Compromise is an essential part of any functioning relationship. Every couples therapist will tell you that. Part of the thrill of having another person in your life is that it’s another person – it’s not you. It’s not your clone. It’s someone else with an entirely different background and story and viewpoint. That’s what’s so exciting about making a connection. It’s about finding common values, goals, and passions in another person. You traveled different paths, and somehow developed a similar perspective, and found each other in this crazy world. But still, it’s not you, which means your partner will sometimes want different things than you. You have a lot in common, but not everything. Your needs won’t always line up. That’s where compromise gets tricky.
There is a fine line between being good at compromise, and compromising who you are. With all of the emphasis on compromise being such a positive thing, it’s easy to accidentally cross that line. There’s also the fact that everybody wants to be loved. It’s a very powerful desire and one that can make our vision a little foggy. Sometimes we don’t see we’re compromising ourselves, because the reward – another person’s approval – feels so good in the moment. But it never feels good to lose yourself in a relationship. The consequences far outweigh the benefits. So, do you change too much for your partners? Here’s how to tell.
You won’t give your opinion first
When any topic comes up that can trigger many opinions, you don’t say anything until you hear what your partner thinks about the matter first. Even if he directly asks you what you think of something, you immediately ask, “What do you think?” to get his opinion first. You don’t want to create conflict by accidentally sharing a stance that is drastically different from his own, but you’re fine with whatever he says, so you just think it’s best if he speaks up first. Unfortunately, what ultimately happens is you have a partner who doesn’t know your real feelings on a lot of topics.