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Signs You’re a Submissive Woman

I got an email the other day asking me, “Ryan, what are some signs you’re a submissive woman? Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be submissive?” Well, my thoughts are pretty simple—it’s actually a very womanly thing! And doesn’t mean you’re weak or not powerful.

Being submissive is not the same as being owned. It can be quite a beautiful experience if you find the right man to submit to. He doesn’t necessarily have to be the prince charming you’ve imagined, but he definitely has to earn your trust and love you genuinely. 

That being said, you also have to understand that a lot of men will want you to be submissive so they can take advantage of you. In the long run, this will become an abusive relationship and be detrimental to your mental, emotional, and physical health. If you are in one right now, we recommend you immediately distance yourself from your partner and get some help. 

Today, we’ll look at 25 signs that you’re a submissive woman, for better or worse. But first, let’s talk about some ground rules to remember when submitting to a man. We’ll also stress some important elements to consider before becoming submissive.

Signs you're a submissive woman!
Signs you’re a submissive woman: You want it to happen, and you’re willing.

Things To Remember Before Submitting (Before Looking for Signs You’re a Submissive Woman)

You might be submissive, but that doesn’t mean you have to be absolutely docile in every aspect of life. It’s not OK for a man to be toxic towards you and walk all over you; that’s nothing short of abuse.

Being submissive doesn’t mean surrendering your identity and handing over your rights to your partner. It simply means you are actively making his life easier by giving more importance to his way of living. A submissive wife/partner is not a punching bag or slave; she is the better half of a partnership and the secret formula that makes a healthy relationship work. 

Is It Only Men That Want Your Submission?

While it’s true that most men want you to be submissive, the demand itself has nothing to do with gender. Whether the relationship is straight, gay, bi, queer, or gender non-conforming, there is always a dominant and submissive. But for the sake of simplicity, we will mainly take the example of a traditional relationship between a man and a woman. 

Most relationships have a balanced ratio, with each partner submitting during specific scenarios and dominating during other occasions. Meanwhile, some relationships depend entirely on one partner constantly taking on a submissive role. And that’s what we’re focusing on today. 

When Is It OK to be a Submissive Woman?

Most people want a submissive partner, but not everyone deserves one. Complete and total submission should never come right away. It should develop naturally and genuinely over the years after your partner has proven to you that he deserves your devotion. 

This makes submission a two-way street involving the actions of both you and your partner. It’s a series of tests that only grow easier and more natural over time. Your submission should not be something so easily given but rather something that should be earned. Only then will it be OK to devote yourself and submit completely to your partner. 

It would be extreme folly to submit to someone who doesn’t want to give anything back for your devotion. Such individuals only want to control and belittle you; that’s why they only want to date obedient and manageable women. So always remember to test him before delving right into it. 

Signs you're a submissive woman: You want him to take the lead and are comfortable with it!
Signs you’re a submissive woman: You want him to take the lead and are comfortable with it!

Who Should You Be Submissive To?

In our opinion, you should only be submissive to a man who:

Doesn’t equate love with submission

Some toxic men have the terrible habit of equating love with submission and obedience. A healthy relationship works only when both parties can submit and dominate equally. 

Submission should not be a condition for receiving love. A love based on submission is not real love; it’s just a grotesque form of control.

Doesn’t find pleasure in being dominant

You know he’s the right one to submit to when he genuinely doesn’t derive any pleasure from your submission. Ask yourself, is he being dominant because he needs to? Or because he wants to? 

Some men just want to be dominant in every aspect of the relationship simply because it’s the traditional thing to do. They’ll love ordering you around and ensuring the dinners are served on time. 

Meanwhile, others have no interest in being dominant unless the situation or scenario calls for it. They won’t order you around or take the lead every single time. However, they will definitely put themselves at the front during an emergency or danger. Which one do you think is the right pick?

Related: Alpha female weaknesses

Doesn’t use his dominant position to objectify you

Men and women are wired differently; that’s just a fact. Don’t believe us? Just read any study related to the differences between male and female brains. 

Finding a submissive wife is often seen as a sexual kink that most men fantasize about. Meanwhile, some women also like being submissive in a sexual way to spice up physical intimacy. Determining your beliefs and thought processes before submitting yourself to him is crucial. 

Loves you regardless of whether or not you are submissive

As mentioned before, being submissive should not be a condition for love; that’s a huge red flag right there! It’s important to test your partner and see how he reacts when you act out on your own. 

We’re not saying you should start an argument out of the blue; rather, refrain from being submissive for a while. Take a more dominant yet reasonable role in the relationship and see if he reciprocates with love and support. 

Signs you're a submissive woman! It's okay to be "submissive," it doesn't mean that you aren't strong or powerful!
Signs you’re a submissive woman: It’s okay to be “submissive,” it doesn’t mean that you aren’t strong or powerful!

Signs You Are A Submissive Woman

—Top signs you’re a submissive woman!

1. You Follow, He Leads

Being a follower clearly indicates that you are submissive in most aspects of the relationship. It’s always been normal for him to make plans and for you to go along with them. He makes all the decisions, and you acknowledge that he can think for both of you. 

2. You Feel The Need To Serve Him

If you’ve always been fond of serving or doing things for him to make him more comfortable, you are likely submissive. Nobody forces you to do it, but you choose to do these things because you genuinely love him and want the best for him. 

It might be OK for you to go through some discomfort, but it’s definitely not OK for him to suffer even a little bit. Does that sound familiar?

Related: Alpha female

3. You Allow Him To Have Control

Whether it involves life-changing decisions or simple things like what to eat for dinner, you always prefer that he call the shots. You have willfully given up control of your life and are ready to adjust to his needs on a whim. 

4. You Always Agree With What He Says

You don’t particularly care about having an opinion on worldly matters and simply agree with all his views and ideologies. It doesn’t matter to you whether he’s actually right or wrong; you just want to agree with him to make him feel heard. 

5. You Trust Him Completely

Lying is something you would never expect your husband to do because you have absolute and utter faith in him. You wouldn’t question anything if he said he has to attend a conference in Bangkok with his colleagues for a week. 

6. You Respect Him Too Much To Argue

There will undoubtedly be moments when you disagree with what he says, but you’d rather be silent than argue. This is most likely because you respect him too much, and you think disagreeing with him would hurt his sentiments or cause an unwanted strain in the relationship.

7. You Never Say No To Physical Intimacy

You are always ready to please him physically, even if you aren’t in the mood. This shows that you put his pleasure and comfort before yours and are even willing to go through some level of discomfort for it. 

8. His Needs Always Come First

This is not reflected in anything major but through the little things you do. You might be hungry, but you’d rather wait for him to eat first, or perhaps you’ll give up a day out with your friends so you can stay home and cook for him instead. 

Some women even put aside their mental and emotional damage just to satisfy the needs of their husbands. While this is seen as normal from a traditional perspective, there’s no denying the negative effects of depression amongst women. 

9. You Depend On Him For Everything

Being absolutely dependent on your partner is another sign of being a submissive woman. It could be for financial or emotional reasons, but your life simply cannot function without him being there. It just doesn’t feel right to go at it alone, so you allow him to take the head role without whom nothing can proceed. 

10. You Feel The Need To Ask for Permission

Do you have to ask for permission for every little thing? That’s another sign you’re a submissive woman. While displaying this behavior isn’t harmful on its own, it limits the possibility of you taking a more independent stance later in life. 

11. He Chooses How You Dress

It’s one thing to take your partner’s opinion on a particular dress or two, but it’s another thing to let him always choose how you dress. Most men aren’t too particular regarding a woman’s choice of clothing. However, some control freaks out there will always want to dictate how you should look. We hope it’s not the latter with your case. 

12. You Subdue Your Dreams To Support His Success

Everyone has dreams, but most people never follow them. It’s quite likely that a woman in a traditional relationship will drop her goals and ambitions so she can strive to make the relationship work. It would be safe to assume you are submissive if that’s the case with you. 

13. He Has To Approve All Your New Friends

Social bonds are extremely crucial for both men and women, which is why we focus so much on building relationships with people. However, it can be challenging to do that when you have a demanding or dominating partner. Your husband usually has the final say regarding who you can be friends with, not counting friends you already had before, obviously. 

Some husbands tend to isolate their wives from their friends and family, which is absolutely toxic. Don’t feel guilty about leaving the relationship if that’s the case with you. 

14. You’re OK With Him Monitoring You

Are you fine with always reporting your whereabouts to him? Even when it’s just a girl’s night out? That’s a clear sign you are a submissive woman. 

15. You Only Have Time For Him

So much of your life is devoted to him that you ultimately realize you have no time for friends, family, or acquaintances. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be overbearing from time to time. 

16. You Always Defend Him In Front Of Others

You can’t hear anyone saying something negative about your husband, so you’re always quick to defend him publicly. Doing this is fine as long as he has your back too. However, it would be extremely disheartening if it were a one-sided situation. 

17. You Constantly Want To Be Better For Him

You’re always improving yourself for his sake because you feel he deserves the best version of you. You often do this despite him showing no signs of returning the favor. We don’t know if you’ll agree, but that sounds quite submissive. 

18. You Appreciate Him More Than He Does

Are you OK with the fact that you appreciate and love him way more than he does? Are you fine with continuing the relationship despite him taking you for granted? That’s a cause for concern. 

19. You Never Tell Him He’s Wrong

You’re always quick to correct others when they’re wrong, but you don’t extend this reality check to your husband. Maybe it’s because you don’t want to argue, or perhaps you don’t want to embarrass him. Whatever the reason, it only enables him to have an ‘I’m always right’ mentality. 

20. You Never Stop Him From Hurting You

It’s no secret that some men can’t control their anger and often take out their frustrations on those around them. Some husbands tend to get physically violent with their wives; these are clear cases of marital abuse and should be immediately reported to the authorities.

If you have been in this situation before without offering any resistance, it’s clear you are a submissive woman. We advise you to distance yourself from your partner and seek legal help. 

21. You Can’t Stop Him From Hurting Himself

Alcohol abuse is a common problem in several households, and it often affects children. Wives are often powerless when preventing their husbands from doing something harmful. It’s one of the darker aspects of playing a submissive role in a relationship.

22. You Still Love Him Despite His Cheating

Do you find yourself forgiving him every time he cheats on you? That’s a terrible way to be submissive, but it happens too often nonetheless. To be fair, this is not unique to men or a specific gender but a universal issue in most relationships. 

23. You Have Built Your Life Around Him

Take a look around you and assess where you are in your life. Do you get the feeling that you’re the cheerleader in his story? If that’s true, you might realize you’ve built your entire life around him. 

24. You Love Him Unconditionally 

You might realize your love has been unwavering despite his many faults, errors, and transgressions. You can’t seem to get over him no matter what you do. 

25. You Can’t Imagine A Life Without Him

We don’t mean this in a romantic way but rather as a daunting scenario. Some women feel that they have no other existence outside their marriage, no other role to play than that of a wife or partner.

It’s beautiful if the feeling is mutual between both parties, but it is often not. We hope you can see past this and evolve to be a better, stronger, and more independent person should your relationship go haywire. 

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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