Role Reversal

Ailsa Keppie May 08

Role Reversal

Recently my partner and I went out for dinner. We had planned ahead, booked concert tickets for the matinee, and I had even dressed up! We were all set for a romantic evening out.

I know, you are waiting for the BUT…..

Well, here it is. We got to the concert venue early, and I decided to spend a few minutes looking for a good restaurant nearby. A couple of ones caught our eye and we clicked on the menu. Here is where it all started to unravel.

First of all, let me just say that going from being single to being in a couple means getting used to paying twice as much for these types of outings. I didn’t used to think much of going out on my own now and then, I mean one dinner and a concert can be done for less than $50. So I totally wasn’t prepared for the reality of how much it costs to go on a date with my honey now that there are two of us!

So, here I was, looking at the menu, sitting at the concert hall, and staring at the prices. ‘When did eating out become so expensive?’ I wondered.

“This looks like a lot,” I said doubtfully to my patient partner sitting next to me, “should we look at something else?”

“Well, unless you want to eat at a corner take out stand, we should maybe just go home,” he answered, a little more frustration in his voice than he usually lets on, “you were the one that wanted to go out.”

Ah and there it was, I did want to go out, I had even asked him out, and now I was faced with the challenge of paying the bill. Not that my partner wouldn’t pay if I asked him to, but I had specifically offered to take him out and yet here I was complaining about every little $$ sign.

As the tears mounted in the corners of my eyes, I had to admit I was feeling some respect for the people in the world who usually cover the cost of going on dates. For me, this has been mostly men, and I’ve always gratefully accepted their offer to take ME out. I would have felt pretty low if my previous dates had complained about the cost of every little thing. That wouldn’t feel good at all.

So, breathing a huge sigh, (and taking a few minutes in the bathroom by myself) I pulled up my big girl panties and came back to sit next to my love.

“Ok, I’m sorry for my little meltdown, it’s a switch for me to be in this role, I want to go out for dinner with you and that Indian you picked is perfect.” I managed all of this much more calmly and even began to feel a slight feeling of empowerment as I spoke.

My partner eyed me a little warily but agreed and so our plan continued. After a lovely concert and dinner, I motioned to the waiter to bring the bill. He looked slightly confused as I reached to take it from him, but covered up his mistake quite nicely.

“Thank you so much,” I handed the waiter my credit card and smiled at my partner. “Do I get to take you home now?” I asked with a wink. Playing this role could have its upside too I decided, eyeing him appreciatively.

On the way home, my partner shared how difficult it was for him to be in the role of receiving. It went against everything that he had taken to be sacred to being a man. Arriving home, we both laughed and chalked the date up to the successful exploration of role reversals.

How do your relationship roles usually play out? Is there room for flexibility or are you stuck in one particular role?

This is something I work on with clients, the idea of choice and freedom in our relationships. We don’t have to mindlessly take on our society’s roles, we can feel into our own desires and even curiosities.

Take some time to consider what roles you play in your relationships and if you want to work on expanding or changing that, reach out to me.


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