Getting What You Actually Want from your Partner— Part Three: “MAN”, how to increase the likelihood of getting our request met with three more easy steps

This is part three of the series, “Getting what you Actually Want from your Partner”. To read part one, start here. To read part two, click here.

Now that we have our priorities set and most of our script completed with “DEAR“, it is time to complete 

M is for being Mindful

Being mindful is a behavior we do while delivering DEAR and is not a part of the script. When we are mindful in our interactions with our partners, the conversation is less likely to get off track, and you are more likely to get your needs met. While delivering your DEAR script to your partner, mindfulness may look like focusing on your goals without getting off-topic or distracted.

One skill to help with this is broken record, where you continuously repeat your Assert until there is a clear yes or no. For example, if you just described, expressed, asserted, and reinforced your partner to take out the trash and your partner states, “yeah, but I’m swamped today,” state, “I hear that you are busy, and can you please take out the trash?” By saying “I hear…” you are validating their experience. By repeating the assert, you are using a broken record.

Another tactic that falls under staying mindful is Ignore Attacks. Using the example above, your partner may say, “I don’t want to hear this. You don’t ever help me with the trash.” You will ignore this and continue stating your assert. If your partner threatens or tries to change the subject, ignore them and keep making your point.

*The caveat is if you believe your partner will become physically violent. Keep yourself safe, and if you need to respond instead of ignoring to stay safe, please do so.

A is for Appear Confident

Note that this says “appear'” and not “be”. You may be feeling stressed or even a little scared! That can be a normal response to asking for your needs to be met, especially if you aren’t used to doing so. Practice using a confident voice tone, making eye contact, and sitting or standing up straight. Practice your script while practicing appearing confident again and again. Try not to stammer, retreat, or look around at other objects in the room, and not backing out of your assert by saying, “but I don’t know. It’s up to you” or “but I’m unsure.” In addition, no apologizing for the asking.

N is for Negotiate

Sometimes, we must be willing to give up something to get something else. If your partner is still not budging after delivering your best DEAR MAN, try stating, “Well, how about we alternate on who takes the trash out, so you don’t have to do it all the time.” or “If you take the trash out, I will finish up the dishes.” If you have difficulty coming up with a negotiation, try turning the tables. Say to your partner, “What do you think we could do to get this done? I’m unwilling to take the trash out every time it is overflowing.

Asking our partner(s) to meet our needs or saying no to a request from them can be scary if we are not used to it. With practice, just like any other skill we learn, we can begin asserting ourselves like pros and getting our needs met with less effort! Writing up a DEAR MAN and practicing (especially the M and A in man) can help us come across as confident, self-respecting badasses that know what they want in life and aren’t afraid to ask!


Shelby Milhoan, LCPC