As I have recently begun a new relationship, I have been thinking about and doing a lot of negotiating lately and it struck me how ‘easily’ it was all going. Now it could be that my new partner and I are just that much more compatible, but something else dawned on me; I had spent a great deal of time prior to starting to date again, reflecting on what I wanted, needed, and realistically could give, in and from a relationship.
You know the old chestnut “You cannot love someone until you love yourself”? Well, the same sort of thing goes for relationship negotiations. You cannot negotiate with your partner until you negotiate with yourself.
Before you sit down to negotiate with your partner, it is vitally important that you sit down with yourself and figure out your stance on things. Let’s say you were going to a meeting with your boss to negotiate a raise. You would prepare, wouldn't you? You’d likely spend some time reflecting on your position and while you thought you deserved said raise. Similarly, when entering relationship negotiations, it is equally as important to reflect and prepare.
I should point out, that I’m not necessarily talking about negotiations as a formal, sit-down, serious discussion about Big Things. In relationships negotiations happen all the time - when doing the grocery shopping, waiting for a train, in bed. But being self-aware and having a clear idea of what your own personal boundaries, limits, desires, needs and offerings are can result in those conversations going a whole lot smoother, no matter how serious or ‘off the cuff’ they are.
Say, for example, you were negotiating with a new partner on how frequently you might see them. It would be good for you to have spent time reflecting on how much time you want to spend with them, how much time you think you have to spare, given your other commitments and partners and additionally, where that time is going to come from.
If you have a clear idea of these sorts of things, and why, you’re much more likely to be able to negotiate in a clear and confident manner, and a lot less likely to find it a challenge.
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