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How to Negotiate in a Relationship Without Hurting Each Other

How to Negotiate in a Relationship Without Hurting Each Other

Compromise is hard. Whether you have a hard time with it because you are an only child, or because you just hate to make sacrifices, compromise is hard. When it comes to relationship, it is inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less daunting.

When you have unhealthy compromise, one person feels like they are the only one having to sacrifice something, and this one-sided relationship can cause so much resentment and anger that the relationship can’t survive. Therefore, it’s vital to know how to navigate compromise as a team so that everyone feels like it’s handled fairly.

Couples compromise when it comes to job changes, moving, even deciding what color to paint the kitchen. Some compromises are small and some seem ominously huge, but they are all equally important in ensuring each side feels valued. [1]

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It would be nice to think we are all selfless. But it’s not the truth.

At its core, compromise is hard because it means one person in the relationship is probably not going to get what they want. This means they are giving up their desires for the other person. While it would be nice to think we are all so selfless, the truth is it’s hard to give things up when we want them. Sometimes, we get so caught up in getting what we want, that we don’t realize how unwilling we are to compromise. This typically leads our partner to do the majority of sacrificing which can cause some big resentment issues [2].

Sometimes compromise isn’t easy to spot. Take for example a married couple who is deciding what to do for a date night. The wife wants to stay in because she is stressed from work and just wants to read quietly in bed. The husband wants to go see a movie in an attempt to have a date night. Wife is frustrated at this last minute recommendation but she chooses to say yes to avoid hurting his feelings. However, unbeknownst to the Wife, the Husband didn’t want to see a movie either. Instead, he just wanted to find some way to spend time with his wife, as he is feeling disconnected.

They both compromised, but neither of them know it because they didn’t voice their inner thoughts [3]. Though this may seem like a silly problem, the truth is that both of them now feel misunderstood by the other and maybe even disrespected.

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The Wife was distracted throughout the whole movie, thinking about what she needed to do at work the next day, and the Husband was sad she wasn’t more romantic with him. After all, he wanted a date with his wife. Wouldn’t most wives be grateful for that attention? Maybe, but that’s only if the communication was strong enough that both of them understood what the other truly wanted and why.

When you can negotiate and reach a compromise, your relationship grows

Healthy compromise helps you and your partner be your best selves. You both choose, at some point, a temporary discomfort in order to achieve a shared goal. This leads to a stronger relationship, as you are both doing what’s best for the other. If you feel taken advantage of, or like you are the only one compromising, that’s a problem. It should be about you two and your future. Not just your partner.

How to Compromise

Keep it equal.

Yes, compromise means one of you isn’t getting their way, but it shouldn’t make you hurt or angry. Before you request a compromise or ask your partner to give something up, consider what you are offering in return. This shouldn’t be a bribe, but rather a way to ensure you are both making changes.

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Don’t try to compromise if you’re mad.

Think about the last big argument you had with your partner or spouse. Did anything positive or productive come from it? Probably not. Compromise is no different. Only discuss it when you’re feeling open-minded and calm. You want a discussion, not a fight. Compromise produced during resentment will only wreck the relationship.

Don’t compromise the important things.

Remember, compromise should benefit you both in the long run. If the compromise on the table involves one of you giving up a dream, family, friendship, or career, take a step back. Assuming none of these things are somehow toxic to the relationship, you should never feel like you have to lose a part of who you are to help you partner. Growing and changing in a relationship is great. Becoming a different, unrecognizable person with no dreams or happiness? Not OK.

Keep it fair.

To keep a relationship functioning, remember that compromise can’t mean one of you has to roll over. Take this example [4] , “If you move to the city, you might have an easier commute and be happier in the fast-paced lifestyle. But will your spouse’s commute double? Will he or she be put out by the frenetic life? Is that fair to him or her?” If it doesn’t seem fair, you need to reach a true compromise that does. Otherwise, you are just being disrespectful.

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Don’t waffle!

Waffling means you’re going back and forth on something. This is everyone’s biggest pet peeve. If you’ve made a decision and you and your spouse have agreed on it, don’t change your mind. If you come back to the conversation with a whole new opinion, not only does it make you seem wishy-washy in the relationship, but it becomes challenging for your spouse to view you as a stable partner. If you have made a decision, stick with it.

Summary

In summary, remember that compromise is a part of love. It can be challenging, frustrating and sometimes feel impossible, but remember that everyone does it. If you feel like you’re having a hard time compromising, it doesn’t mean you and your partner should break up or seek counselling right away, but it does mean the two of you need to sit down and figure out what is keeping you from being successful.

It could help to make a list of what you are having a hard time compromising about and see if there’s a common thread. If all of the elements make you feel like you’re giving up your identify, then that’s a problem. But if it’s a matter of refusing to change, then you need to do some introspection and figure out how to overcome that.

You should always feel like the compromise is equal; you and your partner should always have to give and take, not just one of you. The idea of compromising is that it brings you both happiness and security in the long run, not just instant gratification. This often means one of you may be temporarily disappointed, but that’s OK. And if you feel like you can’t get it right and the compromise is not coming easily after trying, don’t be afraid to seek counselling. Compromise is important, and it’s worth getting help if it means saving the relationship.

Featured photo credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Heather Poole

Technical writer

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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