Letting go of Control in Relationships

Relationships can be tough. There can be a lot of stress and conflict. Do you ever feel like you are loosing control in a relationship? Do you feel like there are times when you are always in control?

Well to be honest, most problems occur when one partner tends to control one aspect of a relationship, or maybe multiple aspects of a relationship. When a partner tries to control the other partner, it can be harmful to both parties, and many times partners are not even really aware when they are taking over the control. In minor examples of taking over control, a partner makes unilateral decisions or disregards the feelings or thoughts of their teammate. In more extreme examples, this control can look like intimidation, threats, stalking, or physical or sexual abuse.

Many times couples get stuck in an argument. A fundamental disagreement about something, anything. They carry with them a belief that they cannot continue as a couple until they agree. Well instead of getting “stuck” , there are actually studies that show that 69% of disagreements in marriage don’t actually get resolved. This should actually be a relief, because it proves that couples can successfully manage a relationships without having to agree on everything.

So what does this mean for you and your relationship?

This means part of being in a healthy and loving relationship is actually learning to let go of the things we are unable to change in a relationship. Giving up the need to be in complete control. This doesn’t mean ignoring or simply accepting behaviour which is abusive, offensive or unkind, rather it means finding ways of effectively communicating about areas of conflict.

So who is really in control in healthy relationships?

Well it is a trick question. Both of you and neither of you. Like most things in life, it is a balance. You shouldn’t feel powerless in your relationship, but you are also not the chief in command. Arguments and disagreements will happen. It is natural. Successful and happy relationships are defined by how you navigate your way through conflict.

How do you effectively communicate through disagreements?

  1. Set aside time to talk without interruption and turn off televisions and phones.
  2. Try and be warm towards your partner, regardless of frustrations or disagreements.
  3. Tell your partner what you are feeling even if it may upset him or her.
  4. Really listen to and observe your partner. The goal is to understand their intensions and their needs.
  5. Be honest about what you what and need in a relationship, and negotiate if there are differences.
  6. Double check yourself. Misunderstanding easily occur when feeling are hurt or emotions are running high. Pause and make sure you are understanding your partner’s point of view.
  7. Accept that your partner may have a different opinion that you and try to find a way to function as a couple with this differing opinion.

As you learn to balance the control in your relationship and begin the journey to acceptance within your relationship, you may find a deeper and more meaningful relationship then you had before. Relationships can be a lot of work but the love and support is ultimately worth the effort.

If you would like to learn more about effective communication or seek couples counseling about issues of control and acceptance in your relationship, feel free to book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.

Related reading:

Relationship Counseling
Arguments: Is being “right” really worth it?
Going from Good to Great in Your Relationship

Looking for support?