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Meet me in the middle

Before you enter into any negotiation you must first do your homework.  Ask yourself what you truly want (don’t be suckered into thinking you want the trash taken out when you really want to feel that he’s participating in the household).  This is your ideal.  Please realize that this probably won’t be achievable.  Then ask yourself what you’ll settle for – this is your fallback position, anything less than this would be your walk-away point.  (Note:  A walk-away point is the end of the negotiation.  You’ll need to reassess your fallback position and quite possibly, your relationship.)  Now figure out what the steps between your ideal and your fallback position are.  You will also need to know what you’re willing to give up to get to what you want.  It will look something like this:

  • Ideal:  100% participation in the household chores without being prompted.
  • Step 1:  50% of household tasks straight down the line without being prompted.
  • Step 2:  Fold laundry, sweep floors, clean bathroom, yard work, maintain car, tidy up after yourself – once a week.
  • Step 3:  Clean bathroom, yard work, tidy up after yourself – once a week.  Dinner dishes every other night.
  • Fallback:  Taking out the trash once a week, putting dirty dishes into dishwasher, keeping socks out of the living room.

As a smart, independent female, you would be wise to consider what your partner is going to want out of the negotiation and figure out how to weave his desires into yours.  People are always more willing to agree to something when they see what is in it for them (in this case, a happy, complaint-free partner).  Again, as you’re negotiating within a relationship do not attempt to win without your partner also winning.  You want to come out of the negotiation with what you want AND your relationship, not just what you want.

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