Positive and Negative cycles in Relationships: Linking assertiveness and self-confidence and avoidance and partner dominance (Part 1 – Increasing Assertiveness)

Based on the research, we have discovered there is a positive cycle linking assertiveness and self-confidence and a negative cycle linking avoidance and perceived dominance.


In the positive cycle, as a person uses more assertiveness, their level of self confidence tends to increase. As a person’s self confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases.

In the negative cycle, when one person perceives their partner as dominating, a common reaction is for that person to avoid dealing with issues. As a person uses more avoidance, they will often perceive more dominance in their partner.

Often a goal of marriage and relationship education is to increase the assertiveness and active listening skills of one or both partners. This series of posts discusses assertiveness and self-confidence and avoidance and perceived partner dominance.

As partners in a relationship improve their assertiveness and active listening skills, their self-confidence will increase. This is the positive cycle of more assertiveness increasing self confidence. Increasing assertiveness also tends to decrease avoidance and partner dominance, which is a common negative cycle in couples.

  1. Assertiveness: Assertiveness is the ability to express one’s feelings to their partner and the ability to ask for what they would like.
  2. Assertive communication involves the honest expression of one’s thoughts, feelings, and desires. Assertiveness is self focused and, therefore, is marked by use of “I” and “me” statements rather than “you” statements.

    Assertive people are able to ask for what they want without demanding it or infringing on the rights of others. Assertive people tend to feel better about themselves because they are able to express themselves.

    One important goal in working with a couple is to try to help both people become more assertive with each other. Increasing assertiveness will positively affect the other three relationship dynamics assessed in this section of the inventory. If each person becomes more assertive, this will increase a person’s self confidence, reduce the partner’s dominance and reduce the tendency to use avoidance.

    When both partners are assertive with each other, this tends to increase the level of intimacy because they are able to share their honest feelings and ask for what they want and, thereby, increase the probability they will connect and understand one another’s needs.

As a person’s self confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases.

Take the Couple Checkup

Simply click on the Get Started button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

Take the Couple Checkup

The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #relationship

Source: PREPARE/ENRICH Blog: https://blog.prepare-enrich.com/

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