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May 17, 2007

COUPLE’S TALK: “DO I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR…”

People often ask me if they have the right to ask anything of their partner. Is it okay if they ask their partner to: stay home, go with them to visit a sick friend, stop eating unhealthy food, start exercising etc. In essence, they want to know if any request is fair game or if there are some questions that are off limits.

When asked if any request is fair game, my reflex answer is: Yes. You have the right to ask anyone anything…and s/he has the right to say no…to anything. As long as you’re clear that just because you ask for something, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it—or that your partner has to give it to you--there are no requests that are off limits.

It’s important to note that although you can ask anything, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some questions that are not in your best interest to ask, or that are down right obnoxious. For example, asking your partner if you could sleep with his/her best friend is obnoxious and not exactly in your relational, long term best interest to ask. It would be wise to steer clear of these questions if you have any interest at all in your relationship surviving and being healthy.

Overall, as long as you are being respectful, coming from a centered, healthy place, and have the best interest of you, your partner, and your relationship at heart, you can ask anything you’d like. This is true even if your request is regarding a touchy subject such as weight, sex, or professional help.

Be clear however, that it’s only a request, not a command or ultimatum. Making a command or giving an ultimatum is an entirely different post.

What are your thoughts on this?

Challenge: Is there something you’ve wanted to request of your partner but have been too scared, etc., to do it? If so, commit to asking him/her in a respectful, centered way. You might want to write down your request and practice it if it’s a difficult one. After you ask it, accept your partner’s right to say no.

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