Learning how to compromise in a relationship comes later than it probably should. It can be easy to compromise in the early stages of dating. We go out of our way to impress a new love interest. We drive to meet them near their job or go to that questionable ethnic restaurant that smells like a mixture of diapers and stale beer because it’s their favorite.
Once you’ve settled into your relationship and you’ve been through some ups and downs, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re familiar with the term compromise.
It’s an essential part of any relationship. It keeps the balance and the happiness. It shows you are willing to put your partner’s happiness above yours and vice versa. Meeting halfway and blending your tastes and decisions keeps a relationship healthy.
Therefore, without compromise, a relationship becomes one-sided and selfish, which is neither fair nor respectful to both you and your partner. [Read: Selfishness in relationships and how to do the right thing]
Why you should compromise in a relationship
A relationship without compromise will always leave one person feeling belittled. If you’re continually unhappy with the outcome of romantic disagreements, but tell your partner that you’re fine, underlying grudges can build up and turn into resentment, which is like a poison to relationships.
This sort of unhappiness is not always seen or even realized until it’s too late. The bitterness brought on by resentment is commonly taken out through petty or passive-aggressive comments, or seen through unexpected anger for no apparent reason.[Read: How to spot the signs of resentment quickly in a relationship]
For example, you may have major fights about taking out the trash or closing the toilet lid, but you’re really mad about the fact that your partner doesn’t make time for you or listen when you need to talk. Irrational anger can be the result of avoiding bigger problems that could have been prevented with compromise.
[Read: 20 things happy couples don’t do in a perfect relationship]
Some people also avoid expressing their negative feelings altogether. You don’t want to start a fight or say anything negative. Instead, you hold onto those negative feelings until they overwhelm you. By continuing to stew in those unhealthy emotions, the original resentment is only further aggravated.
The best way to avoid suffering from these issues, or to remedy them before its too late, is to make sure that you’re truly sharing how you feel. Show each other that you appreciate when the other is making a sacrifice.
With that being said, it is understandable that learning how to compromise in a relationship isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. What may be a step toward a stronger relationship to one person could be seen as a severe loss to another. So, for compromise to work you must listen, share, and fully comprehend each other.
[Read: A closer look at differentiating “you,” “me” and “we” in relationships]
How to compromise in a relationship without feeling like you’re giving in
Learning how to compromise in a relationship is not just about talking. It isn’t about reading from this list and checking off what you’ve done.
Compromise takes true understanding, desire, and practice. You have to be able to let go of things in order to give to your partner.
Qualities such as stubbornness and ego can get in the way of an otherwise prosperous relationship and ultimately turn it sour. In fact, an unwillingness to compromise has led to more than half of Americans being single today.
With this, you can see that having a lack of desire to sacrifice or compromise for one’s partner doesn’t just lead to an unhappy or dysfunctional relationship, but is likely to end it altogether. [Read: 14 reasons why good relationships end all the time]
In order to avoid this, and reach a point of balance in a romantic relationship, it has to be treated with care, compassion, and empathy. Honesty and communication must be at the forefront of each disagreement to prevent such animosity from being an influence.
Instead of considering compromise as a burden of being in a relationship, try to realize that its benefits outweigh anything you or your partner may be giving up. Giving something up, especially something that is important to you, for someone you care about only solidifies those feelings and your bond.
You can start with something small to work your way up to the bigger things. You have to be able to release control. Let your partner pick the next movie you watch together. If you are split on deciding the paint color for the kitchen, meet in the middle and pick a third color. [Read: 12 clearest signs to recognize the selfish partner in your relationship]
You should be able to share your true feeling in a calm fashion. You should really listen to each other. It isn’t about putting your partner before you or doing everything to maintain the relationship. It is about your relationship making your lives better together.
Whether it is something small like where to go for dinner, something bigger like spending the holidays with their family or even moving to a new city to be with them, these decisions should be inspiring your faith in the relationship rather than causing resentment. [Read: How to stop being selfish and hurting those who love you]
How to make compromising in a relationship easier
I know. Learning how to compromise in a relationship is easier said than done. It can feel like you are giving in or giving up. And in a way you are. You are letting go of stubbornness and ego for the good of your relationship.
But, our less than easy characteristics don’t just disappear because we want them to. The good news is that there are some things you can do to get better at compromising. They will lead your relationship in the right direction.
#1 Forget about being right. Humans are naturally stubborn. We have a hard time giving up what we think we want. We also have a hard time admitting when we are wrong. Compromising isn’t about admitting defeat though.
Compromise is about equal respect. You and your partner don’t need to win or lose a fight. You just have to hear each other out and accept it. [Read: A guide on effective communication in the relationship]
#2 Appreciate your partner’s opinions. Instead of thinking about your partner’s differing opinions as a nuisance, appreciate how you disagree. You are two different people. Appreciate how they teach you and you teach them.
Realize that your differences are what keep things interesting and help to open your mind.
#3 Be open to new things. Speaking of an open mind, you cannot be closed off to change or new things. Look forward to experiencing new things with your partner. Don’t just say no to something because you don’t think you’ll like it. Give it a chance.
At least entertain the idea. Be open to it. Whether it is moving to a new town, adopting a pet, or starting a business together, really hear your partner out instead of shutting them down.
#4 Don’t bottle things up. Compromise is not just about listening to your partner and respecting them but also respecting yourself. Know how you feel also matters. Compromise should come from both of you.
Learning to feel comfortable being vulnerable and opening up to your partner, especially about the hard stuff, is what makes compromise work. [Read: How your self respect affects you and the relationships around you]
#5 Change your expectations. The reason many people find compromising so difficult is because of their expectations. We naively expect our partners to provide us with everything we need from romance to friendship and more. But, the most successful relationships are two individuals with their own lives.
Instead of expecting your partner to fulfill every need, you have friends you go to. Have separate hobbies and enjoy your time alone. Your partner should add to your life not occupy it. Be realistic with your expectations.
[Read: The best tips to compromise in a relationship to give without losing]
When you both agree that your relationship should be the first priority, learning how to compromise becomes that much easier.
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