If both people don't feel like they are winning in the relationship, than ultimately, both are losing.
Relationships on television often depict constant power play between couples, one is always trying to outwit or override the other in order to get what he or she wants. We see this time and time again, the husband who strategies and uses various tactics to get out of helping with housework or watching the kids; the wife who is over stressed and tired, constantly nagging her husband and supervising him like he is one of the children. TV husbands seem to be incapable of being trusted to get a task done without screwing everything up, while TV wives appear more like authoritarian caretakers to their husbands rather than loving partners. While this dynamic makes for good TV laughs, in real life, it's disastrous. At its root it points to unequal power and mistrust between partners.
Here's the fundamental problem:
Seeing things from this perspective instantly sets you and your partner up on opposing sides, trying to outsmart one another. If you think you are the winner in your relationship because you have the more dominant voice, then think again. If your partner feels like he or she is losing, then you are both losing because the quality and longevity of the relationship is influenced by how both people feel. So while temporarily you might be feeling good because you think you are winning, as the relationship progresses, things will start falling apart. Eventually, you will soon realize that you've kept winning at the expensive of your partner, which means that the overall success of the relationship and its foundation is now jeopardized.
Your behaviour will have cost the relationship considerably, particularly in the areas of trust, respect, and worth. The long-term damages will far outweigh your short-term gains. Do you think your partner will trust, respect or value the relationship, if you keep making him or her feel like a failure? You might be thinking that you're not making your partner feel like a failure, you're just trying to negotiate getting your needs met, but if you're always pushing for your needs or wanting things to be done your way, the message to your partner clear - you're is not good enough to participate and have a voice in the relationship.
If this type of attitude is allowed to continue too long, partners can become very resentful and bitter towards one another, getting to the point where they are prepared to both feel unhappy rather than to have either one win. And if you're saying to yourself, "that's definitely not me" than think for a second, have you ever gotten into a fight with your partner and you've both stayed angry, refusing to talk to each other for days? Both individuals may have hated the silence and felt uncomfortable, but just to make the other person suffer, they were willing to suffer as well.
The key to changing this dynamic is a shift in perspective. Couples have to move from seeing their relationship from a competition mind-set - someone wins, while someone loses - to one of collaboration, we work together to ensure we both win.
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