The Art of Relating: Giving Away The Power

By Christine Kniffen, MSW, LCSW

Have you ever found yourself giving away the power in your relationships? By this I mean a pattern of becoming overly focused on your romantic relationships and losing your independence to some degree. Have you found yourself going along with most things and letting someone else make many of the decisions? Do you find relationships to be distracting and have difficulty balancing your mental focus between your relationships and putting energy into your own life? This is something that many people can identify with to some degree or another. That balance is crucial to having two independent individuals and one healthy relationship. Let’s look at some of the reasons that may lead to “giving away the power” which include a strong desire for a relationship, trouble spreading our mental focus between more than one thing at a time and having difficulty insisting on your own personal boundaries in the emotional realm of love.

Many of us have a strong desire for a healthy relationship. Society has continuously pushed us to believe that we must have one and that it should certainly be one of our main goals. The strong pull for this can lead to a kind of euphoria when we get it. We may find ourselves simply so happy to be there that we stop interjecting and are focused solely on how nice it all feels. For a time we really may not care about what we do together, just that we are together. When our partners ask us what we want to do over the weekend we may find ourselves continuously replying, “anything is fine”. Would doing just “anything” with your weekend really be fine if you were single? If not, then why lose your sense of person just because you have entered a relationship?

A second reason that we may find ourselves “giving away the power” involves our ability to change gears and balance our mental focus and attention. When you are solely focused on another it is often hard to bring some of the mental energy and focus back to our lives and try to distribute it evenly. Sometimes we only feel really “into” someone when we are solely focused on him or her. When we then channel some of the focus back to ourselves it may become confusing as to how strongly we really feel about this person.

Take some time to honestly assess if this may be happening in your relationships. Are you having difficulty balancing because anything short of total focus on your partner makes you question how much you are really into the relationship?

The last reason that often contributes to “giving away the power” involves setting personal boundaries. Perhaps you don’t really want to be doing everything that you have been doing with your partner. Perhaps you have an excellent ability to set personal boundaries with friends and co-workers, but find that you become a little complacent on this matter in your romantic relationships. However, this will lead to eventual resentment, as one cannot maintain this state indefinitely. Also, at some point this may begin to feel too overwhelming to your partner, as they do not always want to take the lead in the relationship. In addition, there is nothing particularly attractive about someone who seems to have no personal life of his or her own. When each person is growing and pushing in their personal lives there will always be something new and interesting to bring into the relationship. Without this things can get pretty boring at times as the only thing left to talk about are the mundane routines of the day.

In short, “giving away the power” is not a good recipe for anyone either individually or as a couple. Balance is always the goal in life. Perhaps you have a great ability to balance your life in many ways, but simply have yet to apply this notion to your romantic relationships. Finding this balance will make for a healthier you and a much healthier relationship in the long haul.

Christine Kniffen, LCSW is a Therapist and Relationship Coach in private practice. For a free 1-hour consultation call 314-374-8396.

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