Reciprocate

In this step you ask for what you need to end the conflict and you respond to the other person's request for the same. Your requests, your offers, and your counter-offers, will revive a sense of connection, a sense of give and take. Counter-offers are made if you cannot fully accept the requests you receive, or if your offers have not been accepted.

When we are in the midst of a conflict, we are cut off from our sense of connection and shared experience that is at the core of relationship. Instead, in a conflict, each person is walled off into his or her own domain, disconnected from the other. Reconnection involves rewiring the relational circuits. One of the main circuits is reciprocity, the sense of give and take. It is through reciprocity that relationship grows. If reciprocity has been short-circuited, the relationship suffers.

Reciprocity can be restored by asking for what you need and responding to the other person's request. Being able to give what you can give, while setting your own limits as to what you are willing or able to give or receive, resets the sense of reciprocity and makes further connection easier.

If the other person's offers are not acceptable and the sense of reciprocity has not been regenerated, it may be worthwhile to go through the steps a second time in order to understand more about the feelings involved in these requests. It is useful to gain the information as to what is or is not acceptable to the other person. Discovering issues that are non-negotiable for each person is an important part of relationship. These processes take time, but they can strengthen your relationship.