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Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make

Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make

A relationship break can sound like a terrifying thing if you are having trouble in your relationship. What if my partner moves on during this break? What if they find someone else? Are they taking a break just so they can breakup later?

A break in a relationship often leads to a breakup. But it’s not always the case. If taken for the right reasons, a break can breathe fresh air into a dying relationship and give both partners a much-needed perspective.

Here are 3 reasons why taking a break could be a smart choice to make:

1. If you are feeling overwhelmed in the relationship, you need a break.

A lot of times, you just feel overwhelmed in a relationship. It could be because you are both fighting and arguing too much. Or it may be because of some unresolved issue in the relationship.

If you or your partner are feeling overwhelmed to the point where neither of you can go about your daily activities, it’s time to take a break.

A break can be a perfect excuse to take some space from each other without making the decision to breakup. When you decide to take a break, you make a commitment to each other to not date someone else and just take the time to think and get some perspective.

In most cases, you are feeling overwhelmed in your relationship because of fighting, constant arguing or inability to come to an agreement.

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Taking a break will not help unless you find a way to address these issues first. And you can do that by figuring out the underlying cause of the issue.

For example, if you are fighting and constantly arguing, it could be that one or both of you may be insecure or lack proper communication skills. If that’s the case, it will help to work on your communication skills while you are taking a break.

One of my favorite books to learn proper communications is Non-Violent Communications by Marshall B. Rosenberg.

The book can be effectively applied at all levels of communication and in diverse situations: intimate relationships, families, schools, organizations and institutions, therapy and counseling, diplomatic and business negotiations, disputes and conflicts of any nature. – Marshall B. Rosenberg (Non-Violent Communication)

In addition to working on your communication skills, you should also figure out the root cause of insecurity that’s leading to these arguments and fights. Ask yourself:

Is it a personal problem or a relationship problem?

For example, if your partner has been completely honest and loyal to you from the starting and you still get jealous every time s/he speaks to another man/woman, then your insecurity and jealousy issue is most likely a personal problem. You developed these jealousy tendencies either from an experience or some childhood issues. If that’s the case, you should use this time to work on yourself.

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On the other hand, suppose you were loyal and trusted your partner completely until one day you found a sexually explicit message on his/her phone from another person. You talked about it and forgave him. But you could never trust him again. If this is the case, then you should seriously consider ending the relationship unless you figure out a solution for this insecurity or jealousy. If your partner does not want to work on rebuilding the trust, there is no way this relationship can work.

If you were feeling overwhelmed because both of you couldn’t reach an agreement on an issue, then you can use this break to think things through and figure out how important that issue is to you.

Serious disagreements such as religion, politics, values and career choice usually lead to a breakup. Whereas minor disagreements such as time management can be resolved with proper communication and understanding.

2. If one of you cheated, taking a break can be a smart choice.

Infidelity is usually a deal breaker for most people. But in some cases, you have invested far too much in a relationship to just walk away because of one mistake. If your partner cheated, and you are having a difficult time letting them go, it’s time to ask for a break.

When you ask them for a break, you won’t get too much resistance from your partner. They won’t try too hard to convince you take them back because you are not really breaking up with them. You are just asking for time and space so you can get your thoughts together.

When you decide to take a break from your partner because of this reason, you should make a few things clear to them.

  • It doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting back with them.
  • You are only doing this so you can process this and decide what’s the best decision for you (and your children if you have any).
  • That you will only be getting back with them if you are sure you can trust them again.
  • Set a rough timeline for the break but don’t commit to the deadline. Let them know that you will take more time if needed.

3. If you are having doubts about commitment, try taking a break.

A lot of times, people end up in a relationship they are not really sure about. Before you know it, your partner expects you to get married and have children.

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Since you have invested so much time in this relationship, you don’t really want to end the relationship. But a part of you doesn’t want to commit either. A part of you thinks that there is something better out there for you. A part of you thinks that your partner is not “The one”.

Fear not, the mysterious powers of a break are here to save you. If you are not really sure about committing to your partner, it’s time to ask them for a break. A break is a perfect way to find out if you are just getting cold feet or if your partner isn’t right for you.

Beware though, before you tell your partner you want to take a break, be prepared for the worst. If your partner did not know about your doubts, you wanting to take a break will come as a surprise to them and it will most likely make them question their commitment as well.

“If s/he is not so sure about this relationship, then why am I?”

You should expect a lot of pain and emotions when you break the news to them. But, in my opinion, it will be worth it. If your partner isn’t right for you, it’s better you find out now rather than years later.

And if they are right for you, you will eventually figure it out and be ready for commitment.

If you decide to take a break because of this reason, you should keep these things in mind:

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  • Tell them that you care about them, and this is not a breakup. That you are doing this to make sure a commitment is the right step for you.
  • Set clear boundaries about dating others during this break. If you want to go on dates, be honest. If not, be honest.
  • Set a clear time line for the break to end. You are doing this with someone you love. It’ll be cruel to keep them hanging indefinitely. It’s best to set a clear timeline before you take the break. If you are still not sure by the end of the timeline, it’s best to just breakup with them and let them go.

The Bottom Line

A break can be a smart choice if you are in a tough situation in your relationship. It gives you time and perspective you need to make the right decision.

But when you take a break, you should be clear with yourself and your partner about your reasons to take it. You should discuss the details of the break clearly and set a clear time line.

If at the end of the break, you feel you need more time, let your partner know about it as they may be waiting for you to reach out.

If you have decided to take a break, you should commit to it. Don’t go back to your partner just because you miss them. Make sure you have resolved the issue that caused you to take a break before you end it.

Featured photo credit: Edward Cisneros via unsplash.com

More by this author

Kevin Thompson

A breakup and relationship expert who writes about reconciliation and becoming a better person

5 Causes of Insecurities in a Relationship Not to Overlook How to Spice up Your Relationship and Keep It Fresh and Exciting 7 Signs of Manipulation in Relationships (And How to Handle It) Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make How to Recognize a Controlling Relationship and What to Do About It

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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