Unequal Relationships

I’m not aware of many equal relationships. Most of them consist of one person that was sweating another person, and then the sweatee agreed to date the sweater.

That’s not to say that equal relationships don’t exist. I’m sure there are lots of them.

I’m just saying that in most cases, one person has more power in the relationship than the other one does, regardless of whether the “stronger” person utilizes that power against the “weaker” one or not.

Roles

It’s imperative that you understand your position in your relationship.

If you’re the sweater, make sure that you remember that you’re lucky to be in this relationship, because the sweatee didn’t forget it and will not fail to remind you if you overstep your boundaries.

It’s like sometimes people work in the same office, so they’re coworkers… Except one person is the boss and the other person is the employee. They’re in the same place, but they don’t have the same amount of power in their relationship.

Now.. If the boss elects not to ensure that the employee takes exactly one hour or less to eat lunch, the boss has that right, and the employee can do whatever he or she wants.

However.. If the employee demands an hour and a half for lunch, because they got all comfortable with the boss not “bossing”, not only don’t they have any power to enact that policy without getting their pay docked every day for 30 minutes worth of time that they wasted when they were supposed to be working, but they ‘might could’ get fired.

Unfortunately, the nature of relationships dictates that people ACT AS IF they’re equals, even if it’s clear that they aren’t.

I don’t know that that’s such a good idea.

I’m not saying the leader in the relationship should act like a jerk or assert their power over the follower, but when followers start ‘feeling themselves’ and encroaching on the decision-making territory of the leader, it’s probably a good idea to subtly and graciously remind them what time it is before they get themselves fired.

Shot-Callers

I’m sure some people are thinking “Why would someone date someone they didn’t consider their equal?”

That would be because people want what they want from relationships, and equality might be irrelevant to them.. especially compared to sayyyyyy… looks, money, sex, food, shelter, status, trickin’ and takin’ them skiing in The Aspens.

Swimmin’ in Women wit’ they own Condominiums. It’s all about the Benjamins. What? o_O

YouTube Link => youtu.be/fNTBb1u6UGg

Anyway, there are lots of reasons why people hook up with and date people they don’t consider to be anywhere near their equals in life.

Since people don’t usually say “You know I’m better than you, right? :D” and still have a relationship left, they tend to keep it under the hat until the follower goes overboard with the rights they think they have because they saw a movie about relationships one time, or they heard something from a friend about the way their relationship “should” be, and they believed the hype and fell for the okey-doke.

I would hope that the lucky party would retain a sense of their place in the relationship and not put themselves in the awkward position of having to be reminded, but that’s not always the case.

I would also hope that when they cause the leader to reprimand them, they recognize that an admonishment is a vote of confidence in them which says that they can return to their rightful place and continue this relationship… It could have been worse, with the leader ejecting, and then the follower’s back to square one, looking for love on Plenty Of Fish and ok Cupid.

Of course, followers can improve their station through loyalty, functionality, putting their best foot forward, looking good, staying in shape, paying attention to what the leader likes, cooking good food, being intelligent and witty, and generally endearing themselves to the leader.

However, since they weren’t TOLD that they’re the follower, they’re not likely to do their best to stay in the game.

None of this actually comes to light so long as both parties play their positions. It only becomes an issue when the person without say in the relationship attempts to assert himself or herself.

Power

Often, it’s not so much that one person has power over the other one, but that one person has *NO* power over the other one. This happens when one or more of the parties is autonomous.

merriam-webster.com/dictionary/autonomy

1: the quality or state of being self-governing; especially : the right of self-government
2: self-directing freedom and especially moral independence
3: a self-governing state

See.. If someone self-directs their freedom, there’s nothing you can do to control them, or really even to influence them.

All you can do is inspire them to do you favors though your own actions and ways of being towards them.

Anything they do for you isn’t because you compelled them to, but because out of the goodness of their hearts, they felt you deserved it.

You can’t make any power moves against them, because that would require… power.. which you don’t have.

Some people don’t react well to realizing they’re second-class citizens in their own relationship. Everybody wants to believe they’re on top of their game, but that’s clearly impossible.

If that were the case, everybody would be hooked up, and nobody would be online dating.

However, these people often don’t bounce, because they don’t feel like starting all over, and they believe that they’re the leader’s equal anyway, so they think they can work their way “back” into a position of authority, which, in fact, they never held.

This continues until the follower feels once again that he or she can make demands, and then they find out that nothing’s different from the last time they tried this.

Jeeves

The three landing positions for this situation are that the follower stops being annoying, the leader dumps the follower, or the follower ejects to attempt to find a relationship with someone that considers them an equal or better.

There’s no point in the leader informing the follower of his/her position in the relationship, so long as everything the follower wants to do is the exact same thing the leader would have suggested anyway.

It’s like successful back-seat driving.

When people think of back-seat drivers, they think of someone that doesn’t have their hands on the wheel, so whatever they say doesn’t really matter. The driver’s going to do whatever he/she wants to do, regardless.

It’s a little different when the driver is the chauffeur.

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9 Comments

  1. I have no comment on most of this but I’ma just say this — the relationships worth hanging on to are the ones where you both feel like the lucky one.

  2. I gotta agree with Dave. When you can’t believe the person you’re with loves you and wants to be with you, you do everything you can to stay with them. And when that’s a mutual situation, it’s magic. It’s rare and it’s elusive, but it happens.

  3. Another great, thought provoking post! Even babies do “power plays”. They cry, they learn to smile and look cute, all to keep attention on them in order to survive. It’s human nature.

    As always, the first step to knowing which position you are in is self awareness; and let’s face it: Most people don’t pay that much attention, or are deluded into thinking they are the one with the “power”.

    If you find yourself in the “under” position, there are steps to take. While it is true you can’t change a person, you always have the power to change yourself, and your response to any given situation. Doing so will require the other person to respond in a different way. (I am referring to a long term, not a two week fling.)

    In a long term healthy relationships, the power bounces back and forth.

    When one finds herself on the receiving end of arrogance and power, the best way to counter it is to deliver an unexpected response. For instance, your partner is always late. You whine, you complain, you try to change his behavior with words. That doesn’t work. He has the power, he KNOWS you won’t bounce.

    Next time he is late, say, meeting you for dinner, you leave. Without notice, without a fight. Simply leave. He shows up late, you are gone. Now it is HIS turn to be upset. You have changed what he expects (you always wait). He texts, calls, beats his chest. You simply say, “I’m not going to wait around for you if you are late. Being late is disrespectful to me. If you can’t show respect, fine. That is your choice. This is mine.”

    You changed. Now he can change, or risk losing you. If he doesn’t care, you didn’t have much of a relationship to begin with. Change yourself, change YOUR response. This is the key to changing others. If you are the late one, start showing up 10 minutes early.

    Knowing when you “have the power” is tricky. I have deduced that the ones who think they have it rarely do. If I need power over someone to be in a relationship, that is neediness. And neediness is never sexy, nor is it built on a strong foundation.

    Money, beauty, toys, trips, etc., might attract people in but… at the end of the day; those can disappear or become the norm, it isn’t special. You are left with a person who has flaws. This is why Hollywood marriages based on fantasy, looks, money etc., fail.

    1. I learned what Kay said long ago. I always have power over *me* which is really all I need. I have also found that my reaction to power plays is never what guys expect which leaves them dumbfounded. The main thing is that they have not properly assessed the situation and how much power they actually have.

      In situations where I felt powerless (over the other person), I recognized it and still had power over myself. I could tell when I was being manipulated. My ideal is that elusive mutual power.

    2. This why it is imperative that people know who they are before entering into relationships. That is the only way relationships can help you grow. It can reinforce what you already know about yourself or the friction in it can make you change.

    3. On-Point, as always, Kay! 😀 hehe

      “You changed. Now he can change, or risk losing you. If he doesn’t care, you didn’t have much of a relationship to begin with.”

      Yes. Absolutely. Meet power with power.

      That was my point in this post. If the relationship *IS* equal, both people have power, or both people have say, or both people have a vote, or neither person has power.

      If you go to make a power move and it gets vetoed, you have to wonder whether anything else you ever try to initiate is going to occur in this particular relationship.

      “I have deduced that the ones who think they have it rarely do.”

      That’s true. The only reason you would think you had power in a relationship is because someone led you to believe that… LED YOU to believe that.

      The truly powerful people recognize their own Free Will, and therefore they recognize it in others.

      Knowing that you can’t be moved teaches you that you may or may not be able to move whomever you’re in a relationship with.

      All you can do is SUGGEST things, and your words will be accepted with the amount of weight and importance that you’re due, due to how you’ve carried yourself to that point, and what the other person thinks about you.

      The best-case scenario is two powerful people who can authentically suggest things to each other and expect a fair hearing and a just decision.

      “If I need power over someone to be in a relationship, that is neediness. And neediness is never sexy, nor is it built on a strong foundation.”

      word.

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