7 Early Signs You'll Have Power Struggles In Your Relationship
When you put two people in a relationship together, there may be power struggles that result. In fact, Kyle Wright, relationship expert and founder of Wright Wellness Center, tells Bustle that power struggles are common. "If there isn't an occasional power struggle in your relationship it could mean that one partner tends to acquiesce to the other," he says. That's not exactly conducive to a healthy and well-balanced relationship.
Although power struggles are common and do happen, it's important to know how to deal with them in a healthy way. If not, power struggles can affect your relationship negatively.
"Power struggles can take a few forms," Jenna Birch, CEO of Plum dating app and author of The Love Gap, tells Bustle. "Sometimes, they come from the place of believing you're right and your partner’s wrong, and you both should get your way entirely — because it’s 'the best way.'"
This can also leave someone feeling overlooked in their relationship. One person may lose their sense of self or start demanding things from their partner, which can lead to fights. But more often than not, the biggest thing that can cause power struggles is an inability to compromise.
You likely won't know if you're going to struggle with this issue in your relationship until it happens. But if your partner does any of the following things early on, experts say you may have to deal with power struggles in your relationship later.
1. Your Partner Has A Strong Personality That's Similar To Yours
"Usually, relationships work best when someone takes the lead and the other person is more flexible or fluid," Birch says. But if you and your partner both have very strong personalities and like having things your way, it's going to be tough. If you want to overcome this, Birch says it's important to recognize when it's best to push and pull back. That way, your turn to be right or be in charge will always come.
2. Your Partner Often Can't See Your Point Of View
If you're arguing with your partner and you feel like your point isn't getting through to them, the tendency is to raise your voice. But according to Birch, that won't make your partner understand you any more than the first time. Instead, it's likely going to cause an even bigger fight. "Instead of raising your voice or fighting, try explaining in new and different ways how you feel or what you think," she says. "Some people are more physical, others speak more abstractly," and others may be more logical. It's important to communicate to your partner in a way that they can clearly understand.
3. Your Partner Doesn't Know How To Compromise
Compromising is important. Sometimes you may even need to agree to disagree. If both you and your partner struggle with compromising, that can be a problem. According to Birch, it's important to find opportunities where you can go for the "small wins." "If one partner is winning and the other losing each time you have to make a joint decision, it’ll be a tough dynamic," she says.
4. Your Partner Doesn't Take The Time To Listen
If you and your partner don't practice active listening in your relationship, there's going to be power struggles. You may end up feeling overlooked or misunderstood, which will only lead to fights. According to Birch, it's important to make sure you're being heard. Check in with your partner to see if they're really listening and understanding what you're saying.
5. They Take The Lead In Everything
Some people naturally like taking the lead, especially if their partner is more relaxed. But it shouldn't happen all the time. If your partner shows signs of taking control without giving much thought into your opinion, this can lead to power struggles later on. Even if you're the type who doesn't care what you have for dinner, your partner should still ask for your opinion. It may not bother you now, but it can down the road. "Start making more active decisions, before your partner does, and see how they respond to the shift," she says.
6. They Hold Grudges
If your partner is the type to hold onto a grudge, you're likely going to have power struggles in your relationship. "Anyone that withholds is aiming to gain power through controlling the nature of the argument," Birch says. "They might be waiting for you to say sorry first, or for you to give them their way." If this happens in your relationship, call them out on their behavior directly. Let them know that you need to figure out a resolution to the problem so you can let it go. "It’s OK to sleep on it if you’re butting your heads up against a wall," Birch says. "It’s not OK for your partner to ignore you for five days until you break." The latter is obviously not great for long-term relationship success.
7. They're Passionate And Stubborn
There's nothing wrong with being passionate. In fact, you may have fallen in love with your partner's passionate nature. But according to Birch, passionate people tend to hold strong viewpoints. "Either quality is indicative of potential power struggles down the road," she says. If your partner is passionate or stubborn, she suggests choosing your battles. Sometimes it's best to just let them win, and sometimes you can fight for a compromise.
Power struggles between two people are common, so it's nothing to worry about if it happens every now and then. It only becomes a problem when one person feels like they're losing their voice in the relationship. In order to prevent that, it's important to keep speaking up. Let your opinions be heard, and always try to have open communication in your relationship.