THE ART OF POWER IN RELATIONSHIPS – If you don’t play games, you lose
If you’ve ever said ‘I don’t want to play games’, it’s because you’re losing. Nobody enjoys the game when they’re constantly losing.
This article is about getting and keeping power in the relationship.
I find myself having this conversations with my girlfriends too often.
How is it that I seem to always be in control?
How am I always relaxed around dating?
How is it that I seem to get the hottest guys?
In this article I’m going to discuss a few critical mistakes people make in dating and how to always get what you want.
Like most people, I didn’t have wonderful parents blowing smoke up my ass nor was I naturally secure and confident. I started by being an insecure, jealous person. These lessons came from a lot of hard work.
All Dating is About Power
If you don’t understand that, you always struggle. This is not a negative thing. Everyone’s trying to get what they want and you’re trying to get what you want. This is why the whole dating thing is even happening.
Most of the time though, one person has more power.
Here are 4 ways you give your power away (and ways to keep it):
Power Relationship Mistake #1: You change yourself to ‘get the ring’
I’ve been in relationships before where I tried to fit his mould of the perfect girlfriend. I went hiking when I hated it, I did running, I did weights at the gym, I put my life goals on hold to help him get his goals and I’d even have sex when I didn’t want to.
I wanted to be the girl he put in that pedestal.
It was exhausting as hell.
This seemed harmless enough but over time this degraded my own identity and created expectations that’s bound to disappoint when I couldn’t keep up the charade.
I’ve had conversations with male friends that went like this.
He said, “She got the wedding ring and completely changed”.
I always chuckled and responded, “No, she was trying to be your perfect woman and she’s got what she wants now so she can finally be who she wants to be”.
No wonder marriages fall apart. Both people are manipulated at different stages of the relationship so for long periods of time, one person doesn’t get their needs met.
The solution? In the beginning of any new relationship, I’m open to trying new things but I stop the moment I realise I hate it. How do I know if I hate it? If I have to push myself into doing it, I hate it.
I imagine myself 10 years down the line with this person – am I doing that thing I hate? Probably not… so I stop doing it. I have to allow the person I’m dating to get to know the real me, not a fake version.
Once in a new relationship, a guy said to me,”If you’re not into long hikes, then I don’t think we’d see each other much. I think you should try”.
My response was this,”I know I would hate long hikes. I’m not a sporty kind of girl. I’ve tried it before but it doesn’t make me happy. I like stretching and yoga type stuff.
I’m the type of girl that would get you out of your hiking gear and give you a foot massage once you got home. That to me is valuable and much more aligned with who I am”.
Did he leave me because of it? No.
There’s a common misconception that love depends on having everything in common. In my experience, those that look for full compatibility in partners haven’t felt unadulterated love yet sadly.
I know that those that have a lot of choice in partners tend to want everything – the body, the looks, the income, the hobbies, the lifestyle – all of it.
And fair enough – if you want it, you want it. But you won’t get everything. Even if you do, all those things change.
Life is long. Have your non-negotiables but be willing to be open to not have everything in common.
Power Relationship Mistake #2. Power Relationship You walk around with a sign on your forehead saying, “Love me”.
Everybody that’s been single goes through a stage of feeling like no one loves them and they’re totally unlovable. This creates a stench of neediness like you’re walking around to people saying, “Will you love me?”.
It doesn’t even have to be as clear cut as you seeming desperate:
- It can be in your expectations of marrying soon (so that someone loves you).
- It can be in the way you ‘fall in love’ – too quickly like a Disney movie.
- It can be in the way you put on pressure to move the relationship too fast.
- Or it can be in how you behave in the relationship, needing to spend every second with the person because if you take your eyes off, they might run away.
It’s this kind of behaviour that makes partners recoil and move the relationship slower.
Their reactions can bring back deep-seeded wounds of rejection and not being loved enough, creating a power dynamic of you running after them and them never being given the opportunity to fully commit to the relationship.
In order to combat this, you need to learn to love yourself.
You need to stop getting your self esteem outside of yourself because even the best partner will disappoint. A lot of things get ironed out if you create your self worth.
I can’t show you how to love yourself but I can tell you how I learnt to love myself. I decided that I was only going to look for evidence of how great I am instead of looking at what’s wrong with me.
I focus on the good things:
I’m fun to be around
I can do anything I want
I’m always trying to be better
I ignore any evidence to the contrary. I got rid of people who did not share this view of me. Over time I started believing it and being indignant about my self worth.
Once I knew my own self worth, I started attracting everyone to me. I realised that no one could accurately measure anyone’s self worth so the best evidence they have of my value is how I measure my own value.
This was the biggest lesson I learnt.
And once I stopped worrying about how everyone saw me, I started seeing everyone else for who they really are.
I started to become fully present and really see people. The more I made people aware that I could ‘see’ them, the more they wanted me.
Everybody wants to be seen like they’re special. This is the ultimate power.
Power Relationship Mistake #3. You’re afraid of sexuality
There’s no point in having all this power if you’re just going to be afraid of it.
All too often I see people settling for wrong people because it’s sexually safer. For example I’ve seen many asian women date asian men exclusively because it’s sexually easy.
The reality is that the more you open yourself up to your own sexuality, the more power you’ll have and the less afraid you’ll be of losing your partner.
On the same hand, the less effort you put in the bedroom, the more insecure you’ll be that your partner is fantasising about other people.
Once you start showing up sexually with whatever feels right, you start to see the boundaries and understand that everyone has insecurities. No one’s having sex like in porn. Everyone just wants to connect.
The secret to great sex is simple:
- You must care about giving them the best experience
- You must communicate what you like/don’t like so that you can have the best experience.
A lot of women have been traumatised by sex because they haven’t set boundaries. Nowadays, I don’t do anything sexually or otherwise that I don’t want to do.
If I’m in the middle of a sexual encounter and I’m not into it,
- I stop
- I change what I’m doing
- I communicate.
The few times that I haven’t, I’ve hated myself afterwards.
A friend of mine once said,”If I stopped sex every time I didn’t want to, I would never have sex”.
This broke my heart to hear.
No wonder she and a lot of women have trauma around sex. No wonder… I asked her,”So then why are you putting yourself through it?”. She said,”Well I want the husband and the family and this is just what I have to do”.
This goes back to my earlier paragraph on why changing yourself takes power away.
I understand most people have a lot of shame around sex. It’s very complicated. Learning to be free of shame is the easiest way to let go of mistrust in the relationship.
Once you’re free of shame:
- You can start appreciating people’s sexuality instead of comparing yourself to them.
- You can start being aware of your partner’s complicated sexuality and trying to understand it freely.
- You can appreciate your partner’s natural attractions to other people without looking at it as a threat.
This frees you up and makes you incredibly powerful.
Power Relationship Mistake #4. You don’t know how to say ‘No’
Boundaries is a big lesson a lot of people don’t learn. I was fortunate in the sense that my mother has very strong boundaries.
She didn’t do anything she didn’t want to do and this is one trait I’ve taken from her that gives me a lot of power.
This is how bad things happen to you and it’s your own fault.
You allow your boundary to be pushed because you don’t want to cause ripples and when it gets too much, you lose your mind – you go crazy. Your partner then thinks you’re crazy.
All this time you simply hadn’t communicated something you didn’t like and it festered in the relationship.
This happens to both men and women.
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt around boundaries is “People will only put you through what they think you can handle.”
The more you handle things you’re not comfortable with, the more you’ll have to put up up with things you don’t want.
Setting boundaries are about:
STEP 1. Telling your partner what you don’t like.
STEP 2. Enforcing your boundary when it happens.
STEP 3. Actively appreciating when change occurs.
With my boyfriend, this is what I do:
STEP 1. I say,”Darling I know you’re probably not aware but I feel [emotion] about [issue]. Can we please do [solution]? We discuss it to make sure he’s clear on my feelings.
STEP 2. I know it’ll take some time for change to happen so when it happens again, I’ll remind him of our conversation and that this is the second time. I’ll generally give him 3 chances before I have a serious talk about it (or get mad – it happens).
STEP 3. When I’m reminded that change has occurred, I make sure I let him know how much I appreciate the change. This motivates him to create more change.
This is how you’d teach a dog or a child.
Once you deal with all of this stuff, you’re no longer going to be scared that the next one isn’t going to come along.
Once you know your own value, your own sexuality and your own power, you will never have to deal with a lot of the stuff you’re dealing with now.
On top of that, you’ll start creating new opportunities. Talking to someone you’re attracted to won’t be such a big deal because you won’t be worried about whether they like you or not.
People will start appreciating you and surprising things will happen.
Once you have all this power within yourself, you no longer need to control anyone or manipulate an outcome. You’ll become happier to relinquish power because you can take it back whenever it feels right.
This allows all parties to relax into the relationship and good things become possible.
In a future article, I’m going to talk about how having too much power can ruin your life. But right now you don’t care about that if you don’t have any yet…