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18 Double Standards in Relationships & Why They’re Toxic AF

We’ve heard the term double standard in relationships quite often, and they’re harmful to relationships. Being aware of them can help you avoid them.

double standards in relationships

Will we ever be able to rid the world of double standards in relationships? Probably not. But you can learn about them and why they’re horrible to have – especially if you want your relationship to last a lifetime. People aren’t really blind to the fact that guys can do stuff girls can’t and vice versa.

We’re all usually privy to these toxicities in our relationships but we don’t often do anything about them. And those who ignore them altogether usually don’t end up with a happily ever after.

Just because double standards have existed for an extended period doesn’t mean we should keep doing them. In fact, if you really value your relationship and want it to last, the best thing you can do is be aware of specific double standards in relationships. [Read: Types of feminism – Can’t we all just agree to disagree?]

If you’re complicit, you’re part of the problem

We can blame whatever we want when our relationship goes bad but if you aren’t pointing the finger at yourself, you’re not doing yourself any favors. A lot of the time, issues in relationships can be traced back to double standards.

We can blame whatever we want when our relationship goes bad, but you’re not doing any favors if you aren’t pointing the finger at yourself. A lot of the time, issues in relationships can be traced back to double standards. Your lack of action and self-awareness makes you part of the problem.

This means you’re tolerating double standards in relationships instead of doing something about them. Even if you think that men and women haven’t been equals for centuries, you’re already part of the problem.

Even if it’s as simple as being aware of the particular double standards, that’s already significant enough. [Read: 15 glaringly obvious signs of an abusive relationship]

How can double standards destroy relationships?

There will always be at least some inequality in a relationship. But have you ever thought of how guys can do things and girls can’t, and vice versa? Is there world really this unfair? When it comes to relationships, if you continue practicing these double standards, it will continue to harm your relationship until it inevitably ends.

A relationship is all about partnership, so the fact that double standards are observed means that one of you disrespects the other, or a power struggle is evident. [Read: Power struggles in a relationship: 19 signs & ways to overcome it]

By being aware of the significant double standards, you can change the error of your ways and make your relationship happier and blissful.

What are the major double standards in relationships?

In order to understand why you can’t have these things throwing a wrench in your relationship, you first have to know what they are. Who knows? Maybe you never knew these things were unhealthy, toxic double standards.

1. Making fun of clothing choices

This is one you probably don’t even realize exists. Basically, the girl can criticize the guy’s style choices and think it’s all fun and games but the moment he does the same to her, it’s game over. This is the opposite of healthy, and it practices bias and inequality. The fact that she can criticize his clothes means the same could go for her.

But the thing is, we see this all the time and it’s toxic because he might actually be very hurt by it. And he can’t even make her see how much it bothers him. You might think this is shallow, but you’ll never know the real truth by this specific double standard. [Read: 12 common insecurities of guys that most girls don’t realize]

2. Rules about who you can and can’t hang out with

This is just absurd for so many reasons. If you’re in a happy and healthy relationship, these types of rules shouldn’t even exist. You should just trust your partner to be with anyone and remain faithful. But we see far more women making the rules than men.

This is why some men fear getting in relationships, as they think women will tend to control their choices and the way they live their life. Even if there’s a fear of cheating, both parties should trust one another to hang out with their friends without doing anything that can sabotage the relationship.

When the tables are turned, she’ll get annoyed at him for not trusting her. That’s not fair. Trust should be there.

3. Initiating the first moves – or any moves

This is one of those double standards in relationships that has been around for way too long. It’s basically known that men are supposed to make the first move. While this is slowly but surely dying, it really should’ve been dead a long time ago.

Thankfully, women are now starting to be courageous enough to make the first move. However, some are still stuck on the idea that men should make the first move and that if women do it, they’re desperate or needy. Ditch this mindset; it’s not healthy. [Read: How to make the first move on a guy: 15 creatively sweet ways]

4. Using your period as an excuse

Ladies, this just isn’t fair. Yes, there are times when your period really is getting in the way of certain things but there are girls out there who fake that their period is an issue. They do it to get out of sex or doing anything they don’t want to do.

As sh*tty as you feel when you get your period, it’s never an excuse to treat your man like crap or demand something you want. It’s not an excuse to avoid being a decent human being or girlfriend.

Guys can’t use anything even remotely similar. Even if they have a headache, their women still expect them to do what they want. [Read: A girl’s ultimate survival guide to period woes]

5. She can hang out with a lot of guys but he can’t do the same with girls

This is one of those major double standards in relationships that’s just not fair. Girls can have tons of guy friends and spend all the time they want with them but when their boyfriend wants to grab lunch with a couple of his girlfriends, it’s like the end of the world.

She’ll always control the situation and make it seem she’s doing it out of love. But when guys do this exact thing, they’re labeled as toxic, controlling, or possessive. [Read: Possessive relationship: signs you’re in one & how to change it]

6. Sex being used as a weapon

Once again, the girl has all the power here and it’s just not really fair or healthy. You should never use sex as a weapon in the first place and when the girl is the only one who can do this, it’s a double standard.

In fact, neither gender should even be using sex as a weapon for anything, even if it’s to get out of something or get what they want. Sex is meant to be enjoyed, not used as a weapon. This is ridiculous because the guy will end up building up resentment. [Read: 10 harsh truths about using sex as a weapon all women must know]

7. Not having sex when you don’t want to

Women get away with this all too often. And no, they shouldn’t have to have sex if they don’t want to but what happens when the roles are reversed? Men may not want to get down but if they say so, they’re suddenly the bad guy.

No matter how much they say they’re tired from work or that they’re not feeling it, women will always take this personally. They’ll think he doesn’t love her anymore, or something along those lines. Now, how’s that for double standards in relationships? That’s pretty unfair. [Read: 15 real reasons your man doesn’t want to have sex]

8. Exposing insecurities

Girls do this way too often with their men and guys just have to sit back and take it. She’ll make a joke with his friends about something he’s actually insecure about and will have to just “get over it.” But if he were to do the same and expose one of her insecurities, it could lead to the end of their relationship.

That’s not fair and it’s not right. Both of you should keep those private, important details to yourselves. Why do women take it personally, but it’s passed off as okay or an “act of love” when they do it to men? There’s just something seriously wrong about this.

9. Jealous behavior

You can see memes all over the Internet depicting this double standard. It’ll be a funny picture of a girl doing something crazy and talking about being a crazy jealous girl. But if you put a man in that image, it would be shocking and horrible. Guys aren’t allowed to be jealous because it makes them seem possessive.

That’s what this double standard means. Society would go completely crazy when it’s a man acting jealous, but it’s acceptable and expected when it’s a woman.

No matter how irrational she’s behaving, it will still be seen as typical by the majority, and that’s where you can evidently see double standards in relationships. [Read: How to deal with jealousy in a relationship & learn to overcome it]

10. Being demanding and controlling

For some reason, it’s become okay for women to tell men what they can and can’t do but if a guy does that, he’s left at the curb. Guys aren’t supposed to be controlling and if they are, the girls leave. But if the girl tells him what to do, he’d better do it… or else. How is this even a thing?

Why are women perceived as okay being controlling, but when men do the exact thing, they’re seen as a psychopath or controlling?

No matter the gender, it should never be okay when one demands or controls the other in a certain way. A relationship is a partnership and not a dictatorship. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships to watch out for]

11. Having someone else buy you drinks

This is supposed to be okay for girls and if the guy has a girl buy him a drink, it’s the end of the world. We’ve never really understood this one, to be honest. You shouldn’t accept a drink offer from someone if you’re in a relationship because you’re sending the wrong message.

So no matter the gender, it should never be okay if you’re in a relationship. Yet, society accepts it as flattering and a boost of the ego if women receive a drink from someone, even if she’s taken. How is this logical?

12. Seeing any movie she likes but she never sees his

He’s just required to go see whatever movie she wants but when he wants to see something, she suddenly isn’t interested in going to see a movie. It’s another power play that isn’t right.

You both have to compromise in order to have a happy, healthy relationship. So why is it always the guy who adjusts to her every need, but she never meets him halfway for his needs? [Read: 13 modern dating trends you need to dump immediately]

13. Demanding full disclosure on finances

This is one of the double standards in relationships you see, especially when you’re in a long-term relationship or living together with your partner. He’s required to give full disclosure on his finances, including all the things he spends on.

But on her side, she can lie about it or even hide about her spendings. She might say that he’s breaking her privacy, but it’s okay if she does this. Not only is this unfair, but it shows the opposite of partnership in relationships. [Read: How to talk about money with your partner without fighting about it]

14. Stonewalling or withdrawing when upset

Stonewalling is one of the worst things in relationships, and it can also be seen as passive-aggressive behavior. Girls tend to be seen as emotional, so stonewalling or withdrawing from conflict is pretty ordinary behavior.

But that doesn’t mean guys can’t do the same. When guys do this, it’s seen as them being a jerk, but it’s okay when girls do this. It’s one of the evident examples of double standards in relationships. [Read: Stonewalling in a relationship: 15 signs & best ways to fix it ASAP]

15. Be angry when needs aren’t met

She will have an outburst of anger and frustration when her needs aren’t being met, but it’s seen as irrational and too sensitive when the guy does this. Men can show their emotions just as much as women do, especially in relationships.

Even if both genders show anger in different ways, men should be able to express their anger when their needs in a relationship aren’t being met by their partner. [Read: How to stop being angry: Free your mind and stop hurting yourself]

16. Making decisions and commitments for your relationship

If one is making decisions and commitment on behalf of their partner, this should go both ways. Unless this is the setup you’ve talked about, making decisions should go both ways.

Especially when it comes to making a significant decision that could affect your relationship as a whole, you shouldn’t just assume and make decisions for them. If the girl constantly makes decisions in the relationship, the same should go for the guy.

17. Being outraged when he’s not there for her, while she abandons him when he needs her

Why is it when he’s not there for her, she automatically feels outraged and disappointed? But when she isn’t there for him, he isn’t entitled to the same frustrations.

As mentioned earlier, if a girl acts something close to emotional and irrational, it’s seen as expected behavior. But when it’s the guy, it’s seen as unusual or odd. This is one of the double standards in relationships you should be wary of. [Read: 12 hidden signs of a one-sided relationship we all choose to ignore]

18. Unequal gaslighting

Gaslighting should never be used in a relationship, no matter what. But if she gaslights him and uses guilt against him, that’s okay.

But if it’s the guy that does this, it’s seen as toxic and controlling *even when it’s the girl who practically went first*. This is unfair, as why are guys always seen as the enemy when they do this but fail to notice is when girls do it too?

[Read: How to spot gaslighting in a relationship & shut it down for good]

So, what are the double standards in relationships?

Hopefully, with the list mentioned above, you have more awareness of what the particular double standards are. If you want to encourage your relationship to thrive, it’s best to avoid these the best way you can. You might not get it ideally overnight, but what matters is that you’re trying.

Any double standards in relationships are bad news. So if you’ve spotted some of these in your relationship, you’re already one step closer to being a better partner.

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Bella Pope LovePanky
Annabel Rodgers
Annabel is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog,...