Why You Shouldn’t Negotiate Your Relationship

the relationship talkYou’ve been taught that the ultimate sign of maturity is when two people can sit down and talk about an issue like adults. And it’s critical for many things: a disagreement, a major financial decision, long-term goals with a long-term partner. But having The Talk with someone you just started seeing in an effort to secure the relationship is not only a sign of insecurity, but a straight-up mistake.

I get it. You like this person a lot, and you believe that if you “just knew what was up” you’d feel better and everything would be grand. I counter with this: If you're having a fun, great, sexy time, why oh why would you drop those dreaded words: "Where is this going?"

It's the equivalent of walking into a great party, turning off the music, flipping on all the lights, and asking, "Is everyone having a good time?" That’s why having The Talk too early is horrible. Because it starts with "I like you a lot" and ends with "and this is what I need you to do." It legislates. It kills the fun. Don't do it.

In fact, delay that conversation as long as possible. My rule of thumb is that you can and should get to know each other for a few months (three to six), not weeks, before anyone slaps down rules and regulations. Because the first person to bring it up loses.

It’s not unlike business negotiations, in fact. There, too, it’s widely accepted that the person who names a price first loses (there are exceptions, of course, such as when you want to set a high bar, but other than that, best to wait). Also, you know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of someone a bit too hungry to “close” you. The need to nail things down early broadcasts insecurity.

Next Up: Your Excuses Debunked


Your Excuses — Debunked
Think you have good reason to scratch that insecure itch? Allow me to squash them.

Excuse 1: “What if he meets someone else?”
He could meet someone else regardless. There's always that risk (so could you, by the way). If you hold off on the summit, you get the best of each other — and your privacy to boot. Use this grey area to your advantage. It does no harm to continue to date around a bit and see how he measures up.

Excuse 2: "I want us to be honest!"
You should be open and communicative, yes. But don't confuse honesty with security. You think that if you know more about what's going on under the hood you'll feel better, but that may not be the case. Do you really want to know that he’s getting over a crush from last summer? Does he want to know that your ex keeps calling? No and no. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you keep choosing to spend time with each other. You don't have to kick the tires every two seconds. Just drive.

Excuse 3: “I don’t want to waste time.”
Let’s put your biological clock aside (for just a moment). If you’re having a fantastic time with someone you really like, how could that be a waste? For a relationship to last, it’s best to give yourself a chance to know the person. Trying to “close” the deal early as an approach to loss prevention is a fruitless effort. Someone who’s rushed will resist now or resent you later.

That said, no, you don’t have time to waste if you’re antsy to start having babies. But there’s a difference between knowing if a man wants to have children, and whether he’s ready to do that right now with you. If this is a high priority, make sure you mention it early on. If he shares that goal, then you can get to know each other with that in mind.

Do a Self-Check
If you’re feeling angsty, hit pause and ask yourself this: Why do I need to ask? Chances are you’re craving what most humans do: security. You want to be reassured that you are special. You are! But while you deserve love, no one owes you a sense of security.

Instead of asking, enjoy this rare window of intrigue. If you're with this person 10 years from now, there will be a point when the butterflies will up and disappear — and trust me, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

An earlier version of this article appeared on territrespicio.com

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