters.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Suzanne Loveridge says:

    Reading this brought backhow the lawyers for the Guardian and Local Authority used my ‘dominance’ over my husband against us. Staying my husband could not prevent ME from doing things that may bout our GD in harms way with her father. At no time did they investigate our relationship dynamic with our referree’s and got away with it. The Guardian also did not like it. My nursing background as Ward Sister, used to giving orders and ability to talk naturally, was seen as a dominant trait rather than a work one. My husband not being over comfortable with strangers until he gets to know them as a submissive one. I cannot however imagine this study will be taken seriously by local authority lawyers, guardians or social workers. The judge even allowed comments from a ‘renowned’ family therapist about our family dynamic to be used without even meeting us, just by giving her their opinions of us. Perhaps if more work is done. But getting it allowed in family court proceedings against the Local Authority only time will tell

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