Resolution, Not Conflict

The guide to problem-solving.

Solve Tough Dilemmas With the Win-Win Waltz

Differences are inevitable within any partnership, at work or at home. To settle conflicts with resolutions you both feel really good about, use this worksheet to guide you through the three steps of the win-win waltz. Then you can always be a winner. Read More

So, "If you want to live in


"If you want to live in San Francisco and I want to live in New York", how do you both win other than split and go your separate ways? Or are you being disingenous by defining "win win" as "both get what you want by giving up something else so the question doesn't actually arise?". After all, there can be no conflict in a relationship if you dissolve the relationship, can there?

Your questions go to the essence of the win-win process

"If you want to live in San Francisco and I want to live in New York"

1. Ask what the underlying concerns are for each of you.

SF: I like living near the ocean.
Also, we've lived there in the past so I have a few friends there, and I tend to be shy about meeting new people.
Lastly, New York is too busy and noisy for me.

NY: I would love to be closer to my East coast family.

2. Find a solution responsive to both of your concerns

Let's go to Boston.
It's by the ocean.
Both of us also know friends there.
I'd be glad to look for a church/synagogue with our kind of folks. That would be a good place we could go to expand our friendship group relatively easily, and since I'll be there with you that will help you get past that initial shyness
It's a city, like San Francisco, and at the same time less busy and noisy than New York.
And it's closer to the East Coast family.

Both folks' concerns are responded to in this solution. It's thoroughly win-win.

Re-define "win" as something

Re-define "win" as something neither person really wants and pretend you both like it. Sounds like a long term strategy for failure.

A misunderstanding.

While no doubt there may be people who "pretend" to like something they don't, that's the opposite of what genuine win-win problem-solving does. Actually win-win solutions bring people an up-tick in happiness and in loving feelings toward each other.

So the couple where one

So the couple where one partner wants a sex life, the other demands celibacy, won't move, won't open the relationship, refuses to divorce. Show me the win win waltz here

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Susan Heitler, Ph.D., is the author of many books, including From Conflict to Resolution and The Power of Two. She is a graduate of Harvard University and New York University.


Subscribe to Resolution, Not Conflict

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.