In relationships, sometimes we come to a point where a demand is made of us, or of our partner, and it implies something that we are not willing to give up from who we are or something we are not open to accept from them.
The question then becomes: How much do I compromise in the name of love? Is it worth accepting X or giving up Y for the sake of continuing my relationship?
Compromise kills relationships. Commitment holds them. A compromise is the equivalent of settling down and tolerating a situation just because we had no other appealing option. It means that we wanted something, yet we settled down for something less. It means that we went to the middle ground of our desires. It implies taking a lukewarm bath while craving hot water throughout the experience.
On the other hand, commitment creates healthy paradigms. When we commit to something we are consciously choosing the alternative not to be an option. We do not settle. We turn our awareness and intention towards that which we want. We CHOOSE the situation we are in. Actively. And we feel happy with our choice.
One of the best advices I could give to anyone is to NEVER compromise. To never settle down for less than they deserve or want. And at the same time, to learn to commit actively. To choose one’s own situations with joy and pride.
However, there are times where we are not open to committing to a specific request. We could tolerate it, yet tolerance is acceptance with judgement.
What do we do in these situations?
What do we do when we are forced to choose between bad and worse? between something we dislike and not being with our partner?
There are two types of preferences we have. The Negotiables and the Non-Negotiables.
The Negotiables are all those things that we are open to transforming and changing. Those things we are open to experimenting with. It is also the things that we do not really care too much about. We may have a preference yet we are willing to commit for something slightly different for our partner. Without any heavy feeling around it.
The Non-Negotiables are all those things that we just simply are not open to transform or change. Right now. It is the experiences and preferences that touch our hearts and define our ways of relating. It is the traits and things that if we were to accept anything other than them, we would feel bad about it. We’d feel like we have betrayed our own hearts and integrity.
And these two vary from couple to couple.
For some men, having the freedom to sleep with other women and not be sexually exclusive to their partner is a Negotiable thing. They may be open to including their wives in the process. To only doing it with women that nobody knows. To not doing it while their partner is in town and so on. To some other men, this is a Non-Negotiable thing. They must have a total freedom and absence of boundaries for them to feel at peace with the relationship.
For some women, having a family is a Negotiable thing. They like the idea yet they are open to not having one if their partner isn’y fully invested. Perhaps they want five kids but they’re willing to have only one. They want a man who wants a family but they’re not bothered if reality brings something different. It is a desire, yet not a strongly defined one. For some other women, having a family, is a Non-Negotiable thing. They want a man whose focus and long term vision and purpose for a relationship is heading that way. Anything below that just doesn’t sit right. It feels like time being wasted, their youth being taken away, their prime years being played with and so on.
And the truth is that there is no right or wrong answer.
We get to CHOOSE our Negotiable and Non-Negotiable traits.
Success in a partnership comes when we are open to identifying those Non-Negotiable traits and understanding where we stand.
And from that place, choosing to honour ourselves before our partners.
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