Compromise in a Relationship

Compromise in a Relationship

You may find yourself in a relationship where you keep compromising but nothing good comes out of it. So, Why is that?

Compromise in a relationship is a negotiation between partners, with the goal to find an amicable solution where everyone’s needs are met. The believe that compromise is not possible without a sacrifice is a misconception that leads to a toxic relationship. A healthy compromise is an integral part of a relationship. But, to do that it is important to have good communication where partners can really express themselves and are able to hear each other out.

In this article, you will learn what compromise actually means and how you can approach compromise in a healthy way.

What Is Compromise?

Let’s have a look at what compromise means. Here’s the definition of compromise according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary

1: a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute

2: something that combines the qualities of two different things

3: a change that makes something worse and that is not done for a good reason

Compromise is when you meet in the middle to find a way to meet every ones’s needs. Contrary to the popular belief where compromise one person has to give up or leave their needs unmet and to be ok with it. This is a problem because unmet needs still remain.

Is Compromise Important in a Relationship?

When you compromise accepting to move on with leaving your needs unmet. In reality, you believe that it’s a resolution. However, all that you are doing is allowing these unmet needs to be a more significant driver of your behaviour. and with time they prompt a more desperate behaviour.

This behaviour directly affects your partner. The problem with the compromising approach is that your partner (who’s needs where met at the time, unlike yours) will still pay the price for the compromise that you made. This is because of the behaviour that will be driven as a result of your unfulfilled needs.

Example of a Compromise in a Relationship

An example of a healthy way to compromise is finding a way what both of you want but at different time.

Why People Compromise in a Relationship?

In a relationship, where you spend a significant amount of time together and share your personal space. It is inevitable to have differences of opinions and clashing preferences.

The latter means wanting different things at the same time or having different views or values on a particular subject.

When these conflicts occur you need to find a way to deal with them. Compromise is something that helps you find the solution and to move forward when you have a disagreement.

In the common interpretation of compromise, neither of you get what you want, but something less. You both are sacrificing for the greater good of the relationship.

But, by doing so, both of you will feel deprived and unfulfilled. This in turn, reinforces the believe that in a relationship you can never get what you want and accept that you can be truly fulfilled in a relationship. With this belief how could you expect to have a happy and healthy relationship?

By compromising through sacrifice you are guaranteeing yourself an unhealthy and unhappy relationship. Seeing compromise as a sacrifice guarantees you an unhealthy relationship. This is a problem because sacrifice and relationship becomes synonymous. How many times have you said or heard someone say the following:

  • “Relationship is sacrifice”
  • “When you love someone you sacrifice yourself”
  • “Sacrificing on the name of love”

How Compromise Affects of a Relationship?

When you compromise too much you approach a compromise as a sacrifice of what you want.

The problem occurs when people see compromise as having to give up something that they want. This leaves their needs unmet and can lead to resentment.

A healthier way to look at compromise where the goal is to find a solution for everyone’s needs are met. A first way is destructive and damaging to a relationship. The second, allows both partners to acknowledge and respect each others needs as well as their own.

When something is less important you can be more flexible about the possible solutions. However, when something is very important for you to be done in a certain way, you become less flexible. In terms of your willingness to do things differently or at a different time.

This is when it is essential for both partners to have their core values aligned.

Because if your values don’t aligned, you would want to do things differently and would be very inflexible in finding a common ground. If this happens, it could be a sign that it’s time to reassess your relationship.

Communication and Compromise in a Relationship

A healthy compromise that helps with the resolution of a disagreement is the one where everyone’s needs are met. To achieve that you require effective communication.

Effective communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. A relationship that is enjoyable and contributes to your lives requires the free flow of information where self-expression without judgement is welcome and appreciated.

Part of effective communication also includes the ability to hear each other out and understand your points of view.

Signs of Compromises in a Relationship

When you compromise and your needs and wants are not met:

  • You stop doing the things you like
  • You are not at peace after your decision
  • You are second guessing your agreement
  • You feel neglected as what you say or want doesn’t matter
  • You resent your partner
  • You are doing the things you agreed on, but you feel annoyed, angry or frustrated

How to Deal with Compromises in a Relationship

Here are some ideas on how to compromise in a healthy way:

  1. Recognise what is important for each of you and how important it is for you to have it done in a certain or at a certain time.
  2. Express yourselves as clearly, openly and honest as you can
  3. Take the time to hear each other out and understand what and why something is important for you and your partner
  4. Identify all of your needs
  5. Find several ways to meet all of your needs
  6. Choose an option that seems the best for what both of you want right now. Keep other options as a back up if your first option doesn’t work or your circumstances change

The better you can do each of these steps, the higher the likelihood you will find an amicable solution.

Ending a Relationship Because of Compromises

While trying to compromise in healthy way, you may find that your core values differ significantly. This could be a sign that you may not be compatible as a couple. If this is the case and you remain together, you are likely to face a lot of arguments and struggle to find a common ground.

In this case, you may consider ending your relationship, which can be done in good terms. You can most certainly remain friends if you car for each other. Or consider a casual relationship, if you enjoy the sexual aspect of being together.

In a relationship where you compromise in an unhealthy way, your unfulfilled needs are likely to accumulate resulting in increase dissatisfaction. The longest such relationship last, the more it becomes a struggle and you will almost inevitably find yourself in a toxic relationship.

At this point, it can be harder to separate in good terms. Due to the build up of negative emotions and resentment.

Getting Help Dealing with Compromises in Your Relationship

Tips to Deal with Compromises in Your Relationship

  • Avoid compromising through sacrifice
  • Aim for a solution that meets both yours and your partner’s needs
  • Develop effective communication so you can clearly express yourselves and hear each other’s out
  • Compromise is a negotiation so look for a win-win

If you don’t know how to deal with this compromises in your relationship and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!


Compromise is an integral part of a healthy relationship. Sharing your time and space with another person inevitably leads to disagreements. To maintain a healthy relationship you need to know how to handle your disagreements and find the solutions where all of your needs can be met.

To do that, first of all, you need to have effective communication. It allows you to express yourselves clearly and hear each other out. This understanding is an essential step of a healthy compromise.

Try to keep the sacrificial aspect out of compromising. Otherwise, it guarantees some of your needs to remain unfulfilled, and slowly destroy your relationship over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should you compromise in a relationship?

If you are compromising in a healthy way, compromising is a healthy and integral part of your relationship. However, if you are sacrificing int he process, that is destructive and will lead to a toxic relationship.

Why should you compromise in a relationship?

When you share time and space with someone, having different opinions and preferences can lead to disagreements. A healthy compromise is a way to prevent these disagreements to turn into arguments. A compromise is a negotiation where partners are looking for a way where everyone’s needs can be met.

Is it necessary to compromise in a relationship?

A healthy compromise is a way to handle disagreements. As disagreements are inevitable due to the differences of opinions and preferences, the question is not about if, but how you compromise.

When should you compromise in a relationship?

When you have difference of opinions and need to find a way to agree on something.

How to compromise when living together?

1. Express all of your needs, preferences and desires
2. Hear each other out
3. Recognise the importance of all of your needs
4. The prioritising of needs shouldn’t happen on who’s needs they are, but rather on what needs can be met first. This make all needs equally important.
5. Prioritise the order in which your needs are going to be fulfilled

Is it okay to compromise in a relationship?

Compromise is an essential part of a healthy relationship. Sacrifice on the other hand is toxic.

What Does Compromise in a Relationship Look Like?

A healthy compromise is where everyone’s needs are met. In an unhealthy compromise, one or both partner will encounter disappointment and dissatisfaction.

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