11 Values That Experts Surprisingly Say You Can Compromise On In A Relationship
Have you ever noticed that, when you hear about a seemingly happy couple breaking up, it's often because they couldn't figure out how to compromise on something big? It might be that one partner wanted to get married, and the other didn't. Or one wanted a baby. Or wanted to buy a house. They couldn't agree, so they went their separate ways. And you know what? That's completely fair.
Sometimes it's not possible to reach a compromise with your partner. And in some instances, you shouldn't even try. "If the notion of changing ... or giving up a valued item makes you feel bad or uncomfortable, you shouldn’t do it," psychologist Dr. Michele Barton, of Psychology Life Well, tells Bustle. It might be healthier — for you and your partner — to go your separate ways and find someone whose values better match your own.
But other times, compromise is possible, even when it comes to the big stuff. It's all in how you handle it. "I believe the key to a good compromise is one where the purpose of the activity at hand is not lost, but can be adapted to accommodate the request of a partner," says Barton. "Compromise is not a contentious circumstance. Compromise is one where an individual gives of themselves to better accommodate and account for the needs of a partner." So you can both be happy.
With that in mind, here are some surprising things experts say you can compromise on, if you're both completely on board to do so.
1. To Have A Baby, Or Not Have A Baby...
If you want to have kids and your partner doesn't (or vice versa) it might feel like the end of the road. And, if either of you feels that strongly about it, it should be. But if you'd really like to stay together, there are some ways to compromise and fulfill both your needs, without bringing a baby into the world.
"The two of you might become very involved with nieces and nephews or your friends' children," therapist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder of online relationship community, Relationup, tells Bustle. "You can also act as big brothers and/or sisters to children, or volunteer to work with children in some capacity. You can find ways to give love and be nurturing to children, without having to have any of your own." (And, side note, you can always get a dog.)
2. Your Religious Beliefs
If you have different religious beliefs, a long-term relationship might not work out, especially if your families have something to say about it. But again, there are ways to meet half way and support each other, if you're willing to do so.
"It may be that one of you is more involved in the practicing of the religion and the other person is a supportive participant," Milrad says. "It may also be that each of you agrees to takes steps to practice the other person’s religion, too." Whatever works, and whatever feels right for you.
3. Whether Or Not You'll Get Married
If your partner has a legit reason for disliking marriage, and you'd like to honor that, or you're not too into the idea yourself, there are other ways to celebrate your relationship that don't involve rings, aisles, or contracts. But first you have to ask yourselves some questions.
As life, dating, and relationship consultant Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH tells Bustle, "What does marriage mean and represent to you? Are you able to achieve that without marriage? Or on the other hand, what is so wrong about marriage? Are you able to compromise in either direction to satisfy your partner? These are first areas for you to understand yourself, then understand your partner, and find a compromise in-between."
4. Your Wildly Different Political Views
While it'd be nice to share your life with someone who has similar political views, it's certainly not a requirement for a happy relationship for everyone. There are plenty of ways to live together amicably, and respect each other, even if you vote differently.
"Listen to each other’s points of view without arguing and agree to disagree," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "If you both love each other, leave political discussions out of your relationship. Some couples disagree, and when they cast their ballots, they do so privately."
5. Where You'd Like To Live
If your job needs you to move to a different city, or a different country, it might seem like breaking up is a good idea. But with all the technology available today, it doesn't have to be your only choice.
"Why not find a way to work it out where you both find ways to spend quality time when you are together, and stay in close contact via FaceTime or Skype when you are apart? It may seem like a large price to pay, but if you both are willing to find a way to make things work, this is the best type of compromise," Rappaport says.
Or if your partner is willing to relocate for a short time, set up a timeline for when you will move from your current home, and if it's possible, when you can return. This way you may be able to meet in the middle.
6. Renting Versus Buying A Home
There's a big difference, commitment-wise, between renting an apartment and buying a home. And the same is true for deciding where to live, whether it be out in the country, in a quiet suburb, or in the middle of a city.
"Deciding where you want to live can be a large compromise," Rappaport says. "And finding a place to live that you both can afford may not be easy." But there are ways to meet each other in the middle, perhaps by renting for a few years in the city and then buying a home in the 'burbs, so you can both get what you want.
7. Staying Home Or Going Out
When you don't jive with your partner socially — maybe you're an extrovert and they're an introvert — it can cause a surprising amount of problems. But this doesn't mean you have to leave them for someone who's the life of the party, or content to stay in and watch movies.
"You can always compromise," Rappaport says. "You can make plans to party at certain times together and stay home at other times. Find a happy medium. This way you both get what you want and you get to share your partner at the same time."
8. What To Eat, When You Eat Differently
Living with someone who eats differently than you can lead to some issues, like who will pay for groceries, where you'll go out to dinner, etc. But that doesn't mean all is lost.
As psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Scott Carroll tells Bustle, "With all the different diets from gluten-free to vegan to Paleo it's almost impossible to have the same diet these days. Again, it's more important to be respectful of each other's diet preferences/needs."
9. Who Your Friends Will Be
As long as you both have healthy friendships, it'll be possible to reach a compromise when it comes to who you visit, and which people you allow into your lives.
"It's nice if you like each other's friends, but in the long run you will end up having a couple friends that you both like and individual friends where you hang out with them alone," Carroll says. And that's completely OK. "The only issue with friends are the friends that are [potentially] bad influences," he says. Those you may need to talk about.
10. Which Movies You'd Like To Watch
It might seem silly, but your inherent taste in movies and music can cause quite a divide in some relationships, especially if you live together. And it can even lead to some mean fights, as well as a feeling that might not be able to enjoy each other's company.
And yet, nothing has to be that dramatic. "What is important is that you are respectful of each other's tastes," Carroll says. Meet in the middle and watch that movie your partner has been dying to see tonight, then you choose what's on your Netflix queue tomorrow.
11. How To Handle Your Families (And All Of Their Issues)
"It's been said that you don't just marry a person, that you marry their family as well," Carroll says. So if your partner's parents and siblings act in a way that doesn't jive with your beliefs, there can definitely be problems.
But the compromise here will come in how your partner handles it. As Carroll says, "Do they stand up for you and defend you with their family, or do they knuckle under and let their family boss you around or criticize you? Similarly, do you protect your partner from your family?" If you stick up for each other, it doesn't really matter what happens.
That's true for everything in life, and all the ways you might have to compromise. If you are willing to happily meet each other in the middle, there won't be an issue you can't weather together.