Taking Control Of A Relationship
Let’s face it: All relationships in life, including in dating, are fundamentally about power. One definition of power is simply the ability to get one’s own way; whoever has this x-factor power dynamic gets to call the shots. In relationships between men and women, there are only three possible power scenarios that can unfold:
1. She holds the power.
This is bad — very, very bad. If your Friday nights consist of watching Pretty Woman for the millionth time and then going to visit her sister, unfortunately, you’re in this boat. Consider yourself whipped.
2. You share the power.
Not a bad deal: you give and you take. You agree to go to her coworker’s wedding and, in turn, she agrees to let you host a Super Bowl party at your shared apartment. Symmetry all the way.
3. You hold the power.
The ideal scenario. You decide how and when you’re going to spend your time together, and you are not expected to make any concessions to her. Ever. Now you just have to make this happen. By taking to heart the Power Principles listed below, you will never again be expected to stand outside a changing room, holding her girly purse like a putz, while she endlessly tries on outfits.
Power Principle #1: Make Her Come To You
If possible, it’s always good to make her feel as if she’s initiated the relationship, not you. When it comes to relationship power politics, it’s to your advantage if she gets the idea that she’s just a little bit more into you than you are into her. It’ll keep her somewhat unsure of your feelings for her and, accordingly, she’ll not be as likely to make demands on you.
So play your cards close to your hand in the beginning. Don’t spill your guts over how happy you were that she agreed to give you her number, and don’t call or e-mail her back the instant she contacts you. Acting overeager right away will only place her in a dominant role from the very start. By being friendly, but not puppy-dog-excited every time she walks into a room, you’ll retain control. Have some dignity, man.
Power Principle #2: Rule Bedroom Politics
Bedroom politics is an area where women have traditionally had an advantage. Just like the Greek play Lysistrata , in which women withhold sex to force their men to end a war, ladies very often use sex as a playing card to get what they want, either implicitly or explicitly. For men to gain the upper hand in dating, they have to turn the tables here, and this means showing a little restraint.
Find out how to play it cool in the bedroom and other power principles that will ensure you always have the upper hand.
Be calm and cool. Be appreciative if she wants to take it to that level, but never, ever be so pathetically grateful that she feels like she’s doing you a favor. She should feel just the opposite — that she is the very lucky woman that gets to have you make love to her. To be desirable as a lover, follow the old show biz saying and “always keep ’em wanting more.” If a man comes across as absolutely desperate for some action, a woman will pick up on this and capitalize on it.
Power Principle #3: Enjoy A Full Life
This advice sounds so simple, and yet so many men make the mistake of making women the centerpieces of their lives and, even worse, letting them know that they are. Don’t sell the farm. Don’t willingly give away your upper hand; allow her a special place in your life, but not all of it.
The best way to do this is to continually cultivate your own outside interests. Don’t push aside everything you liked to do in the past just because a new woman has come into your life, whether it was Thursday Wings Night with the guys, music or whatever else it is that floats your boat.
Enjoy other hobbies, spend time with friends and family, and pursue your own career goals. If she knows that she is an absolutely essential part of your life, the power shifts her way. On the other hand, if she knows that she is just one element in a happy, full life, her significance is weakened, and the power slides back your way.
Power Principle #4: Win The Dating Games
In Power Principle No. 1, we discussed the first of the dating games: who initiates and who responds, and how it affects the development of the relationship. But this is only the beginning of the power struggle. Over time, other typical dating games will arise, and you will have to learn how to master each and every one of them or you will consistently lose ground.
For example, there are the jealousy games. On some level, maybe she’s trying to irk you a little bit by referring to her girlfriend’s visiting brother as being a hottie; she just wants to see how you’ll react. Never flinch. Show that you’re confident enough in your own charms by remaining cool.
Another trick she might try is the old “but-if-you-cared-about-me-you’d-do-this” game. This is a very clever ploy, but don’t fall for it. The proper response to this tricky maneuver is to tell her that if she cared about you, she wouldn’t be trying to make you do something that made you uncomfortable. It’s hard to argue with that idea without coming across as selfish. So use her tactics against her and maintain your control.
Only one person can lead, and only one can follow. Don’t be a follower; grab control of the situation from the get-go, and enjoy dating from a position of power. Let her believe that she precipitated the relationship, play it cool in the bedroom, live a full life so that she’s not your only focus, and win dating games with quick wit and by checking any rash behavior at the door.
In dating, like driving, the driver’s seat is the only place to be.