How To Overcome The Power Struggle Stage In Your Relationship

By Bruce Muzik in Conflict.

If you’re anything like me, when you fell in love your relationship felt like a series of magical moments…

…each one punctuated by your heart pounding and a nervous excitement that set your spirit soaring and your stomach doing flip-flops just at the thought of seeing him or her?

You felt alive and wanted to share every waking moment with your love, right?

Remember those moments of being joined at the hip?

And then, a terrible thing happens to two people in love.


Somewhere between 2 months and 2 years into your relationship, the intoxicating feelings of being in love begin to fade…

…and are slowly replaced with a primal panic inside as it dawns on us that we feel trapped or abandoned by the very person we thought would make us happy and look after our heart.

This is the beginning of a relationship stage that all relationships face, called the Power Struggle stage.

At this point, if you don’t run for the hills and try to find a new relationship, you attempt to get your needs met by trying to change your partner to be more like you want them to be (like you) and more like when you first met.

Or, you’ll try to punish them for not being who you thought they were.

Of course, they do the same to you and before you know it, you begin to feel like you can’t be yourself around your partner anymore.

You both walk on eggshells around each other, feeling scared, misunderstood and not knowing what to do to change it.

After a while of this power struggle, even the smallest disagreements get blown out of proportion leaving you feeling alone, abandoned and totally disconnected from the one person you love most.

Once you feel disconnected, you most likely become needy and demanding, desperately trying to reconnect with your lover…

…or you become withdrawn and distant, shutting down to protect yourself and taking time alone to process how you’re feeling.

Whatever the case, your relationship no longer feels safe.

Does this sound kinda familiar?

Am I close? Maybe you’re wondering if I’m psychic!


If you can relate to any of what I’ve just described, you’re normal.

You are normal and it’s OK that you’re fighting.

What I’ve described above is the inevitable journey from the Romance Stage of relationship to the Power Struggle stage of relationship. It’s not your fault – it’s designed by nature this way.

To some degree you lost yourself in your relationship while falling in love and have become dependent on your partner.

This is not actually a “bad” thing and is a necessary part of the bonding process that happens when we fall in love.

However, it is not a sustainable way to live, so nature forces you to energetically separate and establish a new, more healthy shared power between you.

If you succeed, you graduate with flying colors to the next stage of relationship – mature love. If you don’t, you break up.


Paradoxically, it takes falling out of love to spark the next stage of your growth, both individually and as a couple.

If you’re both willing to grow, you can get beyond the tug of war and learn how to share power between you in a fluid, productive way.

Only then can you move beyond the Power Struggle stage of relationship into a deeper, more mature love that can be even more passionate, exciting and connected that what you’ve experienced in the Romance Stage.


The first step on any healing journey is acknowledging that you’ve got a problem and clearly defining what that problem is.

The surface problem is that you’re no longer able to sustain a stable intimate connection between

Couple Fighting

you and your loved one and that nothing you try is making it better.

The deeper problem both of you face is that you are triggering each other’s deepest attachments fears – most likely

  • the fear of being rejected or abandoned, or
  • the fear of being trapped, controlled or smothered.

If you’re willing to acknowledge that you have a problem you don’t know how to solve, you’ve taken the first step towards healing your relationship.

The next steps in your journey will involve learning:

  • Counter-intuitive communication skills that we weren’t taught at school, so that you can share your heart openly without rubbing each other’s emotional raw spots
  • How to safely connect with each other in a way that makes you feel close
  • How to end recurring conflict, so that you’re not repeating the same old destructive relationship patterns over and over
  • How to heal and forgive past wounds so that trust is restored between you
  • How to understand and appreciate each other’s differences so that both of you can be yourselves with each other and live an authentic life together, without needing to change to please your partner or keep the peace

I started for one purpose only: To help you take these next steps and overcome the Power Struggle stage of your relationship, so you get on with your lives together and be happy.

If what you’ve read above resonates with you, and you’re ready to take these next steps to healing your relationship and getting past the Power Struggle stage, check out my FREE Relationship Help Course designed to help you end your power struggle.

If you have any questions about the Power Struggle stage, please ask them below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

About The Author

Bruce Muzik is a relationship repair specialist and the founder of Love At First Fight. 

He as dedicated his life to helping couples resolve their relationship issues and be happy together.

He has a hit TEDx talk and a reputation as the guy couples therapists refer their toughest clients to. Learn more about Bruce.

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