How To Speak Up
How to Speak Up / How to Regain the Equality in Your Relationship – A Guide for Men Addressing the Problem: All healthy relationships involve sacrifice and give-and-take, but sometimes the balance is unintentionally shifted so that one partner is doing much more taking than the other. It may be difficult to notice a pattern because the negative pattern takes shape gradually and the decisions that lead to it are so small, but they eventually add up to become a serious power imbalance within the relationship. In many cases, even the partner who ends up with all the clout in the relationship doesn’t realize that she is taking advantage of a loved one. However, this imbalance is real problem, it does cause detrimental changes in the behavior of both partners, and it’s important to treat it seriously and acknowledge the signs early on. A power imbalance in a relationship does not mean that your partner is being overly demanding or abusive! When a relationship goes from balanced to imbalanced, it is rarely because one partner is actively seeking dominance over the other, and the imbalance generally occurs as a result of the actions of both partners. However, while it is important not to blame your partner, this is a serious situation which can have devastating effects on your confidence and self-identity, and it needs to be confronted right away. In order to start fixing the problem, you must be able to recognize the symptoms. Start learning how to speak up by asking yourself these basic questions:
* How often do we do what I want when we go out? What my partner wants?
* Do I feel that I treated like a servant; that I am assigned tasks with the expectation they be completed instead of asked to help out?
* Do I in fact complete these tasks without saying anything to my partner?
* Do I feel I am doing more than my own share of the work involved in running a household, while my partner does less than hers?
* Does my partner expect a certain amount of free time, but seem surprised or upset when I expect the same?
* How often do we spend time with my friends? With my partner’s friends?
* When we talk about the future, to we consider both our goals equally?
* Does my partner ask questions to get input on what I want or want to do? Does she seem interested in my feedback to find out whether or not I enjoyed an activity?
* Does my partner seem willing to hear about my interests and activities in an open-minded, understanding way, or does she tend to dominate the time we spend talking and focus only on her life? Does she treat my interests as less important than her own?
* Does my partner ignore me when I ask her to do things?
* Does my partner sometimes poke fun at me in a way that she treats as joking, but I feel is genuinely hurtful? Does she do this in front of others?
* Does my partner make assumptions about money without asking? Does she assume that the money we have together is acceptable for spending without discussion first, or does she see our money as a joint pool when this is something we have not agreed on?
* When I have a problem, does my partner take me seriously? Does my partner address my problems in an understanding way, or see these problems as an intrusion on her life?
Does my partner seem to expect an inordinate amount of time and attention, or unwilling to allow me to have any time to myself?
When I bring up concerns about our relationship, does my partner accuse me of jumping to conclusions or overreacting?
Do we as a couple clearly devote more time and energy to my partner than myself?
These are just a few sample questions you can ask yourself to determine if equality within your relationship is a problem. If you answered honestly, and the answers seem to indicate that the relationship is significantly more about your partner than yourself, then you need to begin taking steps to fix this imbalance. Remember that your partner is not trying to hurt you, you might just have a different impression about where the relationship is and where it’s going. Most partners are willing to work on the problem with you once they are aware of it, and with an honest approach this is often a very fixable situation. Learn how to speak up by reading all the self help articles or call today to schedule an appointment at the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia. 267-324-9564. You deserve the skills of knowing how to speak up!