I have written a lot about compromise.
Many people believe it is the key to a good relationship. I think that’s malarkey.
And I’ve said so in numerous ways over time.
And most people disagree with me. That’s OK. I’m not out to convince anyone, really. I mean, why would I care what you do in your relationships?
Actually, I do, a bit. Because I believe that when people have better relationships, they are happier people, and happier people makes the world a better place overall.
But that’s where it ends.
If you compromise in your relationships AND you’re deliriously happy, well, then completely effing ignore me, because you’ve found your path.
If not, though, well, I do love offering you relationship food for thought. If I inspire you (or anyone, really) to stop and think about other ways of doing things—even if you ultimately reject my way—I’m good.
So, for what it’s worth, today I thought of yet another way of explaining what I mean when I say, “Fuck NO, I Will NOT Compromise!”
Here it is:
When there is a conflict in a relationship, it is not ME vs. YOU. It’s ME AND YOU vs. THE PROBLEM.
Oh sure, I’m not perfect, and I forget this sometimes.
Old habits, yadda yadda.
But overall, this is my belief. And as soon as it becomes ME vs. YOU, we both lose. And compromise is about losing. Let remind you of the definitions:
compromise as a noun:
an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.
compromise as a verb:
- settle a dispute by mutual concession.
- accept standards that are lower than is desirable.
Because as soon as we make it a dispute or battle, we lose.
As soon as we are asking each other to give things up or to reduce our standards, rather than collaborating on finding the best path together, we lose.
But when we work together, and offer solutions to each other, that’s not compromise. It’s collaboration. No one loses. We simply make different choices for ourselves to support our love and help our relationship thrive.
It’s not very deep.
It’s not super complicated.
But that’s the core of it.
How does this work in practice?
I’d like to start with an example from the comments on a previous writing. Someone said to me that, “The key, in my mind, is not to stand strong at all costs and refuse to compromise, but rather to identify where to compromise and where to stand firm,” and used how the toilet paper is put on the spool as an example. He was team “paper to the front,” saying that compromise is required if he moves in with the love of his life who is staunchly “team paper to the back.”
(I actually mentioned this yesterday, along with some other comments in my podcast for Throwback Thursday: https://podcast.datingkinky.com/e/5nzy9668-f-k-no-i-will-not-compromise)
I replied that there were other options.
- A vertical TP holder.
- Separate bathrooms.
- Putting TP in a basket on the back of the toilet.
- Living in separate homes.
- Two toilet paper dispensers, side-by-fucking-side.
- Changing their mind (or mine) about how important the toilet paper role is in the face of what we are building together, in which case, I don’t win or lose (because it isn’t a contest) and they don’t lose anything.
When it comes down to it, if you are right for each other, you want each other to be insanely happy and well-adjusted and fulfilled, and you help each other make that happen, even when what they want is not what you want for yourself.
And that makes you happy and helps fulfill your wants and needs, because that IS up to your personal standards, so there is no need for compromise.
So to sum it up:
If I care more about how toilet paper is rolled than my partner’s happiness, I’m an asshole.
Of course, not everything is so easy (although those who have strong TP preferences may not agree that that’s an easy solve).
Sometimes, it’s harder.
What if one person is a spendthrift, and another wants to save money?
Yikes. Well, it’s gotta happen. There are a few options:
- Keep separate accounts, and both contribute to mutual expenses as agreed, and use any additional money with discretion.
- Keep separate accounts AND a specific savings account with a certain contribution every month, and use any additional money with discretion.
- Live separately, and keep separate accounts.
- Choose a budget, with a certain amount of “fuckkit dollas” every week/month for wild abandon.
- The thrifty partner may chooses to take on areas where they could save money as a couple: finding sales for big purchases, cutting grocery costs, etc.
- The thrifty partner may choose to keep a separate savings account or investments.
- The spendthrift partner may want to do better, and ask for help.
- The spendthrift partner may prefer to spend their money as they see fit, but also include the thrifty partner, while the thrifty partner saves and budgets, to help them both.
ALL of these solutions COULD be compromises. If the partners go at the issue as bulls squaring off over a winsome cow, locking horns and clashing, well, then…yeah. Compromise. Someone is probably gonna be pissy and feel forced.
Or, they could be collaborations.
Thrifty partner knows that spendthrift needs to feel like they can be spontaneous with their money sometimes.
Spendthrift knows that thrifty partner wants to feel financially secure, or to save up for big things and lifetime experiences.
They love each for these things, so they work together to figure out how to get what BOTH want out of their lives together AND to help the other feel loved, heard, and valued as part of their relationship.
Cooperation. Collaboration. Engagement.
You may call that compromise. I’m OK with that.
I don’t, because of the definitions I’ve shared with you, and because I don’t love those connotations in my life.
It all boils down to…
Do you want to fight and strive against each other?
Or do you want to create a life where working together to tackle the tough issues is the norm? Where you both offer ideas and suggestions and input into how things move forward, sometimes together, and sometimes apart?
Do you want to create the best life you can for both of you, or do you prefer to be selfish, and scrabble and try for what YOU want, no matter how much it does not suit your partner?
Do you believe you can choose the right people for your life and love to trust them to engage with you, to love you , and to want what is best for you? Or do you worry that everyone will always be out only for themselves, and therefore you have to also be selfish and fight for what you want?
And THAT reminds me of my post from last week, “Choose people who choose you.” It’s just a variation on a theme.
Add to that my other post from last week about how to enforce boundaries, and that someone who cares about you and your boundaries will likely put in effort to change, because they don’t want to hurt to harm you. Again, a variation on a theme.
Hmmm. I may onto something here.
Loving and being loved takes two with good intentions.
What are your thoughts?
How you feel about compromise as a concept? What about in your personal relationships? Do you feel it’s necessary or actually harmful?