When It Comes to Love, What Is Compromise?

Asking for a friend.

Calvin Walker
Apr 16, 2017 · 3 min read

What is compromise? I mean…I know what compromise is but if you put it in the context of love and relationships, does its meaning change? When you’re in love, where do you draw the line between compromising and settling?

By definition, compromise means “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.” This is the type of compromise I can get behind: when two parties mutually agree to move forward in one direction after being confronted with conflict.

I’m single now but know for a fact that if I were to enter into a partnership again, I would need my significant other to be able to handle conflict in a mature way. I’ve taken some time away from the whole dating scene in favor of dating myself. It’s been an interesting experience that has allowed me to see myself more clearly. To learn how I should and should not behave. To discover what I do and don’t want.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when I’m again at that fork in the road to either lose control or keep composure, I choose the latter. I hope I choose to see outside of myself and realize that my actions impact not only myself but the other person, too. I hope that, based on this realization, I can respond versus react. That, I think, is a solid way to compromise.

As a side note: the immature way of handling things is constantly bursting into tears, playing the blame game and always wanting to be right. I’ve been on both sides of that fence. It’s lonely any way you chop it up so I’d advise to not be that girl or boy. It’s neither sexy or healthy.

While we’re on the topic of unhealthy things, compromise can also mean “an endangering, especially of reputation; exposure to danger, suspicion, etc.”

When I first moved to New York, I immediately started dating this manipulative piece of mildew. When things would go sour, I’d tell myself it was because I wasn’t compromising. I put all of the blame on myself! I remember an argument with a good friend where she told me I had changed since meeting this guy and I knew she didn’t mean it as a compliment. My family met him and even though they treated him with respect, I could tell that my parents were suspicious of this relationship. By ignoring all of the red flags in front of me, I had endangered my reputation and relationship with the people I cared most about.

With that relationship, I thought that I was compromising even though it felt wrong. It always felt wrong. I kept saying the word “compromise” when I was actually acquiescing my right to have an opinion just to bypass an argument. By acquiescing, I had begun to settle. I was settling for less which is never okay. Once I broke free of that relationship, I could finally see the truth: he didn’t believe in compromise, he believed in control. I played my part in the insanity but as my friends tried to tell me time and time again, he was a bad dude that I needed to get away from.

So, what is compromise in the context of love and relationships? It varies based on the couple but must absolutely involve a heavy dose of respect. Eartha Kitt could have given a fuck about compromising, though. She wasn’t anti-relationships but her point of view on relationships was very specific. She just didn’t understand why anyone should have to compromise for love. Watch the below clip where Mother Eartha calls her interviewer “stupid” when he asks if she’d ever compromise for a man.

“There’s nothing in the world more beautiful than falling in love…but falling in love for the right reasons. Falling in love for the right purpose. Falling in love! Falling in love. When you fall in love…what is there to compromise about?”

She has a point.

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