For years now women have been told to be more assertive in their relationships, that in the healthiest partnerships, you and your man contribute equally—be it around the house or in bed.But that mind-set can cause one-for-me-one-for-you accounting, which ultimately breeds resentment.
This dynamic has become increasingly intense because our culture conditions and reinforces instant gratification over the hard work of getting along. MC: But what if your grabbiness is legit—he wants to get married but you're not ready; you love oral sex but it's not his thing?
How does everyone get their needs met without either side feeling as if they're losing themselves?
JG: You want to develop your sense that you have a right to meet your own needs—to take care of yourself without feeling guilty or bad.
That will immediately push back upon the other person's selfish behavior.
But if you don't assert yourself, you feel miserable and trapped.
So you've got to take a leap of faith, to speak your truth and negotiate.
The goal is to find the middle ground, to please your partner and, in turn, be equally pleased by him, which is why you are with him in the first place.
MC: But if selfishness is ruining relationships, should the goal really be for the selfless partner to be more selfish, or for the selfish partner to be less so?
We talked to Greer about why it's critical that we quit keeping score and start finding ways to compromise.