Dating and Relationships: A Question of Compromise
Compromise is undoubtedly the key to many problems we face. We are so set in our ways that only our way will do. And so arises the great problem in dating and relationships. If only we could compromise, then we would be better placed to find common ground and work things out. I often hear people saying that they will never compromise on who they would choose to date, what their standards are, what is acceptable for a partner and so on. It makes me sad because who said they themselves were so perfect anyway? Who said they had a right to be so choosey and demanding? Well they did and they do have that right. The dangerous outcome though is that they could be single for a long time yet and unhappy in their personal lives because they are simply just too rigid. Fact.
Now I know that some of you are going to hate this idea of compromise. After all, appearing to compromise in the past has meant you have had some tough relationships and tough times with people. Why should you compromise, it is your life after all. Very good argument. You don’t have to compromise at all. Not at all. The problem arises then in building relationships with new people. We may have high standards with our friends and we may have higher standards still for prospective partners but are you going to find perfection? Are you truly perfection yourself? Come on be honest with me, speak to me. Exactly how perfect in every way are you? Exactly! Good so now that I have your attention, lets look at compromises.
Here are six aspects of compromising that we may encounter when dating:
1. Compromise on Perfection
Oh yes, you have the perfect image of someone in your head and its not just about looks. You have an image built up from dreams as well as experience and you are willing to hold out for that, however long and whatever it takes. I have a shock for you babe, life isn’t perfect and neither are people. Your idols aren’t perfect in their private lives and neither are you. So why set such rigid rules about the people you are going to date.
If you are setting perfection against looks, are you prefect too? If you are only attracted to a certain kind of looks or behavior then I can’t argue with that but demanding that someone MUST be 6 feet tall instead of 5’11” is a recipe for dating disaster and speaks volumes about a lack of perspective. I am not asking anyone to compromise on what and who they attracted to but I am asking them to see with both eyes.
Once you move into the realm of relationships you will find that people are far from perfect. There is no one who sees a person the same after ten years as the way they saw them the first 5 minutes they met. That’s because as we learn about someone our perspective changes. It is not to say we love any less, but we compromise and begin to accept people with their imperfections. If you cannot accept this you may be better off out-with a relationship.
2. Compromise on Expectations
What do you seriously expect when dating? Do you expect to be hit by Cupid’s arrow every time you meet someone. Are you waiting for love at first sight? Are you hoping that every date will lead to marriage? These are important questions because they govern your initial reaction to every new date, they govern how you behave on a date and they govern what will happen at the end of date. Dating is about fun as much as romance and by compromising and accepting that you will enjoy dating much more. After being on 50 dates you may well argue the point that you have a right to expect that eventually you will meet someone you can match with. You are right to be frustrated and I know what you are feeling. The fact is that dating takes time so expect to kiss a few frogs before you meet your prince.
3. Compromise on Dates
Approaching dating too seriously badly affects the outcome and your response every time. You may not enjoy dating because of your seriousness and may get dating fatigue. Not everyone you meet will be your perfect match but neither may they be bad people, not extremely pleasant and stimulating, or even sexy. Remember that opposites can and do attract. My advice is to loosen up and enjoy dating for what it is, meeting new people. You most certainly will know it when you are hit by Cupid’s arrow, and you don’t have to compromise on your perfect match, just compromise on your expectations to dating before you begin. Learn to get pleasure from every new experience.
4. Compromise in Relationships
Being part of a two-people team means exactly that, being a team. Being a partnership means listening to both arguments, both sides of a case, both points of view. The word ‘relationship’ means compromise. It seems to me these days that a relationship has become all too often a power struggle where one person is trying to get the upper hand, to dominate, to get their own selfish way. The second party becomes subjugated and weakened and stops being themselves. This is a modern disgrace hidden in too many relationships and it makes me tired to see it.
A relationship is not a power struggle and both partners should be equal. If your partner likes to play power games and feel empowered because of it, they have psychological issues that in themselves can cause relationship issues further down the line. If you are not willing to compromise in a relationship, then ask yourself why you are with that person. Your partner does not exists purely as part of your own support system. They have their own needs too.
5. Compromise on the Little Things
It is always the little things that are the most important. It may be the smallest of things that matter to a person, such as leaving the toilet seat up, not tidying up before going to bed, not making the bed, not calling to say hello, not buying flowers. To the other partner, these things may appear petty and not important at all. The point is they do matter and both partners should ensure they listen to their partner and learn what is important to them and what is not. It is not possible to be perfect I know, but it is possible to listen and do the things that make your partner happy. In the same way we hope that they will do the same for you. So keep an eye out for the little things in life. You may have to compromise your own routines to include them, but that is a small price to pay for happiness and love.
6. Compromise on the Outcome
Dating and relationships are open ended affairs. Until you stop seeing someone then there is no end, only the future. Compromise on your view of the future by being far sighted and open minded. You may believe that true happiness will only occur when you have a midtown loft apartment in Manhattan together, or a yacht in a Greek Island harbor and are sailing the seven seas together. That is the beauty of ambition and dreams. But make sure those dreams are shared.
I have seen couples split up at retirement after many decades together because their retirement dream was never spoken about or shared. The point is, as a couple, your ambitions and goals and future should be a shared vision from early on if they are truly to work. You need to be singing from the same hymn sheet and that means you need to be compatible from the outset. You may both have to compromise first to get to that shared vision but it doesn’t make it any less worthwhile.