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Why you should never accept a compromise

If you look up “compromise quotes”, you will find hundreds of quotes insinuating that compromise is a fundamental part of relationships, like “learn the wisdom of compromise, for bending a little is better than breaking a loving relationship”. What if I told you that this “bending a little” will eventually lead to a breakup? Here’s how:

What hides behind a compromise?

compromise in choice of holiday destination

Think of a common scenario: choosing your next holiday destination. You’d like to go somewhere new, while your partner wants to visit their family, which you’ve done together several times already. Deciding for either of these two options seems unavoidable. But is it a bad thing?

Of course it’s bad! The message behind it is “I win and you lose”. In a compromise, one of the parties has to let go of something they desire. How is it fair to decide that one’s wishes and preferences are more important than their partner’s? It isn’t. Here’s why:

How compromise will kill your relationship

Having to prioritize or completely give up on your desires in favor of someone else’s is called sacrifice. I admit that there’s a positive side to sacrifice: it makes you come off as a good person because, after all, you are taking some pain so that your partner is happy. Isn’t it noble? No, because it will lead up to resentment.

People don’t just self-sacrifice out of goodness. They do it in exchange for something else. Maybe they expect their partners to self-sacrifice in a different area of the relationship in compensation.

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chess board symbolizing that compromise is a win-lose

But what if they don’t communicate this expectation? And what if the other person doesn’t deliver their end of the bargain? I guarantee you that resentment will ensue and start poisoning the relationship from the inside because this might be a recurring dynamic.

How can you change the end of the story?

Strive for a third option

The solution is very simple: turn lose-lose and lose-win scenarios into win-wins! Use your creativity to find a way that you both can have what you want. First of all, you have to be able to pinpoint what experience you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

couple meeting at beach after deciding not to compromise

In the previous example, one person seems to value seeing their family during their vacation whereas the other prefers experiencing something new. What about spending half the time with the in-laws and half the time exploring the surroundings? Or spending the first few days apart, she at her family’s, he at a new destination, and her joining him later on somewhere she was also excited about visiting?

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