Could Your Relationship Survive The 'Oscar Curse'?


Hilary Swank Chad Lowe
Four ways to make a relationship last despite an imbalance of professional success.

The Oscar nominations are out, inevitably leaving some nominees wondering whether they will fall victim to the so-called, "Oscar curse": the breakup of a marriage or relationship when one partner out-succeeds the other. This "curse" is not specific to Oscar nominees, of course. It plagues many relationships, particularly when the woman is more successful than the man.

What are the dynamics at play? InsideOut Empowerment® tells us that humans have five basic needs which they are driven to meet — survival, connection, freedom, enjoyment and significance. Significance is typically the need that is most destructive to relationships and the one that comes into play with success or lack thereof.


Every person has a need for significance. This need encompasses being important, making a difference, being recognized for a talent or an accomplishment, being the best at something, being competent, being strong and being in control. We don't all have this need at the same level however. Our need-strength profile is unique to each of us.

People with a higher need for significance would be drawn to certain professions (e.g. politicians, CEOs of corporations, corrections, members of the armed services, public speakers, doctors, athletes, actors, etc.). This need to be the best and recognized would drive a person toward a profession where they tend to get a lot of attention. ( See: Why Domestic Violence Runs Rampant in the NFL)

People with a high need for significance tend to be competitive. They like to win and be recognized for their victories. I spend a lot of time with couples looking at their need-strength profiles to determine their compatibilities (See: How Compatible Are You And Your Partner?). Take our free assessments to find out!

For the other four needs (survival, connection, freedom and enjoyment), it is best to pair with someone with similar need strengths. However, the significance need is different. Two people high in significance may have a difficult time maintaining a positive relationship because they both want to win, be right and always have the last word. They want to be the most important, inside their relationship and out. Keep reading ...

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Kim Olver


Kim Olver, LCPC, has been featured in Whole Living, Women's World, Fitness Magazine and Counseling Today and is the best-selling, award winning author of Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life.

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Location: Country Club Hills (Chicago), IL
Credentials: LCPC, MS, NCC
Specialties: Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Empowering Women
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