How to Let Go of Control for a Stronger Connection in Your Relationship

My partner runs his own meditation retreats and I like to help him set up whenever I can. What that used to look like and what it looks like now has changed, thanks to my awareness of choosing connection over efficiency. 

My preference is that when people start arriving, that everything is set up when people walk in but he’s often going at his own pace and doesn’t always have everything ready when people start to arrive. 

I used to get really stressed about this as he continued to go with his own flow in a zen-like manner. It was such a practice for me to remember that his events are his offerings, not mine. I didn’t need to care so much about how it all worked out. My job was to simply be there and to be in support of him. 

See I am obsessed with efficiency and having things go smoothly and my partner is the total opposite of this.

This is a big theme in our relationship. Anytime he brings up a new idea, my impulse is to join in on the enthusiasm with all of my practical suggestions on how to make it more smooth and efficient. I have since learned to support his new ideas with enthusiasm only and trust that if he wants my practical, organizing genius he will ask for it. 

Letting go of control in relationships


See, when I would jump in with all of my ideas for improvement, it would take the wind out of his sails and the energy shifted. I didn’t realize at the time how my attempts to be helpful were actually me being controlling. 

So many women I meet aren’t aware to the extent that they’re controlling in their relationships. It’s such a big blindspot and it was for me for many years.

Why do we feel this pull to be so controlling with our partners? To have everything go our way? 

Whether you’re a man or woman reading this article will help you to understand what’s underneath your control mechanisms, the impact this is having on your connection, and how to show up with each other instead.  

1. What’s Underneath Our Desire to Control


So much of our desire to be in control is based in fear (and we’re often completely unaware of it). In my opening story, my desire to control my partner’s live event was out of the fear that his participants wouldn’t have a good time. That they’d have a judgment about my partner and his business. Maybe they’d think that he wasn’t competent if everything wasn’t perfectly in place at the right time or assume that he didn’t have everything together. Or maybe even they’d think that they made a mistake coming altogether. 

My fear and stress of all of those scenarios drove me to try and control the outcome and do things “my way” that I thought were effective and more efficient than how I perceived his workflow to be. 

It’s important to note that I wasn’t aware of those underlying fears and beliefs at the time, I had just reacted and jumped into action like I always did. 

How many times have you acted this way too? 

Underneath these controlling behaviors are real fears. Fears of not being perfect, of looking messy, of missing out, of something going wrong.

What we often don’t get is that when we’re acting from these behaviors it causes our partners to withdraw and not feel like they are trusted or can be relied on. Trying to get to an outcome from any place of fear or scarcity almost never goes well. 

The truth is, very little is in our control.

Control is a total illusion.

If we didn’t have these fears or buy into them so heavily, we wouldn’t feel the need to control an outcome or the people in our lives.

So the question to ask is, what’s more important: intimacy with your partner or for things to go the way you think they should go (thus, the illusion of control)? 


2. Becoming Aware: Where are You Choosing Efficiency Over Connection?

I say these control mechanisms are blindspots because so often we think we’re being helpful, efficient, or giving useful suggestions and what we need to get is that when our partners feel controlled, connection and intimacy can’t also be present in the relationship too. 

These are some real traps I see women fall into.

Along with control can come a sense of righteousness “I’m the best at what I do, I can do things better, faster, more efficiently, my way is better”. 

The general mindset women have is: “I’m being helpful because it’s easier for me to do these things and I am faster at getting them done”.

With mindsets like these it’s hard to see that we’re being controlling. Our behaviors genuinely do feel helpful, that things get taken care of under our watch, that we have the most efficient ideas and suggestions. We even go around in search of fires to put out before they even start, expending our energy unnecessarily.

When all of this is going on in our relationships, connection can get completely stifled and the only way out is to begin with awareness. 

When we become more aware of our behaviors we can start to make shifts that will have our partner feel trusted again and like they have a contributing role in the relationship. 

How can you slow down to start to get in touch with what fear might be lurking underneath your desire to control a behavior or outcome? 

What are you afraid might happen if you didn’t give that suggestion, say that thing, or immediately jump in to handle that task? 

What’s a vulnerable admission you could make to yourself or your partner?

As you lean into this practice, let the mantra, “I choose intimacy and connection over efficiency” guide you in those moments where you want to take control. 

3. Avoid These Common Control Traps

As you begin to reflect on the deeper mechanisms at play in your controlling behaviors, watch out for these common, often unconscious control traps I see happen in my client’s relationship dynamics.

What might feel like a “helpful suggestion” to a partner if given from the wrong intention (to change their behavior, stand for a different outcome) can easily come off as unsolicited, unwanted advice and not feel good to receive.

When in groups or in a social setting watch out for jumping in to answer questions for him when he’s right there, interrupting his story before he can fully finish it (because you think you can tell it better), talking on his behalf or speaking to his preferences without his consent.  

In addition to talking on his behalf, making decisions on his behalf is equally damaging to a connection and not only occurs as controlling but also untrustworthy. Imagine finding out decisions were made on your behalf without the opportunity to have a say. 

Giving your partner a “look” from across the room in response to something they said or did also does not feel good to be on the receiving end. 

Reading these back, it may seem so obvious that these are controlling behaviors that would have anyone feel small or in your partner’s case, emasculated, but so often we do these without thinking or without an afterthought.  

Or without really understanding the impact they have on the level of connection and intimacy that’s able to be experienced. 

So what can we do instead?

As mentioned in the previous section, awareness comes first. When you’ve been able to slow down and really notice how you’ve shown up in the past, come back to your partner to make these admissions. Ask them to help hold you accountable so you can stop the behavior in its tracks. Ask them to share the impact and how it’s made them feel so a dialogue of even deeper understanding can open between the two of you. Make sure to be a safe space for an honest answer to these questions by opening yourself to the feedback without getting defensive and going into justification.

Learn how to step into making requests not demands and hand the power back to your partner. Let them take the lead again, make decisions in the relationship, and handle the things you normally try and control. Be patient, it may take some time for the dynamic to switch back and it may not happen on your timeline or how you would prefer it to look, but when it does, your partner will stop deferring to you as the sole decision maker and take their place back as an equal partner. It will have them feel empowered and trusted and like they can succeed within your connection. 

If you are wanting your man to take more initiative and step more into his masculine, you making these shifts is imperative.

We Always Have a Choice

Handing over our trust to an outcome or to a partner brings with it a level of vulnerability and surrender. With control can come a sense of power and certainty but not always connection and intimacy at the same time. We always have a choice in our relationships whether to allow someone to be themselves and go about life in their own ways or we can choose to fixate on how we think things should be done, handled, and how we think others should behave. Our desire for control has endless lessons and opportunities for growth if explored. 

If you want to explore the topic of power and control more, check out my Masterclass ‘Stop Blocking, Start Receiving.’ During this class you will learn:

  • Ways you are unknowingly emasculating your man through your controlling tendencies
  • How you are blocking yourself from receiving the very things you want
  • What you do that causes your partner to shut down
  • How to open yourself to receive more
  • Why women struggle to receive


And for those who want to go even deeper, I have an entire module on receiving in Adored, my online group program for women. Where you learn the why’s and how’s behind our behavior and uncovering our blocks to receiving fully will have a huge impact on the quality of our relationships and dating experiences with men. 

Adored is full of life changing content, coaching, and tools to help you stop pushing away your partner so that you can build a foundation of deep intimacy, trust, and communication. Join the waitlist to join my upcoming group cohort here.

Justine Baruch

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