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Uneven Relationships: Is it Possible to Restore the Balance to a Flawed Romance?

Updated on January 5, 2020
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Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 14 years.

American Gigolo Poster
American Gigolo Poster
The Hunger Poster
The Hunger Poster
9 1/2 Weeks Poster
9 1/2 Weeks Poster
Angel Heart Poster
Angel Heart Poster
Pretty Woman Poster
Pretty Woman Poster
When a Man Loves a Woman Poster
When a Man Loves a Woman Poster
American Beauty Poster
American Beauty Poster
Lost and Delirious Poster
Lost and Delirious Poster
Shame Poster
Shame Poster
The Hunger Poster #2
The Hunger Poster #2

What happens when a once good relationship has turned into utter chaos? Can you restore the relationship to its former glory when you've lost your identity in it? Is your partner the dominant one who always gets their way? Are you the one who always keeps your opinions to yourself to make your lover happy? If you've had a hard time answering these questions without blowing into full panic mode, it's time to give your floundering relationship a harder look. In order to fix it, let's get to the root of the problem.

There are no clear reasons as to why a relationship can get sidetracked in the thick of balancing the scales. Sadly, it sometimes just happens without warning. Partly out of blind ignorance or accidental malice. It's time to pinpoint some potential signs of relationship problems and learn how to fix the balance of power in your relationship once and for all. Here are a five suggestions to get some personal inspiration. Read on to see if you can spot your relationship and see what can be done to fix it.

The Unattainable Ones- Is your better half someone who is unwilling to commit to a relationship with you? Do they pull away from you when you're in public and embrace you in private? In Lost and Delirious, teenage lovers Paulie (Piper Perabo) and Tori (Jessica Pare) are in a full blown relationship that never stood a chance with Tori's fear of coming out to her distant family with high expectations. When Tori's sister catches them in a compromising position, it served as a catalyst to sever the doomed relationship. Paulie's intense desire to be with Tori forced her to do the unthinkable to be noticed, but no one was aware of what it would cost everyone. The lesson learned from these types of relationships is to deliver the simple ultimatum of dating openly or ending the relationship entirely. Love is something that you shouldn't be ashamed of and you should date someone who isn't ashamed of you. If your hidden lover wants to be open, it's great for you. If not, kiss them goodbye and move on without them.

Rules Breakers- This category fits people who detest the idea of placing their relationship inside the standard box of cliched dates that lead to an even more routine marriage. These people like to push boundaries so far that they no longer know where the line in the proverbial sand is anymore. Nine 1/2 Weeks had a refined art gallery employee Elizabeth (Kim Basinger) thrust into a dark and impersonal relationship with the brash John (Mickey Rourke) who left his personal feelings out of their encounters. He also left out details about his life and his true feelings for Elizabeth, until it was too late. John pushed Elizabeth's boundaries so far that her only response was to leave him for good. His belated declaration of love at the end was a tragic note of how every relationship needs to have a few ground rules to keep both partners in check and no one losing too much control.

A modern example of Weeks' John would Shame's Brandon (Michael Fassbender) who carefully separated his personal identity from very private world of sexual addiction where his inhibitions are gone. This separation could cause some trouble in the long run when someone so private meets someone they have to be open and honest with. Can they accept both sides of the man or will they head for the hills immediately? Think before deciding.

Fantasy Versus Reality- When it comes to the American Dream, most people don't envision the whole picture. They only think about the first few years of their lives and never picture them 20 or 30 years down the line. In American Beauty, Lester (Kevin Spacey) thought it would be enough to have the perfect suburban life with his wife (Annette Bening) and his daughter (Thora Birch). What he didn't realize was that his real life didn't match his fantasy lifestyle. Lester wanted to be out of the picture and his wife wanted to be much more than a perfect little housewife. Hence a power struggle that takes place for most of the film between Bening and Spacey. The only lesson you can take from this is to ground your relationship expectations with the big picture and never forget to check in with your partner's needs every once in a while. You need to make sure you're still on the same page before you drift too far apart.

Another example of a distorted reality is Mickey Rourke's private investigator character in Angel Heart. He thinks that his latest missing person's case is just another ordinary case, but it definitely isn't. Rourke's character gets together with Lisa Bonet's young local girl in a relationship that started off interesting and ended with a horrifying revelation. The truth came out when the Devil himself told Rourke that his lack of judgment allowed him to end up in his crosshairs. Be careful of who you sleep with, because it could come back to haunt is the lesson learned from this. Rourke was a man with a powerful position and a sense of mystery that even Bonet's character couldn't resist even at the highest of prices.

The Price Stickers- Can a relationship survive if money has changed hands? What if your relationship has always had a dollar amount on it? This might seem like a stretch, but think of it in this context. You meet someone under the most dubious of circumstances such as at a bar or a casino. What if you met your future partner at a strip club or on a street corner? Can you see yourself dating them long term or even have a future with them? It's a dicey proposition to say the least, unless you're Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and finding your Prince Charming is as easy as getting into their car. Otherwise, it's a different story.

In American Gigolo, Julian (Richard Gere) is paid to be arm candy to women in public and literally for services rendered in the bedroom. His ability to fully find a functioning relationship with his client Michelle (Lauren Hutton) is impossible because he always feels like he's still working for her and not as her partner. Ultimately, it's best not to let money change any type of hands in a relationship if you're looking for something more than arm candy. The movie's main message is that looks can be deceiving and that there's more to love than a dollar amount.

The Damaged Ones- Can love survive when one of the partners involved can't love the other back properly? In the movie When a Man Loves a Woman, Meg Ryan played a woman with a heavy drinking problem who couldn't stay sober long enough to be a decent wife to her confused husband (Andy Garcia) or a mother to her children. Her husband's denial allowed Ryan's character to get really out-of-control until they both realized that she needed help and he needed to open his eyes to her addiction. The movie ended with the characters working to repair their shattered family after she completed treatment, but the relationship can never really be balanced with her addiction looming over them. In reality, the couple would be heading to therapy to work out their issues, instead of sweeping them under the rug in a "Made For Hollywood" ending that wrapped things up in a neat bow.

In the end, some relationships are simply uneven from the start. No balance of power can be restored without someone getting hurt or worse. In the movie The Hunger, the ageless vampire Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) is searching for a companion to spend eternity with, but she can't seem to keep them. Each one seemed to have a shorter shelf life than the last. She chooses each lover (man or woman) and seduces them with the idea of living forever without telling them that forever isn't a very long time. She manipulated her latest partner (Susan Sarandon) under false pretenses and pushed her right into her world whether she wanted to or not. No relationship can survive being under such control and that's why it ended abruptly. That's why most teacher/student affairs always end quickly or become a controversy magnet. It's best to ground your relationship in some practical ground rules, or you'll end up like Miriam with all the power and no one to share it with.


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