Are You Compromising or Settling for Less in your Relationship?

When dealing with a conflict with your partner, are you always thinking you’re just ‘letting things go’ or ‘it’s what makes my partner happy’? If that’s the case, then you’ll want to reevaluate how you’re showing up in your relationship. Because constant settling could be the very sign of a toxic relationship.

You might be wondering: What does settling look like? Could settling turn into abusive behaviors? How do you compromise without settling? We have dating and relationship coach Shana Chow here with us to answer each and every one of these questions so you know what it takes for a healthy and long-lasting love.

Compromising vs. Settling: Which Is Which?

“Compromising is a fundamental element needed in all relationships in order to have long term success and growth,” Shana said.

We all have our own value systems, considered that we come from different backgrounds and have different upbringings. And so, it’s normal that both partners don’t always see eye to eye on all aspects of a relationship.

Compromising is then achieved when both partners work to find common ground that works for everyone. “It’s when you and your partner come to a mutually respectful decision in which both of your values and boundaries are respected.”

On the other hand, settling is about the refusal of action to better the relationship. “It is when you know you are capable of obtaining a more fulfilling relationship that is in alignment with your values and future life vision, yet you don’t take action on it,” she said.

It could be because of low self-worth, lack of confidence, or fear of change. When you’re settling for less, it’s likely you let your fear control your actions, which can cause blurring your boundaries and going against your values.

One major difference between the two is that unlike settling, compromising takes into account the needs of both partners in the relationship. “Healthy compromises are not one-sided; they take both sides of the relationship into the decision,” Shana said.

For example, it would look something like: A partner wants to have children within the next year, but the other wants to wait 3 years maybe because they want to focus more on their business. The couple then agrees to start trying to conceive in one and a half years.

Should You Stay? When to Leave?

If you feel like you’re always settling for your relationship, you might be wondering: Is it worth staying? Should I leave? If so, when?

Here’s what Shana said: “If you are always going against your core values, wants, desires, future life vision, and there is no compromise from your partner, then yes, you should not feel that way.”

The decision of staying or leaving the relationship, however, is subjected to your circumstances. And so, she recommended some reflections on how you’re showing up in your relationship. Ask yourself:

  • Do you feel heard in your relationship?
  • Do you feel respected?
  • Do you trust your partner?

With that, you can then reassess the behavior that you accept from your partner and work toward instilling strong boundaries within your love life.

When Settling Becomes Abuse

While it takes time to work things out and see things take a turn for the better, there’re times when constant settling could indicate abusive behaviors.

Here’re some of the signs to look out for:

  • Your partner doesn’t like any of your friends or family and tries to alienate you from them
  • Extreme jealousy, insecurity, or anger
  • Gaslighting is often used – This is a form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser makes them question their own memory, sanity and judgement.
  • Low self-worth is usually followed by gaslighting as a person can question who they are when manipulated
  • Blackmailing and threats can instill fear
  • Large outbursts followed by apologies
  • Over-consuming alcohol or drug use

Compromise Without Settling

That said, it’s possible that we compromise without having to settle less for what we deserve. Know your boundaries and values; be intentional with your communication with your partner; use assertive and not passive aggressive communication; actively listen to your partner. These are all ways in which you and your partner can come to a common agreement or compromise.

“Approach a relationship conflict not with the mindset that my partner and I are against each other, but rather it is ‘me and my partner’ vs. ‘the problem.’”

Feel Free to download Shana’s ebook – ‘How to create the most enticing online dating profile’ -

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