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How can I learn to compromise in my relationship?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Here's an experiment: The have-it-her-way/his-way game. Sounds kinky, eh? Here's how it works: For two weeks, you make every major decision. All decisions big and small (except for sex, which always must be consensual) go your way. Then for the next two weeks, your partner will make all the decisions. It goes for everything - what you're having for dinner, what time to go to bed, what you watch on TV, whether you spend Saturday at Starbucks or cleaning out the garage. While it may seem a little odd, it actually works in helping mend relationships that may have conflict. Why? First, it separates the actual issues from the power struggle over who is right. Once the couple buys into the experiment (an obviously important first step), they act according to their partner's wishes. It also works because it means you're reaffirming your trust in each other; just by agreeing to the experiment, each partner shows trust by 1) complying with the other's wishes, and 2) seeing that neither makes extreme demands (even when they have the power to do so). When they see that the other isn't power-tripping them, each feels safer about hearing the other's preferences and accommodating them. The real benefit: This experiment helps make decision-making and negotiating a lot easier once you reach day 31.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.