Compromise, Until You Compromise Yourself

Most 40-somethings say that you do have to compromise in a relationship. But that doesn’t mean one person is right and one person is wrong. It’s about getting to a place where you both feel right — or at least no one feels wrong all of the time. That’s when you start compromising yourself. One woman who was married in her 20’s (and now divorced) told me that the loneliest time in her life was when she was married because it was always tit for tat. It was a constant struggle where one person was doing what the other wanted. One person was always unhappy. You have to find a place where you both can be satisfied at least part of the time. A male 40-something giving me “the guy’s eye view” on 20-something advice put a number on it: when you get to 80%/20% it’s not good!

“It’s the 80%/20 rule. Compromise doesn’t have to be 50%/50%. At times it may swing to 60%/40% one-way or 70/30 another way. And that is okay. It’s just not worth it if you are giving 80% for their 20%. It’s too much struggle.”

Another 40-something passed on the advice a man who’d been married 55 years told him:

“You can’t compromise. You have to find a place where you are both right or someone is always compromising themself.”

I think that is really interesting. The no compromise rule. Everyone has a different way of saying it but in the end it is really is about coming to a place where you don’t feel you are “wrong” all of the time and you aren’t compromising your values. The quote below takes a slightly different perspective — that it’s okay to be wrong when it comes to the small stuff. But it comes to the same conclusion — if it’s important, don’t compromise your beliefs.

Let him have his way sometimes. Let him be right even if you know he is wrong. Let him be right because we all want to be right sometimes. You got to pick your battles. If it’s something that’s really, really important to you then stand your ground but if it’s not just let it go. Let him be right. And you know what? Maybe he is right. Maybe you’re wrong and you just don’t know it but if it’s not important enough to you then don’t fight the battle. It’s not worth it. But you have to stand your ground if it’s important because you don’t always want to be giving in either. You have to be strong. I think most men admire that anyway but pick your battles. That’s not just about relationships. That’s about  family and friends and work and everything. You gotta pick your battles because you can’t always be arguing or fighting over everything.” — 43, married, San Francisco

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