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You have no rights


"Of course I have rights!" I can hear you insisting


When problems arise in most relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, it’s because you think you have rights.


What are your rights?

  • You think you have a right to be treated fairly by your partner.

  • You think you have a right to be adored, loved, and respected.

  • You think you have a right to enjoy great sex with your partner.

  • You think you have a right for your partner not to have an affair.

  • You think you have a right for your partner to help you out or support you financially.

  • You think you have a right to get help from your partner with the dishes and with the kids.


Why are relationships so great and the beginning but degrade over time?

Did you ever wonder why relationships, especially romantic relationships, are so great in the beginning but degrade over time?


One of the major reasons is that, at the beginning of a relationship, we do not take our partner for granted, we do not make assumptions about what she or he will or will not do for us; we don't assume with have rights with her or him.


In the beginning...

In the beginning of a relationship, when we want something from our partner that we’re not already getting, we have to treat them a certain way so that they get pleasure in doing it for us.


Yet, after a while, we begin to expect things from our partner, we begin to think we have rights with our partner.


He had a right to have more sex with his wife

I once worked with a man who had been married for about two years. His wife did not want sex as much as he wanted it. Earlier in their relationship, she seemed eager to have a lot more sex.


He was angry and he felt cheated. His automatic thoughts were, “She is my wife; she should want sex with me much more often than she does.”


I said to him, “If there is any possibility of you having what you want to have with your wife, you will have to let go of any rights that you think you have with her. When you first met her, you did not act as if you had any rights with her. If you wanted to make love with her, you had to seduce her, you had to cherish her, you had to enroll her, you had to create an atmosphere where she wanted to make love as much as you did. Feeling like and acting as if you have any rights with her will get you exactly the opposite of what you want.”


Taking care of yourself with boundaries and minimum conditions of satisfaction

“Now, I don’t mean to say that you should stay with her indefinitely if you don’t get what you want with her. You need to clarify your ‘minimum conditions of satisfaction.’ And you might even let her know what your ‘minimum conditions’ are, not as a threat, but as a fact for her to factor into her commitments and desires. You could initiate a Partnership Conversation to find a way together for you both to be happy regarding this issue for you."


Stepping outside the HOGAB is a choice of courage

Letting go of rights is a real choice of courage. We try to control what we cannot control by insisting that we have rights. And, even if we seem to get what we want sometimes, it often comes at a very big cost.


Letting go of rights, letting go of expectations, does not mean that you don't have clear boundaries and clear minimum conditions of satisfaction. In fact, we often hold onto "our rights," to avoid the fear of "looking selfish" or being the "bad guy" in creating and maintaining clear boundaries and minimum conditions of satisfaction.


Whom do you think you have rights with? 

In which of your personal relationships do you think you have rights? Do these rights really work for you and your relationships? What courage might you choose to let go of your rights, to let go of your expectations, and to create what you really want with enrollment and good boundaries?

You're most likely to get what you want in your relationships when you are 100% responsible

If you think you have rights, then you're not being 100% responsible. You're giving away some of your power.


"You can be right or you can get what you want. But you can't have both."

-Werner Erhard

"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others."

-Brene Brown

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