May 19, 2003

Relationships and Compromise

Meg writes, "People will tell you the key to any successful relationship is compromise." This is illustrated by alternating who chooses the movie, which is perhaps the most common example of relationship compromise.

This common belief disheartens me.

Let me address the minor aspect, the movie thing. Should couples feel compelled to see every movie together? Seeing a film alone is not a signal of the end of your love -- it's just a reflection of different tastes. In fact, it can be very liberating. I imagine that goading someone to see a film they're uninterested in can only lead to a kind of seething contempt. But maybe that's just me.

On the larger issue of compromise, well, yes, I can see compromise as being very important in relationships where people are thrown together by circumstance -- work, politics, air travel, etc. To make the most of the situation, there will likely need to be give and take.

But love? That's a relationship of choice. Why choose to be in a relationship where you have to compromise? While searching Google for "relationship compromise" mostly returns writing that supports the notion that compromise is a key to success, I found one insightful article that purports the opposite. The author of "Is Relationship really about compromise" argues that compromise "has no place in a relationship built on love, truth and respect."

Compromise in relationship means to choose to be someone you would not naturally be, for the sake of the relationship. It is giving up being who you really are in the hope of guaranteeing the love of another. Compromise is based on the fear that unless we are somebody different to who we would naturally be, we risk losing love. All we are really risking is losing ourselves.

Contrary to a very popular belief that compromise supports love; the truth is compromise erodes love. When you compromise yourself for the sake of the relationship, very quickly resentment is experienced, not love. Love and resentment are mutually exclusive. They don't live in the same house; they don't even live in the same suburb!

I find that statement remarkably affirming.

I think it's telling that when it comes to friendships, people don't really compromise. If friends have to extensively maneuver in order to find common ground, they will inevitably drift apart. It doesn't make sense to hang out with people who won't let you be yourself. Does it make sense to deny aspects of yourself for the sake of love?

(I suspect Meg never thought her statement would engender such an earnest response. But it's one of those Things I Believe, and it kinda triggered a chord.)

Posted by peterme at 08:27 AM | Comments (36) | TrackBack


See Me Travel
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
Archives from June 13, 2001 to January 2003
Archives from before June 13, 2001
Recent Entries
Relationships and Compromise
Subscribe to my feed:
Powered by
Movable Type 3.2