Compromise is one of those words that can either have very positive associations, or very negative ones. It all really depends on what place compromise has held in your life. Ultimately, the goal is to reach a healthy middle ground, but many individuals have to swing too far to one way, or the other, or both, before they get there, and that can leave them with some negative feelings around trade-offs in relationships. Compromising too much can feel like being treated like a doormat, being taken advantage of, being underappreciated, or experiencing the bad end of a one-way relationship. Failure to compromise can mean you’re the one treating someone else like a doormat, underappreciating somebody else, and enjoying a one-way relationship in which all affection and favors go your way.
Compromising in a way that still makes you feel that your needs are met, that you’re respected, and that you can be yourself is actually rather tricky. It is easiest to stubbornly stick to one extreme – always compromising, or never compromising. At least then you don’t need to navigate the gray areas in between. But that’s where happiness and healthy relationships live. So we decided to speak to an expert about how to compromise in relationships without jeopardizing your mental health. Rainie Howard, author of You Are Enough gave us insight about this topic.
How to know a compromise goes too far
“Compromising becomes an issue when it leads to you feeling depressed or stressed or traumatized,” Howard explains. The idea behind healthy compromise is that you will receive so much more than you give when you do it. If the compromise contributes to growing feelings of positivity, support, connectedness, and love in a relationship, then it’s likely worth it. But if it moves you away from those feelings into feeling unloved or unsupported, that’s not good. “Compromising is done right when your values are honored and respected,” she adds. You don’t need to rationalize yourself into making compromises that don’t make you feel that way.