Negotiating couple pitfalls and minefields.

Pressed buttons can ignite into hurt feelings and painful arguments even with couples that feel in harmony.  Talking about things they know are liable to ‘set them off’, and how they would like to negotiate when this happens can help to avoid instant defensiveness and lack of understanding.

· Where to live and in what type of accommodation?
· Money management.
· Sexual desire, preferences and respect.
· Allowing and respecting difference in taste whether cultural or social.
· Household and daily chores.  Who does what and when?  Does it feel fair?
· Driving and directions.  Who does which or are the roles swapped?
· Time management.  Late/early.  How to negotiate somewhere in the middle to lower the anxiety and stress.
· Going out.  How much or little?
· Sharing friends.  Mutually enjoying some.  Separating out for others without a sense of rejection or threat.
· What does each mean about trust?
· Children.  Different expectations and hopes.  How to deal with the conflicting ideas.
· Pets.  To have or have not?  How to share the care.
· Tidy/Untidy.  Can a point be reached somewhere in the middle to satisfy both.
· Perhaps one of the most difficult to negotiate because it is a relatively new pitfall is Internet and mobile phone usage.  The sense of rejection when friends in cyberspace seem more amusing, interesting and sexy than each other in real time.

These are all areas of possible conflict and misunderstanding which can be conciliated and mediated, bringing the couple closer through a feeling of respect and being borne in mind.

Clare Ireland

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