Why Does Power Play Exist In A Relationship? And How To Realize!

This topic of why power play exists in a relationship can make many people uncomfortable. I have to admit that I have been in relationships where that power plays existed, but I didn’t realize it at the moment.

Suppose you are asking this question about your relationship. In that case, you are one step above most people in relationships where power play exists, only because you realize that you are in this kind of relationship, this is the first step and maybe the hardest one.

Why does power play exist in a relationship?

Power play exists in a relationship because one partner tries to control the other by using emotionally manipulative techniques. It doesn’t matter if it does this on purpose or if they come naturally. Trying to be in control is a thing that we naturally desire in most circumstances in life, so it’s hard not to have power plays in a relationship. Still, it is possible if both of you realize this and try your best to avoid those behaviors.

This means they are actually insecure since they don’t think an equal relationship is for them. It might not look like this since, many times, the partner that tries to control the other seems to have the situation under control, but usually, their insecurities will come to the surface when their superior position is challenged even a bit.

Power play can exist from both sides of a relationship in different moments, so the fact that your partner does this to you doesn’t mean that you are not doing the same in that relationship. Those kinds of relationships where both partners are trying to show that they are superior are very toxic and emotionally exhausting relationships.

One thing I noticed when I was in a relationship like this and by looking at other friends that seem to be in this kind of relationship is that they are intense and seem like everything that happens in that relationship is important.

That can be quite a big trap for someone that wants more adrenaline than necessary. Other normal healthy relationships after those can seem pretty boring since the partner listens to you, appreciates you for what you are, and completes you more often. Making you feel more relaxed since you don’t have to overthink everything you say because you are afraid they will use those against you.

This is how a healthy relationship works, you should not be on defense all the time by trying to say the perfect words to make you look good.

Make sure you are paying attention to why your relationship is so intense. Is it that you are in love and really like everything the other person does, or is it an intense relationship because one or both of you are trying to control the other?

Read Also: All About Power Dynamics In Friendships

Education is another factor when it comes to power plays in a relationship.

What we hear from our parents, friends, and family can lead us to think that we need to be superior in a relationship.

Many boys heart that they should be the ones that provide for their family even if those times are far gone, and they need a beautiful wife, and that’s it. This can make you think that you have to do everything, thus you are the one that should dictate everything in that relationship.

A lot of things that we hear in high school and even after that are like: “Don’t show them that you are weak”, “you have to show her/him who’s the boss in that relationship” and a lot of other things that teenagers say thinking it makes them look cool.

cool in high school

The sad part is that it does make them look cool. Imagine a high school kid that goes with their friends and says that loving your partner and viewing them as equal is the way to go in a relationship, how cool that would be for their friends. I bet those types of people are not the most popular in high school.

I’m not here to complain about how teenagers think that they should be the ones that control the relationship they are in because that is what is cool at that age, I’m here to say that it’s easy to have this behavior going forward in life.

Those things apply to boys and girls when they are teenagers, even if we might hear slightly different things. The point is the same to show your partner that you are the one in control of the relationship and they need to please you.

Power plays in relationships as adults.

Power plays are present in relationships as adults, and the differences in income, social status, the family you came from, and other grown-up things make these power plays even more dangerous.

When it comes to grown-ups, those behaviors can ruin a relationship pretty fast.

Adult life is not easy, you have a lot more responsibilities, and in those moments having a partner you consider weak and you have to control and show them that you are superior will not help at all.

The thing is that when you try to show your partner that you are in control and you are superior, you start to see them as inferior, which leads you not to trust them to do many things that maybe they are perfectly capable of doing.

The best way to avoid this is to try to find what your partner is good at, let them do their things, appreciate what they are good at, and understand that they might be better than you at many things, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they are superior to you in life.

You will need a partner that you can count on when it comes to passing the obstacles that will come into your life because it is much harder to do it alone. And having a partner that you consider much more inferior will drag you down, so it is not like you are doing things alone, it is worse than that.

Read Also: Is It Normal To Not Talk About Past Relationships?

How to know if you are power playing?

Here are a few signs that you are power playing your partner.

-If you overthink everything you say and you don’t feel like you can open up and be honest to your partner, that is a good sign that you are rather the one that tries to control your partner or your partner is controlling you.

-Feeling that you have to tell them everything you are better than them at and everything they are doing wrong is also a sign that you are trying to show them that you are superior.

-The intent behind your action matters, if you criticize your partner for the sole purpose of showing them that you are superior and they are weak, then you have a problem. However, if you let them know what they’ve done wrong because you believe they can do better and it will help them be a better person, it is ok in most situations. There are situations where, even if you have good intentions, you should not annoy your partner with everything they have done wrong.

How to know if your partner is power playing?

Here are a few signs to know when your partner is power-playing you.

-If you feel like everything that is going wrong in the relationship is your fault.

-You have to be extra careful with every word you say since it can anger or annoy your partner. We all know those people who are always angry or annoyed by their partners. This sometimes can happen with people that get sad easily, if everything you say makes them cry or be sad, it can also be a type of power play, it is just a different way of expressing it.

-You end up apologizing even if it’s their fault in different situations. Sometimes it can be the case that you end up apologizing for the way you criticize them, and that can be fine if you were a bit too harsh or something along this line.

Read Also: Why Do Introverts Hate Small Talk?


Power play exists in many relationships because it is how we are taught a relationship should work when we are teenagers by our friends and sometimes family.

Those are clear signs that at least one of the partners is insecure and needs to cover that up in a toxic way.