Decisions… decisions….

How do you and your partner come to a decision when you don’t agree?

It’s a tough task.

Not every situation will result in a win-win and there will be many times that one of you does not get what you want. And that just plain sux! Especially when it’s you.

John Gottman is a psychologist who runs The Love Lab says he can predict how long a couple will last, not by study how well they get along, but how well they don’t.

(Inserted comment section: while I like John’s thoughts about couples working through conflict, am a little disturbed by the smiles of John and his wife and John’s hat in the section that advertises sex videos) (Oh, and I haven’t looked at the sex videos from the “privacy of my own home” as I don’t want to find out it they feature him and his wife) (Sometimes mystery is a good thing.)

Anyhoo…. back to the point! How well you get through the tough times – and disagreeing can be very tough sometimes – is definitely a defining feature of ANY relationship. This includes your friends, your family and those folk you have to spend inordinate amounts of time with at work. (Am very jealous if you love all your work mates).

Unless you are a person who goes with flow so much you resemble a lazy river of molten magma, there will be times when you disagree with others and either have to, or want to stand your ground. And how does that look for you?

Do you dig your heels in every time? Make a valiant attempt to stand your ground, but feebly give in when things get tough? Do you give in all the time for the sake of peace? Do you run logic arguments and keep a tally of who has won x number of disagreements in the last year?

There’s no right and wrong answer and no magic solution. There are a lot of counsellors, self-help books and websites you can go to for help though – and that’s maybe not a bad thing.

My husband and I are both quite definite in what we like and don’t. It makes for some tough conversations. When I give in, I’ll often think “I’ll remember that for next time and use it as ammunition when I want to get my way”, but fortunately, my memory is not that great on such minutia. Ultimately that strategy is not worth the effort anyway. I do give in on ‘stuff’ though, but don’t ever pretend that I am happy about it. I’m not talking sulking, resentful behaviour – just honesty.

And when I give in and don’t get what I want, I do it with grace! Which is my biggest ‘thing’. If you do give in – do it with grace or DON’T DO IT!

How is this in anyway related to sleeping separately? Well, what happens when one person wants to sleep separately and one doesn’t? Now there is a monumental discord.

I spoke to four couples who are in that situation and can I tell you, the conversations were tense. In all couples, it was the man who did not want the separate rooms. I can report that the couples were sleeping separately, but with a heavy mist of unease cool-ly swirling in the hallways of the house.

And realistically, that might be all they will ever get. An uneasy truce. Why should the husband have to all of sudden decide that he is happy about sleeping separately from his wife? And why should the wife endure night after night of no sleep because of a snoring husband?

Unfortunately folks what we have here is an unwinnable situation – and they do exist. Not every disagreement has a happy ending. But do you walk away from what might be a very happy and functioning relationship because you can’t get your way in one situation? I know that question has to be answered in the context of what the situation is (e.g., Fifty Shades of Grey type dilemmas).

I’m not offering an answer – because there is none. Back to a common theme of mine – every relationship is different and every person is different. Your life is what you want and that makes it OK. Sometimes though, it’s good to stop and ponder your own behaviour, so that when one of those tricky situations arises, you may have some internal preparation done in readiness.

Goodness, goodness me life can be tough!

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