Thursday, August 8, 2013

Five Ways to Get What You Want in Your Relationship: Act Like a Professional Negotiator

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I was reading the Big Think blog post on How to Negotiate Like a Pro and recognized how the same five elements needed in a business negotiation also apply to negotiating what you want from your relationship.

  1. Appreciation. Do you and your partner express appreciation for each other? OK you know that in some ways you are a pain to live with, but you want your partner to see the value you offer despite your limitations. Perhaps you know what your partner contributes to your life, but do you let your partner know of his or her value to you?
  2. Autonomy. Do you try to impose your will on your partner or recognize that your partner must choose to offer you what you want? Early in the relationship you gave and received abundantly, but as the relationship went on you found that you received less. How did you interpret this? It is important to let your partner know what you want, but to ask your partner to care about your needs and wants. The tendency is to tell your partner what to do rather than what you want. We resist when we are told what to do.
  3. Affiliation. It is important to maintain a focus on the emotional connection in your relationship. Are you making an effort to maintain a warm, caring relationship or has the relationship become cold? If you feel that you are just performing tasks with a roommate, then you have lost affiliation. Rather than asking for what you want, start a conversation about the lack of warmth you feel in the relationship.
  4. Status. Do you and your partner share the ability to define your relationship? As you look at your relationship, does it reflect each of your desires or has one partner successfully negotiated for the relationship he or she desires over the wishes of the other? If so, this “win” will end up being a loss of intimacy in the relationship.
  5. Role. Are you willing to examine your approach to negotiating? Do you the pursue change? Do you sulk to make an impression on your partner? Do you act as though you have little investment in the relationship? Successful negotiations require flexibility. If what you are doing is not working find a different approach. Perhaps you need to consult with a marriage counselor to improve your ability to get what you want from your relationship.

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