Dating and Relationship Advice

As humans, we like to feel in control. Control equates to certainty and certainty makes us feel safe, secure, and prepared. But when we enter a relationship, we must share some control with our partner.

A power imbalance is when one partner has more control in the relationship than the other. Your partner may have greater control over what you’re doing and where you’re going than you would like. Control can also be related to communication: one person may need to vent or chat more than the other.

Here are some signs that a power balance is hurting your relationship.

You Play Games With Each Other

Relationships are based on honesty and transparency, not playing games. Waiting three hours before texting your partner back even though you’ve seen the text, ignoring calls when you could easily answer, and liking your ex’s picture on Instagram just to make your partner jealous are all examples of ways couples try to get under each other’s skin.

Chores Always Lead to Fights

Chores can introduce resentment in a relationship when one partner feels they're carrying more weight than the other. These struggles can be balanced by clearly noting each other’s responsibilities and sticking to them.

One Partner Receives All the Support

Sometimes relationships involve one partner who needs more emotional support than the other. In some relationships, this dynamic works. In others, one partner feels exhausted from carrying most of the emotional load. If you find that you constantly need a shoulder to cry on, check in with your partner about their ability to be there for you. If you find your partner needs more support than you, check in on your own feelings. Are your needs taken care of and can you handle their emotions?

You Put Each Other Down

One of the most common ways couples deal with a power struggle is by putting each other down. In the heat of an argument, it's easy to degrade another person or make them feel small. This is never okay. You should never intentionally make your partner feel unworthy or unloved.

The Effort Is Not Equal

In the honeymoon stage, the two people dating usually put in great effort to impress the other person. But it’s all too common for power struggles to replace the initial idealistic romance. One partner might start to put in much more effort than the other when it comes to gestures like kissing goodnight, planning dates, and surprising their partner. When the other person doesn't reciprocate, tension can increase and result in someone not feeling up to par.

Whatever your dynamic is, make sure it works for you. A power imbalance in a relationship can make or break a relationship.