Dominance in a Relationship: do you need to be equal?

Relationships are many things. The most common attributes we give are – love, care, fun, dates, but there are other things that are lingering in every relationship but are not said out loud very often. One of them are power-play and dominance.

Deep down we all know that also in our relationship there is the question about dominance, at least in our subconsciousness. And that is one of the reasons we should talk about it, because if we aren’t careful, we can get into trouble, especially in a long-term relationship.

You may think you know what it is like to be a dominant person in a relationship, but the truth is, you might not be too sure. Dominance can be a powerful tool when it is used appropriately; however, if not used correctly, it can become a dangerous and unhealthy force.

The goal of this blog post is to help you learn to recognize the signs of dominance, know if it works for you, and how to take action when it is hurting your relationship.

Read time: approximately 10 minutes

Dominance in a Relationship: Do you need to be equal?

What kind of dominance we are talking about?

There are many forms of dominance, but in this article, we will be having a look at the emotional dominance. And, no, that is not aggression.

We want to be clear that we are not referring to relationships in which one person is stronger than the other, but rather when one person has a level of control over a situation in which they are the one who makes the decisions, and the other person is more passive.

Here we are talking about the kind of dominance, where one party takes the lead on many aspects of the relationship. And no, here we are not talking about controlling or aggressive relationships – those are harmful relationships and completely different topics.

Of course, dominant relationships also can be harmful, if they cross the line up to the point, where the submissive is not feeling happy, but the truth is every relationship is at the very least a bit dominant. There is almost no relationship where both partners are complete equals.

So, being in a dominant relationship is nether good, neither bad – it all depends, if you feel happy in this kind of union, and – is your partner happy. If yes – keep doing it.

Also, there is nothing saying, you can be dominant in one aspect of the relationship, but submissive in another – which is a truly healthy way of balancing the overall power distribution.

How to Know if You Are in a Dominant Relationship

Of course, there are some relationships, where it is obvious that the couple have distributed the power among them and there is no question about who is the dominant and who – the submissive.

But often, when one of the parties in the relationship is more dominant, the power distribution is not clear. And this is dangerous because it can cause a lot of friction in your relationship.

On top of that one of the biggest mistakes that people make in these relationships is thinking they are in a dominant relationship when they are really in a submissive position. So how can you know? 

Most people who are in a relationship with someone can agree that the person in question is a "dominant" person.

Dominance is not a bad thing; it's just a different form of relationship than that which most people know. When two people are together, they usually find something to argue about—it's part of the nature of the human species.

Dominance arises when one person is the only source of a resource, and the other person is dependent upon that resource.

Dominance in your relationship

What are the signs of a dominant relationship?

A dominant relationship is one where you’re being pulled in a specific direction by your partner’s behaviors and expectations. It can be a good thing and a bad thing.

  1. Do you think one of you takes the lead in most of your relationship? 
  2. Or do you take the lead on some things, but your partner on different ones? 
  3.  Maybe, you can’t decide, which one should control the situation, so you argue about it? 
  4. Or maybe neither one of you are taking the lead, because you do almost everything separately?
Of course, this is way of a generalization and don’t take this as a fact, but, if you answered “Yes” to:

  • Number one: you could be in a dominant relationship 
  • Number two: an equal relationship 
  • Number three or four: at a power struggle, where the both of you wishes to be dominant, or neither of you wishes to be dominant
If you feel like you’re at the receiving end, and you like to follow your partner’s lead, and you are happy – good. If you feel like you are the dominant one – see how your partner reacts, when you take the lead. Is he/she happy or resistant? 

The benefits and disadvantages of being dominant

Every person is different and has its own unique set of needs, wants, desires and viewpoints. Some may be generally more dominant, while others like to take the backseat.

So, you’re going to want to consider the benefits and drawbacks of being the dominant person or being with a dominant in a relationship.

When it comes to relationships, there are advantages and disadvantages to being the dominant one depending what kind of person you are.

Dominant is defined as someone who is in control, in charge, and in charge of decision-making. This can be a positive attribute, but it is not always a great thing.

Of course, it all depends on what kind of person you are, and maybe for you there are only disadvantages or advantages, but if we are talking about dominant relationships that are healthy, there are some pros and cons.


  • Can let your partner take the lead 
  • Don’t have to take many decisions or risks 
  • Usually a simpler, more comfortable rhythm of life 
  • You can rely to the dominant to fix things

  • Usually do not get to choose the big things 
  •  More of less the relationship flows in the direction as the dominant partner wants 
  • If not contained, can easily slip into the realm of a controlling relationship, which is not healthy

Is a dominant relationship for me?

Ask yourself why you want it, what will make you happy, and whether you are ready for a lifetime commitment.

Many people enter into Dom/Sub relationships because they don’t feel fully connected, or because they think it will fill a gap in their life, or because they’ve been abused by another partner and need a safe place to express their pain, but it’s not clear they can commit to it for the long term.

Many women in Dom/Sub relationships say they don’t have enough time or energy to devote to a relationship when they are busy with children and other responsibilities, and men often get stuck in a cycle of trying to change a woman who doesn’t want to change.

It's easy to be seduced into believing that in order to keep a relationship healthy, we need to be dominant. 

We need to take charge and dominate our partners. We need to have control and take action of the situation at all times.

But it's not always the case. Sometimes, a relationship can work better when we're submissive and allowing our partners to take charge of the relationship. In fact, it's very likely that you've already been in a submissive role in a relationship.

Now ask yourself – do I wish to be dominant; do I wish to let go and be submissive, or I wish more or less an equal power balance in my relationship? And, then reflect to the relationship you already are in – does it reelect the relationship you want?

If yes – perfect! If no, then try making some changes so it becomes closer to it.

Do You and Your Partner Need to Be Equal?

Many couples argue over who is more important, who does more, who will decide things etc., and the truth is there is no such thing as a completely equal relationship. There can be balanced relationship, but you will not be complete equals.

So, no you don’t have to be equals, but you need to have the right balance that works for you. If being dominant and submissive makes you both happy – amazing, keep doing it. Make each other happy!

Therefore the real question is – do you like your power balance in your relationship, and do you know that your partner is happy as well.

Just remember that relationship is a dynamic union, where many things change, including the power balance. If you are now the dominant, there is nothing saying you will be in say, 5 years.

What we are saying by this – don’t be in a relationship just for the sole cause to be equal, dominant or submissive. Be in a relationship because it makes the both of you happy and you see future together.

Power play in relationship

How to make your relationship more balanced

Now, if you think your relationship has the right balance, just skip this point, but if you ever feel like the relationship, you’re in lacks balance, keep reading.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who needs space, and you don’t want to put yourself in situations where you feel suffocated.

Or perhaps you’ve found yourself with the opposite problem: You’re constantly trying to get your partner to compromise when he or she would much rather maintain their independence. This can lead to tension and frustration—and even hurt feelings.

The trick is figuring out what balance you need, and then working toward it.

The first step to making a relationship work is understanding what kind of a person you want to be in a relationship with. Then, work towards the resolution.

Of course, if the problem is bigger and needs to be addressed in a more professional matter, you can consider going to therapy, but more times that not, you can take small steps.

When you find out, what kind of problem needs fixing, take small steps – talk about it with your partner, make small changes in your behavior. Maybe, you wish to become less dominant – then everyday ask your partner, what he/she wishes to do today. Small things.

Equal or dominant relationship

In Conclusion

In a healthy relationship, you don’t have to be equal, but there needs to be some sort of mutual balance.

While being equal in a relationship is not always ideal, it is not necessary for the relationship to be successful however, power struggle can lead to many problems in a relationship.

Some couples are very happy, when one of them is the dominant, but the trick there is that they have distributed this power willingly, so there is no struggle between them.

But if you are in a constant disbalance and it does not make you happy, it might be time for some changes. It might be time to consider changing the dynamic.

Although dominant relationship can be good and healthy, just be careful because it can slip into the zone of being controlling. 

As always, feel free to read other relationship tips and look around our store to find some thoughtful and sexy gifts for couples.

Couple Goals: Laughing

We would love to hear from you!

Is your relationship balanced when it comes to power? Or you think you should work on it?

Maybe, we missed an important thing about dominance in relationships?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Play Feel Love

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.