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Dr. Tracy Dalgleish Explores "Fair Play" in First Responder Relationships

From episode: Fair Play In First Responder Relationships

talk about Fair Play for first responders for a sec, because I feel like a lot of times because our guys and gals are out on line for 48, 72, 96, whatever, whatever it happens to be, Fair Play can get tricky. And I want to talk about what Fair Play is first of all, and how we can apply it to the first responder world. You two will be the experts in terms of how to apply it to the first responder world, because you have the lived experience. And so let's step back a little bit. The Fair Play method comes from Eve Rotsky's book. It's a fantastic book. And truthfully, as a clinician, I had spent many years sitting in front of couples using evidence -based therapeutic interventions. And I come from the emotionally focused couples therapy world. So we're talking about those deeper core attachment needs and longings that show up in our relationship, which often sound like, am I important to you? Do I matter? Am I enough for you? Do you even want to be with me? And from that position, when those are not being shared and communicated, then we can get stuck in these negative cycles and negative communication patterns. And so I would do this work with couples, and we would get into understanding, processing, and being able to meet each other's attachment needs. And then I would hit this roadblock of, now, how are we navigating this load? How do we make this feel fair at home? I think it's important to recognize that we're never going for equal, because partnerships are not about equal. And in the 90s, was it the 90s? I believe that that was the time where they were trying to say, well, make it equal at home. And it's not, because then came in the mental load, which is the cognitive labor of what it means to do a task. So then here comes Eve Rotsky with her lawyer background, with her mediational skills, and she develops this fantastic system. And it really fits into how I understand couples and some of the spots that couples get stuck in. So what we commonly see in relationships is that your partner comes to you and says, just tell me what to do. I'm here. I'll help you. You're overwhelmed. I totally get that. I want to help you. And we find that there are, for the most part, willing partners to come on board. And the challenge, though, is that this is mapping out or taking on one part of a task, which is the execution of a task, which is go get groceries. Here's the grocery list, which is the kids need new shoes. Here's their shoe size. This is the store we go to. I've got this next and the water bottle's ready. Here you go. But it's missing all of the invisible and cognitive work that comes before that. And Eve was really good to map out those two other pieces that are part of a task. So the first is conceptualization. There is some sort of concept or understanding that something needs to be done. And then the second piece is planning. So, for example, planning of what are other parents doing? What steps do I need to take to do this? When are we actually going to do this in the schedule? And then the last piece is execution. So she calls this her CPE, conceptualization, planning and execution. When your partner comes to you and says, just tell me what to do. I'm happy to help you. They're tackling the execution piece. And what we find is that when you only offload the execution piece of a task, that resentment is still likely to build because the weight of the task is still all on you. Right? And so the fair play method then suggests, and this isn't for everybody, but for some people, that you look at all of the tasks that are being done to manage the home, your relationship, the childcare, extended family, everything that's needed there. You look at all of those tasks and you decide what tasks are really important. This has to come from your values and what's really important to you. So sometimes you might be in a season of life where it's like Christmas cards are not going to be important right now. We are not doing holiday cards, all of that. Not part of it right now. Get those off the list. So you get those off the list. But then the other tasks are, you know, navigating school, return to school, household, meal planning, meal making, those kinds of things. And then you divide it between the two of you and seeing what you enjoy, maybe what you don't like, what you like. And then that person is responsible from conceptualization, planning, and execution.

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