Is compromising the best solution in a relationship?
In relationships we can’t always want the same things - so what do you do when that happens in your relationship?
Couples often argue continually until one person gives in and the other gets their own way, which often leaves the one who gave in feeling disgruntled, and unhappy. They may feel they are not acknowledged in the relationship. This can develop into a pattern, perhaps with one never speaking up and saying what they want, leaving them totally miserable and the other person riding roughshod over their partner, or grumbling their partner never makes a decision.
Or maybe they compromise.
What does compromise mean to you? I see it as neither person feeling totally satisfied with the outcome. Each has sacrificed something, which they really don’t want to do. It goes even deeper than that. We each have a different perspective of the world we live in, which we developed in childhood. For each of us that is normal, so we don’t understand why the other person can’t see it the same way. So when we compromise we often feel aggrieved the other person doesn’t understand why our desire is reasonable and sensible.
For example let’s assume one person wants to buy a large purchase on credit, but the other digs their heels in and refuses to agree, saying they need to have a nest egg for a rainy day. Stale mate, or maybe one gets their own way, but leaving the other distressed.
Each of the couple has history. The one who is happy to buy on credit may well have had a financially secure family life, where money was never an issue. Whereas the other person may well have lived in a family where money was a problem. Maybe dad lost his job and they lived hand to mouth, or maybe they grew up in a one parent family struggling to make ends meet. Or perhaps a parent was taken to court for non-payment of debt.
So, the first step is to explore with each other why certain things are important, and what formed their perceptions of the world. By really listening, and with that better understanding of each other, the couple can move forward.
Armed with all this information and better understanding, the couple can then negotiate with each other. In the example above, it could be that they negotiate a reasonable amount of savings, and then purchase the item on credit, or they save a deposit for the item and have a smaller sum on credit. Only by really listening to each other respectfully, and trying to understanding each other’s concerns and fears can a couple move forward with a stronger and happier relationship.
Working with a Relationship Counsellor can help when couples are struggling with making changes, as they can guide and support the couple and offer ways in which they can do this.
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About Wendy Capewell
Wendy Capewell is an experienced integrative counsellor who specialises in working with those struggling in their relationships, either with individuals or couples. She has her own successful private practice in Hampshire.