News: According to a new study in the “Journal of Social and Personal relationships”, how lovers perceive power dynamics in their relationship is most important for relationship satisfaction. Objective power measured by income doesn’t seem to play a big role in a happy relationship.
Most of the time it’s men dominating the decision-making than women. Today, traditional gender roles have changed and romantic relationships have become more equal — especially in western societies, according to Körner. In the new study, researchers from the University of Bamberg, investigated how power and the perception of power impact couples.
Researchers interviewed 181 heterosexual couples (between 18 and 71 years old) who had been living together for at least one month. The respondents had been in a relationship for an average of eight years. The team investigated how actual and perceived power influence different aspects of a relationship — such as satisfaction and commitment — and how they affect the quality of that relationship. Survey questions were about partner’s trust, sexual satisfaction, feelings of oppression and constraint and so on. The research team calculated the balance of power to investigate the extent to which the traits of each partner were similar to each other.
The results of the study show that men still had more positional power (based on higher income and higher education) when it comes to decision-making. The need to make decisions in general was also stronger among the men on average. However, the two factors did not appear to influence the quality of the relationship that the couple experienced. The same applies to the balance of power: Even if men and women within the same couple were very similar with regard to the measured traits, no connection to relationship quality could be found.
“The results surprised us, as earlier research has often suggested a direct link between the balance of power and relationship-based outcomes,” says Körner.
As per study results, happiest couples were those in which both partners reported a high sense of personal power. “It appears that the subjective feeling of power and the feeling of being able to act freely significantly impact the quality of the relationship,” Körner concludes.
Couples can be happy if both partners assert their preferences when making decisions that are important to them. While the woman might want to decide on where to go on vacation, the husband chooses where to go for dinner. Happy couples favour effective negotiation, the research concludes.
To Know More You May Refer To:
Körner, R., & Schütz, A. (2021). Power in romantic relationships: How positional and experienced power are associated with relationship quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 38(9), 2653-2677. https://doi.org/10.1177/02654075211017670