Men are competitive by nature. Winning is how they measure success. And this often applies to how they hold and view relationships.
The problem with this is that if a guy is more committed to winning than he is anything else in his relationship, it can cause him to be dishonest and compromising.
What we’re committed TO is evident in our actions.
If you’re committed to winning, being honest and standing for what matters often takes a back seat to compromising, to make it work, and to win.
If “Tim” has to win (or not fail, as is the case for a lot of men) he leads, relationally, with compromise. He’s willing to give up something of himself in order not to lose, when under stress. Does he win by doing this? No, not really. But he doesn’t lose either (in his own mind).
Example: Tim might have a partner who is unhappy. He can’t have this because it reflects badly on him. Winning is important and losing is not an option. So, he asks his partner: What do I need to do here to make you happy?
Essentially: What can I give up of myself or my ideals, so that we can settle this, and I don’t fail?
This, of course, makes him feel weak inside. And it makes him look weak to his partner. Instead of being truly relational and looking to understand his partner’s needs and to help her find her way to her own happiness, he takes it all on.
He thinks himself responsible for her, and for their success as a couple.
So, if this is how you relate to winning, and it’s not working for you, and you can see the destruction it’s causing, what can you do?
Well, you can hold all of this differently. For example, you might see relationships as a spiritual journey. You might see your relationship as a high-level learning experience, rather than a win-lose proposition.
If you’re doing the best you can at any given moment (meaning really seeking to love and stay in connection with another person) you’re doing what a relationship is made for: learning and growing.
But if all you care about is not losing, or not failing, it’s hard to be present in it. It’s hard to let it do its magic on you.
The painful thing for a woman in a relationship with a man hell-bent on NOT losing, is that he’s not really there. And most of the time HE doesn’t even see it.
If your partner told you’re checked out more than a few times in your relationship, could the drive to win be part of it for you?
If we drop the idea that we can fail and that we have to win at all costs, then we can focus on truly being present in our relationships. And instead of leading with compromise, we can lead with the commitment to learn and to love.
P.S. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.