Negotiating the Terms of Your Relationship Like a Business Deal

Daniella Cressman

I’m no relationship expert.

In fact, I’ve failed in this area of life more times than I can count, so much so that I’m considering giving up on the whole romance thing altogether, or at least taking a very long break from it.

They say you can have love without money — what a romantic notion!

I suppose this is true to an extent, but it sure is a hell of a lot more fun if you actually have enough to sustain yourself and spoil your partner occasionally.

One could argue that the amount of money a person makes is also a result of their ambition and resolve, but I have to admit that this is certainly not always the case: There are plenty of rich folks out there mooching off of their parents’ money and receiving an extremely generous inheritance for doing absolutely nothing. On the other hand, there are so many incredibly talented, ambitious people chasing their dreams with only a few pennies to rub together: They have the determination and the resolve, but their vision hasn’t come to fruition…yet!

I don’t have a ton of money right now, but I am happier than I’ve ever been, and I have enough to get by.

Earning a living from your craft takes time.

Getting rich can take years.

It took Graham Stephan seven years to reach his goal of $1 million, and the guy saved his cash like crazy and worked in industries that were actually quite profitable!

Anyway…I love romance: Gondolas, gifts, diamond rings…

The Hollywood version of love in which men are the equivalent of angels and there are always happy endings — no matter how intense the conflict is! — is beautiful, but the harsh reality is that I rarely see this approach actually work in real life.

Case in point: Tony Robbins sat down with his wife before they got married and literally presented her with a list of expectations and goals for both parties that he thought would benefit their partnership— It was a negotiation of sorts.

He wanted to make sure they were on the same page, and that included all of the little technicalities: After all, if they were going to be sharing their lives together, he thought it would be best to be realistic and make sure the two of them knew what they were getting into!

Grant Cardone has stated cheekily that he “treated Elena like a business deal” time and time again, and the two of them are still going strong: It’s rare to see couples that tease and laugh together — not to mention actually make an effort to look presentable — especially after being married for sixteen years.

Both marriages have lasted a long time. Both have been treated as a business deal of sorts — negotiations and all! — by each party.

Both couples still laugh, tease, and enjoy each other’s company.

Both power couples are extremely wealthy!!

There seems to be a common theme here.

I was honestly a bit flabbergasted and disappointed when I read this information and advice.

I believe I first came across it when reading Tony Robbins’ work.

It was a hard pill to swallow.

I’m a bit of a romance addict: I’ve penned two novels in the genre and I love the notion of my Prince Charming riding up to sweep me off my feet on his majestic white horse.

I also resent it as someone who cherishes my independence: It’s extremely challenging to navigate the ins and outs of chivalry because its history is so riddled with sexism.

The most successful approaches to true love — the ones where women are actually treated as equals — are honestly rather cold and direct.

They are the opposite of a Hollywood love story in which a woman is swept off her feet, but there is a light that shines brighter than any idealized version of romance ever could.

Women are treated as equals and are happier in their relationships.

Marriages last longer, and women only marry if they actually want to, because they’re generally doing so well financially that they don’t need to depend on a man: They may simply want a partner in life, but they’re fine without one.

In places like Denmark and Iceland, which frequently claim the spots on the top of many reputable lists when it comes to gender equality around the globe, men see women as equals so they don’t open doors for them or split the check.

Initially, this struck me as a mixed bag: There are parts of male generosity and gender norms that I enjoy — they benefit me! — but I can see why they would also lead to a great deal of resentment if I were a man who was constantly expected to dish out my hard-earned cash, especially if the woman I was with frequently chose a particularly expensive item on the menu.

Then, I realized reluctantly that men not opening doors or splitting the bill was actually a gesture of enormous respect: They inherently believed that women were perfectly capable of paying for their own meals and opening doors on their own.

In the United States and Western Europe, romance is common, and so is chivalry: Although the vast majority of men still believe women are capable of opening doors and paying their own way in this world, the history of these gestures is one of oppression: Women were considered completely inferior in pretty much every way during the time of the medieval knights, and these gestures — whether we like it or not — stemmed from this inherently sexist system and mindset.

Here’s the problem: These gestures are too often a setup for resentment and expectation from the male end, and extreme entitlement from the female viewpoint — If a guy pays for dinner, he may expect sex in return, and if a woman wants a dude to treat her no matter what, that can easily lead to toxic dynamics in the relationship sooner than later.

On the other hand, if you create a list or simply treat your relationship as a business deal where you establish expectations and negotiate the terms of your union, both parties understand what’s realistic, what their role is, and how they can contribute to the partnership in a meaningful way.

It seems to work for Tony Robbins and Grant Cardone.

Also, you can have love without money, but let’s face it: Money helps!

In my experience, it’s been very difficult to maintain a relationship with someone who’s earning a lot more than I am because that can quickly lead to intense power dynamics and resentment in many cases.

It’s been tough to date someone who earns significantly less than me for the same reason: I don’t want to feel like one person is carrying the other; it should be a partnership in the truest sense.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.

I’ve never tried this approach, but it seems to work for these people.

They are extremely wealthy though, so I’m sure that makes almost everything at least ten times easier!

Maybe I’ll try this strategy in the future. Who knows? It could make everything run more smoothly!

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