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  • Sandy Sayah-Pedram

Stepping it Up in Relationship

As William Glasser would say, there's one thing that unites all clients coming into therapy: problems with relationship. I come from a culture where men come first, their solution to making relationships work being women's sacrifice. I've always been able to come to my other culture, American, for refuge from the injustices of my Eastern culture until I had kids and took on the role of primary caregiver within my family. Then, suddenly, somehow the expectation became that I be a fully attuned mother, successful contributor to household finances, and do it all with the grace of a male/female superpower, all-in-one.

I am not that superpower and I need my partner. In a study on the changing trends in family, Joel Kotkin, author of The Rise of Post-Familiasm: Humanity's Future, notes that men need to step it up so families don't fall apart. I wish that this didn't feel like such a novel point of view. Sexism and discrimination in American culture are in some ways even more damaging because they're insidious, covert, underground. On the surface, we see ourselves as something ideal, when attitudes towards marginalized groups persist corroding our individual moral. Our country is suffering with regards to its ideals of freedom, self-determination, and, most importantly, equality, with the focus having been diverted to power and influence.

The solution, I say, that should unite us all with regards to relationships is to examine your privilege, whatever it be, male or female. Don't take advantage even when society will allow you to do so. Relationship is about reciprocity. Women are not responsible for the health of a relationship. Both partners need to step it up with humility, good faith, and honest self-examination.

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