We want to feel like we’re loved as much as we love, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel like we’re giving more than we’re getting in our relationships.
Whether it’s us reaching out more, giving more, calling more, or simply caring more, even if there’s not an imbalance, feeling like there is can spell death to a couple.
Power in a relationship needs to be balanced.
Having the upper hand in a relationship means holding more control over the day-to-day and ultimate outcome of the relationship.
Our romantic side hopes that relationships will never be about who holds the power, but the truth is the struggle to maintain a balance is always there, and no relationship is truly equal, making for unhealthy power dynamics.
Here’s how to have the upper hand in a relationship.
Relationships are about comfort, trust, and feeling like you are putting in as much as you are getting back — and if either of you feels otherwise, then maybe it’s time to regain the power in your relationship.
1. Stop playing games.
If you want to be an adult in a relationship then you shouldn’t resort to “not texting him,” “playing hard to get,” etc. as these are all child’s games, says dating coach Sienna Sinclaire. They may work for a little while but why would you want to date someone who plays those kinds of games.
And if you were dating someone who was confident in themselves, they would never allow those games to be played and would just walk away, as they should.
“Instead, be an adult in your relationship and that’s what you’ll get back with your partner, an adult who doesn’t need to play games or concern themselves with the question of who has the most power in the relationship,” says Sinclaire.
2. Exude confidence.
The most important thing in any relationship is confidence. If you have confidence and believe in yourself, then you don’t need to play games and you will keep the upper hand.
If the person isn’t into you, then you should be confident and strong enough to walk away.
“A confident woman is very powerful to a man,” says Sinclaire. “So the more confident you are, the more power you can have in the relationship.”
3. Set clear boundaries.
This is about what we accept and don’t accept, especially in areas of tension.
Relationship Coach Keith Dent says, “A man will take what you give him. For example, if one of your pet peeves is that you expect for your partner to check-in if he is going to be late, and you don’t verbalize that to him, he won’t just do it on his own unless that’s his thing. If that is your requirement for the relationship to work you have to make sure you hold him accountable.”
“Give clear ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers with supportive statements that validate your decisions or behaviors,” says Rosalind Sedacca, CDC, a dating in mid-life mentor and co-author of “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60!”
4. Be unavailable.
“Guys want what they can’t have — but I don’t mean game playing,” Sinclaire explains. “This simply means not always making yourself available for him, not because you’re choosing not to, but because you have your own fabulous life full of friends and family that you want to spend it with as well.”
Remember: a man is a fabulous addition to your life, not someone who should complete you. You should love and complete yourself, with or without a man.
Dent warns, “You don’t want to always be available when he needs you. That’s a recipe for being taken for granted,” he continues, “A man wants to know you will challenge him and part of that challenge means having more things going on besides him.”
5. Be independent.
If you want a guy to want and respect you, be your own person, says Sinclaire. Have your own hobbies and your own friends, and show him that you’re comfortable being in your own skin, doing your own things.
Don’t ever appear needy, as that’s a huge turn-off.
6. Speak up.
Do not allow yourself to be a doormat. If your partner upsets you or you feel as though you’re being taken advantage of, it’s imperative to make your feelings known. If you don’t, you lost the upper hand.
“It must be done in a non-whiny way. Use a strong voice, without screaming or yelling, and be firm about behavior you will not accept,” says mindset coach, TV show host, and certified Human Behavioral Specialist, Midori A. Verity.
7. Give each other space.
“I’m not sure whose idea it is to spend every waking moment with someone. I get it, in the beginning, you can’t help but want to be around that person. But you need to give someone space and get your own,” says Sinclaire.
A guy will want you a lot more if you give him his space and vice versa. If you insist on spending too much time with someone, it’s a quick way to lose them. Giving someone their space shows you’re not needy and you’re your own person.
8. Use assertive I language without being aggressive or defensive.
“I want, I need, I desire, I can’t, I won’t, I feel … are all good ways to start,” says Sedacca. Then be very clear about your expectations.
Be sure to make them realistic and fair, and expect to be treated fairly in return.
A loss of control isn’t the end of the world. Open and honest conversations can bring balance back to healthy relationships.
Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyle writer whose work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Find her on Twitter or email her for more information.