3 Common Power Dynamics in a Relationship and How to Resolve

By Susan Fishman, July 22, 2022

According to Emily Heard, MFT, a marriage and family therapist in Menlo Park, California, power imbalances in relationships often arise around specific themes, including: 

  • finances
  • sexual intimacy
  • decision making
  • duties and responsibility

When trying to handle these or other power imbalances, Heard explains three common dynamics can play out:

  • demand/withdrawal
  • distancer/pursuer
  • fear/shame

“By acknowledging the relationship power dynamic,” Heard says, “any of the themes can be addressed, whether it’s a major life decision or a simple disagreement.”

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