Constant compromise, a recipe for conflict
Ever since I was old enough to understand what a relationship was, I have been hearing the word compromise.
I hear sayings like 'relationships are built on compromise', or 'compromise is the foundation of relationships', or 'you have to compromise in relationships'.
While I understand the premise of compromise being necessary in a relationship, I really must challenge the idea that it's the foundation or even the most important element in a successful, happy relationship. Before I continue, let me define the word: Compromise - an agreement or settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.
Let's get back to compromise. As I've said before, I believe that it is an important tool to dissolve conflict, but I don't think it should be the foundation of your relationship. In fact, I believe that compromise should be the exception, not the rule. I think a good ratio should be 70:30 (compromising only 30 per cent of the time). How much are we compromising?
1. Are you the one making the compromise again?
One of the biggest issues with compromise arises when it's one-sided. This is a problem because that person is usually left feeling unfulfilled, and it can seem like their feelings are not important. To address this, I believe that couples should be more aware of each other's needs and create more of a balance so one partner does not end up constantly making the compromise.
2. How important is the reason for the compromise to you?
Sometimes the things we give up in a compromise mean more to us than we put on. Another popular phrase I hear in some of these cases is "For a peaceful life, I just gave up". This can lead to resentment after in the relationship, and can eve balloon into a much larger issue. So is it really worth it?
3. Do you feel your needs are being met?
When some persons look at their relationship and feel like they are giving more than they get, it can lead to depression as well as resentment. It is important that individuals feel fulfilled in their relationships. They want to feel valued, and if they are constantly compromising, that's not the usual outcome.
Human relationships are complex and when two individuals decide to share life in a relationship, there will be disagreements; compromise is a tool that can be used to help solve these conflicts. Unfortunately, when relationships are so dependent on constant compromise, the parties end up with a situation where one or both of their needs are not being met. That is why I advocate for couples to be more selective when choosing a partner, and why I am not an advocate of the belief 'opposites attract'.
Actually, I think it's very important that couples have most things in common - especially their long-term goals for their relationship.
As a tool, I think the best way to utilise compromise is to the overall improvement of the couple and not just for the whim and preference of one individual. It is a delicate balance but it is doable. But if you are constantly compromising in your relationship, then you are in a compromising relationship and that's a recipe for constant conflict.
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @drsexyann or Facebook
Dear Dr Sexy-Ann,
I'm in love with my sister-in-law and we're in a serious relationship. I would like to know if it's incest.
Brian, Montego Bay
In the dictionary, definition of the word (incest - sexual relations between people classed as being too closely related) - I would say no you are not committing incest since you do not share blood relations with your sister-in-law. I will ask, however, if she is still married to your sibling because that presents a host of other problems that you may face in your family.