How to strike the perfect balance of power in a relationship
Imagine that you are having a bad fight with your partner. Which of the following are you more likely to feel?
- Maybe I should just give in and say sorry. I think it was my fault.
- Let’s sort this out by giving each other some time
- This was not my fault. I’m not going to end this argument. I will make my partner realise and apologise to me.
Ready with your answer? Now let’s dig deeper and understand the power dynamics in your relationship. If you chose Option (a), then you lean towards being the submissive one. And if you selected Option (c), then you are the dominating one. Finally, if you have chosen (b), then congratulations! It’s a battle of equals.
What is the ‘Balance of Power’ in a relationship?
Consider the following-
Pursuing your career or hobbies. Making an important decision. Creating schedules. Finding time for each other. And planning small things such as- ‘Where should we go for dinner today?’ or ‘How should we spend our long weekend?’
Both of you as a couple should have an equal say in the above. The freedom of making a choice should lay in the hands of both the partners. None of you should feel tied down or left out. That’s the balance of power- the power to say yes or no, the power to hold on to your own opinion irrespective of your partner’s and the power to significantly contribute to everything that you as a couple plan to do. This power must be equally distributed between you and your partner- because a relationship should allow both of you to grow at the same pace.
What should you do if you are the ‘submissive’ one?
It’s hard to be the one who gets overpowered. The first step is to recognise the uneven distribution of power and be willing to turn things around.
Here’s what you can do next:
- Put your foot down & communicate: If you do not speak up, your partner will never know what’s wrong. Don’t keep your partner in the dark. Have the awkward talk to break free of the toxic cycle of you giving in.
- Don’t say sorry too often: If you are at fault, there’s no harm in apologising, but if you taking the blame for everything is becoming a pattern, notice and take action.
- Start making your plans for yourself: Go out for dinner with your friends. Plan a day out with your colleagues. If you start making plans other than those with your partner, then your time will be valued much more and your schedule will not be taken for granted.
What should you do if you are the ‘dominating’ one?
It’s hard to accept that you come across as the ‘controlling’ one. But you need to snap out of the denial phase and stop pretending that there’s equal balance of power. Acceptance is the first step.
Here’s what you can do next:
- Talk less, listen more: Hear what your partner has to say. Listen to their stories, choices, dreams, apprehensions- everything. Yes, what you say is also important but it shouldn’t come at the cost of your partner’s need to communicate. Let the conversation be not just about you but both of you.
- Give your partner space: You must allow your partner to have a life apart from the relationship that he/she is in. Let them be on their own. Not everything has to be run by you. Understand that.
- Take the first step: Is your ego too big to put down? Aha, that’s where all problems stem from. So start taking the first step- not by pointing out mistakes but being appreciative, not by playing the blame game but by saying sorry and owning up to your faults. Take the first step towards resolving fights and making it up to your partner and you’ll see your relationship transform for the better.
There’s so much more that you can do from your end to strike the balance of power in your relationship. Find out and start making amends. Here’s wishing you a happy and ‘equal’ love life!