What Role Does POWER Play In Your Relationship?


A young woman who "idolized" Anthony Wiener comes forward to talk about her role in the sex scandal.

A young woman has come forward to reveal that Anthony Wiener continued his sexting behavior after his resignation from congress. She is a political activist who “idolized” the former congressman. This story from CNN http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/25/politics/weiner-messages-woman/index.html?... as well as the sexts posted on TheDirty.com revealed the identity of one of the “several” women with whom Wiener admitted to online sexual communication.

  • Why was the 48 year old former political powerhouse involved with a 22 year old woman? 
  • Why was superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger involved with his housekeeper?
  • Why was one of the world’s most famous athletes, Tiger Woods seeking out cocktail waitresses?

The easy conclusion is sure, men are interested in attractive young women. There is more going on than that simple explanation.  None of these women are anything like the women these powerful men marry. The other incentive is POWER.


Anthony  Wiener is married to Huma Abedin, a highly educated and accomplished woman in her own right. Eliot Spitzer’s wife Hilda Wall Spitzer is a Harvard educated attorney who has had an outstanding career, Arnold Schwarzenegger was married to the very well- known and successful Maria Shriver. These are women of great substance, extremely accomplished and who, undoubtedly, felt equal to their famous husbands.  When these men act out sexually they do not choose the type of women that they looked to marry, they choose women who have very little control and power in their relationships. A prostitute, as in the case of Eliot Spitzer, allows the person paying the ultimate physical control in the “relationship.”

Our spouses are not awed by us, no matter how rich or successful we are. They see us without the lights, the cameras and the fans. They know our foibles and our weaknesses. They do not “idolize” us. If our relationship is fundamentally good our spouses love us in spite of our flaws and failings.  Someone who chooses a partner who is much younger, less well educated, less accomplished or with less money is often looking for someone they can easily control or manipulate.  We do not have to answer to or respect someone without power in the relationship. Insecure people seek out others where they have most of the control.

How can these great and powerful people be insecure? Confidence fundamentally comes from within, not from external accomplishment. Terrible emotional insecurity can persist from problems in our earlier life or childhood that continue to haunt even after achieving many external symbols of success. Men and women of great success can, in fact, be driven to their accomplishment by underlying insecurity.  People with inner demons can turn to possessions or alcohol or sex to try to fill their emptiness if they are unwilling to try to grapple with their insecurities or admit to weakness. It is easier to flirt or get drunk than to come to grips with your greatest fears.


It is always important to be aware of the power dynamics in your relationship. It can be very exciting to be pursued by someone who is much more powerful because of money or status or fame but it’s necessary to examine whether that means you are not expected to have rights in your relationship. Will the other person make the important decisions; disregard your wishes and needs in the relationship? That’s a poor bargain emotionally no matter how exciting the arrangement may feel initially.

Women have historically had less power in relationships. There are periods in history where a woman’s only path to safety and security in life relied upon marrying a man with power. Many women today still hope to marry someone with money but greater opportunities and the women’s movement have helped women see that the most enduring happiness in relationships comes from having a true partnership where both parties have the right to be considered.

Power is a dynamic concept. In a healthy relationship there are times when each partner takes the lead or has more urgent needs. When the choice is made together with mutual respect, the relationship flourishes.  There are times when life defeats us and we need our partner to take over for us. There is nothing to fear in a healthy relationship if there are times when one person is dominant. Those choices made as a couple. Very few of us will do well in relationships where only one person’s wishes matter. In fact, that’s not a relationship at all.