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The signs of unhealthy power dynamics in a relationship-and how to even them out

A “power imbalance” in a relationship

Power in relationships is the ability of each person in the relationship to influence each other and direct the relationship.

Being in control makes people feel good and may place the drive for rewards above the intimacy and connection we have with our partners.

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The signs of unhealthy power dynamics in a relationship-and how to even them out

The signs of unhealthy power dynamics in a relationship-and how to even them out

https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/power-in-relationships

bigthink.com

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Key Ideas

A “power imbalance” in a relationship

Power in relationships is the ability of each person in the relationship to influence each other and direct the relationship.

Being in control makes people feel good and may place the drive for rewards above the intimacy and connection we have with our partners.

Negative relationship dynamics

  • The demand-withdrawal dynamic. One partner seeks change, discussion and a resolution to issues within the relationship, while the other partner is withdrawn, and tries to avoid the issues.
  • The distancer-pursuer dynamic. One person tries to achieve a certain degree of intimacy with their partner, while the other considers this affection to be "smothering."
  • The fear-shame dynamic. The fear and insecurity of one partner would bring out the shame and avoidance in the other. 

Positive power struggle

Not all power struggles are destructive. Some types of power struggles allow growth within the relationship and encourage a deeper understanding and respect for each other.

While it is still a struggle, by the end of it, you have reached an understanding about which lines can be crossed, which not, and how much each partner is able to compromise.

A healthy balance

Elements that produce a healthy balance in relationships:

  • Attention: The emotional needs of both partners are being met.
  • Influence: Both partners can engage with and emotionally affect the other.
  • Accommodation: Most decisions are made jointly.
  • Respect: Each partner has positive regard, respect, and admiration for the other person.
  • Selfhood: Each partner can be their own person both within and outside of the relationship.
  • Vulnerability: Each partner is willing to admit faults, weakness or uncertainties in themselves.
  • Fairness: Both partners feel that the responsibilities and duties are divided in a way that supports each person.

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