The Risk of Compromise

The Risk of CompromiseIn each relationship, there will be times when we make little compromises for the other person. Each person has their own preferences and at some point we want to exercise those. We may want to see a different movie than our partner. Or go to a different restaurant. This is natural and healthy in a relationship. What causes conflict is when one or the other person feels as if they are more often than not having to compromise. You might have a feeling of being unfulfilled and maybe a little "cheated" because you don't get what you want.

A healthy relationship is one where the couple feels as if they and their desires are being supported. When that feeling is not there and frustration creeps in because you are not getting what you want, then it's time to look at who is creating the conflict. It could be one or both people that are the cause of those feelings.

The first step is to check in with each other to make sure each knows what preferences the other has and how important they are to them. This will make it easier in the future to accommodate the preference or request that you have it "your way". You could go for years in a relationship without knowing how important a preference is for your partner so don't be surprised when you find out new things from time to time.

You may discover preferences that are hugely important for you and your partner. There doesn't appear to be a compromise and there may even be a conflict.  You see this in couples that follow different religious or political paths. To continue the relationship, the couple must find a way to respect each other's differences and feel like they haven't compromised on their own.

There are some times when compromise is not healthy and ends up being damaging for the relationship and both partners.

Constantly compromising because you believe it will save a relationship is not healthy. A relationship based on one person always denying what they want won't last and will become very painful before it finally breaks down. If you feel the need to do this, then there are probably other things that need to come out into the open and be discussed.

When you find yourself unable to ask for what you want and always deferring to the other person, you are setting yourself up for a lot of frustration.  Even simple needs aren't being met. The frustration may build up over time causing you a lot of stress and unhappiness. It may eventually come out in unpleasant ways.

Some people feel that it's their duty to make the other person happy, and that's enough. So they compromise all of the time so their partner can experience their own preferences.  This will catch up to that person at some point and their unhappiness will manifest as anxiety or depression. That's not a recipe for a healthy relationship.

In a loving relationship, each person wants the other to be happy. They understand that some times they will compromise for the other person. But they know that the other person will do that for them as well. It's a balance.

If you don't feel like you are getting your preferences met in your relationship, ask yourself where the compromises are happening, why they are happening, and can you be assertive enough to get what you want. You may find yourself in a relationship that just won't work because of the conflicts between the preferences. That's when it may be time to move on.

Believe that it's OK for you to get what you want and be happy. Work with your partner to find that balance where both of you feel fulfilled. Talk about your preferences with each other. Let each other know how important each one is. Find ways that both of you can feel happy that you are getting the experiences you wish.

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