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Cooperation in Relationships



‘to act or operate jointly with another or others to the same end;

to work or labour to promote a common object;

to unite in producing the same effect.’


‘Having the ability to work things out with your partner,

while achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.’

Cooperation is very important for a happy, long-lasting relationship. Both parties have to be on the same page as far as their vision of the relationship is concerned. Again, this is another area that needs considerable discussion during the serious dating stage before one makes a decision to get into a long-term relationship.

Communication has to be the foundation of one’s relationship in order that the two of you can find that shared vision in which you’ll need in order to cooperate with one another to achieve that vision.

A couple must know individually and as a unit what roles each will play regarding bread-winning and household responsibilities. What is your vision for lifestyle and housing? Does he want a small farm while you would prefer city living?

According to Michael J Formica MS, MA, Ed M. in an article in Psychology Today, “Cooperation… strengthens the underlying fabric of relationship through the balanced interchange, open communication and mutual understanding.”

Thriving-Baby-Boomers - Cooperation - Male and Female holding hands

Male and Female holding hands

According to an article entitled, Cooperation in Relationships by Ron Lafleur, some things that enhance one’s ability or willingness to cooperate are:

  • A willingness to see things from our partner’s perspective
  • To be willing to let go of our own agenda
  • The willingness to listen – Really, truly listening!!
  • A feeling of being in it together
  • Wanting to help our partner achieve their dreams and resolve their problems
  • And in turn, feeling like our partner has our best interests at heart as well

Some things that might get in the way of cooperation could be:

  • Having a lack of respect for one another.
  • A lack of empathy and concern for the other
  • An inability to let go of our agenda and listen to our partner
  • Having to have things OUR way (Selfish, Self-Centered)
  • Not having a long-term vision for the relationship
  • Too much stress taking away from the quality of the relationship
  • Losing sight of the importance of the relationship in our lives (Taking partner & relationship for granted)
  • Lack of communication and conflict resolution skills

More importantly than agreeing on concrete goals, cooperation can also be used to create the emotional environment the couple wants to experience.

According to an article in Psych Central, Ashley Randall, PhD., a University of Arizona researcher reported that “Social psychology literature on cooperation tells us that women generally tend to cooperate more, while men often try to avoid conflict. Thus, men might be subconsciously syncing their emotions with their partners during cooperation in an effort to avoid conflict or reach a speedy resolution.”  An interesting observation by this researcher!

Thriving-Baby-Boomers - Cooperation - male/female symbols

Male/Female Symbols

I have written a whole chapter on Cooperation in my upcoming book, The 8 Cs of Relationships.

For more information on when The 8 Cs of Relationships will be published (anticipated publication date late 2023) and where to pre-order your copy, please fill in the form here.

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