I’ve been talking a lot about negotiations. How a lack of negotiations ruins a marriage and how to find balance in your relationship through negotiations. Then I asked myself, after reading many articles and book extracts as well as talking to people struggling with and working on their marriages and relationships – ‘ At what stage of the relationship does the negotiation process start?’
By the time you’re married and having stand up rows about the tidiness of the kitchen it’s already quite late. Not too late to change things of course but, if you’re thinking of starting a new relationship the time to start negotiations is even before it becomes a relationship.
Yes – NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN AT DATING.
Please don’t sit down and draw up a contract that you will have your date sign before the next sip of shared wine passes his lips. That’s ridiculous and may ensure that’s the last you see of him. Begin with yourself. What is acceptable to you? What are deal breakers at the dating stage? You need to set some dating rules for yourself. Don’t just drift along, think things through.
Here are some rules one woman called Tamara set for herself. They may help you make up your own –
- I will take my time getting to know a man. I will not allow him to rush me into a relationship, rush me into being sexual or anything else.
- I will “be present” on dates by listening to what he says, asking questions or commenting on what I hear, and not be afraid to do so. I will be open about myself (within reason) and my interests.
- I will not allow a man to snap at me or be judgmental towards me without me calling him on his behavior.
- I will not retract into my shell if he disagrees with what I have to say or want to do. I will no longer go along to get along. I won’t disagree disagreeably but I won’t be silent either.
- I will think about whether I like him and use that conclusion to decide whether I want to see him again. I will no longer focus entirely upon whether he likes me and be insecure about him breaking up with me.
- I will not be afraid of disagreements or feel threatened by the idea that he won’t like me if I don’t do what he says or don’t agree with him.
- I will no longer be afraid if the relationship does not work out at any stage and I will feel free to end it if I don’t feel it is working for me.
Wonderful – aren’t they? Do you know which is my favourite?
” I WILL NOT RETRACT INTO MY SHELL IF HE DISAGREES WITH WHAT I HAVE TO SAY OR WANT TO DO. I WILL NO LONGER GO ALONG TO GET ALONG. I WON’T DISAGREE DISAGREEABLY BUT I WON’T BE SILENT EITHER.”
Which is your favourite? Can you suggest any others?