Compromising vs Changing Yourself

by - October 02, 2020

In my novella, "The Story of Ex," I write about a woman changing herself to keep her partner happy.  I, myself, have done that in more than one of my relationships.  That was wrong.  You should never have to change who you are to keep your partner happy.  If that person loves you he/she is going to love you as you are. You don't fall in love with someone while having a list of things you want them to change in the back of your mind.  That's not love. 

I'm not saying that you shouldn't change some of your behaviors, or compromise with your partner.  You can change your behaviors to improve yourself and your relationship without changing yourself. 

For example, if one of the partners in a relationship drinks a lot, and their significant other is like, "You're drinking way too much.  I worry about if you'll make it home driving. It's affecting our children and our finances."  That is a behavior that a person should change for the betterment of the marriage and the family as a whole.  You can love someone's free spirit, and not like them behaving in a way that is damaging to their self or others.  On the other hand, if your partner is like, "Hey, I don't like you going out with your friend because she's promiscuous and has made a name for herself."  I would explain to said partner that your friend's lifestyle does not change who you are.  People don't fall in love with your behaviors, they fall in love with you as a person.  If you are not promiscuous, you're not going to catch it from your friend. It's not contagious. 

I think partners should be compromising and accepting of each other as they work towards building a strong foundation for their marriage. One person should not try to control the other person more. There should not be an imbalance:

When compromise leans more towards one side than the other, it no longer can be classified as Compromise, instead becoming comparable to Control.

When the “compromise” better accommodates or favors one over the other, the latter is allowing for compromise to transform into control. This often happens as a result of love; “I will do this for my significant other because I love him/ her… I will compromise my precise wants to meet his/ her wants because I love him/ her, and in turn he/ she will compromise for me at some point.”

The quote above is from a blog post by  Chelsea Hood called "The Difference Between Compromise and Control."   It puts the balance thing into perspective.  Compromise should serve both partners and not lean more to the benefit of one partner.  If you decide to stop being friends with someone for your partner when you would have otherwise still been friends with that person, then the compromise was only to benefit your partner. Which in turn means, it was control.  When you find yourself doing this over and over again, the relationship has become controlling. 

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