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Happy relationships are hinged on the balance of power, says new study

Published on:8 July 2021, 16:40pm IST
There are several secrets to a happy relationship, but a new study suggests that the balance of power is essential when it comes to striking the right chord with your partner.
Geetika Sachdev
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Happy relationships are possible, only if you achieve balance of power. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Most people crave for happy relationships in their lives. Although we’ve grown up on an appetite of sappy rom-coms that show what true love means, let’s tell you that reality looks quite different. What we mean is that happy relationships are all about being in tune with each other, not just physically, but also emotionally and financially. That being said, remember there will be challenges, arguments and more. But that’s what a partnership really means, right?

There’ve been many people who’ve been trying to unravel the secrets of a happy relationship. According to a new study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the University of Bamberg, both partners must be able to decide on issues that are important to them. Relationship satisfaction, as per the study, can be achieved based on how lovers perceive power dynamics. 

 “It sounds like a dog-eat-dog world or the world of business. But power also plays a role in romantic relationships. The feeling of being able to make decisions in a marriage, for example, has a big influence on the quality of the relationship,” says Robert Körner from the Institute of Psychology at MLU. 

An emotionally healthy and happy relationship is all about being real. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

In the past, men and women had no balance of power, but slowly and steadily, things are beginning to change. The study also points out that romantic relationships are more equal today, especially in western societies. 

The study took into account 181 heterosexual couples who had been living together for at least one month. The respondents were between 18 and 71 years old and had been in a relationship for an average of eight years. The actual and perceived power influence was measured across various aspects of a relationship, including satisfaction and commitment. 

“We also calculated the balance of power to investigate the extent to which the traits of each partner were similar to each other,” Körner explains.

What were the results of the study?

Well, it turns out that men still have more positional power. This is keeping in mind the higher income and higher education. It was also revealed that men have a stronger need to make decisions. 

If you and your partner work together, you can salvage your relationship. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Even if men and women within the same couple were very similar with regard to the measured traits, no connection to relationship quality could be found. “The results surprised us, as earlier research has often suggested a direct link between the balance of power and relationship-based outcomes,” says Körner.

The study showed that those who had a higher sense of personal power had the happiest relationships. 

“It appears that the subjective feeling of power and the feeling of being able to act freely significantly impact the quality of the relationship,” Körner concludes. 

What matters is both partners must be able to make decisions that are important to them! 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.