Love, Heartbreak

Giving Up Control Could Be The Best Thing For Your Relationship

Karen thinks of herself as a relatively laid back person, but her happiness is starting to dwindle. If you took a poll of her boyfriend, family and closest friends, however, a different story emerges. You see, Karen cares a lot about the relationships she's in. Her biggest fear is losing the people she loves and so she spends the majority of her time, energy and resources, making sure the bonds she has with loved ones remain strong.

The trouble is, Karen's attempts to constantly improve her relationships which often feel controlling and even smothering to the people in her life. This is especially true with her love relationship.

Jake and Karen have been a couple for over a year now and, unfortunately, Karen's good-intentions are pushing Jake away. Her offer to "help him get organized" feels to Jake like he no longer has any say in what he does with his free time. Karen has talked Jake into joining her gym instead of the one that's closer to his house and she recently began (re-)training his dog.

Even Jake concedes that none of these are horrible acts. It's just that none of these things feel like HIS idea. Lately, he's become withdrawn and sullen. Karen can't figure out why.

We're all different. Some of us are accustomed to very actively directing what's going on in our own lives and this urge to control carries over into the lives of those we love. Others are used to and possibly more comfortable going along with what someone else says and does.

Most of us vacillate somewhere in between these extremes.

In a healthy love relationship or marriage, there is a natural flow when it comes to who makes decisions and who takes the lead. If that balance gets out of whack related to communication, sex, emotional intimacy, financial matters, or anything else, distance and disconnection will quickly develop.

The trick is to recognize it (and own up to it) if you have a propensity to try to control.

As with Karen, you probably have loving intentions to help or do what you think is best. This can make it confusing to detect your own controlling behavior.

Ask yourself these 2 big questions:

  1. Is this really my business?
  2. Was my help/advice/intervention asked for?

If the answer to these questions is "No," then it's a smart move to back up and re-think what you were about to say or do. Instead of pushing your agenda or your insistence on the "right" way on your partner, make an offer like: 

  • "I have an idea that I think could improve this situation. Would you like to hear it?"
  • "Are you open to my help on this?"

The benefits of letting go and allowing your partner (and everyone else you care about) live his or her life are many. Here are a just few reasons why curbing your urge to control is good for YOUR happiness too...

  • Stronger trust: When you ease your iron grip, you send the message that you trust your partner to make wise and effective choices.
  • Fewer misunderstandings: More honesty and openness are cultivated when you stop trying to control others (or situations). This prevents a whole lot of arguments!
  • Less risk of resentment: You each feel a sense of agency and ownership for how you show up in your relationship.
  • Amazing orgasms: It's far more difficult to open up to ultimate pleasure when making love if you're wound tight and tense. Relaxation is almost a pre-requisite for more and more enjoyable orgasms!
  • Improved mental health: Think about how much angst and anxiety can be avoided by giving up control. Gift yourself with peace of mind.
  • Vibrant physical health: Constantly trying to micro-manage everybody and everything is not just mentally draining, it can take a toll on your physical health too. Do your body a favor!
  • Boost to overall productivity: Free yourself to focus on what really matters and what you can really make a positive impact on in your own life.
  • Increased closeness: What seems like an obvious plus is often forgotten in a triggering moment. Intimacy flourishes when neither you nor your partner feels controlled.
  • Better chance you'll get your way: Interestingly, when you give up trying to talk your partner into or “make” your partner do something and instead you just ask, you often end up with exactly what you want.
  • More fun: As you relax into life and stop trying to force "your way," there may be some scary or uncomfortable moments, but there will also be more opportunities for passion, love, connection and fun.

Our advice to ease up applies not just to how you interact with your partner, but to how you move through your own life too. An iron grip on anything leads to strain, stress and pain. Practice breathing deeply and taking a softer approach. You can be softer and easier and still have a clear commitment to your priorities and goals.

It's all about enjoying the ride and letting life unfold for you instead of trying to force it.

If you're looking for more ideas to create the amazing and close relationship you've been craving, get our free ebook: Passionate Spark-Lasting Love. Start putting into practice these ideas and techniques for more intimacy and joy with the one you love.

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