How Men Nonverbally Dominate

couple-sitting

How Men Nonverbally Dominate

A power dynamic is how power exists in a relationship. Does one partner have more power than the other? Does one have all the power? Or do they share power? Power dynamics shape love. They either allow a place for it to grow and develop or they choke it. The power dynamic that is the healthiest and aids relationships is when both partners share in the power equally. You can see a power dynamic at work by examining who interrupts the other, who talks over the other, who makes final decisions, who punishes, who generally wins fights and so on. Men and women utilize and respond to verbal and nonverbal cues in different ways.

Of course either sex can be domineering in a relationship. However, men are the ones who traditionally dominate heterosexual relationships. Men control women either consciously or subconsciously using certain verbal and nonverbal cues. For instance, personal space tends to be different in each sex. Men have a bubble of personal space around them. Others penetrate this to cause discomfort, get closer or create arousal. Women have smaller personal space bubbles. And men tend to invade a woman’s personal space more often in the hope of persuading or controlling her.

In terms of posture, men tend to use more open, expansive forms. Therefore they need more space. This taking up of space is deciphered as dominance. Women are more constricted because they tend to take up less space. If you notice how men and women cross their legs, it displays clearly this phenomenon. Men tend to cross their legs with one ankle on top of their knee or thigh, taking up lots of space. Women however cross their legs at the knee taking up far less space. Expansive positions communicate dominance. Constricted positions tell of submission. The latest research shows that incorporating more expansive body language increases one’s confidence and self-esteem. If you notice the mode of dress, a man’s dress portrays power, a woman’s submissiveness. Women have to cross their legs in skirts, ergo communicating submissiveness outright. Women also carry things in a handbag or purse, which also communicates submission while men carry things in their pockets.

Touch is another way men subconsciously dominate women. Research shows that men who aren’t romantically involved touch women more often as a way of dominating them. This is true of dominant personalities too. They tend to touch in order to dominate; someone that puts their hand on your arm to make sure you are paying attention to their point, for example. Men who care about taking part in a blissful, well-adjusted long term relationship should be aware of what nonverbal cues they are sending their female counterparts, and make sure not to dominate, but to allow her an equal share of the power. To learn more about dominance in relationships read, Intimacy and Power: The Dynamics of Personal Relationships in Modern Society by Derek Layder.

Lots of Fights can be Avoided

Tired couple drinking coffee

Lots of Fights can be Avoided

Though fighting itself is inevitable, there are many reasons couples fight and lots of them can be avoided. Sometimes when we get in a fight with a significant other we can’t believe what it is that they believe to be true, and we make it our mission to convince them. But you need to ask yourself if it’s really important. The truth is the truth. That’s not going to change. What may change is perception, either yours or theirs. But forcing someone to bend to your will and believe something just because it is a deep belief of yours will only make them resist, and cause difficulty in your relationship. Better to present them with all of your facts in a friendly manner and put no stock in whether they come to it or not. Isn’t maintaining the relationship more important? Other fights happen because someone is upset or angry and lashes out at someone close to them in order to blow off steam and feel better. Though this may be a good way to temporarily get over a problem, it will cause bigger issues in the long run. If that person just takes it then the venter will soon lose respect for them and the relationship will fall apart. Otherwise the one who was yelled at will defend themselves, strike back, or hold a grudge, resentment. In any way this phenomenon of lashing out does not bode well for the relationship. It can only cause more stress and strain. Instead, why not tell your partner that you want to vent and do so in an appropriate way? Let them know that you don’t want advice, merely understanding, support and validation. In fact this kind of communication will strengthen rather than weaken the relationship.

If your spouse or significant other criticizes you for no reason, realize that the problem is with them, not you. Now you can respond in a negative way and cause more strife in the relationship, or you can ask them what’s bothering them and get to the bottom of the matter. In fact, they will probably apologize when you approach the matter this way, and confide in you. Now you are communicating and will make plans to unravel the problem. You can show support, nurture and encourage them, and be there for them if they need a shoulder to cry on. This will increase your bond rather than straining it. It’s hard to take your ego out of the equation. But you’ll find that the more you take yourself out of it and the more you can look at things as an uninterested party, an observer from a scientific standpoint, the more you can view your own and your lover’s behavior and patterns, see what has been affecting the relationship negatively and make plans to address these issues. Sometimes we get blindsided and are all of a sudden in an argument. The best thing to do is to not let your emotions take over or else you will feed the fire instead of putting it out. Try to calm things down. Refuse to deal with the person then until they’ve calmed down. Once they have, talk about the issue calmly. See what the problem is. Apologize if you are indeed at fault and negotiate, finding a way forward. Lastly, oftentimes miscommunication causes strife and turmoil. First, come to make sure you understand what has been said by repeating it back to them. State what you agree with. Then talk about what you disagree with and why. This gets the dialogue going. Discussing rather than arguing is the best way to solve issues and enjoy a happy couplehood. For more, read Fight Fair: Winning at Conflict without Losing at Love by Tim Downs and Joy Downs.

How the Desire Differential Generally Works

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Do you and your spouse have a desire differential? That’s when one person has a higher libido than the other. It is common. One third of married American couples experience this phenomenon. Although it’s common, that doesn’t mean you should be complacent about it. Both parties will be unsatisfied and your connection will suffer. There are lots of programs, self-help books and experts talking about this but few actually get to the heart of the issue. This problem actually stems from deeper ones. Here’s how the desire differential generally works. The person with the lower desire often holds access to sex. If that person can’t be put in the mood, their preference is by and large when the act will occur. Most of the time this isn’t due to a need for power, control or to play out some sort of revenge. There is also an unspoken rule that says that the spouse with the higher sex drive must accept the no sex ruling when their spouse isn’t in the mood. This person may not go outside the marriage to have their needs met nor can they even voice being upset by the verdict. This situation is both unrealistic and untenable. Just like in other ways, to make both parties happy or at least to satisfy them, a compromise should be sought and enacted so that both parties can be happy, their needs met and their choices respected.

There are lots of things you can do when one spouse isn’t in the mood. You can get them in the mood for one. Foreplay, teasing, dressing in a way they find sexy and being playful might help. The other can decide to be open to the possibility if you can change their mind. The person with lower desire might decide to give in and be swept up in the passion of the other. Another option when sex isn’t a pleasant option for one is to do other things in order to satisfy the libidinous party. Oral or manual stimulation or some other kind of act may be performed. Remember that for lots of people and couples desire isn’t always maintained at the same level it was when the couple first got together. After years of marriage you may need to work at it. One psychologist suggests that you should schedule sex. Some couples think this takes the spontaneity out of it. But in actuality both parties have to be creative and help build the mood until the day arrives.   Work on the art of seduction. Play the right music. Wear an alluring scent. Say and do things that you know turn your partner on. You should know your spouse’s sexual buttons a little and be able to persuade them. But first they have to be open to it, or else take them by surprise and see if it’s a turn on and if they’ll go for it. For most humans there are four stages; desire, arousal, orgasm and resolution or our bodies turn back to their nonsexual modes. Lots of people go right for arousal or the touching aspect. Learn to stoke the flames of desire. But for the one with a lower desire, learn to be open and see if you can respond. For more advice on this topic, read Perfectly Normal: Living and Loving with Low Libido by Sandra Pertot, Ph.D.

Narcissists are More Prone to Sexual Infidelity

narcissist

There are all kinds of problems being in a relationship with a narcissist and here’s one more thrown on the pile. According to new research, narcissists are more prone to sexual infidelity.  Laura Widman and James K. McNulty were the researchers who uncovered these results by studying 123 newlyweds through their first four years together as husband and wife. Using surveys and lab experiments, infidelity, sexual satisfaction and marital satisfaction were all gauged. Questions regarding sexual narcissism were highlighted including sexual entitlement, empathy, view of their own skill and sexual exploitation. To determine whether someone was a sexual narcissist or not, researchers asked questions on a five point scale. Sample questions were: “I feel I deserve sexual activity when I am in the mood for it”,   “I could easily convince my spouse to have sex with me if he or she was unwilling”, and “I really know how to please my spouse sexually.” The research revealed a pattern, those with higher sexual narcissism levels were more likely to cheat. As the researchers themselves put it, “The spouses who were more confident about their sexual skill were more likely to commit an infidelity.”

If your partner shows the traits of sexual narcissism they will be more likely to go astray, according to this research. The researchers wrote of this, “Interventions may benefit from identifying and targeting individuals who have narcissistic tendencies that manifest in the sexual domain.” You can find this article in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. So what are some of the signs you need to watch out for to see if you are with a sexual narcissist? A sexual narcissist uses sex for their own gratification, they don’t care much about their partner’s though they may feign that they do. Just like with other parts of the relationship, it is all about them all the time. At first, it may feel thrilling and exhilarating. But after a while you will realize that your own needs aren’t being met, or even regarded. In fact, they are usually simply cast aside in one clever way or another. Sex or the withholding of it is at their whim and pleasure. If you aren’t into it or don’t want it when they do, there is something wrong with you. There is no intimacy with a narcissist. In fact, at times it may be more about power and control than bonding or connecting. The lover is, in this realm as in all others in the relationship, a toy to be used, manipulated and abused all at the whim of the narcissist. If you are with someone with any of these traits it is best to untangle yourself from the relationship. This mental condition isn’t healthy and it will bring you down so as to hoist your partner up. Find someone who is also interested in fulfilling your needs, wants and desires. For more on this topic, read Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On by Cynthia Zayn and Kevin Dibble, M.S.

Head Games in Long Term Relationships

head to head angry couple

We’ve all heard those rules, wait before calling or texting back. Don’t always be available. Showing how much you like someone will make them turn away and so on. These rules sometimes work, sometimes not so much. Head games are a part of some couple’s dating life. But when it carries over into a long term relationship, head games can spell trouble. When someone is manipulating or guiding a situation along using persuasion, they often feel that they have the other all figured out. They believe their partner is often trying to persuade or manipulate them as well. This person can misconstrue kindness for controlling behavior. Bitter fights, rivalries, discomfort, suspicion and other negative emotions soon enter the fray. Soon one or both partners become paranoid, trying to interpret the moves of the other to see what puppet strings they are trying to pull, what end game they are trying to accomplish, even if their partner is merely being selfless and kind. The truth is suspicion and assumptions in a relationship are deadly killers. Most fights occur not out of malice or manipulation but simply out of misunderstanding. You can’t always know what is going on in your lover’s head. It’s impossible. Though you may know someone well, even after years together, they will often surprise you in what they say, do and their interpretation of the facts.

What ends up happening is that the couple begins trading passive aggression as if it is the currency of their household. You do things to consciously throw your partner off. If they expect you to do more of the cleaning of the house, and have a fight about it one evening, but the very next day they wash the kitchen floor at a time they usually don’t, an unrelated matter perhaps they have a lot of errands and wanted to get it out of the way, you purposely leave dishes in the sink unwashed, thinking that they washed the floor on purpose. This leads to a fight where your partner thinks you are merely being irresponsible and you think that they are mad at your revenge tactic. It may sound silly and childish, but couples maneuver this way all the time. Passive aggression will eat away at a relationship until all that is left is a goodbye and old memories. In terms of marriage, lots of divorces happen this way, too. Instead, ask for a time to talk to your partner. Pick a time when they are free of distraction. Talk about how you feel. Don’t point fingers. Merely talk about your perception of how things are. Ask their motivation for doing such things. Discuss it in depth. Lay all your cards on the table and if they truly love you, they will do the same. Misunderstandings will come out. You’ll both feel silly. The bond of trust will be reestablished and your relationship will be renewed. If you are interested in learning more, pick up a copy of Why Can’t You Read My Mind? by Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D.