Compromise is important. In a healthy relationship, both parties have to meet each other halfway if they intend to make things work. You’ve probably heard this info before, right? But did you know that too much compromise, or the wrong kind of understanding, can set the foundation for an unhealthy relationship?
When compromise in a relationship is healthy
Your partner wants to watch the theatre this Saturday with you instead of watching sports. Although you’re not that keen on the ballet, you agree to go because you know that spending quality time with your partner is what’s important. Also, she always watches the soccer on TV with you, so it’s only fair that you do something she is excited to do.
You and your partner give and take, all the time ensuring you’re both happy in the relationship. It’s about each other’s needs.
When give and take between partners becomes unhealthy
If you’re doing things because you feel you should or you’re always putting your partner’s needs ahead of your own, this can be unhealthy for you and your relationship. Both parties need to consider each other’s needs for the relationship to be on a level playing field.
Likewise, if you’re sacrificing things that are important to your identity which your partner doesn’t mind you putting on the chopping block, such as your passions, dreams or happiness, compromise can lead to resentment and the loss of self. Sometimes people feel the need to trade in their unique personality to fit in with what their partner expects from them, but this only makes for an unhealthy relationship – and leaves them unhappy.
Compromise: Selfish vs. Selfless
Relationships and compromise are about looking after each other and caring for each other. It definitely is not the correct kind of compromise if it is ridden with control, manipulation or disregard of your identity. Compromise is a tango that both parties must dance for it to nurture, instead of depleting, a relationship. If you feel you’re giving a little too much of yourself and your needs are not being met, it’s time for some changes.
Tips on how to compromise better in a relationship
Communicate your needs to your partner. What is it that you require to feel good in the relationship? Is it a bit of time to donate to your hobbies, for instance? Or could it be that you want your opinion to be listened to in an argument, instead of just brushed off?
Be open to finding middle-ground with your partner when you see things in different ways. Sometimes it could happen that you cannot seem to agree on issues, but that doesn’t necessarily mean one of you has to compromise your standing ground. Be open to creative ideas so that you can find a healthy compromise. An example could be trying out both points of view to see which one works better.
Compromise shouldn’t leave you fearful because you assume it is tangled in self-sacrifice. Used correctly, it can be a great way for you and your partner to come together as a team.