I love to get what I want. Who doesn't? Getting what you want feels good. And after years of being single, I am used to getting and doing what I want all the time. However, after recently beginning to date someone, I realized that mentality doesn't serve me anymore. There are obviously compromises in a healthy relationship that I will have to make in order to make both me and my partner happy. But how can I do that without totally giving up my own needs and wants at the same time?
There is a difference between compromise and sacrifice. There are good compromises that improve a relationship, and bad compromises (sacrifices) that will lead to bitterness and resentment between you and your partner. The importance is knowing what will drive your relationship forward and what will hold you and your partner back.
Good compromises help you and your partner grow together as a team. They foster trust, accountability, consistency, and security in your relationship. A compromise shows that you have a common goal in mind: a healthy partnership, rather than your own singular happiness at heart. Compromises aren't selfish, whereas someone who expects you to make sacrifices probably is.
Do you and your partner know how to meet in the middle in order to have a successful relationship? Here are the six compromises you should be making if you expect to have a healthy relationship.
1. The Way You Fight
My parents have been married for 40 years, and they pretty much have one rule: Never go to bed angry. It wasn't always like that. My dad loves to drag out fights, and my mom likes to ignore conflict in general. However, with two very different fighting styles, their relationship, despite being founded in love, wasn't bound to last.
In a relationship, you can't avoid fights, but you can come to an agreement on how to argue best. It's love language-adjacent. If your partner needs space after an issue arises, and you immediately need to talk things through, come to a mutual decision to give yourselves a few hours, and then come back together to talk.
When it comes to fighting in a relationship, it's important that everyone feels seen and heard, and that means addressing both you and your partner's fighting (and making up) styles.
2. How And When You Have Sex
Speaking of making up styles, let's talk sex for a minute.
Everyone has a different libido. Some people need it (boning) every single day, and others can go a few weeks without pleasure down there. But once you get into a relationship, you have to come to some sort of agreement about your sexual schedule, so that neither you nor your significant other goes unsatisfied.
Whether that means having sex randomly a few times a week, or actually penciling in date nights into your schedule, it's important to keep the romance alive by keeping the physical aspect of your relationship in tact. Otherwise, if your partner doesn't feel desired, you can slip into friend-zone territory. And then, poof. Welcome to the friend zone. Population: you.
3. Where Your Finances Go
If you combine funds in your relationship, then you're going to have to compromise on where that money is going. I know that if my boyfriend and I shared a bank account, he wouldn't be too happy to know that all of the money was going to a new fall wardrobe from ASOS, just as I would be annoyed if he put all of our money in a fantasy football draft.
Being in a relationship means financial compromises, despite how unsexy that sounds. Unfortunately, love and money are, in some way, connected, especially the more serious you get with someone. Although, be careful of getting too caught up in the money part. If you do that, relationship resentments are bound to arise.
4. Some Mutual Hobbies
My ex really loved architecture. I think houses are pretty, and I would love to live in a really big and expensive mansion one day, but I don't understand the subject much more than that. However, it was his passion. On the weekends, he liked to tour houses and explain the history of them to me. He bought me books on architects and took me to stores to look at mid-century modern furniture. Fun, I know.
To me, this was all a pretty big snooze fest. I would rather be watching reality TV on Bravo. But when you're in a relationship, you have to make compromises, and that means learning about your partner's interests. Did I have to become an expert in architecture? Absolutely not. But it was important for me to support my boyfriend in his hobbies, especially the ones he wanted to share with me.
When you're in a relationship, sometimes, you're going to have to do things you don't want to do, go to a wedding that sounds pretty boring to attend, or watch a television show you'd never watch on your own. As long as you maintain your own interests at the same time, and your partner engages in some of those with you, then you're in the healthy-compromise territory, and your relationship will grow stronger.
5. Your Parenting Habits
If you and your partner plan on having kids, then you have to come to an agreement when it comes to parenting. Does your significant other believe in spanking, but you don't? Better have that conversation before it happens first. Parenting involves a lot of compromise: bedtimes, diet, where you'll send your kids to school, when you'll let them start dating. It's a lot of moving parts — ones that need to be agreed upon with your partner first.
If you're planning on having children, make sure that you and your partner have great communication skills. Because to be honest, parenting is a mix of compromise and, on occasion, sacrifice, where you're putting your child — not your own needs — first.
6. Your Relationship To Time
I am a chronically early person. If I am not an hour early, then I literally feel late. Maybe it's a compulsion of mine, and I understand that it is annoying, but it's a personality trait I have that I can't seem to do away with. If you are getting lunch with me, you can guarantee that I will be the first one there, waiting with our drink orders and a table.
However, my ex liked to be late all the time or exactly on time. Rushing gave him a rush. He loved to race through traffic, and when we would travel, he'd always get us to the airport just as they were doing last call for our flight. It drove me crazy, gave me anxiety, and, to me, it was disrespectful because he knew I liked to arrive places early.
Neither of us wanted to compromise on the issue or find a happy medium, and we ended up breaking up. You might not think of it, but people have very different relationships to timing. We all have that friend who is always running late and seems totally incapable of doing anything about it. If you're going to be in a relationship with someone, make sure that you compromise and are respectful of one another's time.
You can expect to compromise some things in a relationship. That's what happens when your life stops being all about you. But if you feel like you are giving more than you are receiving, or if your compromises start to feel more like sacrifices, then it might be time to reevaluate the standards and boundaries that exist between you and your partner, or else you'll be falling into dangerous people-pleasing territory.
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