Couples and Relationships: Is This a Compromise or A Sign?
Is This a Compromise or A Sign?
By The Love Goddess
Dear Love Goddess: I’m 25 and with a man who has promised to get free of the woman he’s been seeing, but keeps saying she’s close to his young daughter and he doesn’t want his child traumatized by a breakup. He thinks I should “compromise” by letting things stay as they are. Why doesn’t this FEEL like a “compromise”?
Dear Earth Girl: Because it’s not a compromise. It’s a decision he’s made that you’re forced to agree to. There’s a huge difference.Webster’s defines compromise as “a settlement by consent reached by mutual concessions.” When we’re talking about who cleans the kitchen or walks the dog or pays for dinner, we figure we’ll land on a fair deal-even if it means haggling till a “mutual concession” is made.
You pay this time and he’ll pay next. You do the kitchen; he’ll walk the dog. But being with a man who loves you and insists on seeing someone else, when that doesn’t suit you, is asking you to concede, all right, but there’s no “mutual” in the deal. Where is HIS concession to you?
Staying may be a “yes” but how hurt will it leave you feeling?
Like other deals we make that are hard to take-staying with the man with a violent temper; loving a woman who drinks too much; living with a man who swears he’ll stop gambling-it’s a halfhearted “okay.” By saying okay to terms that you don’t like, you’re not compromising, you’re being compromised.
Still, let’s get real here: What if he simply won’t make any concessions? Then you have to find your own bottom line; Do you risk everything for love-on the chance that he’ll realize, in time, that he needs to make a choice? Or do you walk?
Let me give you a killer example of a woman who had to make such a choice.Ellen was 39 and divorced when she met Todd, fifteen years her senior, also divorced. He had grown children. She, never married, had none. They fell in love, and everything was heavenly, except Ellen wanted to have a child. She hadn’t said so in advance because she felt a little silly.
“You can’t be almost forty and start talking babies to a guy who is about to become a grandfather twice over without knowing you’re in a weak position,” she says. But when they decided that their next step was marriage, she asked whether he would be willing to try to have, or to adopt, a child.”Todd nearly fainted,” she says.
“No way did he want another kid, and I completely understood his reasoning.” Her “compromise” in this situation? There wasn’t one, really–not in the true sense of the word. She literally had to choose between two dreams that were mutually exclusive:
Choosing the love of her life, or the possibility of becoming a mother.Ellen chose Todd.Now, some of her friends say she made the only wise decision; that she chose something real and present and available (that would be Todd) over a mere and possibly risky fantasy. Others believe she sold out; that she could have found a man later; that she should have followed her maternal pull.
“Everyone has a nice answer to how I blew it or didn’t blow it,” Ellen says. “But I know, in my gut, I did the right thing. Even when there’s this part of me that whispers, ‘You should have just gone and done it. You caved,’ I know I did what I wanted to do.”Sometimes we are left alone with our conflicting desires. Left to stay or to walk.
To buckle or to bolt. We’re denied the satisfaction of compromise. Knowing this is important, and naming is equally important. You have to say to yourself, “Okay, I’ll stay another year. This isn’t a compromise, this is a choice I’m making all alone.” And then feel, in your body, what your choice left you with.. A relieved feeling? Or as if you fell into a deep pit of self-betrayal? Luckily, your gut will tell you. It always does.
Melodie Tucker is a Mars Venus Success Coach and Seminar Leader, trained by Dr. John Gray, author of the world famous "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" series.She has helped men and women all over the world create great relationships that last.
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