In life, change is inevitable. People change for the better or for worse. While good change is craved and applauded in relationships, bad change causes heartache and problems for the people involved.
Compromise is an essential part of any good, healthy functioning relationship. Compromise is giving up something in order to reach a place of understanding with your partner. No two people are the same.
At some point in your relationship you and your partner will have a different approach, opinion or wish. At this point, one of you need to concede, or the better alternative is to compromise.
Part of the thrill of having another person in your life is that it’s another person – it’s not you. It’s not your clone. It’s someone else with an entirely different background and story and view-point. That’s what’s so exciting about making a connection. It’s about finding common values, goals, and passions in another person. You traveled different paths, and somehow developed a similar perspective, and found each other in this crazy world. But still, it’s not you, which means your partner will sometimes want different things than you. You have a lot in common, but not everything. Your needs won’t always line up. That’s where compromise gets tricky.
But there is a thin line between being good at compromise, and compromising who you are just to keep someone in your life. With all of the emphasis on compromise being such a positive thing, it’s easy to accidentally cross that line. There’s also the fact that everybody wants to be loved. It’s a very powerful desire and one that can make your vision a little foggy.
Sometimes, you don’t see you are compromising yourselves, because the reward which is another person’s approval feels so good in the moment. But it never feels good to lose yourself in a relationship. The consequences far out- weigh the benefits.
So, do you change too much for your partners? Do you stop doing the things you love because your partner is threatening to leave you? Did you disown your friends because of your partner? Did you stop chasing your dreams or gave up your job so that you can please your spouse? Did you change your dressing because your partner insists on you looking a particular way? Doing these things are not compromises but control. You are being controlled and that is not healthy for any romantic relationship. Below are some signs that you change too much for romantic partners and you have to stop doing that because it’s unhealthy.
You won’t give your opinion first even if you have something to say. When any topic comes up that can trigger many opinions, you don’t say anything until you hear what your partner thinks about the matter first. Even if he directly asks you what you think of something, you immediately ask, “What do you think?” to get his opinion first.
You don’t want to create conflict by accidentally sharing a stance that is drastically different from his own, but you are fine with whatever he says, so you just think it’s best if he speaks up first. Unfortunately, what ultimately happens is you have a partner who doesn’t know your real feelings on a lot of topics.
You upset your friends to please your partners. If you have to make a choice that will either please your partner or your friends, you will choose to please your partner every time. Maybe that choice is something like, what place you all want to visit for the next group vacation. Your friends want one, but your partner wants another. You always push for what your partner wants.
The truth is that deep down, you probably also want what your friends want. Seeing as they are the ones who have known you the longest, your interests and desires are probably more in line with theirs than your partner’s, but he always wins because you are scared of losing him. That’s not a good place to be as a human being. If you can’t express your wants to your partner, why are you in a relationship with them?
You hear the words ‘since when?’ often. You always seem to have a new hobby, new interest, new likes/dislikes, and even new rules for your life when- ever you start dating a new partner. But your friends and family who have known you for a long time know that’s not the real you. So when you are suddenly “very into Sci-Fi movies when you love romantic comedies,” they ask, “Since when?” You have literally never showed interest in that kind of stuff before this partner came into your life. When the relationship ends and you start dating someone else, you also change your likes and dislikes just to please them.
I know many ladies who have changed their looks because their boyfriends insist that they look different. Deep down, this is not what these ladies want but because they want to desperately hold on to these men, they change their looks for them. Will changing how you look make the relationship last? You have had so many different identities throughout the years because of the different men you dated that you no longer know who you are. If you scroll through old photos of yourself, for every relationship there was a unique style you embraced. There was one year when you had long hair and French tip nails and wore revealing clothes. Another year, you wore thick- rimmed glasses, cut your hair short, and wore dull coloured clothes. These were the various styles you went through to look the way your partner thought to be attractive. Whatever they were into, you were into — from head to toe.
When you change too much for your romantic partner, your inner monologue is very active. Do you know how a lot of shows consist of the main character having a lot of conversations with herself? You hear many of her thoughts be- fore she speaks because she does a lot of editing and filtering before saying something. That is exactly how your life goes.
You have an incredibly active inner monologue and you go through a lot of editing before deciding what to say out loud to your partner because you don’t want to upset him or her. That can be a sign that you don’t feel comfortable showing your genuine self, so you curate what exactly to show to your partner. If that’s true, then there is a good chance you change a lot for that person and you need to stop doing that.
If you can’t make a decision whether big or small without consulting your partner for insight, you are changing too much for that person. Whether it’s which apartment to rent, which job to take, which outfit to wear, which restaurant to choose for your birthday dinner, or which gifts to buy, you must first chat with your partner to get their input because you don’t want them to be angry with you.
You don’t feel connected to your intuition because you want to please your romantic partners. There is no internal guiding ship. You can’t really say what you think about serious matters affecting you. If that’s the case when you are single, then you likely require a lot of guidance from a romantic partner when you are in a relationship, and make a lot of changes based on that guidance.
You accumulate a lot of stuff when you enter a new relationship. Taking on a new identity tends to require a lot of new stuff, from clothes to home décor to books to kitchen appliances to hobbies. Whatever he’s into, you are into, and it calls for some shopping. That also means that every breakup results in what looks like a yard sale. You have boxes of irrelevant things to get rid of because they were tied to the identity you took on for a person, and now that person is gone. Your friends can look forward to a lot of free clothes when you go through a breakup.
Your friend group turns over as frequently as your romantic relationships do because your friends are just the girlfriends and wives of whomever you are dating at the time. They become the people you have lunch with, shop with and see movies with. You also go to the gym with them. It’s like you don’t have a life of your own because you are stuck with the women in the life of your partner’s friends.
The sad thing is that you have some lifelong childhood friends who have given up on investing time into their relationship with you because they know they will be out of your life as soon as this new partner goes. It’s pretty common that someone asks how that one friend of yours is doing and you say you don’t really talk anymore because they were just your ex-boyfriend’s friend’s girlfriend.