Have you ever felt like you’re doing everything for your relationship and your partner just moves along with you? Or to the contrary, you feel powerless because you’re intimidated by your partner’s oozing power as they breathe?
I know about the power balance and how important it is for a healthy relationship. I’m all for a democratic relationship. I fully respect my partner’s intelligence, capacity and capability to solve problems and work on issues. My point is, I have no problem not being the sole authority of this household. (Really! Ask Matthew. And maybe some ex-boyfriends too.)
So what is the matter with this relationship’s power struggle? Well, I feel like while Matthew reigns and excel as a COO at work, he is as good as a 14-year-old boy at home (and believe me, I happen to have a teenage brother who slacks his way through life). The nurturing, overbearing side of me has no problem taking care of the house, making decisions and arrangements, sorting out finances and all. But it frustrates me when the little Matthew breaks, loses, or disrupts things.
Little did I know that power structure in a relationship has a lot to do with how things are done. I remember going out with my high school boyfriend 11 years ago. He used to drive me all over town (and by town, I mean the 20 million populated Jakarta). Driving, both motorbike and car, is his passion and he is very good at that. Born and bred in big cities, he knows alternative of ways to go to places to avoid traffic or certain roadwork.
As much as I enjoy being driven efficiently while listening to great music, I wanted to know which route were we taking and so on. But he always said to me, “Ah, don’t ask, just enjoy the ride, we will get there in no time.”
I never asked him this, but maybe because I excel in a lot of things except for maths and the Jakarta map, he wanted to keep this one as his “thing” so I would have been dependent of him, which I did. To this day, I’d always call him whenever I’m lost in the city, which is quite often.
Back to my current relationship. I am frustrated that Matthew seems incompetent at home (read: outside of work), especially when I am around. After he left a bag full of expensive new T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers in a taxi, he pointed out that it was because of his nerves that he stuffed up, and that he was nervous because I was in town and waiting for him at the apartment. (Just for argument’s sake: I wasn’t even calling him and hurrying him up. I was nonchalantly at home, ironing his shirts.)
I was thinking, you know, that maybe I do intimidate him (and all previous sad boyfriends). A couple of days ago I promised Matthew that I would be more casual, i.e. not yell when I see the toilet seat up for the umpteenth time, not grunt when I pick up his scattered belt even though we have assigned a place to hang belts, not let out an audible sigh when he reported that he’d misplaced his newly acquired baptism certificate. (But who’s counting?)
I had an idea that I ran passed Matthew yesterday: what if I quit my job (and stupidify myself a little bit as well, maybe?) so then he can reign and have full authority at home. Eventually, to my benefit, he will excel at being a husband, because I believe 100% that he can be. ^.^