A Win Can Be A Really Big Loss

A Win Can Be A Really Big Loss

When couples don’t communicate well they are often left feeling like they must meet their own needs because their partner isn’t fully trusted. Each person in the relationship holds back so that they won’t have to be vulnerable and possibly get hurt. Unfortunately, if one or both people in the relationship believe that the other will not meet their needs they are left to meet them on their own. This type of communication and action dynamic becomes a situation where each person takes what they need from the other person, using or objectifying them to meet a need. When they try to meet their needs over the needs of their partner it becomes a take/take, or win/lose scenario. If I am meeting my needs alone, I win. If I win, that means someone has to lose. It might look like using a spouse as a sex object instead of their beloved spouse. It might show itself as a spouse treating the other like a servant. It takes many forms. Another form it might take is where each encounter in the relationship becomes a transaction. “I will win this time and I will let you win the next.” Unfortunately, the scales never balance and one, or both, are usually resentful and become conniving. 


Every aspect of the relationship could be a win/win for the couple. Relationships work best when they are “us” centered, not “me” centered. Instead of win/lose, which is taking what they feel they need, make relationship issues a win/win, which is give and receive. Find a different solution that gives each person something agreeable. Give and receive is choosing the “us”, a solution that maintains trust and intimacy and moves the discussion to a positive conclusion. Even with irreconcilable differences, find a win/win. Ever couple has them, but it’s how you accommodate them that matters. Remember:


  • A win for you means a loss for your partner.

  • Transactional relationships foster resentment over time.

  • Give and receive means that each person is looking to meet both of their needs.

  • Taking from your partner leads to tyranny and sometimes abuse.

Irreconcilable differences can be a win/win if you consider many options- use your imagination.