“Who Wears the Pants?” Advice for Balancing the Power in Your Relationship

married couple walking on railroad tracks

When it comes to relationships, it seems there is often a driving force behind the couple, or one partner who seems to always have the upper hand. This is often referred to as “wearing the pants.” The partner who “wears the pants” is the one most often in control of the relationship.

“Wearing the Pants”

But what does it mean to have control in a relationship? For one partner to have more control over the other often means that one partner in the relationship is more committed to and interested in it than the other. If one partner is less interested than the other, then the partner with more interest is frequently the one giving up their power in the relationship. This partner may do a lot of chasing and begging while the other wields the upper hand, giving little.


To avoid this scenario, each person in the relationship must value themselves. Each person should see themselves as “a catch” – a person with value, who deserves an equal and loving partnership.

Maintaining a balance of power in a relationship requires self-respect. If one person in the relationship doesn’t value themselves and they’re willing to do anything to keep the other person in a relationship, they are also setting the relationship up to fail. The person in control will lose respect and attraction, while the person giving up control will build resentment towards their partner.

Balancing Power

To create or maintain balance in your relationship, you must learn to stand your ground. Make your demands known, figure out what your deal breakers are, and be prepared to walk away if necessary.

As you make your needs known, be sure to do so in a calm manner and don’t create an argument. If there are important things that your partner needs to change, set a time limit. For example, if they frequently put you down or name-call, give them a period of time in which they have to make significant improvement. Know in advance what you’re willing to accept, and what behavior is unacceptable. It’s possible that your partner won’t change, and if so you need to be prepared to walk away while your self-esteem is still intact.


Are you having difficulties in your relationship, and require the help and guidance of a licensed professional? Call my office today and let’s set up an appointment to talk.

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Huntsville, AL 35806

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