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Track Two: What Happens When the Power Struggle is Over?

Stage 5: Anger If the power struggle is not negotiated successfully, at some point one or both partners give up struggling. However they do not give up on the issues, on their needs, or their positions. They simply give up struggling. Because nothing has been resolved during or after the power struggle, they only have one choice -- anger. Anger can look obvious and belligerent, or quiet and passive. Either way, it is unmistakable.

  • When it starts and how long it lasts:
    This stage starts after the power struggle has gone on too long. One or both partners have burned out from not getting their needs met continuously. This often does not start for years; but once started, is very difficult to turn around.
  • The joy: There is not much joy in anger.
  • The stumbling block: One or both people can be depressed, numb, and miserable -- a difficult place from which to affect change. This stage can kill a relationship, and is often the point in a relationship during which one or both partners have affairs.
  • What to do: Get help! Find a therapist, a coach, or other relationship assistance and be willing to give the relationship another few good tries. This is not a stage you can fix by yourselves or with a book -- you need a good, solid third-party perspective.

Stage 6: Peace with a Price
Even anger can burn out after a while, leaving behind nothing but silence and often indifference. The couple, if they have made it together this far, will typically live parallel but separate lives. They will still interact on necessary issues -- such as child rearing and household responsibilities -- but will share little else. They will finally have peace, no longer demanding anything from the other, but love and passion may be all but lost.

  • When it starts and how long it lasts:
    This stage can take years to develop and is often found in long-term marriages and relationships. Occasionally, this can be a phase in a fairly new relationship. Once in this stage, the couple normally does not grow out of it, unless something drastic shakes them up.
  • The joy: At least there is peace.
  • The stumbling block: One or both partners may be having affairs, which makes reconciliation much more difficult. One or both may have built a life too separate from the other to allow for change and improvement.
  • What to do: If you are in this stage and miserable, get help. Even if your partner is not willing to do anything to improve the relationship, you can still go to a therapist or a coach. You can single-handedly improve your life and perhaps your relationship.

Stage 7: "The Child"
A "child" can be real children or it can be an idea, business, or an involvement both of you share. For a couple on Track Two, this stage is rarely a choice. It is either something that binds them together out of circumstances, or it is something one partner devised in an attempt to keep the other one from leaving or straying too far.

  • When it starts and how long it lasts: For many couples, this stage can be the last attempt to save the relationship. This stage can happen at any time the relationship is deeply threatened.
  • The joy: The joy is the actual entity you create together, especially if it is a child. This third entity can change your relationship dynamics somewhat, some of the time.
  • The stumbling block: A child or a mutual involvement will not save the relationship without addressing the deeper, unresolved issues from the power struggle.
  • What to do: If you can, try to work through the underlying issues that are preventing your relationship from working.


Stage 8: Life Crisis
Very few people live a charmed life without life crises. Whether it is a job or career change, or a move to a new city or country, whether forced or willingly chosen, change feels like life crisis. Whether it is declining health or a sudden illness of your spouse or another loved one, serious health issues can be life crises. If your property or your financial situation is threatened, dealing with and resolving the issues can feel like a life crisis. If you have far too many demands on you and not enough time or space to fulfill them, you may feel as if you are in a life crisis. What affects you deeply affects your relationship.

  • When it starts and how long it lasts:
  • Life crises can happen at any time, but hopefully can get handled in a timely manner and not overtake the relationship. Life crises can also happen more than once in the course of a relationship as the couple grows and develops and matures together.
  • The joy: If there is joy in life crisis it is that by now you should be able to mobilize quickly as a team to deal with whatever situation arises. Often there is also a deeper bonding that occurs in crisis -- and that can be a nourishing kind of joy as well.
  • The stumbling block: The nature of crisis is that there are many stumbling blocks, not the least of them being one or both partners being less available to the other for a time. This can be extreme, such as in an illness, or temporary and somewhat mild, such as in financial worries or starting a business. The difficult part is not having each other to always count upon just when you need each other most.
  • What to do: As much as possible, stay connected. And as much as possible, work on looking at the positive aspects of your life. Work on being grateful for all that is yours in spite of crisis. This will help you both to get through the crisis more positively.

Beyond Stage 8: Life Happens, But Separately
What happens to a couple who never resolves the power struggle issues? They may go their separate ways. They may stay together, but effectively live separate lives and be involved in other relationships. One or both may stay and suffer silently, holding on to the hope that something will change.

Regardless, they do not derive many of the benefits and joys for which people get involved in relationships. They often do not function as a couple at all.

Your Relationship Coach,
Rinatta Paries

While it's possible to improve your ability to attract a partner or improve your current relationship just by reading these articles, you'll probably find it a lot easier and more fun if you have me as your coach to help you along. Click here to learn more about my coaching services.

(c) Rinatta Paries. Do you know how to attract your ideal mate? Do you know how to build a fulfilling relationship, or how to reinvent yours to meet your needs? Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries can teach you the skills and techniques to attract and sustain long-term, healthy partnerships. Visit www.WhatItTakes.com where you'll find quizzes, classes, advice and a free weekly ezine. Become a "true love magnet(tm)!"

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