Power, Partnership, and Symmetry

Relationship asymmetry is often seen to create a “power-dynamic”. The employer-employee relationship is stated to be one of power where the boss wields power in the imbalanced relationship with the worker. The landlord-tenant relationship is another where what the landlord offers up is different than what is offered on the other side, and again many would tell you a terrible story about landlords who had abused their ‘privileges’. In love the partner who loves least or asks for less is often seen to be in the power position.

Yet all these asymmetrical relationships from business to romantic are ‘partnerships’ where the needs of each side are necessarily different from one another yet a partnership of equality is the most successful arrangement. Now here note that I say “equality” not meaning that both sides are equal in what they bring and receive but using the word instead to mean that both sides of the partnership are seen as equals and respected as such, even if what goes in and out of the partnership is different.

Finding balance without symmetry is about knowing and meeting needs, not trying to be someone’s mirror.

More tomorrow…