The art of compromise

The dictionary has two definitions of the word ‘compromise’:

1. To settle a dispute by mutual concession.

2. To expediently accept standards that are lower than is desirable.

Now, looking at those definitions and relating them to a relationship scenario, I’d say 1 is acceptable, 2 is not. You are never going to win every argument with your partner, and nor should you because let’s be honest, nobody is right 100% of the time. However, compromise should be encountered by both members of the party ie by mutual concession. You both give up certain aspects of your argument to put an end to it and move on. That’s ok, that’s how any relationship works, not just with your significant other but with friends, family, co-workers…

But 2, 2 is where I have an issue, and actually it ties in more closely with the discussions I’ve had with friends recently. To accept standards that are lower than is desirable. Basically to make do with your lot and not expect anything more. The problem that I’ve encountered with this is that more often than not it is women that find themselves in this situation. Women are far more likely to compromise than men are. Men go about their business as they would if they were single and we as women will fit in around them. We aren’t always happy with their decisions, in fact sometimes they make us downright miserable, but we compromise our own expectations for how our partner should be or how our relationship should be because we don’t want to jeopardise said relationship.

I genuinely think if women started to act more like men and refuse to compromise on their own wants and desires, that job on the other side of the country, that trip around the world with friends, that promotion that means longer working hours, another night out with the lads etc, we would see a huge decline in the number of stable relationships. Men wouldn’t know what had hit them and they wouldn’t want to stick around to find out. I don’t think they are even aware of how much we do compromise to be with them. And I’m not just talking about the bad guys here, I’m talking about the good ones too. They might be the nice guys but they are still inherently more selfish than women.

When does holding on become not letting go?

They’re kind of the same thing, and yet they’re not. In my opinion, holding on is fighting for something with all you have left. You hold on until you no longer can, because whatever it is is that important to you. Not letting go feels sadder, it is an inability to accept the situation as it is, not allowing yourself to move on from what is already obvious.

However, there is a fine line between the two, particularly when it comes to love. Love blinds us, none more so than me. I am a sucker for love, even when I find myself in tears, sobbing at the foot of the bed because I have pushed us to the brink of separation yet again. It embeds itself in me in a way that I can’t explain, and in a way that stops me from ever really letting go. I have never been able to leave someone I love, no matter how difficult things have got. Perhaps that is not so much holding on in the hopes things will get better, but refusing to let go of what has already been lost.

The problem with relationships is they are fluid, they are ever changing, ever moving, and you go from one day to the next and the days can be world’s apart. Just when you think everything is fine your world can come crashing down in a blazing row over nothing. You can love and you can hate within minutes of each other because when you are in love every other emotion is heightened. And that is life, there are few who are lucky enough to have a calm and placid relationship, but for most it will be filled with ups and downs but you will hold on through the downs, no matter how long it takes, because your shared love is worth the ups. But as I previously mentioned in another post, emotions are a dangerous thing. They are not anchored in reality, they are not tethered to rationality. Of course there are elements of real life, things that have happened, things that have been said or done, but your reaction to those things is ruled entirely by something intangible, your emotions. There is nothing wrong with that but it makes it very hard to look objectively at things. You hold on in hope because your heart asks you to, even when your head is screaming to let go. 

And that is when holding on becomes not letting go.

Broken Up, But Not Broken

Interesting thoughts on when you should break up for good and when you should go back.

Rebecca Cao

Time to piece myself back together. Time to piece myself back together.

Four years ago, I was in almost the exact same position as I am in today. I’d just gotten back from a life-changing summer in China, I’d convinced myself that I needed to break up with my high school boyfriend, and I decided that I would be single for a long time. I wrote a blog post about my self-imposed chastity, vowing to spend the next year doing a lot of soul-searching. Well, that didn’t work out so well. As soon as I got back, I spent most of the summer chasing unrequited love #1. As a completely irrelevant side-note, this unnamed person had the best pseudonym, hands down, of any blog I’ve ever written: Yeti. Yeti, I don’t know where in the world you are now, but I’d still love to grab drinks sometime for old time’s sake. Shortly after school started, I…

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