What are the healthy Characteristics of negotiation in Relationships A healthy functional intimate relationship is based on equality and respect, not power and control. Think about how you treat and desire to be treated by someone you care about. The quality of a negotiation depends upon two things; the quality of the basic relationship between the two people and the quality of the communication that takes place. A good relationship with good communication between two people should enable successful negotiation. A poor relationship with poor communication is likely to create unhealthy relationships. Too often people try to use negotiating skills from the office at home these – skills do not translate into relational tools. The health of a relationship impacts the quality of communication between two people. If you do not trust someone, you are in danger of either disregarding what they say or looking for hidden meanings that may or may not actually exist. The health of a relationship impacts heavily upon negotiation and is a major influencing factor on the likelihood of both partners getting what they need to flourish and grow. Trust This means being supportive, wanting the best for your partner, knowing your partner likes you, and being able to rely on your partner, offering encouragement when necessary, and being comfortable with your partner having different friends and interests.
Intimate relationships are complex, they can be identified by a growing degree of attachment or dependence – in other words, how much we ‘need’ the other person. Attachment or dependence can be hard to negotiate because it defines vulnerability. It is usually our own dependence – our own vulnerability – that we find difficult to confront and to accept. Like it or not, however, dependence, vulnerability, and consequently power are influencing factors in all relationships. You might feel that you control the power balance, that you are subject to it or that it is equal. Nevertheless, it exists and it is a major influencing factor.
[highlight]Types of power[/highlight]
Positional power This type of power comes from one person’s position in relation to another. For instance, one partner may have more financial wealth or may have power because of the position that he or she occupies at work, the other partner may have less power because of the way in which their partner perceives them and the division of finances, decisions making or labour in the home. Positional power is characterised by a need for the relationship to continue. Information power As individuals, the more information that we have, the more we feel able to control what is going on about us. This form of control involves one person having more information than another and using it to control the other person’s uncertainty. People can become dependent upon others because of their need to control their own uncertainty.
Control of rewards Buying a sports car to reward a partner for their compliance is an example of this. Paying for everything in the relationship. This is about having the power to reward for desired performance or behaviour. This type of power creates dependency upon the person giving the reward.
Coercive power This is about having the power to punish for failure to behave in a desired fashion. This type of power is also likely to create dependency. People can depend on not being punished as well as depend on being rewarded.
Alliances and networks This concerns the relationships with Social networks (Facebook Literally) and real ones with Family and friends. This is an extended form of information power together with positional power.
Access to and control of agendas If one person controls what terms of the relationship are negotiated, they can effectively set the ground rules i.e. when one partner wants complete control of their partner’s behaviours and loyalty without any relationship skills or creation of the necessary skills to create a healthy relationship. This avoids intimacy. One person focussed on conditions that are favourable to themselves and for needs and requests from their partners that are unfavourable to be blocked. When the discussion is controlled, the relationship becomes dependent on the other to explain the rules for communication and subsequently negotiation. This is unhealthy in adult relationships and creates a power imbalance.
Power All negotiation is about power. Because there are always power imbalances in a relationship, negotiation goes on all the time. No matter what your overall approach to negotiation, you may need to consider the nature of power. Remember that the power in the relationship will influence how intimacy is negotiated. There are many ways people play out power dynamics in relationships through money, sex, decision making, and giving or withholding affection.
[highlight]Healthy negotiation in an intimate relationship[/highlight]
Accepting responsibility for yourself, means looking after your needs without holding someone else responsible for your life. If you need help get it. Acknowledge past and previous bad behaviour including verbal, emotional or physical violence. Being able to say sorry and admit when you are wrong goes a long way to creating harmony in a relationship. Be sure to communicate openly and honestly. Keep your agreements. Do not create excuses for you or your partner actions. A healthy Relationship is built on truth rather than game playing and deception.
Good Communication Good Communication is based on clarifying issues, specifying feelings, and working together for mutually satisfying solutions. If one partner does something that hurts the other in any way they can take responsibility, and make needed changes in their demonstration of love for the other partner.Any two people can have different perceptions. Differences are not a problem; it is how two people deal with differences. It is often best to take a conscious approach to making decisions in relationships. There is no right or wrong. Take time to listen and reflect. Navigating your desires and reactions. Stop the internal dialogue with yourself about the other person’s motivations and emotions. Ask questions instead of making assumptions. Work towards finding mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict, this means talking. Take time to work what your desires and needs are. They are just as valid as your partner’s. You do not need to agree or even understand differences in opinion to respect your partner. When differences come up observe the situation from your partner’s point of view. No issue or problem is more important than the relationship. When one person wins an argument there will always be a loser rather than two people winning. Conscious decision making Making money decisions together, making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements, sharing dating expenses, accepting both partners need to hold a job. Making decisions together, splitting or alternating costs on dates. Being mindful of the other person’s needs as well as your own – doing things for each other, going places you both enjoy, giving as much as you receive. [highlight]Basic Steps to Maintaining a Good, Healthy Relationship[/highlight] • Be conscious of what both want for yourselves and from the relationship. • Be vocal about what your needs are communicate them assertively. Neither of you are mind readers • Recognise that your partner will not be able to meet all of your needs. These can be met outside of the relationship. • Do expect your partner to change to meet all your expectations. Accept differences that you see between your ideal how you would like things to be & the reality of who they really are. • Expect conflict. It’s healthy and be willing to negotiate & • Observe and have compassions and empathy. See things from their point of view. You don’t have to agree to respect and understand differences. • Healthy relationships take continual work and effort to maintain. [highlight]Take your relationships’ Temperature[/highlight] • How well do you and your partners listen to each other? When you and your partner talk, do you look each other in the eye and really listen, is one of you pre-empting a response before the other has finished talking? • How willing are you to take responsibility for your role in your relationship? Many people are good at finding fault in others; particularly those with whom they are in relationship. How capable are you of both identifying your relational limitations and working to change them? • Re you willing to make compromises? Generally and in your daily routine are you conscious of your partners’ likes and dislikes, sensitivities and emotional needs? Do you allow your partner to make compromises for you? In order for a relationship to be balanced and healthy, each person needs to assert his or her own needs and be responsive to those of their partner. • Do you both recognise the qualities you enjoy and appreciate about each other? Are you able to express these, or are they left unsaid? Over time, couples have a tendency to take each other for granted, recognition; appreciation and affection need to be regularly exchanged, in ways that work for both partners. • Are you able to express your concerns without fear of how your partner will react? I Are you both able to express concerns gently and respectfully and do you become harsh or ridiculing? How you express the things that bother you matters at least as much as what your concerns were in the first place. These factors share common themes: mutual respect, openness and consideration. Take time to consider that your care, attentiveness & respect in your romantic relationship are the gifts that matter most every day and create a healthy loving relationship.
Explore more in Couples therapy