What is your idea of a compromise? Is it something positive or negative?
When we are searching for the love of our life, our goal may be to be with someone who “completes us”. Someone who matches perfectly with our personality and character and that we live with them in perfect harmony and solidarity. Like in the movie “Jerry Maguire” with Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger (and the cute kid). This, for some is the “ideal” relationship that they are are wanting to have. But what happens when you settle down with your partner and you find out that there are a ton of things that you are not on the same page with… Should you compromise or not?
In any relationship, being true to yourself is very important, if not the most important thing you can do for your self esteem, self respect and self love. In my previous blog post, “What Happens in Relationships When You Change?” , I mentioned that “compromise is likely to add to resentments”, when you compromise to only keep the peace, it will build up resentments in the long run. It maybe a short term gain to keep the peace, however I am going to suggest there will be some long term pain. Most people give in to their spouses as a way to handle their discomfort when faced with conflict, confrontation or anger.
But what about their needs? Are they being met or addressed?
During the honeymoon phase of all relationships, when you’re on cloud 9 and in the blissful process of romantic discovery, you may see the world and everything else as wonderful and beautiful. You may feel something that you’ve never felt before with anyone and naturally want this to last forever. You may even tell yourself that you would do anything and everything to make this relationship work. Sometimes this may mean giving up things that are important to you – this is where the problem begins. Where personal power and self esteem can start to be eroded
When compromising, more often than not, one partner gets left out. One person may have to sacrifice something for the other. Possibly compromising their own values. This can set the stage for unexpressed but expected reciprocation. (“I gave up xyz. It is only fair that you give up something….”). When there is a lack of pay-off or reciprocity from the other partner, disappointments and frustrations can build up and this later on becomes the toxicity of resentment and worse, contempt. This is the reason why I don’t believe in making compromises in relationships.
You may be thinking, but certainly there are times when we just have to compromise? Let’s continue…..
In a deeper sense, the key to a happy relationship or marriage is learning to never compromise at all. Being true and authentic to yourself and your partner without sacrificing your values is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself and your relationship..
Isn’t your spouse the one person whom you can share your stand on what you believe is important to you?
If something is important to you, it might be a small issue of being late on date night, or showing appreciation and not being taken for granted, or putting down the toilet seat, do you feel safe and confident expressing it to your partner and feeling heard? Some of my clients confide in me and tell me that they keep things to themselves when their partner has a different view on things just to keep the peace and the other person happy. But is it right that you can’t express what you’re thinking and yet your partner can have their rant? Healthy working relationships are about respect. They are not about who shouts the loudest (so to speak), or one opinion is more important than another, or ignoring or avoiding an uncomfortable conversation.
I often tell my clients that compromise will cause long term problems when someone has to sacrifice a need and that need is not acknowledged or addressed. It is just inhibiting both parties in a relationship from growing together. It means not being who they are or their best authentic self.
If you are feeling trapped and second guessing yourself whether to compromise or not, this is the best time to talk to someone who can be objective and offer insights and strategies on how to move forward in getting both parties needs met, rather than one person getting their needs met at the cost of the other partner.
This path is often not easy as we have not been trained to communicate and work on strategies to getting everyone’s needs met. A relationship expert can enlighten you with tools and new strategies to help you in situations where there is a tendency to compromise.
If you have any questions or feedback or just want to have somebody to speak about your relationship, feel free to reach out and have a conversation with me. Also, feel free to pass this on to anyone you know that may benefit from this.
Here’s to more happy, loving, and fulfilling relationships. Until next time.
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