Advice For Modern Relationships

What is a power move in a relationship?

What is a power move in a relationship?

What is a power move in a relationship?

When talking about relationships, have you ever heard the term “power move” and wondered, “What is a power move in a relationship?”

If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this complete guide, we’ll dive into the world of power moves and discover what they are, why they happen, and how to spot and deal with them.

Our goal is to talk to you about this topic in a way that is easy to understand and gives you helpful information so that you can better understand how your relationships work.

Power Move Defined

A power move is something one partner does, says, or does not do to control, dominate, or influence the other. These movements, whether subtle or evident, usually establish a power imbalance that benefits the user.

Why Do People Use Power Moves in Relationships?

In a relationship, someone might use a power move for more than one reason. Some of the most common reasons why people do things are:

Insecurity: Power moves can help a person feel safer in their relationship by giving them more control over their partner.

Past experiences: If someone has had power struggles in the past, they may be more likely to use power moves to avoid feeling weak or to bring back familiar dynamics.

Fear of rejection or abandonment: Power moves can give someone a sense of control, which can help them deal with their fear of being rejected or left alone.

Desire for control: Some people have a natural tendency to want to be in charge of different parts of their lives, like their relationships.

Recognising Power Moves in a Relationship

To know what a power move is in a relationship, you need to know what to look for. Here are some common ways people try to get what they want:

Withholding affection

As a manipulative strategy, one partner may deliberately withhold affection, love, or attention from the other.

The silent treatment

The old-school power manoeuvre of giving your spouse the quiet treatment can leave them with the impression that they are unimportant and undeserving of dialogue.

Making decisions unilaterally

Control is being exercised when one partner habitually makes decisions without consulting or considering the feelings or opinions of the other person in the relationship.


Another one of your power moves could be to exploit your partner’s sense of guilt in order to coerce them into doing something they don’t want to.

Playing the victim

Some people will play the character of the victim in order to get sympathy from others and manipulate their partner into giving in.

Using jealousy

As a means of exerting control over their relationship, one partner may flirt with other people or make statements designed to stir up envy in the other partner.

How to Respond

If someone tries to gain power over you, it’s important to know how to respond in a good way. Here are some ideas for how to handle power plays in a relationship:

Communicate: Power moves need to be talked about in an open and honest way. Talk to your partner about how you feel and what worries you, and also try to understand their point of view.

Set boundaries: Set clear limits for your relationship and stick to them. This will help you say what you want and keep you from being pushed around.

Seek support: Talk about what you’ve been through with friends, family, or a therapist. Support from others can give you valuable ideas and ways to deal with things.

Focus on self-care: When power moves happen in a relationship, it’s important to take care of your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Final Thoughts

Understanding power moves in relationships helps us build healthier, more balanced relationships. If we understand power transfers and their precursors, we can prevent issues.

Also See: Signs you’re in a toxic relationship

Managing power dynamics in partnerships requires open communication, appropriate boundaries, support, and self-care. If they work together to create an equitable partnership, they can enjoy a satisfying and harmonious relationship based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding.

FAQ // Power Moves

What is a power move in a relationship?

A power move is an action or behaviour used to dominate, control, or influence a partner. These moves can be subtle or overt, and they are often employed to gain the upper hand in a relationship.

Why do people use power moves in relationships?

Power movements in relationships can be used to cope with insecurity, past experiences, fear of rejection or abandonment, or a natural desire for control.

How can I recognise power moves in a relationship?

Common power moves in a relationship include withholding affection, giving the silent treatment, making decisions unilaterally, guilt-tripping, playing the victim, and using jealousy. By being aware of these behaviours, you can more easily recognise when someone is using a power move.

How should I respond to power moves in a relationship?

To effectively respond to power moves in a relationship, try open and honest communication, setting clear boundaries, seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist, and focusing on self-care to maintain your well-being.

Are power moves always harmful in a relationship?

Power movements can cause interpersonal problems, but context and frequency are important. Occasional power moves might be a normal part of human interaction; however, persistent manipulative or controlling behaviour can be detrimental.

Bec & Rachel​

Bec & Rachel

Content Creators

Talking about relationships.