The good, the bad, and the compromise

January 12, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cassandra Jeffery 

Assistant InsideOut Editor


University is the time period in which individuality is fostered. We make our way through the hallways of life discovering an infinite self-depth as we cultivate our fundamental values, dreams, goals, and ambitions. The burden of responsibility has caused us both countless sleep-less nights and a strong sense of independence. We are educated, privileged individuals with the world at our fingertips yet it seems that no amount of education has prepared us for the bitter sweet challenges of love, relationships, and compromise.

Relationships have the potential to be exciting and self-benefiting, however on the contrary, relationships (when you’re finally out of the honey-moon phase) can be challenging, difficult, and potentially heartbreaking. We allow ourselves to love fully aware that one day, love could turn its back on us. Optimistic as we are, the search continues for the right candidate. The perfect lover that will understand, accept, and enhance our unique characteristics.

However, finding the perfect love does not come without compromise. True relationships require compromise, but should we compromise the individuals we’ve become in order to salvage a relationship?

Commitment to a relationship produces an overwhelming sense of vulnerability. The compulsion to divulge your most embarrassing character traits and flaws seems an innate quality of being human.  Whether both characters mesh perfectly in sync depends on the overall affect the relationship has on both parties.

“A healthy relationship should affirm who each partner is and allow each person to meet his or her needs together with the other,” says Mark D. White, author for the journal, Psychology Today. 

In contrast, if one individual begins to compromise too much, the relationship can encourage resentment and hostility rather than love and affection. For example, asking your partner to compromise a fundamental value such as religion or education can severely damage the prospects of a healthy, communicative relationship. On the other hand, we are forced to compromise throughout life in general, which means remembering to tidy up after yourself is a rather mundane compromise.

When in a relationship, one must always remember to differentiate from the good versus the bad compromises. A relationship is the unification of two people, however it is crucial that each person maintains their individuality. At our young, impressionable age we are easily influenced by our partners, often re-arranging our thoughts to match those of our lovers. This becomes a dangerous, gray area in a relationship because most often, individuals feel they are sacrificing what they believe or what they are passionate about in order to enrich their relationship.

Hypothetically, you have the opportunity to travel abroad or you’ve been accepted into a Master’s program on the other side of the country. Would you compromise your education or dreams for another individual? Is there a certain point in a relationship when it becomes okay to compromise aspects of your individuality in order to benefit your partner?

Essentially, the type of person determines the capacity of compromise one is willing to put forth. For some, traveling is a dream you could never compromise, despite the amount of love you may feel for your partner. True to our unique qualities as humans, we all have diverse opinions on what exactly constitutes a good relationship and level of compromise.

“The right relationship does not force demanding compromises,” says Natalie Pozniak, a third-year Communication Studies and Multimedia student.

On the other hand, Master’s Student Simon Erker suggests, “in a good relationship, compromise is always possible.”

The realm of compromise in a relationship is a tricky subject because one can argue that giving up the love of your life for a job is a significant compromise. The saying, ‘you want what you can’t have’ certainly applies in such situations. Battling with the infamous ‘pro versus con’ list is sometimes a catch-22; you want both the relationship and the dream but unfortunately, love doesn’t always conquer all.

What remains most important here is the idea that you find something to love outside of a relationship. Fixating yourself solely on a person will force you to lose sight on what makes you authentic. Despite what Hollywood portrays, relationships are difficult and they demand effort and compromise. The challenging part is not in deciding on what defines a bad compromise versus a good compromise, rather the challenge becomes prevalent when attempting to figure out what is most important to you as an individual. Thus, complicating our lives further we have the good, the bad, and the compromise.

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