Relationship Power Plays: What Men Need to Know
Power can be addictive, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a healthy relationship. We’re looking at how power works in romance.
The human social dynamic is an interesting area of study. One of its core understandings is that two people are never completely equal. Social interactions are always hierarchical, and much of our lives are spent vying for the top spot in this hierarchy.
This article is probably going to get under the skin of some people. I urge you to read it, think it through, and apply your own experiences to it before judging. While I stand by the accuracy of what I have written, I know many people don’t want to hear it spelled out this clearly.
Much of what is written is simplified for the purpose of understanding. Of course, nothing in real life is ever black and white like this, and life is always a blend of give and take. It is where on this spectrum you sit that is important.
Humans are social creatures
Why, you ask, do we care so much about our social standing? Predominantly, for how it affects our relationships and opportunities in life. Think about it: the rich guy, the powerful guy, the boss, or the famous person has a high social standing. They hold resources and positions that make them valuable contributors to society.
To be at the top of the social hierarchy affords almost unlimited options: freedom, business opportunities, and access to women on a macro level.
On the micro level, in a one-to-one relationship, for example, it affords the luxury of being the higher-value individual. I don’t like talking about value and hierarchy when it comes to human beings. It comes across as inhuman and unempathetic. However, it is important to understand these underlying realities:
#1 No two people are ever totally equal.
#2 Someone always has a degree of power over another person.
#3 People are constantly vying to change position and move up the hierarchy.
What does this mean for us?
At every stage of a relationship with a woman, you are essentially in a power battle. When you say this to most people *especially women* they think you are ridiculous.
However, speak to an evolutionary biologist or evolutionary psychologist, and they will tell you that it is a trait we have in common with all other mammals; we live in tiered societies, and this reality is always playing out under the surface.
We have a whole language and set of behaviors to “mask” this reality and make it more appetizing for the human palate. This does not, however, make it untrue.
Using power plays to your advantage
You are either in the position of power, or you are in the position of subservience.
What you will find is that women are attracted to men in positions of power. They want to be around men of wealth, fame, success, and notoriety.
This fact is easily observable by looking at the hordes of so-called “groupies” who throw themselves at athletes, movie stars, and musicians. Or the millions of teenage girls who swoon over Justin Bieber or Ryan Gosling.
This is not to say that all women care about is money or fame. That is not true at all. Instead, in the eyes of the vast majority of women, if you take two completely equal men in all other regards, the one with most money/power/fame/success is the better prospect.
The other side of this equation is the behavior and action associated with the power position. This is where it becomes helpful to understand things, for most men. Telling you to go and become a movie star is not especially helpful. But what if you could display the same attractive traits and create the same feelings in women, with very little effort, whilst remaining essentially the same person you are today?
Interpersonal power plays
Let me give you some examples of how women try to take the “power position” at different stages of a relationship.
#1 Society. Society dictates that women are the “prize.” Men pursue women, and females get to choose from their numerous suitors with whom they would like to enter a relationship.
It is the man’s prerogative to approach the woman, to ask her out, to call/text first, to set up the date, and move things forward at every stage. This leaves women naturally in the position of power at this early stage of proceedings. [Read: What men think impresses women and what actually does]
#2 First meeting. Upon first meeting, a woman will assess the man who has approached her and decide if she likes him or not. It is assumed that the man has already made the decision that he likes the woman, evidenced by him approaching her in the first place.
At this point, women will often test a man by playing hard to get, being coy, and not revealing her true feelings straight away. It is up to the man to pursue her and move things forward. [Read: 22 bite-size tips for having more success with women]
#3 Dating. Women will blow hot and cold, not text back, cancel dates, and generally shake things up and not let you have a smooth ride if you allow them.
#4 Casual/early relationship. The female most likely decides when you first have sex. She might make you wait, so you have to work for it. During this time, you are probably trying to impress her by taking her out and paying for everything.
#5 Serious relationship. Most women will try to “change” their boyfriend/husband to train him out of the little traits that she doesn’t like. She will reward good behavior and punish bad behavior by nagging or even withholding sex.
What can men do to empower themselves?
What can men do to gain more power in their relationships and have things go as they please, rather than be at the mercy of the woman they’re dating?
#1 Value yourself. You need to have boundaries of what you feel is acceptable behavior. For example, if a girl you just met is rude to you, or a girl you are dating doesn’t turn up for a date, this might be reason enough to forget about her and move on. Have pre-set boundaries, and value your time–don’t waste it on someone who will mess around with you.
#2 Be as attractive as possible. This means body, fashion, posture, grooming, being interesting, and having basic social skills. The fact is, if a girl thinks of you highly, she will happily let you hold the power position and will be unlikely to mess you around.
#3 Maintain options. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket too quickly. Keep your options open with various women. This keeps you from being needy and reliant on any one girl. Needy behavior is a big turn off for women. When you are not needy, you can let things progress organically, and choose to invest further in one girl when things are already going well.
#4 Stand by your opinions and values. Too many guys constantly try to please women, daren’t disagree with anything they say, and jump through all of their hoops. When you do this with anyone, they will likely push it as far as they can. You need to put your foot down sometimes and do what is right for you. [Read: 12 tips to transform you from a nice guy to a real man]
#5 Don’t get flustered or emotional. Women will often try to influence your behavior by manipulating your emotions *everyone does this in many areas of life, not just women*. If she is upset with you over nothing or trying to shame you into behaving a certain way, just keep cool, and stick by your opinion. She will get over it and like you more for having a backbone than if you had given in to her unrealistic demands.
#6 Keep the high ground. Don’t ever try to manipulate your partner by lying to her or being ashamed of your intentions and desires. Be totally honest with her, even when it isn’t what she hopes to hear, and she will respect you a lot more. Obviously, don’t be mean for no reason; there’s a difference between a white lie for her sake and a real lie for your own benefit.
If you follow these guidelines, you should find that women respond to you better. They’ll like you more, and you’ll end up having more fulfilling relationships. If you have been dumped or cheated on in the past, or if you get friend zoned or end up dating gold diggers, you should pay special attention to the points above and start looking at the underlying social dynamic.
Keep your cool and stand by your guns. She will respect you more for it, and you will both be much happier.
The struggle for power in any relationship doesn’t have to lead to an outright fight for the upper hand. There are times when you must pick your battles to ensure that you’ll be in a healthy, happy, and fulfilling relationship.