The Art of Compromise | Finding Common Ground and Moving Forward

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The “c” word (not THAT word) is a necessity in romantic relationships—we are talking about compromise. Being willing to compromise is a must-have that both partners have to work on, and it’s not always easy to do!

Some people are born with the gift of compromise—they’re laid back and just go with the flow. Others? Not so much. We aren’t talking about arguing over whether to get pizza or tacos for dinner. Yes, one person will have to eventually come around to the other’s choice of fare unless they decide to get both (not a bad idea having pizza and tacos for din din). 

Those are more in the concessions category. The compromises we are referring to are about much bigger issues—and how to compromise and come to an agreement while at the same time, respecting and acknowledging both partner’s needs and wants. It’s a delicate balancing act that is important at every stage of a romantic relationship, from the early stages to long-term commitment.


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What is Compromise?

Compromise involves negotiation and adaptation from both partners to arrive at a decision that, while it may not be perfect, is okay to both. It’s a useful tool in a relationship’s toolkit, in that it goes a long way to traversing the inevitable differences in opinions, wants, and needs that always come up. Constructive compromise requires being open, flexible, and possessing the willingness to put the relationship’s health above the need to “win” or be right.


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Early Stages vs. The Long Haul

In the first stages of a romantic relationship, compromise serves as a starting point for almost all future interactions between couples. You are learning how to balance each other’s likes, dislikes, and everything in between. This period is a critical time for setting healthy patterns of communication and negotiation—you are showing you’re willing to make the effort in order for the relationship to move forward and blossom into a long-term partnership.

Now, don’t get complacent—just because you compromised in the beginning doesn’t mean you can stop now that you’re a couple. When you’ve been together for a while, the role of compromise changes, yes, but it’s not about maintaining and improving the relationship. You want to increase your understanding of each other’s changing needs and find new ways to support each other during the highs and lows! Long-term relationships need this continuous adaptation for a partnership to stay strong and mutually fulfilling.


Mastering the Art of Compromise: Practical Tips

Compromising can be hard, especially for certain personality types. So if you’re stubborn or really set in your ways, changing your mindset a little can help! It’s not about keeping score but about caring for your relationship as a whole—and your significant other. Here are a few tips for practicing the art of compromise.

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Listen First, Speak Second

Active listening is one of the most important skills to master in order to really get your partner’s point of view—before chiming in with your own. This shows respect and makes them more likely to reciprocate, paving the way for a remedy that considers both perspectives.

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Communicate Clearly and Calmly

Use “I” statements to express how you feel without blaming your partner. For example, saying “I feel overlooked when we don’t discuss plans together” is way more constructive than “You never include me in any decisions!”

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Look for Win-Win Solutions

Try to find resolutions that address both partners’ needs or wants—this might mean getting a little bit creative or looking for new options that neither of you had thought of before.

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Pick Your Battles

Look, not every disagreement needs to be a full-blown conflict that results in a two-day summit or a dissertation. Ask yourself if the issue matters in the long run and prioritize what really matters to both of you.

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Agree to Disagree When Necessary

It’s perfectly okay to not find the perfect middle ground on every issue—it may not exist! What’s important is how you handle these differences. Agreeing to disagree respectfully is actually a form of compromise in itself.


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The Risks of Not Compromising

Make no mistake: refusing to compromise will lead to a buildup of resentment and frustration, making both partners feel unheard and unvalued. It can create a competitive atmosphere in the relationship, where instead of working as a team, partners will find themselves constantly butting heads like those goats on top of a mountain. There will never be a victor, and this can erode or destroy any built-up trust or respect that happy, healthy relationships are built on.


Takeaways

In conclusion, compromise is not just about making concessions but about actively working towards solutions that respect and fulfill both partners. It’s a skill that, when practiced with care, consideration, and creativity, can significantly strengthen the bond between partners, ensuring a fulfilling and enduring relationship.

In other words, let her get pizza tonight, and tomorrow, you get those tacos you were craving—that’s a delicious compromise.

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