If any one element of a healthy relationship had to be singled out above all others, then that element would have to be a balance of power between the two people in that relationship. What this means is that one person isn’t constantly calling all of the shots and controlling the trajectory of the relationship, while the other person has no other option but to tag along mindlessly (and quite often, terribly unhappy and unfulfilled!).
In order for us to feel like we’re an equal partner in romantic relationship, we have to feel as if the other person values our opinions and really listens to what we are saying and why. A healthy balance of power means feeling respected, trusted, and trustworthy. Without this balance, love quickly exits the equation.
Having trouble identifying whether or not a healthy balance of power exists in your own relationship? Then be sure to take a good look at the following.
Having The “Last Word”
Healthy couples argue fair. It really is as simple as that. Whenever a dynamic develops wherein one partner constantly has the final say or the final word on any given topic or decision to be made, or even when an argument is underway, it’s quite safe to assume that the relationship isn’t benefiting from a balance of power.
Feeling Lonely & Isolated
Feeling lonely or even isolated in a relationship is never a healthy sign. Even when times get tough (and they do!), couples should still remain connected on a tangible level. One partner (or heaven forbid, both) should never feel lonely because of a disconnect on the part of the other partner. Again, feeling lonely or isolated in an intimate relationship is often the by-product of a balance of power that is out of sync. Feelings of isolation are often the manifestation of feeling as if you’ve been stripped of your “power”, i.e. that your insights and opinions are no longer valued by your partner.
This one’s a dangerous dynamic indeed. No person should ever feel as if any other person – in a relationship or otherwise – is a threat to their physical safety. Physical abuse and violence are essentially a balance of power gone haywire. There remains no other thing to be done than to get out of the relationship and be done with it for good.
A One-Way Needs Street
Ever feel like you’re the only one meeting “needs” in your relationship? Then you’re most probably in a relationship lacking a healthy balance of power. Whenever meeting needs in a relationship becomes a one-way street, it’s immediately time to take stock and possibly even reassess the likeliness of a future spent together.
The Unfair Burden
Another sure sign that the balance of power in your relationship isn’t what it should be, is if you’re taking responsibility for your part in the relationship as well as some of his or hers. Knowing when to apologise and knowing when not to apologise are equally important.