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Thread: Power Games

  1. #1

    Power Games

    Has anyone ever noticed that relationships sometimes like to turn into a game of chase? A challenge is healthy in my opinion, but sometimes things like to get tiring easily.

    My example: I have a strong will. It is difficult to manipulate me. But she is the same. I appreciate her inner strength, however she tries to manipulate me and be in control over the relationship.

    We have a similar sense of humour. She teases me a lot by calling me a meanie or saying that she's "better" than me at something. I laugh at it, but when I do the same she gets upset easily. And thinks that I'll cave in and allow her being upset to slap me in the face.

    She doesn't have that effect on me though. Whenever things turn sour I tell her that we'll speak again once she lightens up. That's when she would try to get my attention back by being nice to me again. Sometimes she succeeds, sometimes she doesn't. While the relationship is strong at its core, the surface gets rocky sometimes. Because of really small things.

    How does one find the balance? Where do the mind games end? It's the pretending that we cannot be hurt that causes the opposite. As a result, sometimes we go through really strange times. Sometimes it's like a war, with regular ceasefires in between. But rarely peace.

  2. #2

    Power Games

    I do not believe what you describe is characteristic of all relationships. It is certainly not characteristic of healthy relationships.

    Have you thought about seeking couples counseling?

  3. #3

    Power Games

    No. Officially, we aren't a couple anymore. I just end up in situations like these all the time. Situations where neither of us want to give up power. And after a while you wonder what we were fighing over. I just wonder where I might be going wrong.

    It was at one point in my life that I realised that it's somehow all about the challenge. At first contact, you are trying to win someones heart, but once you get there it's not interesting anymore. So you start up conflict just to keep the sparks flying. But that gets boring, too.

  4. #4

    Power Games

    It would certainly get boring to me in a hurry. I don't much enjoy pointless debates and power struggles. Most of the time, I just get bored with the game and let the other person have the last word, if it's really that important to him or her...

  5. #5

    Power Games

    Eclectic....This is how my relationship is....I know exactly what you mean. My relationship is strong at it's core, like you said...but we power struggle over details and it's really bad. Sometimes it gets too much and I leave only for him to chase and pull me back in. It even feels sometimes, like he pays more attention to me when I want to leave or have a break or something. It's just a constant power struggle. I hate it.

  6. #6

    Power Games

    this is exactly what almost happened to me where it could have turned into a potentially great relationship, except that the constant arguing back and forth (about nothing really) and mind games and power struggles just ended up seeming more exhausting than anything. My friend & I have been talking about this a lot lately b/c she plays games a lot but I think there's only so much playing you can do if you ever really expect to have a healthy relationship. Why would you want to spend the majority of your time fishing for conflicts to "spice things up"? have you ever thought about compromising? taking a little, giving a little? why is it all about winning? I mean, sure, people like to win at contests, score the highest mark on a test, win the lottery, be the best athlete etc. but how can you be the "best partner", the "best" one in a relationship? Shoudln't a relationship be build on some kind of equality and not just a constant power struggle? You can have that with your siblings, with strangers, with coworkers, but in a romantic relationship?

    I guess humour can help finding the right balance... and not pretending that you can't ever be hurt. You can have healthy arguments, but you also have to be honest about your feelings in order to take anything from them. would you say trying to be competitive is something you do in all areas of your life or only in relationships? do you maybe fear "winning", so engaging in a relationship, then opening up too much and then "loosing" in the end? so you withdraw or almost manipulate things so you can win before there is ever a chance of 'loosing'?

  7. #7

    Power Games

    Yeah, finding some reason in this is tougher than I thought. And I've been bringing this topic within my own social circle and found that this is far more common than I thought. I think jealousy is probably part of the reason.
    One friend, for example, is constantly getting aggressive over the possibility that his girlfriend might be cheating on him. But what I have found is that his girlfriend thinks exactly the same way. Even though they have been together for 4 years and there is really nothing in the way. Noone is relaxed. He finds himself constantly becoming protective and aggressive just to keep things running.
    Another friend of mine says that her relationship has been rocky for the past 3 years. They both cheated on each other in the past. Of course, when I ask her why she is still with him, she gets silent. Something makes these relationships worth fighting for.

  8. #8

    Power Games

    It sounds like the major issue in your descriptions is trust. Additionally another important aspect of any relationship is the length of time you have known each other as well as the history each of you brings into the relationship. Let's say one of you have been dumped or cheated on in a previous relationship, it might be easy to believe it is going to happen to you again with your new relationship. This is what makes therapy so important. Getting to understand how you felt, feel and perceive relationships past and present. Relationships can be wonderful if we can work through our own issues and then handle any issues that might arise between the couple. I once knew this man that worked at the same restaurant as me. He would always be complaining and going on about how he was quitting and getting another job. I told him that he should look into changing his attitude before going to his next job or he might find that he hates that job too. I think it can apply to relationships in general. It is important to develop good boundaries.

  9. #9

    Power Games

    That's a pretty good point. The job thing, I mean. I am like that - my last job was bad and my new one is awesome, yet I don't appreciate it. I think a similar thing might apply to women, too. I'll need to think about this.

  10. #10

    Power Games

    I find that someone's past plays a huge part in relationships. I had some bad experiences in my last relationship. Since my current boyfriend is the kind of person who likes to do almost everything with me (I mean we usually go out together), I don't really have any trust issues. But, I have to wonder how I would be if he was the kind of person who always liked to go out with his friends without me. I used to be the kind of girlfriend who thought that not trusting her partner was stupid, and I would even encourage my boyfriends to go out and have a good time with their friends. But, unfortunately my attitude has changed somewhat over the last few years because of things I've seen, heard about, know about, etc. I know that this is my own issue to work through, but this is where jealousy definitely comes in. No matter how much two people are in love, nobody enters into a relationship a "clean slate". Everyone has pasts and your experiences effect the kind of person you are today.
    I don't like games. I never have. I could see them being a little bit fun if you're just kind of getting to know someone/flirting with them, etc. But, I can't picture a healthy, long relationship being based on games. If you need to spice things up with games, then I believe there's something lacking in your relationship. If you respect each other, you can spice things up by doing different things together with the intention of making both of you happy.
    One more thing to remember - Some people are just not meant to be together.

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