We’ve long been told that relationships are all about compromise. It’s the sort of general advice our parents would mumble from behind their morning newspapers; the sort of advice usually met with an eye roll or finger gun to the temple.
As we get older and start to find ourselves in more serious relationships, that mumbled, discarded wisdom becomes relevant.
It’s off-putting to constantly hear how “compromise is key in a relationship,” especially in considering a generation that’s been discouraged from the notion of compromise in favor of pursuing a self-fulfilling climb to the top.
It’s important to recognize that there is a difference between compromising in a relationship and compromising yourself for a relationship.
Healthy compromise is you wanting sushi, your partner wanting Indian and you both end up having Thai. Unhealthy compromise is changing the essentials of who you are to better suit your partner.
When it comes to love, it’s difficult to know where to draw the line. There are certain things that should never be sacrificed, no matter what form your relationship takes or in what stage of it you are. Here they are:
Finding a partner who is there to help you and care for you is a truly awesome thing. However, just because your significant other knows how to change a tire doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn.
It is crucial for anyone in a relationship to remain a strong individual who doesn’t depend on the partner for everything. “You complete me” may be romantic in sentiment, but it’s pretty pathetic in practice. A healthy relationship is comprised of two separate, whole individuals who just-so-happen to love each other madly.
2. Other Relationships
At first, it can be difficult to strike a balance between your significant other, your family and your friends. New relationships are exciting and time consuming and you should allow yourself a short, guilt-free grace period to savor the butterflies. After things settle, though, you shouldn’t have problems maintaining your other relationships.
You should be able to make time for your family and friends and enjoy that time without issue. If jealousy, animosity or anything else gets in the way of that, don’t ditch your family and friends; ditch your significant other.
Sometimes we fall in love with people who like the same things we do, and sometimes we fall in love with people who like totally different things. That’s cool! Falling in love with someone who has different interests is a great opportunity to learn new things. Just make sure any effort to learn about your significant other’s interests and hobbies is reciprocated.
If you watch a bunch of his favorite Kung Fu movies, he should watch your favorite Audrey Hepburn movies. Maybe it’s not important for you and your partner to learn about each other’s interests or participate in each other’s hobbies — that’s fine, so long as there is a mutual respect for each other’s interests.
If she tells you, “Football is stupid!” and you respond with, “Gossip Girl is stupid!” that creates an environment where there’s no freedom to be yourself without judgment. In a good relationship, you can be yourself and like what you like with no fear, no guilt and no problems.
Follow the Beyoncé/Jay Z relationship model because those two never hesitate to sing each other’s praises. Your partner should make you feel smart, sexy and beautiful, and you should make him or her feel the same.
Elevate each other. If your partner doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, or worse, makes you feel bad about yourself, that’s a big red flag.
What do you want in life? Do you want to travel every corner of the earth? Do you want to start your own business? Have you always dreamed of writing a novel?
Your partner should be supportive of your aspirations. He or she should believe in you and want success and happiness for you as much as you want it for yourself. Never compromise your dreams.
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