More than ever in today’s society, different groups are fighting for their right to be considered equal. Whether it is race, sexual orientation or gender, everyone deserves to be treated as an equal. It is a basic human right. Where this is often overlooked however, is in relationships. Are you in an equal relationship?
It is something that is extremely difficult to measure as everyone has different needs and beliefs. Each case is different. With this in mind, an equal relationship is one where both parties feel mutually happy, fulfilled and respected. It is up to the couple themselves to navigate what is important to them and to decide what they need from their partner for their needs to be met. It is not a measure of who does more housework or who makes more money. While these are important factors that influence a relationship, it is important that both parties have an open and ongoing discussion about what they feel is fair and what they need and expect out of the relationship.
Just because one person may work longer hours, bring in more money or do more housework than the other, this may not necessarily mean the relationship is not equal. It is an agreement between the two parties as to what is acceptable to them. In one relationship, one partner may be happy to stay home with the children while the other partner works. They may have an agreement that as one partner works, the other tends to the at home duties. Some may view this as old fashioned or because in their relationship both parties work, they expect other relationships should work in the same way as theirs does. This is why what works for one couple may not work for another. It is up to the individuals involved in the relationship to navigate. If you feel happy and fulfilled in your relationship, you don’t need the approval of others. A fantastic measure of an equal relationship is one where both parties are happy and content in the relationship and only care about what the other partner thinks of their own relationship and not what others think of the relationship.
While you may look at another relationship and feel it is not equal, it is about what you and your partner agree on, not what others think you should be doing. The only way to do this is through communication and open dialogue. You need to be in constant communication with your partner and use your voice if you feel the balance is shifting, you need to raise your concerns with your partner. You need to look past ‘winning an argument’ and being ‘right’. It is about having mutually respectful conversations where partners have a frank discussion calmly and respectfully. Yelling, giving the silent treatment, trying to manipulate or control someone or having the attitude of ‘my way or the highway’ is not behaviour that occurs in an equal relationship.
A relationship that is not equal can be difficult to measure as it is deeply personal between the two people involved in the relationship. If a person feels like they are ‘too good’ for their partner, that they have ‘settled’ or that they are being held back, this means a person does not view their partner as an equal. Their behaviour will reflect this view.
Your partner is someone that should drive you and make you believe that with them, you are the best person you can be and that this person makes you and your life better. If you look at your partner as an equal, you will respect the relationship and be willing to cater to their needs as they will to yours.
A relationship that is not equal may seem harmless at first. If you love the person, you may be willing to sacrifice and turn a blind eye. It can in some instances however lead the other partner to abuse the power that they have in the relationship. It is then it can go from an unequal relationship to a controlling one. Their behaviour becomes controlling, they use manipulation, intimidation and sometimes violence. While not all unequal relationships result in violence, they are unhealthy and have the red flags and the potential to become violent.
A strong and healthy relationship is up to you. It will take work and there will be tough times. Anyone who says they have never had a disagreement and are blissfully content in their relationship all the time is exaggerating the truth. There is a path to contentment and it involves a few bumps in the road. It is about your ability to compromise and communicate with your partner about their needs. It is a willingness to look deep within yourself and ask the question ‘Am I contributing to the problems in our relationship and what I can do?' Most of all it is about an equal mutual respect for each other as human beings.
If you feel you may be in an unequal relationship and want to talk to someone, we can help. Contact us and make an appointment.
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