Tia believes that she is in a level 3 FLR. While they do discuss many major decisions to be made, she is ultimately the final voice on the matter. Their relationship seems to be one of common respect and a true understanding of each others strengths and weaknesses. She states that this is the reason the relationship has lasted for 7 years.
Our readers are interested in how FLR begins, how did you/he broach the subject and come to an agreement? How did you and your man get into an FLR?
John and I met through an online dating service and after some emails back and forth agreed to meet. Knowing that most men don’t care for strong women, let alone a woman that has a strong opinion and feels better in a dominant role, I usually put my potential partners in situations where their true nature will shine through. For example, something small, like, say the check at a restaurant. I reach for the bill and if he argues about it, or makes a big deal about it, then chances are I won’t go back out with him again. What that tells me is that he is tied into more of the cultural indoctrination of male dominance and that he and I would never make it past ‘hello’. To John’s credit he smiled broadly and simply said “Cool”.
There was never a particular moment when we sat down and I had this serious discussion with him about my ‘wearing the pants in the family’. It was more of an agreed arrangement where major decisions were made by me, I controlled the finances and the bills, and while he was perfectly capable and encouraged to make smaller decisions on his own, he almost always deferred to me from the beginning.
There are many ways of dealing with family decisions, one can control and delegate, one can decide, couples can vote, and then there is the ever popular veto. In some relationships both participate, and in others the decision is managed by one or the other. How does decision making work in your relationship?
Most big family decisions, such as a car purchase or deciding where we will all go on a vacation, are my decisions. He defers to me because he knows that one of his weaknesses is that he is impulsive and illogical and that things just turn out better if he lets me make the decisions.
Couples have successfully negotiated the 5 food groups for eons, the food groups seem to be the biggest challenges in relationships where decision making is concerned. Of the 5 food groups found at https://www.aboutflr.com/the-5-food-groups/ which do you control and how do you control them?
Finances. Finances are typically not a problem because I make more than he does. In fact, two years ago when he lost his job he asked if it would be possible for him to be a stay at home kind of guy. I was okay with it as long as he undertook more of the load of taking care of the house, the yard, and some of the other household chores as they arose. He was enthusiastic about that and so far it has worked out great! I think we are lucky in that FLR wasn’t something that we ever had to negotiate or that I had to talk him in to. I was already dominant and he was laid back by nature, so it was a good fit. We’ve worked spending money into the budget so that he doesn’t feel as if he has to come and ‘beg’ me for money if he wants something.
Free Time. John is one of those people that needs to be constantly engaged in doing something. If I see that he is looking bored I will often suggest activities that he might enjoy. He knows at this point that he is expected to choose at least one of those suggested activities.
Household Chores. As stated above, John does most of the household chores, including laundry, grocery shopping, dishes, and general housekeeping. He also takes care of the lawn, the pool, and oversees work around the horse stables. It really is a full time job and I’m glad that he offered to take on all of this responsibility. He’s very good at what he does as long as I keep an eye on his time management and set goals for him. He has a difficult time prioritizing, so at the beginning of each week we sit down and go over what his week’s schedule will look like. We adjust as necessary and at the end of each day he lets me know what he accomplished.
Life Direction. We went to see a spiritual Medium in Cassadaga and she stated that our relationship was as it was supposed to be. She said that John needed and craved direction as much as I needed and craved control, that it was a security issue for both of us. I think that as long as a relationship is beneficial for both, then it works, right?
Sex. We are very much into experimentation and are currently working our way through the Kama Sutra. Our alone time is sacred to us and there would never be a consideration for scheduling something over that alone time. The kids are gone every other week, visiting with their bio-father, so we have the house to ourselves at that time, and wow! do we take advantage of the time.
Obedience takes FLR to a whole new level, most men surveyed say they are willing to obey but women tend to the more conventional way of leading, managing and controlling. Did you ask your man to obey you, and what happens when he does not?
There have been rare occasions where John decided to be stubborn and go off on his own and do something that he knows I would not like, or blatantly defies my wishes in some way. When this has happened, one or two things will happen. When I find out about it I just let it play out because sooner or later it will blow up in his face, or I confront him with his defiance. In those cases, I restrict his access to certain of his favorite activities, or schedule in so many additional tasks for that week that he doesn’t have time to run off and do anything. Or, if it does blow up in his face, I’m there with him to help pick up the pieces.
Part of the fantasy that couples CAN live with is pampering, service and honor from the man to the woman. Do you practice pampering and benefits in your relationship?
John is very loving and caring and this is one of the things that drew me to him in the first place. He is one of the only men I’ve met (in a long time) that is nurturing and kind, not only to me but to my children. He loves to fix snack trays for everyone in the evening. He takes care of all of us and we love him for his very tender heart.
We know from experience that relationships tend to normalize over time, they are hot/intense to begin with and mellow as time go on. Describe how your leadership has changed over the years; was it strict to start, or did you slow start?
Believe it or not, John actually initiated some of the female led experiences, by asking me to help him shop and choose clothing for him that would please me. As we’ve grown to understand one another and eventually moved in together, blended our families, he has willingly and enthusiastically given up typically male dominated roles
FLR is not well understood because women for the most part have been silent about it. Why do you think women have not spoken up about their interests and experiences?
Society, American society in particular, was not ready to accept strong women in leadership positions in the corporate world, let alone in the family setting. And I think, that’s why most women don’t talk about their FLR because it is not mainstream, it is not depicted in the media, and in some circles it is still viewed as deviant behavior (if you can believe that!).
The motivations and learning styles people have often speak loads about them. They have been widely used in business to get things done. Do you as leader know your man’s learning and motivation style and does that help you lead?
What seems to motivate John to a large extent is knowing what the pay-off is for the investment of his time and effort. He is very goal oriented and task oriented, so assisting him in prioritizing goals and helping him to identify the steps he will take to accomplish those goals works for us. I feel wanted and needed, and he feels understood and cared for.
Agreements are part of most relationships, vows, fidelity etc.. Did you make a formal written agreement, if so please describe it, if not why not?
John and I have lived together for almost 7 years, now. We’ve discussed marriage (usually his idea) and I’ve vetoed it. It’s not that I don’t love him… I do. It’s just that a marriage signifies ownership and I don’t want to be owned, or own anyone. And, I do not need a piece of paper to state the obvious.
Any tips or advice for women wanting to lead their relationship?
I think that the main thing is take some time to know who you are and what you truly want. You may have to face the fact that your man may not be able or willing to make those changes. How badly do you want or need this type of lifestyle? Can he approach it with a friendly and playful attitude? Would he be willing to try it on a trial basis for a while? If you have a good relationship and have always been honest about things, then the spontaneity may be a surprising and exciting time for both of you.
Any tips or advice for a man wanting to be a follower for their woman?
I think that if you are a man wanting to find a woman that compliments your personality and you know for a fact that your personality is one that balances best with someone else making the decisions, then you need to have that conversation with your spouse. Chances are if you have been in a relationship with someone for a long time, they already know what you can or can’t do, so without you even knowing it, you probably are in some form of gentle female led relationship. Talk. Talk. Then talk some more.
Interview by Melody Bussey, a writer residing in Florida.