How can you compromise if you aren’t really sure what you are after? And yet that’s what many of us try to do. We grow up in families where our needs were overlooked or dismissed, and have to learn how to recognise what we need. Journalling can help, as can mindfulness and working with a therapist.
Of course we then have to be honest about what those needs are. It can be scary at first to share what we need if we’ve grown up pleasing others, but with practise it get’s easier.
Again, personal values are the lines in the sand, the things we really can’t cross without suffering. Put time into identifying what yours are, so you know where how far your negotiating can go.
Compromise in relationships is about you both getting your needs met. Learn to fully listen to the other, with an empty, present mind. Reflect back if you aren’t sure. Ask good questions beginning with ‘what’ and ‘how’ if you need more information (avoid ‘why’ which can sound accusatory).
If a discussion rolls into blame and right/wrong, then it’s not going toward compromise but towards conflict. It’s okay to make mistakes when trying to find ways forward.
And when all else fails…..
Before you decide to throw in the towel on a romantic relationship, consider couples counselling. Often an inability to compromise in relationships comes from communication issues. A relationship counsellor will help you recognize what you both really want, and help you communicate in ways that move you forward instead of tear you apart.