Jun 20th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Managing Differences

Many senior citizens have relationships that exceed four and five decades, including marriage.  Research is clear that relationships are critical to healthy and happy living for seniors. Differences are bound to occur in such relationships; they are predictable.  The important consideration is to create avenues for managing differences, not for eliminating them. That’s impossible.

When differing opinions prevail, when both parties are met with disagreements about a specific issue, then it is time for something to give.  In the throes of any sizable undertaking, it is possible for opposite points of view to emerge. Each has his/her well thought through positions.  Each is clear that his/her argument is a strong one, deserving of deliberation and consideration.  Time comes for negotiation and compromise.

Having disagreements in a partnership is quite normal and expected.  When the matter involves finances, the situation can become more and more inflamed with disagreement.  Looking at the matter from the point of view of a third party may help, or it may further exacerbate the differences.

Here are some suggestions for creating a common ground:

  • Determine the bottom line.  Set it, agree to it and help all involved know what it is.
  • Arrive at understandings which involve all issues, large and small.
  • Decide where compromise is possible and where it is not.
  • Revisit the matter, only when new information justifies doing so.
  • Be sure all parties are included in all discussions.  Let there be no “hidden” negotiations.
  • Address your self interest.  Do not cave in to “advice” from outside uninformed parties.
  • When/if you are met with positions that differ with your own, meet them politely and firmly.
  • If you are met with a matter involving a large sum of money and a major life impacting decision, discuss it rationally, sleep on it and resume considerations the next day.
  • Do not cave in for sentimental reasons.  This is a business proposition with long term implications.  Act accordingly.
  • Keep your relationship intact.  It comes first.  The business side can and will be resolved with appropriate attention and wise choices.

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