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How to overcome Power Struggles between Couples from ruining Relationship?

Updated on June 12, 2017
Anamika S profile image

Anamika S. Jain has been a social media consultant for six years. She has written more than 200 articles on relationships and dating.

What does it mean to have Power Struggles in a relationship?

Power Struggles between couples happen when two strong minded individuals try to dominate or maintain control over the other person in one way or another. It is not wrong to say that Power struggles are part of human relationships. Most individuals in relationship are motivated to maintain their individuality even when they are a couple. Differences can arise between Couples because of financial matters, household work, parenting responsibilities, work schedules, career success, personal habits, physical intimacy, lack of effective communication etc. When both the partners in the relationship want things to be seen or done their own way and refuse to seek a workable compromise, Power Struggles can happen. To make even things worse, some conflicts may even end up in physically and emotionally hurting the partner. If such conflicts between couples are not resolved on time, it can lead to long term trouble for a couple. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the patterns of power struggles in relationships when they occur and find ways to resolve them before it ruins the relationship.

Power Struggles between Couples can ruin the relationship. However, it is not difficult to overcome it and not let it damage a Marriage or Love affair.
Power Struggles between Couples can ruin the relationship. However, it is not difficult to overcome it and not let it damage a Marriage or Love affair.

How can Power Struggles between Couples damage their relationship?

Most love relationships start with the ‘romantic phase’. The romantic phase can last for a few weeks and even up to two years or more. In this phase, most couples are respectful and responsive to each other. The Power Struggles phase happens after the Enchantment/ Romantic phase in relationship. Power Struggles mostly happen after commitment is made in the relationship. Once this Honeymoon phase fades off, the individuals in the relationship may start seeing their partner’s negative traits. When the perfect mental image of the mate does not match with what is in reality, differences may crop up between couples.

Sometimes, power struggles in romantic relationships can be a result of past experiences. This need to dominate and take charge of the relationship can often result in differences, disappointments and disagreements. Many individuals in a love relationship expect their partners to compensate for what they missed in their earlier life. Some individuals even go to the extent of denying their partners what they want until their own needs are met first. Relationships can work better when the partners work as a team. Power struggles between Couples can make them selfish and distract them from teamwork. It also can affect the communication between couples. Instead of the encouragement the partner deserves for career advancement or other achievements, a person conflicted by a power struggle may even downgrade him/her. In short, Power Struggles between couples can make them dominating, irritating, unresponsive, judgmental, egoistic and impatient. When two individuals do not listen to each other and try to impose their views on each other by manipulating or finding fault in the other person, it can ruin their relationship.

The Power Struggle

Ending the Power Struggle: A Step by Step Guide for Couples Counselors
Ending the Power Struggle: A Step by Step Guide for Couples Counselors

Ending The Power Struggle by Marina Williams is an in depth Guide addressing issues such as Power struggles between couples, anger within the relationship, resentment and distrust, disillusionment within the relationship, and poor communication. This book also provides effective techniques for resolving Power Struggles in Relationships. So far, this is the Best Book I have read on the topic. You would find it helpful too!


How to deal with Power Struggles in Relationship?

It is important for couples to have realistic expectations from each other and be flexible regarding their partner’s needs to have a happy and successful relationship. Even simple changes made by couples can bring harmony in relationship. To avoid power struggles in relationship, couples need to learn to notice, understand and fulfill each other’s needs. This can help bring attraction, respect and trust within the relationship. Couples involved in power struggles should know that disregarding the feelings of their partners can hurt their relationship. Also, it is important for couples not to be rigid about their views. Couples should learn to appreciate each other's differences. Remember, there are many different ways of viewing the same situation. So it is important to see things from your partner’s perspective also instead of getting into the controlling mode. Normally, what we give is what we get. Respect, appreciation and empathy for mate can help in building a healthy and harmonious relationship. Instead of analyzing and criticizing the mate, individuals should learn to work on their own faults. Also, communication is the key for healthy relationships. So, avoiding a problem by not communicating is not a solution. Communication between couples can often help clear misunderstandings. Couples should understand that the Peace and harmony in a love relationship is valuable than any victory obtained through argument.

There can be fights and difference of opinion between partners even in the most successful relationships. But how these issues are dealt with is what matters. If power struggles between couples continue for a long period, relationship counseling can be of help. With proper counseling couples may be able to resolve the issues before they have a negative impact in their relationship. If ignored, power struggles can quickly escalate to levels that are very harmful for even the strongest relationships. So, if you are a couple in power struggle, get help fast!

I hope you found the above Tips useful. Feel free to share your opinion on this topic by commenting below!

Relationship Conflict and Power Struggles

Relationships are like Rome -- difficult to start out, incredible during the prosperity of the 'golden age', and unbearable during the fall. Then, a new kingdom will come along and the whole process will repeat itself until you come across a kingdom like Egypt... that thrives, and continues to flourish. This kingdom will become your best friend, your soul mate, and your love.

— Helen Keller

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  • swilliams profile image

    Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

    Wow you raise some interesting points that center around disillusionment within the relationship, and poor communication. Very useful information. Thanks Anamika S, Voted up!

  • C.V.Rajan profile image

    Disillusioned 3 years ago from Kerala, India


    Nowadays, with the high degree of independence available to women, it looks women start dominating men even during love phase and there are cases where they break relationship (fortunately) before marriage happens!

  • maramerce profile image

    maramerce 3 years ago from United States

    Power is shared as an energy between two people or entities. The minute you try to contain or grasp it, it destroys you. You have to learn to let it flow freely in the give and take of connecting with people and the world. Sometimes the person who stands down, holds back, walks away, or says nothing has more power than the one wielding the sword or committing the offense.

  • Janellegems profile image

    Janellegems 3 years ago from United States

    Excellent Hub with the most vital information for couples. Thanks for writing about power struggles, when they start occurring and how to effectively deal with it. Voted up!!!

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Interesting and so true. Power can come between any relationship.