Giving Up This One Thing Is The Best Thing Anyone Can Do For Their Relationship

Letting go of this could be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

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Karen thinks of herself as a relatively laid-back person, but her happiness is starting to dwindle.

But if you took a poll of her boyfriend, family, and closest friends, 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 that Karen's attempts to constantly improve her relationships, and that often feels controlling or smothering to the people in her life.

This is especially true with her romantic 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" makes Jake feel 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 retraining his dog. Even Jake concedes that none of these are horrible acts. It's just that none of these things feel like his ideas. Lately, he's become withdrawn and sullen, and Karen can't figure out why.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.

RELATED: How To Stop Being Controlling (Because It's Not A Good Look)

Most of us vacillate between being controlling and allowing others to take the lead.


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 it.

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) to live his or her life are many.

RELATED: You're Too Controlling (And 2 Other Brutal Reasons You're Still Single)

Here are ten reasons giving up control is the best thing you can do for your relationship — and here's why:

1. Stronger trust

When you ease your iron grip, you send the message that you trust your partner to make wise and effective choices.


2. Fewer misunderstandings

More honesty and openness are cultivated when you stop trying to control others (or situations). This prevents a whole lot of arguments.

3. Less risk of resentment

You each feel a sense of agency and ownership for how you show up in your relationship.

4. Amazing intimacy

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 prerequisite for the most passionate intimacy between you and your partner. 

5. Improved mental health

Think about how much angst and anxiety can be avoided by giving up control. Gift yourself with peace of mind.

RELATED: 5 Signs Of Disconnection In A Relationship & How To Bring The Connection Back


6. 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, so do your body a favor and relinquish control.

7. Boost overall productivity

Free yourself to focus on what really matters and how you can really make a positive impact on your own life.

8. 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.


9. 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 ask instead, you might end up with exactly what you want.

10. 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.


RELATED: If He Does These 7 Things, Stop: He's Trying To Control You

Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect, and create the relationship they desire.