Power and Partnership – Romance

This is part of an exploration of Power, Partnership, and Symmetry.

In romance so many seek a relationship of balance and symmetry where the needs, interests, and pursuits of both parties match in every way. When courting, a delicate balance is often maintained where each party ventures forth enough to intrigue but fears to offer too much lest they be taken advantage of by the other. In this way many relationships become a game with winners and losers where at the end one delivers the wound, the other ends up broken.

In romance our needs are often far more variable than they are in business (though the topic of the true depth of our needs from employment and tenancy could be an interesting topic on its own). What we want and need and what we have or are willing to offer can not only be quite different than many we meet, but are prone to change as we grow and discover. Finding a partnership that matches perfectly in a symmetrical way seems an impossibility to me. And even should chance deign to give you such a thing, how likely is it to stay the same? How likely are you to stay the same person and your partner to continue to match you as they did when stars first aligned?

It is not symmetry we should be seeking but understanding. When we understand our own needs and the needs of our partners in love, we can share the burden of seeing them met. This does not mean we need to meet them ourselves, simply that a partnership is a powerful place to work together to create solutions. I find the more I understand my needs and see each as something that can be understood and met individually and creatively, the more empowered I am to design a partnership and partnerships to meet them.

When you take ‘power’ out of a relationship and instead think of it as a partnership around meeting needs on either side, you put both parties into a position of strength. Symmetry or balance is not the desired outcome, instead partnership should be leveraged to create mutual fulfillment regardless of distribution. If you’re in a partnership where the other party does not see it as you do, and is unable to come around to your way of thinking, don’t try to leverage power. Instead leave the partnership and form one where mutual respect is a more cherished virtue.