Being in a serious relationship ultimately means merging two lives into one. And when that happens, it’s inevitable that you’re both going to have to make some compromises. There are the little things, like which peanut butter to buy, to throw laundry in a basket or right in the machine, and where to go on your vacation. These things are the stuff of daily life, and a little flexibility goes a long way.
Then there are the bigger compromises, which shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, there are certain compromises that may force you to question staying in the relationship. Besides your health and safety (which, needless to say, should never be compromised) here are 10 other subtle yet significant compromises you should never make, no matter how much you love your partner.
Your Dreams and Goals
Especially when you’re young, you need to go after your goals with vigor and fire. “If your goal is to become an engineer and you got a great job opportunity in a city away from your partner, you should absolutely take it,” says Alli Owen, a life coach specializing in relationships. “If that partner is mature and respectful, s/he will honor your goals and support you in pursuing them.” If you give up your dreams for another, you may come to resent them later on.
This is who you are at your very soul. If you’re not a big drinker, but your partner is and it’s affecting your relationship in negative ways, it’s okay to give them an ultimatum. Owen says your partner should respect your major life priorities—whether it’s health, family, or career—and want to be a better person, not only for you but with you. “If you always envisioned marrying a person of a particular faith or religion, wait to settle down until you find that person.”
Let’s say you’ve always wanted at least two kids and a life in the suburbs, but your partner doesn’t want kids and prefers to live in the city. The life you want might seem suffocating to your partner, and you can’t compromise on that without one of you being miserable. The best thing to do is stop prolonging the inevitable and end the relationship. There’s no use wasting anyone’s time if your life vision doesn’t align.
Your Family and Friends
Be wary of any partner who tries to keep you from seeing your family and friends. It’s normal to see less of them because now you’re spending more time with your partner, and while some possessiveness may make you feel wanted and special in the beginning, it can also be a red flag of things to come later in the relationship. As Kristen Fuller, M.D. writes, healthy friendships can help you cultivate healthier relationships and be healthier, overall. “Studies have shown that older people with friends are more likely to live a healthier happier life than those who do not have many close friends.”
We should all expect to be treated with love and respect by our significant others. Our partners should stand by our side through good times and bad, and shouldn’t be making us feel bad about ourselves. Don’t accept verbal (or, of course, physical) abuse in your relationship. Unhealthy communication can be seriously damaging to your self-esteem.
Your Sex Life
If you and your partner agree on the importance of both physical and emotional intimacy, then it’s all good. But if you disagree on the relative importance of sex and your needs are not being met in the bedroom, then it’s only going to get tougher as time goes on, and will likely eventually cause a rift or breed resentment, says Dr. Mark White, in a recent post for Psychology Today. Sexual issues that aren’t addressed early on can also lead to even less sex and possible infidelity later.
You may not even realize you’re doing this. Relationship expert Chris Armstrong says often, men and women concede to their partners desire to be able to text or flirt with others. “The conversation is generally followed by phrases like: ‘They’re still coming home to me,” or, “S/he’s just being friendly.” Flirting is a sign your partner needs someone else to fulfill any part of their needs… which could even just be their ego. Don’t put up with it unless you’re genuinely okay with it.
The Type of Relationship You Want
It should never be okay for your partner to pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do, says Rori Sassoon, a professional matchmaker and CEO of Platinum Poire. “For example: Having an open relationship, a threesome, or anything else that makes you uncomfortable in your relationship. Inviting another person into your relationship is a big decision that can create jealousy when you want to be strengthening your intimate bond.”
Your Need for Communication
“He/she is probably just really busy”, “He/She doesn’t like to talk on the phone”. Having communication compatibility is more important than many realize when it comes to relationships. If you really need to converse often with your partner and it seems like they ignore or only prefer to text, it could present communication issues further down the road, especially with big issues. We often take less consistent communication than we need by making excuses for our partner. The truth is you are either a priority or you’re not.
Your Financial Security
These days, having your finances in check is important if you plan on buying a house, taking out loans, or dream of retiring early. And, your partner’s bad credit or spending habits can eventually impact you. “If financially they are taking from you and not contributing to expenses, there is nothing to compromise here. They must stop,” says Sassoon. If it feels like you’re constantly footing the bill and mooching off of you, it’s best to keep your accounts and finances separate and plan very inexpensive dates until they get their finances together.