compromise in a relationship, bandage on love, compromise

How to Compromise in a Relationship


Mar 1, 2023

Compromising in a relationship – is something we can all struggle with, especially when we feel we are in the right and the other person is wrong or has let us down.

Yet, it is an important skill that helps you move forward when combined with good communication.

Everybody goes through rough patches in their relationship, but it’s how you work through and overcome these tricky times that can prove the strength of your partnership.

It’s not the ruptures in a relationship that matter, but how you repair them.

Here is our guide on how to move forward and compromise in a relationship, if you have argued or had a disagreement.

1. Communicate

As the saying goes, “a closed mouth does not get fed” – in other words, speak up and ask for what you need or if you have an issue or something bothering you, then the best thing to do is communicate those feelings. Sometimes, it can feel difficult to express our thoughts and feelings and we can leave our partner to guess what we need or want from them.

They are not mind readers and if we bottle things up, perhaps ruminating or maybe, silently seething, our words and actions towards our partner can potentially cause more issues.

Being open and honest is the best way to go – see our guide here on the best way to do this.

2. Respect

Part of the process of compromising is ensuring you and your partner respect each other’s opinions. Put yourself in their shoes. This is about being empathic.

If you both notice and listen to the other, then greater understanding is possible. You can learn more about your partner’s values and relationship expectations through their:

  • Love languages
  • Attachment style

Love language

Love languages describe how people express and receive love in a relationship.

The top types of love languages are:

  • Acts of service – doing favours for them (e.g., offering to drive them places, helping with chores etc)
  • Physical touch (feeling loved through cuddles, hand holding etc.)
  • Words of affirmation – expressing love through words (e.g., speeches, love letters)
  • Quality time (spending time and giving your undivided attention to them)
  • Receiving gifts (usually thinking about giving sentimental and thoughtful gifts to show you know them, thus showing affection)

Learning what your partner values in a relationship, can help you understand them better and assist in communicating with them in a way that will help you move forward together.

Attachment styles:

There are often reasons why both you and your partner may act out or say certain things. Our attachment styles were established in our earliest years as a baby and toddler and set a template or pattern in our relationships with others. You might work and think differently in relationship than your partner does. The clues are in the past. It is not a fault or failing or something to criticise in either of you. However, recognising their attachment style may be helpful and result in greater compassion and understanding.  

So, let’s quickly go through them.

Here are the types of attachment styles:

  • Secure attachment (understanding, tends not to fear being lonely or isolated and are able to feel safe and comfortable, generally expect their needs will be met, well enough and most of the time)
  • Avoidant attachment (they don’t express their emotions as much because it feels risky to show how they really feel – they keep thoughts and true feelings to themselves)
  • Anxious attachment (low self-esteem and fear of rejection, low levels of trust mean high levels of reassurance and attention. However, these needs feel uncomfortable and sometimes shameful and are difficult to ask for)  
  • Disorganised attachment (Difficulty managing or regulating strong emotions. Anxiety and fear can be expressed as frustration, anger and rage)

Understanding your own attachment style, can help you express what you need from your partner.

When you understand your partner better, then you are more likely to be attuned to their needs and vice versa. Deeper connection between you then is possible and can grow.

3. Look at the bigger picture:

Sometimes when you are overwhelmed by your own emotions, it can be hard to see the bigger picture and be able to put things in perspective.

Taking a step back and asking ourselves, “will this matter tomorrow or in the future?”, can change your outlook and generate momentum to move on from the situation. Releasing from stuck-ness.

If we feel less overwhelmed and are thinking more clearly and are not panicking, then we are in a better place to discuss what is troubling us, find resolution and move on.

4. Common ground

Once you both understand each other better, it will become easier to find a place where you and your partner feel comfortable and can move forward.

To compromise in a relationship is easier said than done.

It may take a while to find common ground, however frustrating we feel, these things can take time (depending on the situation at hand). Sometimes, it is our own lack of self-esteem and self-worth that is getting in the way.

5. Don’t dwell on the past. Forgiveness is the key. ‘Let it go’

Finally, to move forward there is no point dwelling on the past, ruminating about what is done could make you resent your partner further. The whole point of moving forward and compromising in a relationship is that it will allow you both to leave a situation behind.

Forgiving your partner (if it is within your boundaries) is important not just for them but also for yourself.

That being said, it can be a difficult process and it is good if your partner can understand your love language and attachment style to help that process.

Understanding is a two-way process. Sharing and showing the other who you really are, can feel risky and daring. Be brave and be real and genuine with each other. Don’t forget they may also feel exposed and may have struggles with self-confidence and self-esteem.

Have you considered couples therapy?

If you are struggling to compromise in your relationship and move forward, it may be beneficial for you to seek couples therapy.

Here at Head Agenda, we offer couples therapy in our Leeds clinic and online. We will provide a safe, environment for you and your partner to discuss and explore your relationship and support you as you work out resolutions and plans going forward.

For more information on our couples therapy click here.

If you think couples counselling will help your relationship, enquire today:

Disclaimer: This article has been designed for entertainment and informational purposes; it is not personalised medical advice. This guide may be a useful read to generate some ideas, however, please take advice from a medical professional.

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