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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

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3 kinds of relationship dynamics that work
bird poops on plum branch
  1. Co-dependent.  Each person sucks the other person's energy, but because you each rely on the other person for energy, it works.  A long slow death, but can go on for seemingly ever.
  2. Power balancer.  One or both people try to keep the balance of power in check.  When one person comes on too strong, the other pulls back, and vice versa.  Can go on forever without ever going anywhere.
  3. In it to win it.  Each person gives the other person their energy, becoming vulnerable to truly gigantic love and truly gigantic heartbreak.  If only one person has this stance, the relationship will deteriorate into whichever strategy the other person adopts... resulting in very unbalanced dependency, or the severe pulling away of the power balancer.

It really comes down to three investment strategies (give, take, and manage status quo)... if you want to make it seem cold and logical.  They all work, as in last, if you're a tolerant enough person.  Though, the first two are probably versions that don't really "work" in the sense of leading to great big ridiculously fantastic relationships.  The last one can.  And what seems to be the case is that this dynamic is set up really early in the relationship.  I'd say most fall into the second class.  It's the witty, hard-to-get, chase-and-get-caught sort of adventure/relationship.  Super fun and also incredibly frustrating if it ever tries to move forward.  But not all relationships are meant to move forward.  But some are.  The three types are apples, oranges, and monkey brains and have different calculuses, and trade in three different currencies.

Looking at my past, I see that I've been a chronic power balancer.  And during some of my lowest stages, even a slightly co-dependent energy sucker.  And though I've talked in it to win it before, it hasn't really felt real until now.  You can fake it til you make it about a lot of things, but when it comes to energy dynamics I've found it's a lot more difficult to change mid-relationship than it seems.  The golden ticket needs to be there from the start.  Of course, this is all hindsight confabulation and has no actual truth merit.

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So does this mean that relationships can only be sustained if someone is of the same type as you? That they're all a balance of the same type of positive/negative feedback, creative and destructive forces?

I think that when two people have different dynamics, the strategy that's more greedy (more give and less take) will dominate. All the power will pool there. The ones that have a healthy power exchange probably have a better chance of creating an economy of power, and only then can you have stable markets, inflation, etc. I am just making this up.

I mean, more take and less give...

I don't think any of those three describe my current relationship. We're pretty balanced. I mean, I am fully in-it-to-win-it but I don't think of it as giving up my energy at all, but on the other hand there aren't really many power struggles either. But whatevs, you said no truth merit so why am I even posting.

I'm sure there are more than 3 kinds of dynamics that work... those are just the 3 that seemed the most drastically opposed to me. What do you think is different about the kind of balance you have with Harry? And, I realize that I talk about energy in a hippie love power sort of way... it might not make sense to anyone but me. :)

Interesting. Does this make you believe, then, that relationships are fragile, precarious things? One slight imbalance of power and they cascade into oblivion?

Not at all! I think the power balances are pretty stable things. So stable that you can't really change them even if you try really hard. They are established, and then largely stable... I suppose that's the nature of balance. Of course, both being fragile and being unchangeable have negative connotations. I think life itself is similar... it seems fragile and precarious (it could be gone any second, should a tragedy occur) and yet also strangely resilient, adaptable, and strong. Love is the same way. I don't want to sound overly optimistic or pessimistic. It is what it is. We are just telling stories around it.

Are love and power the same thing? Opposites? Two different things? If so, can a good love dynamic make up for a bad power dynamic? Or vice versa? Do both matter?

I think you're missing a few:

1) the best friends: pretty much what it says it is.

2) the circumstantial: can be good or bad, the relationship is grown out of circumstance, not big love. small towns, for example. Much more common in the past, when you may have only known 30 people in your entire life, and the odds of big love are far less, but still can make a happy relationship.

3) the power indifferent: more or less just getting on with liking each other, neither one is taking or giving my power. My parents, for example, were very much this way, and very happy.

I can think of a few more, too. Basically, I think your present condition of big love is blinding you to several other viable, happy, stable forms of relationships, much like a rich man cannot understand how one can be happy without being rich.

I totally agree. I don't think the three I described are the full set of relationship possibilities... just one slice through the space. They pivot on one particular aspect of a relationship: energy, and describe extremes.

But good point about the blind spots. I'm blinded by big love right now... which is an easy blind spot to admit. In fact, I think the reason I wrote this post was to bring other people's blind spots into focus... and expect others to point out mine.

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