9 Double Standards in Relationships: How They Affect Men and How to Deal With Them

Do you feel your girlfriend or wife has double standards in your relationship? Are you expected to do certain things or act a certain way, yet these rules don’t seem to apply to her when the roles are reversed? 

Double standards occur when one person has expectations of their partner but doesn’t believe these same rules or standards should be applied to them.

These are common in committed relationships and can often destroy a relationship in the long run. 

The problem is that while many people realize their relationships are toxic, few people consciously try to fix them.

They resolve themselves to the fact that this is the way things are, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. 

Of course, this is the worst thing you can do, and if you feel like your wife or girlfriend has double standards in your relationship, it’s something you need to tackle head-on. 

The first step is recognizing these standards and examining how they affect your life. You may be surprised that you have a bigger problem than you initially realized. 

Today, I’ll be exploring some of the most common double standards men frequently encounter in relationships and give you some actionable tips on dealing with them. 

1. Emotional Expression

One of the most common double standards that men often face is the expectation that they suppress their emotions.

Society often tells us that we must be stoic and avoid showing any vulnerability. Women, oppositely, are expected and encouraged to express their feelings openly. 

Regarding romantic relationships, this can be observed in various ways. For example, men are often expected to be the emotional rock—the “shoulder to cry on,” so to speak. 

While this is all fine and is indeed the trait of a strong, grounded, and supportive man, many men feel their feelings are dismissed or minimized when the roles are reversed. Instead of being able to open up and express themselves, they are told to “toughen up” or “talk to a therapist.” 

I remember one of my best friends from college was once dating a girl who refused to listen to the stories of his traumatic upbringing.

Without getting into too much detail, this troubled him deeply, and he periodically needed to talk about it to relieve his stress. 

When his girlfriend refused to listen to him, she invalidated his emotions. Before long, he grew resentful, and the two broke up after just a few months. 

To stop this from happening to you, you need to do something to challenge the double standard. Open up a conversation with your partner about emotional expression and how it affects both of you. 

If you find it difficult to express your emotions or feel like you’ve been conditioned to live without emotional support, consider working with a men’s coach to help you develop healthier emotional habits. 

2. Household and Childcare Responsibilities

Despite increased gender equality, many men still face double standards regarding household and childcare responsibilities.

While we often hear stories about men being “deadbeats” who don’t want to contribute and pull their weight, the opposite can also be true. 

For example, your partner may expect you to contribute equally to household chores but still assumes you’re responsible for tasks like yard work or home repairs.

While I know many men are perfectly content to break out the power tools and renovate the upstairs bathroom, there comes the point where any man can feel like there is too much of a burden on him. 

If you’re responsible for half of the household chores and 100% of the traditionally masculine duties, it might leave you feeling like you have no time to yourself.

If you feel like this is happening to you, you must discuss it with your partner. 

After all, she might not realize everything you do or be unaware that it drains energy. I know many men who keep things like this bottled up because they don’t want to be seen as weak or a complainer, but there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a little self-love

Similarly, I’ve spoken to many men with children who feel like their partner undermines their parenting decisions and pushes the children to question their authority.

On the outside, they are encouraged to be involved, attentive fathers, but when push comes to shove, they get relegated to second place. 

If you believe this is happening to you, you need to be firm, start a discussion, and establish a groundwork for a more equitable distribution of responsibilities.

If you allow these patterns to perpetuate, you’re going to grow bitter in the long run, and it will do nothing but destroy your relationship and create rifts within your family. 

3. Socialization

Very many men face double standards when it comes to socialization and maintaining independence in their relationships. This can often be observed when a man tries to spend time with friends or family independently of his significant other. 

Many men tell me that their partner expects them to spend all their free time with her and that she gets upset whenever he tries to have a night with friends. In certain instances, a man won’t even be able to spend time on his own to pursue hobbies. 

Then, there are undeniable instances of double standards. For example, she can go out for a night with her girlfriends and come home at three in the morning, but if you ever try to do the same, she’ll accuse you of being immature or unfaithful. 

I’ve encountered dozens of men who haven’t seen friends for years because of a controlling partner who doesn’t respect their personal space. 

There is no reason you shouldn’t be allowed to spend time with people outside of your relationship or pursue hobbies alone. If you find that your partner is limiting your socialization, you need to stand up for yourself. 

Unfortunately, many men have difficulty with this. Bridging topics like this forces them to walk a fine line between being assertive and aggressive, and they don’t know how to get their point across without having it become an argument. 

If you find yourself in this camp, I strongly suggest you seek the help of a men’s coach. A seasoned men’s coach who has lived through these situations can guide real-world experience. 

4. Personal Interests

Men may experience a double standard when they invest time and effort toward understanding and participating in their partner’s hobbies, only to find their interests are disregarded when the roles are reversed. 

Many men often find their partners will even go as far as to belittle them for their interests, saying that the things they’re interested in are “immature” or “stupid.”

Of course, if they were ever to say such things about their partner’s interests, it would be grounds for World War 3. 

If this happens to you, it can be troublesome if you’re denied personal time.

Now, if your partner introduced you to a new activity, you are genuinely passionate about, that’s fantastic. The problem is when you accompany her on day-long shopping sprees, but she refuses to go to a baseball game with you. 

If this is the case, it may be time to rethink your shared activities and put your foot down. If you can’t find common ground, establish a healthy boundary so neither of you feels undervalued or dismissed. 

Ideally, the two of you will discuss it and establish a compromise that satisfies both parties, but that’s sometimes easier said than done.

Alternatively, you may need to scrap your current activities and try something new. Whatever you decide on, it has to be something that feels fair to you. 

5. Sexual Expectations

Another widespread area where men observe a double standard is sex. When a woman desires sex, the man is expected to initiate and satisfy her desires. If he doesn’t, he finds himself on the hot seat, getting grilled about why he’s not in the mood. 

At the same time, when the roles are reversed, many men feel their women make no such effort to meet their needs. If a woman isn’t in the mood for sex, a man often has to accept the rejection, no questions asked. 

Over time, these can create sexual tension and dissatisfaction within a relationship. Sex isn’t always the easiest thing to discuss, especially for men, but if you feel a double standard exists in the bedroom, you owe it to yourself to address it. 

Balance is the key to any healthy relationship, which usually doesn’t come naturally. You must put in the time and effort to address issues like these if you want your relationship to go the distance.  

6. Trust and Jealousy

Very often, a man will find his partner expects him to trust her unconditionally, yet she cannot do the same for him. Even though the man has done nothing to suggest he was—or ever will be—unfaithful, his every move is met with suspicion and jealousy. 

This is especially common if a man has a friend or friends of the opposite sex. While a woman can maintain close friendships with people of the opposite sex, she becomes irrationally uncomfortable or jealous when you do the same. 

Usually, these feelings of jealousy are a result of deep-rooted insecurity. And usually, that insecurity stems from something far outside the relationship. 

That being said, it’s no excuse for such behavior. If you find yourself in a relationship with someone struggling with trust or jealousy issues, you must work together to establish guidelines that both of you feel comfortable with. 

Of course, if past events give your partner good cause for not trusting you, that’s another issue, but that doesn’t mean it’s something the two of you can’t discuss together.

A men’s dating coach or support group can assist you if you need the best guidance on broaching the subject. 

7. Conflict Resolution

Ask yourself, “How often am I apologizing in the relationship?” “How often do I receive an apology?” “How often do I admit I was wrong even though I don’t believe I was?” “How often has my partner told me she was wrong?” 

If you find there is a specific pattern here, you may have a double standard when it comes to conflict resolution.

When one person consistently expects the other to apologize and take responsibility for conflicts, it is a sign of a grave issue. 

Often, men will tell me they feel like they are the ones who are forced to apologize after an argument because their wives or girlfriends get emotional.

Once the tears start flowing, they begin to feel guilty, and before long, they are willing to offer an apology even if they believe they did nothing wrong. 

Similarly, throughout the argument, men are expected to keep calm and rational even though their partners scream at them. They are told things like “don’t yell at me,” even though they are being yelled at. 

If any of this sounds familiar, you and your partner need to sit down and establish a better method for conflict resolution. You must establish a framework where your partner takes responsibility for their actions. 

Without that, disputes will never truly be resolved. Sure, you can apologize all you like, but it means nothing if you don’t mean it. 

8. Personal Appearance

While women are traditionally held up to higher standards of beauty than men, that doesn’t mean that men can’t also face a double standard regarding personal appearance in a relationship. 

Does your partner expect you to maintain a certain level of physical fitness or maintain grooming standards, but she does not hold herself to those same standards? 

Or does she feel entitled to comment on your appearance or clothing choices but becomes highly defensive or angry when you do the same? 

Perhaps you find that she makes little, “innocent” comments about your appearance, such as “You need a haircut” or “You don’t look good with a beard.” 

Maybe she asks you to comment on her appearance, and you get the feeling that rather than seeking your genuine opinion, she’s just waiting for you to say the wrong thing. 

If any of these sound familiar, a double standard may exist regarding personal appearance. And if things like these are quietly eating you inside, you need to create an open dialogue and express that. 

The need for mutual respect for individual choices and preferences should not be understated. You must make it clear that you—like her—have a right to make your own decisions about your appearance without facing undue pressure. 

9. Decision-Making

Have you ever had your plans thrown out the window because your partner booked your time without even asking you?

Many men suffer from this double standard when their partner takes control of the decision-making process without considering their wants or wishes. 

When this happens, it can take many forms, ranging from relatively short and simple tasks (a ride to the grocery store) to day-long events.

Either way, these things often leave men feeling sidelined or unheard when making choices that affect both parties. 

Spending quality time together is crucial to keep a relationship fresh, but if you find yourself “tagging along for the ride” because it’s just assumed you’ll be willing to come, you may find yourself quietly growing resentful. If this is the case, you need to speak up for yourself. 

Granted, it may be difficult to broach the subject when this dynamic has been established and going on for years.

If you’ve been dropping your girlfriend off at her yoga classes for the past two years, how can you suddenly start to complain about it? 

Again, the key is to be assertive without being aggressive. Make it clear that this is about you and what you are feeling. Everything comes down to how you frame it. 

And, of course, if you need help figuring out how to frame it, an experienced men’s coach is always a safe bet. 


If you believe double standards exist in your romantic relationship, you must take action to restore balance. You may think you can continue with the way things are, but that is a recipe for disaster in the long run. 

Be clear with your expectations and take action to define your boundaries clearly. If you feel like doing so will threaten the relationship, you may need to face the hard truth that the relationship may not have been sound in the first place. 

Of course, if you believe you’re in a healthy relationship and it simply needs some minor adjustments, that’s perfectly natural. After all, no relationship is perfect, and it takes constant effort to keep things running smoothly. 

If you need help discussing difficult subjects like these, a high-level coaching program can provide the support you need. When you surround yourself with like-minded, grounded, strong, and empathetic men, you will inevitably become one yourself.  

And my coaching program is full of men just like that. To be blunt: there is no room for complainers or immature little boys here. This is a serious program that only accepts those who are truly willing to put in the work and become the best versions of themselves. 

Does that sound like you? 

If so, you can learn more about my program by clicking the link below. If my team and I think you’re suitable for the program, we’ll then reach out to you to learn more about you. 

If you’re truly ready to make a change that will impact you for the rest of your life, there’s no better time than now. 

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