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Reframing a covert power move: an example from online dating

An example on how to deal with covert power moves that put you in the one-down/chasing position:

covert power move example

If I had said "yes you were late", I'd have expanded on her negative thread and further disempowered myself.

If I had said "no problem", I would have also further expanded on her thread by underlying that yes, indeed she replied late (= ignored my text for a long time).

Instead, my reply seeks to do two things:

  1. Change the frame from "I replied late to you" to "we are both late because of this cheap dating app, not because we want"
  2. Move the interaction along at the same time that it reframes it more positively


Kellvo, Stef and selffriend have reacted to this post.
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Very insightful Lucio! I'm seeing how you're doing it, take her power move and instead of combatting it directly or surrendering to it, redirecting it in a more positive direction. And well played on her part too; she got you to talk and work much more, delayed responses 2-3 days both times and only gave her ID after you invested in her. Learning power moves is so much fun 🙂

A question on a more aggressive, one-upping approach - what if I was in the same situation and, after the snub, waited 3 days or more and than replied 'who is this?' or something similar? All the while genuinely focusing on other things, such as self-improvement, pursuing my purpose, flirting with other women, detaching from her and just having a good time? The goal would be to both put her on defense and lower her power and boost my power base by increasing my options and decreasing dependency on her.

Ideally, I would want win/win and to ultimately deescalate, but also make it clear that I will not tolerate manipulation. But between the two, I'd want to keep and build my own power and independence first. How can I balance the two in such a situation?

Great analysis, Kellvo, redirecting was the key there.
And yes, also not bad on her part. I suppose you could call this a win-win were we both move forward at around the same level of power -I invested more, but that's kinda expected as the man in the beginning, but in exchange took the lead and got her to execute on my request-.

To answer your question, one-upping against a one-up is a fair move.
If her first move had been more on the aggressive/bitchy side, then one-upping back is often the only option one should consider with the only question being "how".
And your collaborative approach always carries more weight after you've shown some strength and no tolerance for BS games.

The issue with one-upping on covert power moves though is that you can easily go overboard.
Since covert power moves are indirect, and not very high on the aggression/one-up scale, then it requires quite some good calibration not to overdo it and break the relationship (always keeping in mind that early relationships are super fragile, and especially so in cold approaching and online dating).

"Who is this?", since this was online dating with someone you've already matched with, might have clashed with the situation. You were already supposed to know who she was, or get an idea by reading the previous messages.
The risk is that she gets the message and thinks "this guy is either playing some games, or is too thick to know how to use a simple dating app". If she leans towards the latter, then it probably ends there. If she leans towards the former, it's either she submits and qualifies, or she refuses to submit and either unmatches you, does not reply, or escalates further (most often resulting in no date).
Depending on the sexual marketplace and how much power each one of you has, in my opinion, there are more scenarios where a "who is this" leads to the end of the interaction.
That's why I preferred to redirect.


Kellvo, Stef and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Appreciated, and ultimately agreed. If I already showed investment, showing my hand like that wouldn't be a smart idea. Heh, I really do have a lot to learn about this kind of stuff. Just keep going and learning, one bit every day.

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