Love and Power (Psychology Today article))

This is the opening of a 12 page discussion about intimacy and power.

“Power infuses all relationships, but today there’s a new paradigm: Only equally shared power creates happy individuals and satisfying marriages. Increasingly, it is the passport to intimacy. …

Shared Power Is the Only Power

Although many people associate power with manipulation and coercion, contemporary psychologists and philosophers have forged a new power paradigm: They view power as the capacity of an individual to influence others’ states, even to advance the goals of others while developing their full self. It doesn’t require observable behavior, let alone force.

If a woman is as influential as her partner is, then a relationship lasts, says John Gottman. But if he’s much more influential than she is, the relationship doesn’t last. For the dean of relationship researchers, an “interlocking influence process” is at the heart of a balance of power. “It’s really about responsiveness to your partner’s emotions. If you have power in a relationship, you have an effect on your partner with your emotions. That’s a good sign for the long-term stability of the relationship and the happiness of the partners. But some people have very high emotional inertia; they weigh a lot emotionally; it’s hard to move them.” See Love and Power

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