“I guess you’ll do...”
With age often comes not only a strong desire to be in a relationship, but also an immense pressure to make it happen. Whether real or imagined, external or internal, this pressure can influence people to enter into terrible relationships. If you find yourself bypassing a great deal of what you care about in order to make a relationship happen, it is likely that you’re settling. You should not have to give up everything you value and desire in order to make things work. Settling for less gives you a relationship and also opens you up to impending unhappiness. Completely disregarding your values and the things that make you happy is the perfect recipe for wasted time and broken hearts.
Everyone has a list of things they want out of their partner. If you’re list is entirely comprised of deal breakers, you’ve crossed over from the land of standards and into the realm of pickiness. You’re likely on a search for perfection and this is sure to lead you on a path with little options and lots of disappointment. You have to realize there is no one out there that is going to be 100% what you want. Chances are you’re bypassing great people by not being flexible on certain things. Having a list is important because it keeps the things you want in perspective, but you have to know when it’s ok to budge.
The Great Compromise
As you get older and gain more relationship experience, it’s not uncommon that your tastes change. Things that may have been deal breakers in the past, are looked at through fresh eyes. You start to figure out what you consider important and recognize the things that you can be flexible on. This is considered compromising. This is the middle ground. Being flexible on traits/topics that you find less important gives you the opportunity to actually get to know a person and discover if they’re someone you can actually enjoy. There is no standard for what everyone finds important, but there is a standard rule when it comes to being flexible with your list: budge but don’t go against your values and overall well being.
Discover what is important to you and learn the things you can bend on. Settling will have you cuddled up with someone you’re not fit for and being picky will have you cuddled up with your list. Flexibility is essential in any relationship and that typically starts before the relationship even begins. Compromise but never at the expense of your values or your happiness.
This Topic of the Week was written by Malyka Cardwell, MFT.