Why a 50/50 Relationship Doesn’t Work & Won’t Make You Happy with Anna Rova
A few years ago I had achieved the seeming “success” that my grandmother and mother would only dream of. I had everything I ever wanted. A college degree, a well-paid job, I traveled around the world, I was free to live, love, and earn wherever and whatever I wanted.
I ticked all the boxes.
I have been competing and winning on equal terms with men. In fact, I became one of them. I have grown bigger, steel(er) balls than them. I have leaned in. I felt powerful. I bossed the shit out of my colleagues and team members.
I also bossed the shit out of my life and boyfriend.
And yet, somehow for some reason, this wasn’t enough. And yet, this wasn’t quite fulfilling. And yet, for some reason, I was lonely and exhausted, drained and empty. I realized that I was still proving everything to everyone.
When I met the man of my dreams and fell in love, I was proving myself to him too. I wanted him to see me as an equal (without even realizing that I already was one.) I wanted to bring in my share of “the 50%” into our relationship in order to feel like I’m contributing equally.
Like I’m putting in the work. The hours. Like it’s fair. Like my worth is measured by the number of dollars I am able to pay for our breakfasts. Like I need to feel independent and secure.
Just in case shit goes down.
Just in case he leaves me.
The only thing I forgot, of course, is that I am also working a double shift. My job as a girlfriend, then wife and a mother is a full-time job in itself no matter how much I try to delegate it to him.
Research suggests that while women today have more opportunities, rights, and incomes than ever before — we are less happy.
This truth is counter-intuitive and a bit of a paradox simply because what women thought would make us happy — to be equal to men in all and any way possible — doesn’t stand the test of female fulfillment.
Why is that?!
As any effective manager will confirm — inefficient delegation is when you outsource tasks to someone else yet you are the one still in control of them.
And so, no matter how hard I tried to delegate decorating, cleaning, vacation planning and all other important things to him— he would still not do it right. He would not do it my way.
And my way isn’t better than his but my way directly correlates to how I feel day in and day out. And that is a crucial fact to understand.
It’s important to me that underwear doesn’t get washed with socks no matter what its color. It’s important that spices are stored in the right places in the pantry. It’s important that there are vanilla caramel scented candles and DoTerra diffusers with bergamot, orange blossom and lavender oils freshening up the air.
It’s important that curtains are that specific shade of aquamarine and that the pillows match. It’s important that we have healthy, nutritious food that tastes and looks nice and isn’t the same every day. No, I can’t have fried eggs for breakfast day in and day out. And no, a salad isn’t cucumbers simply chopped up. It’s important what kind of wine we drink and how we’re going to spend our anniversary. And yes, flowers, fashion, skincare, manicures, and jewelry matter.
All these details contribute to how I feel about myself as a woman and they matter. Because as a feminine essence woman, I need to fill in the space with beauty, sensuality and a little bit of chaos.
It’s also important that I have my massage and spa treatments done in time. That I have a bath at least twice a month. It’s important that my hair is just the right shade of blond and that I go to yoga and pole dancing. It’s important that I have my morning routine of journaling, meditating, spreading tarot cards and moving my body with the flow. That’s how I recharge and replenish my energy and start my day right.
It’s what fills up my energy tank so that I can show up in the world relaxed, happy and satisfied. And this, in turn, feeds everyone and everything else in my life.
All these things that appear useless, frivolous and wasteful to men — actually make us, women, fulfilled.
What also makes our souls sing is nurturing, nesting and creating a family. My whole world turned upside down when I had my daughter 6 months ago. I realized that THAT is pure happiness. That THAT is what I most wanted but was afraid to even go there and allow myself to want a family.
Add to the mix the fact that female creatures move in cycles every month. We bleed, we cramp up, we release and let go. We get pregnant, we carry children in our wombs, we give birth, we breastfeed and it goes on and on and on.
Every month our bodies are getting ready to create life. The body doesn’t care about our important meetings, launches or that work trip in July. Every month we go through various seasons of slowing down, going within and then coming out and speeding up. That’s how we were designed to show up in the world. Not the powerhouse, always “on the go” turned on woman.
We can’t be equal to men in this regard and never will be. The sooner we stop living against our nature, the closer we’ll be to true fulfillment.
And that’s why the 50/50 approach where you and him are expected to put in equal amounts of incomes, chores, and childcare doesn’t work. Because we operate on different energy tanks. Because our bodies are designed to function differently. Because emotionally, mentally and energetically we show up in different ways.
Even if I try really hard to delegate at least half of the things to my husband — he will still throw in black shirts with white ones. He will still buy that particular brand of goat cheese that I don’t like. He will still not see the value in weekly spa treatments. He would still not understand my need for getting answers in tarot cards or astrology. He would still think that if the baby is well-fed and dressed — it’s enough.
And perhaps it is. And yes, I do indeed go over-board with some stuff and there is a need for simplicity yet elegance — I feel much more fulfilled when I live my life as a feminine essence woman this way.
Because I am one. Because I am not him. I don’t function in masculine ways.
I function in monthly and daily cycles. I am aligned with nature and the moon.
My heart and my womb are what creates and nurtures life. My life doesn’t run on straight-line spreadsheets and linear ways of thinking.
My emotions get in the way and I’m not willing to apologize for them. I am not available for running on someone else’s notion of equal income household because of some vague standard of female independence while I disregard my deepest yearnings and desires.
To love and be loved. To nurture. To create life. To be in my body and to be me. A woman.
The 50/50 approach doesn’t work because it leaves me — the woman, the wife, and the mother — at a disadvantage and at a loss despite what the feminists proclaim. They tell me that if I produce and earn equally to a man — I am worthy and I have a seat at the table. That earning equally to a man should be one of my most important pursuits in life. And god forbid if I just want to be a mother and a wife for now — I have somehow betrayed the female species.
I don’t see money as my measure of success. Neither does he. It’s incredible how and why some women think that they need to earn a certain amount of money and become successful in order to attract a successful man. He doesn’t really care what’s the dollar number on your monthly paycheck. What matters to him is how he feels with you, whether he can relax in your arms and whether you let him lead.
I am not interested in playing and living by someone’s own version of success. As a feminine essence woman, I can’t be a man and a woman at the same time. And that’s what the 50/50 approach requires of us: that I take full responsibility for half of the income AND full responsibility for childcare and household management. Simply because even when he agrees to take on the other half of the household and childcare load — it’s just not the same. I can’t offload it fully.
I’m still the one reading books on starting solids and best playgroups in the area our daughter can attend. I’m still the one ordering personalized labels for daycare. I’m still talking to the cleaner every week. I’m still the one getting creative with weekly meals in the slow cooker. He doesn’t care about the details and there is no point in getting mad at him for it.
They say marriage is like a business partnership. In fact, I agree. But what those who say it don’t understand is that two people are coming together to play their roles. They are equal in terms of their contributions to the business of marriage but they both have their unique strengths and abilities that they need to leverage and play with in order to build a profitable business marriage.
We can’t wear the “ man hat” today and the “woman hat” tomorrow. We play our unique roles based on our individual strengths, skills, and abilities. And we create polarity. We love and we forgive. We build and destroy. We grow together. We make love and create babies. We can’t really do this in a 50/50 way.
I fully understood this concept when I fell pregnant. There is no 50/50 in pregnancy. It was all on me. There was nothing he could do to put in his 50% in carrying this child, giving birth or breastfeeding.
Nada. Zero. Can’t do it. Impossible.
So he showed up in different ways. He took charge of the finances so I don’t have to think about it. He took charge and made dinners, ran errands and held my hair when I was throwing up. He did it in the best way he could. He was there through every contraction. He was there at 3 AM when I needed to sleep. He is still bringing me water and the baby when I’m too exhausted to get up and breastfeed.
I understood this before we had children.
I see women complaining about how hard it is being a mother AND doing everything else: dishes, cleaning, cooking, working. Not only we are expected to work hard at our real jobs but also be great mums, cooks, cleaners, wives, lovers, and the list goes on. No wonder women say “give yourself a BJ today” and blame the patriarchy for all the evils done to women.
The sad reality is that we have put these expectations on ourselves and are trying to live up to them getting more and more frustrated day by day for not “fulfilling” our duties. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to work like horses and live our lives against our nature just so that we can prove that we are indeed independent and can do it all. The Superwoman Syndrome has to fade away.
The modern world is telling women every day that they can do anything. We get into this trap and then complain that it’s not working. We get angry and bitter at our children and partners, our families and communities, our government and planet, our Gods and the Universe.
“I hired a wife,” a powerhouse businesswoman wrote in an article that was shared across the internet thousands of times. Sorry, but I don’t need a wife. I am the wife. I don’t want a household and a family where there are two husbands (me and him) and a wife (the cook, the cleaner and the nanny.)
Perhaps some will enjoy this arrangement but I don’t want a threesome of this kind. If there is a cook, a cleaner or a nanny — she’s not a wife. She is a cook, a cleaner or a nanny. I am not willing to degrade the notion of “the wife” to simply cleaning, ironing, cooking and looking after children.
Because I am the wife. Because I am his woman. Because I am her mother. Because I am a woman and I value it. I understand my role and I want to play it. It brings me joy and pleasure. I know my priorities.
I know we can’t do it all at once. We can do whatever we want but not at the same time. And that’s okay. Not everyone has the luxury to have such an arrangement but once you get creative it is quite possible.
A 50/50 household actually can work and does work in so many families but the question is whether it makes us happy.
If the 50/50 arrangement is working for you and your family and you’re perfectly happy — then it’s all good. You don’t need to change anything. But if there is a constriction there; if you’re feeling exhausted, tired, drained and unappreciated — perhaps it is time to look at a different way to divide the pie.
Or maybe your relationship and household is working but you know deep down inside that there is more. More depth and freedom. More pleasure and fulfillment.
So the main question here is not whether your relationship “works.”
But does your relationship thrive? Do you still feel the spark and attraction? Is sex a duty that should be fulfilled once in a while (because hey, he needs it) or is sex something you both crave and can’t get enough of? Are you dreaming together of a life that is exciting and building future plans that feel great? Are your children feeling the vibes and learning what a relationship should look like? Are you, as a woman, having enough time for yourself to take a bath, relax, do the things you love without feeling guilty? If the answer is “NO” then your relationship is not thriving — it is just “working.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a relationship, a marriage and a family that just works. That’s dry and unfulfilling. That’s gray and boring. What’s the point? I might as well be on my own and build my own life how I want it? Or I might simply build a different life with someone else with whom I can thrive.
So what do we do about it?
Scenarios & How to Divide the Pie
I have gone through a few ways of managing our money, household and responsibilities and I have found a scenario that really works not only for me but for my husband as well. Although, it does seem controversial at first. Although, he had resisted it at first. But I knew it is up to me how our relationship, marriage, and household is managed. (And that’s what women forget. It’s mostly up to them how they arrange their household and marriage responsibilities.)
Scenario 1: Workhorse — 30/70
I was the one making the most money, most decisions, and took charge of our relationship and our lives. I was running the show and I thought and felt very comfortable with it. It gave me a false sense of power and importance. I was leading instead of letting him lead. The fuel in my engines was running low. I burnt out and then I got out. Instinctively I knew that if I continue this way, I will not only make myself and my family miserable but I will also be presented with an impressive medical bill when I’m almost 47.
Scenario 2: Depolarization — 50/50
The next step was an upgraded version of this same dynamic but completely depolarized. It is the glorious 50/50 equality that we, women have come to as a result of the last 60 years. And while it does give us equal opportunities, rights and freedoms our grandmothers could only dream of — it also depolarizes our relationships with men.
My relationship was working. He and I would bring in equal amounts of income — therefore, we would also divide everything else into 50/50 buckets. Because that would only be fair. We would sit down and decide who takes care of what. I cook, you do the dishes. I do the bathrooms, you do the vacuuming. I feed the baby, you change the nappies. I do the laundry, you do the shopping.
The roles are interchangeable. Anyone can do anything. Sex here doesn’t matter. And why should it? I can do anything he can do and more (well, um, besides lifting heavy stuff, I suppose…?) He can do anything I can and more (um, besides, carrying the baby in his womb and giving birth…?)
There is really no difference between us.
It amazes me how we still build our relationships and marriages based on this homogeny principle while disregarding the fundamental biological, energetic and emotional differences between men and women. Yes, we are more alike than we are different but leveraging these small differences can make tremendous changes to our well-being and set us on the course of thriving relationships.
Scenario 3: Freedom in Role Playing — 100/100
We play our own unique roles. In the bedroom and in everyday life. We divide and conquer. We realize our unique potential and work with it and not against it. We discover and embrace our natures, masculine-feminine energies and ride its waves. We learn about polarity and leverage it to create sexual charge and take care of our own needs understanding the needs and desires of the other.
There is no “you do this, I do this.” Everyone is in their own place and knows instinctively what they’re responsible for.
Here is what you can do today to start embracing the 100/100:
- Decide what’s important to you and your priorities.
- Establish where are you going to play 100% and let him decide and take responsibility for his 100%. (For example, you’re responsible for childcare, he’s bringing home the bacon. Doesn’t mean that you can’t make money on the side or that he’s not taking care of the children. It just means that you have clear responsibilities and everyone pitches in how they can.)
- Make peace with the fact that you can’t do it all.
- Put yourself first.
- Set boundaries. Protect your time and space.
- Connect to your wild woman.
- Discover, embrace your femininity.
- Step into your feminine power.
- Learn about polarity dynamics.
- Let him lead & learn how to trust him.
- Let him take responsibility.