How to Have a Relationship With Two Dominant Personalities
When two people with dominant personalities are in a relationship, it can be hard to make decisions and move past conflict. You both want to get your way, and have a hard time listening to the other person. Learning to compromise and consult each other on big decisions will help ease some of the tension.
If both you and your boyfriend like to be the one to make decisions in your relationship, you will continually be fighting. On the other hand, if you can learn to compromise, both of you will be better off, says psychologist Susan Heitler, as cited in the "Women's Health" article, "Are You In an Equal Relationship?" For example, if he wants to see a movie and you want to go ice skating, you could agree on an afternoon skate followed by a movie night at home. Alternatively, you could agree to do his activity this weekend and your choice the following weekend.
In general, people are most attracted to others with personalities similar to their own, as discussed in the study "Do People Know What They Want: A Similar or Complementary Partner?" published in the journal "Evolutionary Psychology." Unfortunately, your similarities also mean that you both struggle with the same issues, such raising your voice and wanting to dominate discussions, says Heitler. Solve these by making ground rules such as agreeing not to continue a discussion if one of you starts to turn up the volume. Decide ahead of time that you will both wait to cool down if tempers flare.
In a relationship in which one partner is dominant, there is often some sacrifice by the nondominant partner. However, when both of you are dominant, you will both hold tight to your goals -- which can be a good thing, according to Heitler. For example, if you have been accepted to Harvard but he is staying at a state school, neither of you will want to give up your plans. In these cases, offer mutual support for each other's goals and see if there is a way to stay together -- possibly in a long-distance relationship -- to make things work.
Dominant partners clash most when they have to make big decisions -- to the point that it becomes a power struggle, writes Dario Maestripieri in the "Psychology Today" article "Are You Dominant or Subordinate in Your Romantic Relationship?" Consult each other before any major decisions, says Heitler. For example, if the two of you want to head away on a tropical vacation, neither should book the trip without consulting the other. You both want to be in control, so make sure there is an agreement in place that protects you both from the other making unilateral decisions without consulting the other.