Tuesday, February 20, 2007

“Compromise” versus “Giving Up Yourself” in a Romantic Relationship

Last night in a chapter in the self-help book I am writing, My Adult Loving Relationships, I was discussing the question of when “compromise” in a romantic relationship crosses the line and an individual might “give up himself or herself” in the process. As we all know, compromise is an essential ingredient in a good adult loving relationship. Both individuals occasionally give in or give up – for the betterment of the relationship. However, it is possible for an individual to give up something, or too much of something, and as a result he or she basically gives up his or her essence as a person – who they are. And in my professional and personal experience, this tends to be a slippery slope – typically, as time goes on, the person slowly resents the other person, then the relationship, and eventually himself or herself.

In my recently released contemporary romance novel, Fear of Feeling Loved, when Marcia is struggling with her escalating relationship with Jack, she confides in her father’s sister – her Aunt Betty. At one point when Marcia subtly asks her aunt if she has any advice or words of wisdom, Aunt Betty says, “Don’t settle.”

An excellent self-help book you may want to read if this is a critical issue for you, is: Do I Have to Give up Me to Be Loved by You? I highly recommend it.

Two questions: (1) how would you answer this question (do I have to give up me to be loved by you?) and (2) have you ever been in a position like this?

Bill

6 comments:

happy and blue 2 said...

If you have to give up who you are to be loved by someone else the relationship isn't based on love anyways..

I compromise all the time. But it's not worth being fake in a relationship. It takes too much effort..

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi H&B2,

Excellent point… and, someone who really loved you wouldn’t want you to give yourself. "Who you are" is who he or she fell in love with.

As I assume is also true for you, I live my life as an open book and am very trusting. I get hurt on occasion, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the tea in China – I’ll take the occasional whacks for a beautiful, loving lifestyle.

Ciao for now,

Bill

Mostly Happy Thoughts said...

my answer to 1) is no. Absolutely not.

2) It is not likely I would ever give up being me to be with another person.

I am an expert at "not settling"... which is why I have never married. yet.

DH said...

Imagine how unhappy that person would be..."giving themself up". I see compromise as a meeting in the middle. In a relationship, issues are bound to come up and need to be resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to both people involved. It's not always going to be 50/50, but when 2 people love each other they should try to do what they can, when they can, in any given situation. And if I'm in the right relationship, both of our needs get met in the long run. If I give more today, there will be a day in the future that I will need more. If I am with the right person in life, they will do their best to be there for me...I guess it just comes down to giving it our all (doing what we can, when we can). Doesn't leave much room for selfishness. DH

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello MHT,

“No’ typically is the response of those who are not only smart but also have a healthy level of self-esteem. Okay, so you’re not married (yet). Nothing wrong with high standards…
Be well and whatever you do… yes, don’t settle,

Bill

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello DH,

I couldn’t agree with you more… on most of your points. I have known individuals in a relationship in which both compromised 50/50 – that’s the good part; but for one of them their 50% compromise meant giving up who he was (at least that’s how he saw it… and that’s all that matters). When they parted, there was no animosity of anger… they simply agreed that it would not work (and were okay with it). In their particular situation, in order to “meet in the middle, one would have to give up who they were). Sad, yes,; but how they arrived at where they arrived was a wonderful thing – they both were very caring and level-headed individuals – and, as you wisely say, neither of them was selfish.

Thanks, DH – excellent thoughts,

Bill