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How to be a power couple like Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce

<i>Julio Cortez/AP</i><br/>Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift are both at the top of their respective industries. The Kansas City Chiefs tight end and pop superstar celebrate after his team defeated the Baltimore Ravens on January 28.
Julio Cortez/AP
Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift are both at the top of their respective industries. The Kansas City Chiefs tight end and pop superstar celebrate after his team defeated the Baltimore Ravens on January 28.

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) — Sorry to the dads, Brads and Chads who might be angry about it, but this Super Bowl Sunday will feature a pop power player — even if she doesn’t make it to the game.

Music superstar Taylor Swift has become a big topic during Kansas City Chiefs football games — when she is there, when she is not, what she is wearing — just as Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has become a household name for her fans around the world.

Both at the top of their respective industries, Swift and Kelce have become the latest model of a power couple.

Although some football fans may grumble about people holding Swift in higher esteem than her boyfriend, the two seem to have no problem cheering one another on.

“She’s unbelievable. She’s rewriting the history books,” Kelce said at a Monday press conference after Swift’s Sunday night Grammy wins.

It isn’t always easy to be part of a power couple, however. As Swift continues an international tour while putting out a new album and Kelce heads to the Super Bowl, here is what we can learn from two successful people supporting each other in a relationship, according to experts.

Flexibility as the star or as the supporting player

When both members of a couple have passions and ambition, how much attention and resources are dedicated to their endeavors will inevitably ebb and flow, said Dr. Monica O’Neal, a Boston clinical psychologist and relationship expert.

One moment might provide opportunity for one partner and require the other to take a step back and offer support, and a good power couple need to be able to switch when the tide turns the other way, she said.

“You have to consciously be able to say, ‘I know that this is your dream … you have to take it and I’ll do whatever I can, I will take on whatever I need to to give you the freedom and the space to do it,’” O’Neal said.

To help smooth out the transitions, have intentional conversations about the division of labor in your household duties, said Caitlin Cantor, an individual, couples and sex therapist in Philadelphia. It doesn’t have to be 50/50, but it is important to feel like both people are showing up in the relationship, she said.

Having flexibility might mean sometimes relying on outside support, she added.

“If something really needs to be taken care of, maybe you can ask someone in your support system to help out, so that you both can do what you need to do,” Cantor said.

A couple’s mission statement

To be flexible without feeling like one person is missing out, the couple need to be able to see a success for one as a success for both, O’Neal said.

“In any kind of business, you have a mission statement, and I think marriages should also have mission statements,” she added.

Have discussions about what is important to each of you as individuals, as well as the life you are building as a couple, O’Neal said. That way, you can both see the best steps each partner needs to take toward the family goals.

This mission statement also needs to be clear about who each individual is and what the expectations are of the relationship, Cantor said.

“You have to recognize who you’ve chosen to be with,” O’Neal said. “There has to be real acceptance of this person as is.”

Does your partner like to be in the limelight? Will you have to share that or even sometimes let your partner take center stage? Will you have to balance priorities, or will the other person step back to support your dreams?

“You can’t go into it and expect it to be different,” Cantor said. “If it changes later, that’s fine, but you can’t go in hoping that it will change. That’s not a good idea.”

The gender elephant in the room

Rarely will both partners be at the same level of success at the same time — and gender may play a part in how well a couple navigate that issue.

Men felt lower self-esteem and greater fear about their female partners leaving them when the women succeeded in a task — whether or not they were competing against one another, according to a 2013 study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Women, on the other hand, felt more relationship satisfaction when they saw their partners succeed, the data showed.

“These are men who would say that they support their partner, they’re all about equality and all of these other things,” O’Neal said.

“I would like to say no, but science says yes, men have a harder time with the woman being the more powerful person in the couple,” O’Neal said. “It has an impact on their sense of self and self-esteem because we’ve been groomed for men to have more power and for them to be the providers and to be in the spotlight.”

She added, “I just think it’s going to take some time perhaps for there to be more continuously more powerful women.”

In the meantime, it is helpful to build a relationship with a secure partner with high self-esteem, Cantor said.

If a man recognizes feelings of insecurity or jealousy at the success of his female partner, he needs to be able to see that without taking it out on her and to seek a therapist to untangle those feelings, Cantor said.

“It’s really about like taking ownership and getting some professional help to walk them through it,” she said.

Lifting your partner up

Former President Barack Obama has said how he couldn’t have accomplished so much without Michelle Obama. Jay-Z shouted out how Beyoncé doesn’t get enough recognition during his acceptance speech at the Grammys. Swift rushed the field when Kelce made it to the Super Bowl, and he uses a magazine cover story to call her a genius.

A key to a good power couple is prioritizing the relationship and finding ways to lift your partner up when you are on top of the world, O’Neal said.

“The relationship always has to come first,” she added.

That means making time for one another, especially when success can lead to a busier schedule. In addition to date nights, morning and evening rituals together are important in that effort, O’Neal said.

“You still have to be able to say my commitment to being with this person is greater than anything else, and that is the thing that will allow people to stay together versus come apart,” she said.

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