What Games Are You Playing in Your Relationship?

Do you feel you are “between a rock and hard place” and whatever you do, your partner isn’t happy? Would you like to stop the games and instead create a more empowering relationship with your partner?

Do you feel you are “between a rock and hard place” and whatever you do, your partner isn’t happy? Would you like to stop the games and instead create a more empowering relationship with your partner?

The Catch 22

Anytime you feel that you are being backed into a corner as a result of your partner saying or doing something, you are caught in a catch 22. You can’t win either way – whether you do or don’t do what they ask, you are made wrong for it. I have come across many examples of catch 22’s in relationships. This is one of the major games partners play in a relationship. Below you will find a few common examples to assist you with identifying any catch 22s in your relationship with your partner.

The Love Games

Partner A says, “If you loved me, you would know what to do.” Partner B does not know what partner A needs, so does what they think they need, then is reprimanded by partner A for getting it wrong. This is inappropriate in a relationship. Partners are not mind readers. Instead, each partner needs to share what they need in a relationship, and then meet each other’s needs in empowering ways.

Partner C says, “Why can’t you be spontaneous and arrange a romantic dinner?”. Then when partner D does arrange the romantic dinner, partner C replies “You only did that because I told you to.” Partner D is in a no win situation.

The Health Games

He wants to stop smoking and has asked his partner to help him to stop buying cigarettes. She has agreed to support him. When she goes shopping he insists that she buys him cigarettes. If she refuses in order to help him give up that habit, he gets upset with her. She is made wrong for supporting him with this request.

The Attention Games

Partner E is upset when partner F does not spoil her and give her lots of attention. Then when partner E goes to give her attention and support, and spoil her, she pushes his away. Partner E is in a no win situation.

The Friend Games

Partner G says to partner H, “Why do you let your girlfriend push you around? You should stand up to her.” Then when partner H stands up for herself, partner G who told her to do so, makes partner H wrong for doing so, because it upset their mutual friend. Instead, partner G should be supportive of his partner H.

Ending the Games

Often these games occur on a subconscious level without you being aware of the dynamic. The first step is awareness and becoming aware of any games you may be playing with your partner.

Once these are identified, then you need to want to stop the games. If the games are giving you a positive benefit, you will need to find another way to get the same positive benefit in an empowering way. Then you will need additional strategies to stop the games, which I will cover in an upcoming article.

Until then, take the time to really observe and pay attention to the way you relate to your partner. Notice whether there are empowering or disempowering dynamics between you.


Dr. Vesna Grubacevic is an author, speaker, media commentator, the founder and Performance Transformation Expert® with award-winning company, Qt. She is the creator of breakthrough behavioural change techniques, holds a PhD, a BEc and has over 35 years’ business experience. She is passionate about helping people to improve their relationships and confidence. Her Amazon best-selling book, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence, has also been gifted to Hollywood and Australian award winners, nominees, hosts and celebrities. For more free resources on improving your relationships, please visit

Ó Qt, 2000 – 2018. All Rights Reserved.