"We want them to count our contractions and share baby's midnight feeds, but then we want them out of the picture when we tire of them." One of my single male friends, a divorced surveyor in his early 40s, admits to being all at sea when it comes to wooing 21st-century women, who set the agenda and seem to have little patience."I tried online dating and I was shocked by the way these tough women presented me upfront with a list of what they expected from a relationship without seeming to care what I might want," he says.It's a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who have spent our working lives striving for parity, while scorning the eyelash-batting treachery of women who played on their gender.
Psychiatrist and medical director of Cygnet Health Care, Adrian Lord, says that political correctness means today's chaps are mired in confusion.
"He doesn't have any get up and go and he never suggests anything – not even an evening in the pub – he just relies on me, and so I end up doing absolutely everything, or it just wouldn't get done. "What gets me most is that when I met him he was perfectly capable of running his own life, but over the years he's regressed and now it's like living with a lazy teenager." It's a pattern that Kaye recognises in couples where one partner is particularly dominant – and these days it's usually the woman who is the one in control.
By taking over every household task, women are effectively colluding in their partner's lack of involvement.
To get our relationships back on track, we women must try to rein in our control-freakery and rediscover our femininity, which will (theoretically) reawaken our partner's dormant masculinity.
We must praise our partners, thank them for taking us out to dinner (even if we split the bill) and generally massage their tattered egos."Women are better multi-tuskers and so when our partners don't come up to scratch we complain bitterly as a parent would, and end up doing the job ourselves, infantilising them in the process," she says.