There’s no denying that all relationships require compromise in order to work. You can’t go into a union with someone else and think that you can both stubbornly stick to all of your usual ways without budging even slightly. A healthy relationship is involves a good amount of give and take; what that also means is that there needs to be some sacrifices, too. But what you need to sacrifice for your partner and what you don’t, should be clearly understood.
"You don’t have to sacrifice when your partner starts any phrase with, 'If you loved me you would….'"dating and relationship expert Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT tells Bustle. "It’s an unfair ask and can lead to resentment. It probably has nothing to do with whether or not your partner loves you, but has more to do with their own values or dreams. Couples have to manage their differences without making it be about whether or not their partner loves or cares about them."
So what should you never, like ever, feel obligated to sacrifice for your main squeeze? Here are seven things, from your family and friends to your dreams and ambitions, that you shouldn't have to give up for your partner.
1. Your Freedom
You may be in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean you and your partner are suddenly one entity. Your freedom, your independence, and living your life for you is paramount for ultimate happiness. As I told my ex, “I’m letting you into my life, but I’m not going to change how I live my life for you.” My freedom defines who I am.
2. Your Ambition
So you’re in love! Great! You’ve come up with a five-year-plan! Awesome! But what about your personal dreams and goals? Are they still in there? Are they still part of the five-year-plan? If not, then you need to get them back in place. Your ambition should never be sacrificed for your partner.
"You don’t have to sacrifice when your partner starts any phrase with, 'If you loved me you would….'"Chlipala says. "It’s an unfair ask and can lead to resentment. It probably has nothing to do with whether or not your partner loves you, but has more to do with their own values or dreams. Couples have to manage their differences without making it be about whether or not their partner loves or cares about them."
3. Your Family And Friends
It doesn’t matter how much your partner doesn’t get along with your friends or how uncomfortable your partner might be around your family, your loved ones are the people who knew you first, who have loved you unconditionally, and who will never turn their back on you. Even if your partner doesn't feel the same way about the people closest to you, they should still respect the role of your loved ones in your life.
4. Your Health
When you have a toxic partner, it leads to a toxic relationship. Inevitably, having so much toxicity in your life is going to take a toll on your health. If you’ve done everything to try to make the relationship better and help your partner to get back on track and you've gotten nowhere, at some point you need to walk away. Your health is not something that should be sacrificed for anyone — whether it’s your partner, a toxic friend, or your boss.
5. Your Happiness
Just because you love someone, it doesn’t mean you’re happy with them or even happy in general. Not to get all cliché and tell you something you already know, but we only come this way once. Sacrificing your happiness is an injustice. It’s also, especially if you do still love your partner, an insult to you both.
6. Your Convictions
Although couples tend to be on the same page about a lot of things, it doesn’t mean you have to be on the same page about everything. If you firmly believe in a woman’s right to choose, for example, this is not something you throw out the window just because your partner feels differently. Stand by your true values and don't feel like you need to change them (or who you are) for your relationship.
7. Your Self-Esteem
Self-esteem and confidence are hard to come by. So, if you’re fortunate enough to have them, don’t ever give them up. If your partner is somehow standing in the way of this part of your identity, then there’s a problem. Sacrificing your self-esteem for your partner is basically giving up and conforming to the ideals of someone else — that someone being your partner.
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