Simon is at it again. He makes it nearly impossible to resist sharing
an old saying or two. “It’s my way or the highway.” “Do it or
else.” Oh well, the temptation is just too much. “If you don’t,
you’ll be sorry.” “You are going to get exactly what you
deserve.” Maybe Simon should have just cut to the chase with, “Don’t
threaten.” After all, making threats is what demands and one-sided
conditions really are.




“But Simon,” you ask, “What about give-and-take,
compromise, and negotiation? Don’t those interpersonal strategies have their
places in quality, long-term relationships?”




Simon certainly did not just come into town on a load of logs. He has
been there too. Long-term relationships that really are a quality experience for
both people are based on creative give-and-take, compromise, and negotiation.
The people in the relationship have, in fact, carefully perfected their use of
all three. Their skills with these essential strategies are, in part, why their
relationship has survived long-term.




Here is another way of thinking about Simon’s point. You want your
relationship and your significant other to continue as important ingredients in
your life. You value the person and your relationship. Suppose your demand or
one-sided condition is met. That causes a change in the relationship, even if
slight. It also changes how you are perceived. Your relationship is now, to
some extent, more one-sided. Even more importantly, you are less equal than
before. The two of you are also now less close than prior to your having your
demand or one-sided condition met. As you see, demands and one-sided conditions
are destructive and chip away at your relationship. What you want to strengthen
is weakened.




There is a hidden conclusion here. You, of course, should not make
demands or set one-sided conditions. That is clear. You also should not
capitulate to demands or go along with one-sided conditions either. The damage
to your relationship is the same no matter which of you caves-in. Simply say,
“I won’t go along with your demand or condition, even though I may be
tempted. I won’t do that kind of damage to our relationship. What’s more, I
sincerely hope you won’t either.”