2 x Alphas, 1 x Relationship

We've discussed tips for handling the power issues that can arise in relationships when one person becomes more dominant than the other. Essentially, one of you becomes a CEO and ends up taking charge of making all the decisions, while the other person plays an employee role and is happy to be led.

From time to time however, two very forthright and strong willed people can fall in love, and the end result is two CEO's fighting for control. This is a match-up that can work, but it takes some discipline and involves compromise and teamwork - elements that some alphas can struggle with.

When two alphas meet each other, it's easy to see why they might find one another attractive. Both of you will admire the strength and dedication in each other, the decisiveness, the ambition and drive and preparedness to express opinions. You'll enjoy the excitement of both being competitive, independent, and goal driven, and you'll both feel comfortable with taking charge and leading from the front.

However, things can also become very challenging when two alphas fall in love. That drive to lead and be in control can mean you end up arguing with each other a lot about who is in charge. Alphas can also be inflexible, domineering, stubborn and bossy - and the end result can see lots of conflict, cold shoulders, anger and lack of compromise.

Rather than getting caught in a power struggle, here's some tips to help two alphas get along:

1. Share decisions Make a point of sharing the decisions in your new relationship. One person is not responsible for managing the couple. Avoid excluding your partner and assuming you have the final say on outstanding issues and organizational tasks. Be inclusive.

2. Share expenses Be up front about this early on and be open to the idea of both of you sharing expenses rather than one trying to look after everything. You're in this together and you both need to feel equal and respected.

3. Understand each other's position So often two alphas won't listen to each other. Instead they get into a game of point scoring and try to persuade the other that they're right. Instead, look to hear each person's view and validate this even if you don't agree.

4. Alternate date nights Put in place the 'surrender date' rule where one night one person organizes everything on the date while the other person surrenders and says 'yes'. Then the following date swap roles. This is great way to share power and control and it can be lots of fun.

5. Solve problems as a team Whatever issues come along in a new relationship, it's important to take these on together. Avoid trying to fix everything on your own, but rather throw around solutions for each issue and see what you both think about how to handle things. It's a joint process, whereby you can combine your talents to get through difficult situations.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 9's series Married At First Sight, and the ABC doco Making Couples Happy. He is also the author of the book "Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track" (www.johnaiken.com.au)

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