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A Relationship Does Not Include Ownership

True partners learn to keep things balanced.

Some people mistakenly feel that once they commit to a relationship, they have been granted permission to oversee and control every detail of their partner's existence, and that is never going to happen.

When we try to assert our will over someone else, the other person will most likely get defensive or downright insulted. No one likes to be told what to do. If you doubt this, just remember how it feels when someone tries to tell you what to do.

To avoid the natural backlash that comes with this action, you need to look at how you ask for something, what the words mean to you, and how your partner may hear them differently.

I know this sounds like a long process, especially if your motivation is just to get your other half to bring home some milk. But if you take this information to heart, you may eliminate a large percentage of your arguments, hurt feelings, and thoughts of using a roll of duct tape to keep your loved one's mouth shut.

It's called a partnership for a reason. Unless you agree that you want one person to have all the control, no individual has the right to make the other subservient. There is a sound psychological reason for this. If we don't treat each other as equals, the love can't flow equally, and if that isn't happening, you are eventually going to question the relationship.

Simply changing any demands to a request is a great way to start. This gives your partner an opportunity to exercise his or her free will, which is empowering. The chances of getting your needs met are much higher if the other person feels like he or she has some choice in the matter.

Acting out by yelling, withholding affection, or just being nasty is a losing game. It will never help you get what you want. In truth, it will only serve to push your partner away. If you think this behavior is OK, I implore you to ask your mate what he or she is experiencing. Yes, it's a risk, but if you take it now, you'll save yourself a lot of grief in the future.

Working together is one of the best parts of a relationship. The give-and-take is a dance that would put Fred and Ginger to shame. Being able to have your requests granted with a smile may only be a matter of changing a few words, adjusting your tone, and perhaps your attitude.

You'll get the most out of your life and your sweetheart by treating him or her with the same respect you'd ask for yourself. This is not rocket science, but it's a discovery that could make your relationship as bright as any star.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
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