I was a bossy child who never liked compromising. I was straight up obnoxious about getting my way. Even now, I tend to be pretty outspoken with my friends, and on the internet when I write. (Hi, trolls!) However, when it comes to relationships, I love compromising. It's my favorite. And not in the good way where two parties meet in the middle. However, there are certain compromises you should never make in a relationship. Especially when it comes to figuring out what kind of relationship you want.
First off, I'm going to assume that you are not in a relationship with a troll. If your partner is quite literally trolling you on social media, that's way too big a compromise and you should get your butt back on Bumble, pronto. I would like to think that at 28, I can sniff out "blatant, vitriolic f*ckboy," and peace out when the time is right (date one).
On the other hand, I've dated a few people who weren't doing anything wrong, but just "figuring things out," and because of our emotional/intellectual/physical connection/OMG — plus my desire to be a "chill" girl and not ask for too much too soon — I compromised a couple things I maybe shouldn't have. Such as wanting an "exclusive" status, but going with the flow anyway. (Because that always works out.)
I remember once being so tortured by whose pictures this particular gent was liking or not liking on Instagram that I forgot to take in all the genuine times he would tell me "I like you a lot" — because, you know, I've dated everyone whose picture I like on the 'gram. (I went to college; I should use my brain and logic more.) If I don't ask for something in a relationship, it's not my partner's fault; it's my own.
So, here we go. Since step one is identifying the problem and I've called myself out as being the problem, I'm going to talk solutions. Here are five things I won't compromise in my next relationship. (Here's hoping...)
1. Being Cool With Non-Exclusivity When I Have Feelings
You feel something, you say something. That's my new motto.
Once I catch feels, I'm going to stop wondering why he's still texting me and taking me to dinners, even though he doesn't want a relationship, and just f*cking ask him point blank if he's in or if he's out. See you later to chilling for four to eight months of romantic dinners and meeting each others' friends without any commitment. I'm too old for that noise. I need to act like a grown up and ask for what I want.
2. Waiting For Text Messages And Calls Back
OK, so I will not be coming in hot and triple-texting bae, but I will make sure to date someone who is communicative and responsive, and I will be communicative and responsive back to him.
I can be terrible when it comes to replying to texts, but then I can unleash in four-drink deep angry texts when someone I am seeing does not respond to me right away. No more crazy town. I am going to stop having so many emotions and just text the guy I like when I want to. When he slows down on responding, I'll take that as a sign and move along. Super simple.
3. Not Identifying What I'm Actually Looking For
This goes along with number one. If I don't get real with myself about what I'm asking for, how can I ask my partner for it? I am afraid of intimacy and have had trouble even admitting to myself when I have feelings for someone, especially if I'm not sure if they're going to be reciprocated. I'm terrified of saying "I want a boyfriend" because somehow, it makes me feel "less than."
Maybe the trolls were right and I've had too much "independent woman" feed. Or, I'm just a wuss who can't be vulnerable when she actually wants to enter a relaysh.
4. Having Sex When I'm Uncertain
If you are a person who can have lots of casual sex and be totally chill with it, I commend you. I am simply a bit of a prude. I'm not sure if I've ever given it up before a fourth date. Not to say that "giving it up" is a problem — I just know that sex and feelings are inextricably linked for me, and I need to protect my feels and hold out for the right time.
That said, I'm pretty uncertain anytime I sleep with someone before we've had the exclusive talk, so I am officially not going to compromise anymore. If I'm into it, I'll do it, and if I'm feeling like the person I am dating is just there for the sex, I probably won't.
5. Not Saying How I Really Feel
It's not fair to hold myself to a different standard that I would hold a partner. If I am looking for openness and honesty from a partner, I need to start being open and honest as well. I need to stop swallowing my words, and learn how to say, "I really like you, too" when I mean it. (Yes, I'm 28. Yes, I'm in therapy.) It's really hard for me to be vulnerable with my feelings, because I've been hurt before. But the feelings always come out (or eat away at my insides forever) in the end, so I'm going to stop compromising and let my next crush know that I'm into it when the time is right. Life is short.
Again, these are pretty personal compromises that I no longer want to make based on my own relationship history. You might have an entire different set of compromises that you aren't down to make. Also, hot tip: Compromising can be a great thing. Hopefully I end up in a future relationship where I am more than willing to make all of the good kinds of compromises that relationships require.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to trust your gut. You'll get a funny feeling when you make compromises that are out of line with what you actually want. Go get 'em.