Common wisdom tells us that relationships require compromise. For the most part we disagree. We see most of the compromises people make in relationship as more of a slippery slope to losing who you really are then the necessary step to a lasting relationship.
It is one thing to learn to put the toilet seat down because it bothers your sweetie or to wash all the dishes instead of leaving the last two so you don’t drive your partner crazy and an entirely different thing to decide that you or your partner have to put an essential part of yourselves away in order to maintain a relationship. And, the craziest thing about these decisions is that people often make them based upon assumptions they make about their partner without ever verifying whether they are true or not.
This happens all the time around sex. For example, you say to yourself “I’m sure my partner would never want to do …. sexually and, for me to even bring it up would be so upsetting to them that our relationship probably would not survive it so I’ll just try to make myself not want that.” The problem is, when it comes to our deepest desires, it is impossible to make ourselves not want them so, we begin blaming the other person for keeping us from what we want the most. Sometimes people find those things elsewhere secretly, other times they shut down out of resentment or lose track of their own path.
What does not happen from these kinds of compromises, sexual and other, are happy, connected relationships. These kinds of compromises get in the way of true love. Instead of compromise, we invite the idea of Acceptance. To share with, listen to and accept the multiplicity of desires and parts of your yourself AND your partner and to really want them to be happy and to fulfill these desires is true love. Unlike compromise, Acceptance requires honest communication and internal work to go through all of the feelings that come up when your partner wants something that feels threatening or uncomfortable. The payoff for this communication and work is immense because it can lead to truly, deeply and uncompromisingly, satisfying love.