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Healthy Compromise: The Secret to a Lasting Relationship? How to Bend Without Breaking

Couple smiling and happy
The Secret to a Lasting Relationship

Good compromises help you and your partner grow together as a team. They foster trust, accountability, consistency, and security in your relationship.

A compromise shows that you have a common goal in mind: a healthy relationship, rather than your own personal happiness at heart. Compromises aren't selfish - whereas someone who expects you to make sacrifices probably is.

Do you and your partner know how to meet in the middle in order to have a healthy relationship? Here are the five areas where it's most important to respect differences and make compromises.

1. Resolving disagreements

In a relationship you can rarely avoid arguments altogether - but you can come to an agreement on how to disagree amicably.

This can often depend on the Attachment Style of yourself and your partner: depending on what your partner may need after an issue arises, you may immediately need to talk things through, or give yourselves some time before coming back together to talk.

This is why it can be so beneficial to take an Attachment Style Test.

When it comes to fighting in a relationship, it's important that everyone feels seen and heard, and that means addressing both you and your partner's fighting (and making up) styles - otherwise referred to as The Five Love Languages.

2. Sex and intimacy

Speaking of Love Languages, let's talk about intimacy.

Everyone has a different libido. Some people need touch and physical displays of affection every single day, and others can go happily for weeks without craving touch or intimacy.

But once you get into a relationship, you have to come to some sort of understanding about your levels of sexual activity - so that neither you nor your significant other goes unsatisfied.

Whether that means having sex randomly a few times a week, or actually penciling in date nights into your schedule, it's important to keep the romance alive by keeping the physical aspect of your relationship in tact.

3. Financial Priorities

If you combine funds in your relationship, then you're going to have to compromise on where that money is going. So, if you are your partner share a bank account, you need to know whether he or she would be happy with that money going on a clothes for going out and partying - or whether they've actually got goals for the future that might need some cash putting aside for.

Finances are an emotive subject, especially in the current climate. Being in a relationship does mean financial compromises, despite how unromantic that may sound.

You may have heard the saying 'When money goes out the door, love goes out the window'. Unfortunately, love and money are, in some way, connected, especially the more serious you get with someone.

The key here is communication. By talking openly about your money and what your priorities are as an individual, you can better-establish a happier halfway house when it comes to spending and saving, if necessary.

4. Common interests

If you love the great outdoors but your partner likes to Netflix and chill, then that's absolutely fine - but there's likely to be some cross over at some point when the two of you enter into a long term relationship.

You may have absolutely no interest in your partner's passions - but they may love nothing more than to talk to you about every single detail, expecting you to listen closely and take an active interest.

The truth is that when you're in a relationship, you have to make compromises - and part of that is learning about what makes your partner tick. Do you have to become an expert in the Premier League? Absolutely not. But it might be important for you to support your partner in their hobbies, especially the ones they want to share with you.

When you're in a relationship, sometimes, you're going to have to do things you don't want to do, go to a wedding that sounds pretty boring to attend, or watch a television show you'd never dream of watching on your own.

As long as you maintain your own interests at the same time, and your partner engages in some of those with you, then you're in the healthy-compromise territory, and your relationship will grow stronger.

5. Parenting

If you and your partner do plan to have a family at some point in the future - you are a step-parent or you already have children of your own, then you have agree on the bigger issues when it comes to parenting. it's always better have that conversation before it happens first.

Parenting involves a lot of compromise: discipline, bedtimes, diet; where you'll send your kids to school - even when you'll let them start dating themselves! It's a lot of moving parts - and ones that need to be agreed upon with your partner to avoid mismatches along the way.

If you're planning on having children, make sure that you and your partner have great communication skills. Because to be honest, parenting is a mix of compromise and, on occasion, sacrifice, where you're putting your child - and rarely your own needs - first.

If you're able to compromise well with your partner before you start a family, then the chances are you'll be a more fulfilled and selfless parent.

You can expect to compromise some things in a relationship. That's what happens when your life stops being all about you.

But if you feel like you are giving more than you are receiving, or if your compromises start to feel more like sacrifices, then it might be time to reevaluate the standards and boundaries that exist between you and your partner.

Otherwise you may lose yourself, and fall into dangerous people-pleasing territory - which will not serve you in the longer term.

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