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Lota Ofodile: Where Do You Draw the Line Between Giving & Giving In

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dreamstime_l_40213423We all know that relationships require compromise in order to work. Somewhere along the way, certain sacrifices have to be made (ideally by both parties) for peace to reign. But when and where does one draw the line? How can you tell if you are consciously or willingly making these compromises, or if they are somehow taken from you unwillingly, or without your approval?

Not to bring gender into this, but because for the most part it seems like this occurrence is one-sided, with women being on the receiving end. It leads me to conclude that it has something to do with the general expectations that society (at least in these parts of the world) has of women. Majority of the time, the focus is on women to make themselves good “wife-material” for their partners. As a result, they tend to be more susceptible to this phenomenon. Often, women are told to try their hardest to make sure “he” is comfortable, that they don’t inconvenience “him”, and that they don’t challenge “him”. What ends up happening is that a lot of women become so fixed on trying to please these men, that they start to lose themselves. In my opinion, that is one of the worst things that could happen to any one in a relationship. Again, I agree that certain compromises need to be made for a relationship to be successful; I just think that it should be consensual and mutual.

Another very important contributing factor to this issue might be the nature of the power dynamic in these relationships. And this might actually be the more significant determinant of this phenomenon, especially given the growth and success of the feminism movement. The kinds of things that establish the power dynamic in relationships could stem from a financial, emotional, personal, or even religious basis, and that is perhaps a conversation for another day. But a very hypothetical example comes to mind:

Imagine a young woman in her late twenties who has had some trouble keeping a stable relationship in the past, but finally finds a decent guy to settle down with. They get married, and for the most part, things are great between them, but it turns out that her husband is the type of guy who thinks that married women should not spend a lot of time with her friends anymore (or INSERT FLAW OF CHOICE). She does not share this sentiment, especially because her friends are the only people that have stood by her and supported her all these years, and they mean the world to her. They argue it out, but she stops hanging out with her friends as much anyways. And it’s not that he is abusive towards her so she’s afraid of him, or that he is financially dominant, because she holds her own. But because of her history, she is afraid that if she does not comply, she would upset him or potentially “lose” him.

There are a lot of other factors that could be involved, but whatever the case is, the point is that depending on how the power dynamic is set up; the person on the lower end of things ends up over compromising and most times, without realizing it. Or even if they do, it is too late to fix it, or they just don’t know how to go about effecting this change. I am aware that once in a committed relationship, one has to re-prioritize, and certain relationships or things in general, have to change. In this woman’s case, it was her relationship with her friends that suffered.

I actually just had a girlfriend tell me that the guy she is seeing is the type that likes his women on fleek! at all times—hair, nails, makeup—the whole nine yards. And my friend is not that type of girl, not even in the least bit, but every time they are together she has to do all these things to make him comfortable. I’m just here thinking to myself: “what is he changing for you”? and “how much longer can you hold that up for”? Because eventually what’ll happen is that she would get tired of being this person she is not, and then the guy is like “you’re no longer the girl I used to know” or “this is not who I fell in love with”. (Don’t you just hate it when they say that?)

I’ll admit that it can be quite a difficult boundary to establish, but I think that: first, before the relationship gets really serious, it is important that people try as much as possible to know their partners, and their opinions on certain issues, especially those that might involve compromising. Second, people should resolve within themselves the compromises they are willing to make, and those they are not, and then communicate these with their partners, before committing to anything serious/permanent. This way, both parties are aware of, and prepared for the sacrifices that need to be made in order to make the relationship work, and there are no surprises or unrealistic expectations.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Lota Ofodile is a writer and blogger who enjoys having great conversations, listening to, and challenging different opinions. Her family and friends mean the world to her, and she believes that love is the greatest gift of all. She is a self-acclaimed Nollywood connoisseur, and a lover of God, food, and everything pink! She is passionate about healthcare and entertainment media, and is in pursuit of a career that merges both fields.

8 Comments

  1. ichenda

    October 14, 2016 at 4:20 am

    Well your A better writer than I even imagined, I think your very correct. though I think theres something you took lightly. I think the real solution is actually knowing yourself not even your partner or potential partner. cuz that you’ll be more aware of the different boundaries within the if I may call partnership. I support your belief, LOVE is the greatest gift of all. please make sure you link me to your future posts cuz I loved this one. relationships can also be twisted and challenging on the mans side too, but that’s talk for another post lol

    • Lota

      October 14, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks! I really appreciate it. And I think you are right too. I’m sure a lot of people want to read about these things from a man’s perspective.

  2. Theonna

    October 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    And that is how le boo intends for me to move down and join in him in the North because thats where he resides. We are yet to discuss my options as regards being gainfully employed. I get home late say 8pm, he calls and starts complaining that I get home late. By the way, he has always lived his life here in LAgos and understand the complexities involved most especially the traffic part

    • Lota

      October 14, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      I am so sorry to hear that. It must be hard having to deal with all that. I will not claim to be a relationship expert, but I think you guys definitely need to properly discuss these concerns and come to some sort of understanding about things. Good luck!

  3. Miss tee

    October 15, 2016 at 3:01 am

    I definitely made this mistake, for the reasons you mentioned. Now that things have really progressed in the relationship, I just don’t know how to address the fact that I’m not being myself through a fb through. Please tell me where to draw the line between compromise and oppression, and what to do about my situation.

    • Lota

      October 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      The first step is realizing/identifying that there is a problem, or at least that there is something that needs to be fixed, so you are on the right path. It is also great that you are aware that you are not being true ti yourself.

      I would suggest, you personally take some time to really think about who you are, and what your limits are in terms of compromising. And then, have a conversation with your partner about them. Try your best to be as clear, honest, and open about everything. Hopefully, they see where you are coming from, and both of you can eventually work things out. You might even be surprised that they have concerns of their own. The key is truly understanding who you are, and identifying what you are, or aren’t okay with.

      Lastly, pray about it (if that is something you do). It never hurts, and it always works for me. Pray for strength, for grace, for discernment, and for grace.

      Good luck, Miss Tee! ?

    • Misstee

      October 15, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks Lota, will try to do as you say. Wish me luck…..
      P/s: I pray for Africa!!! Lol, but unfortunately can’t get myself to nowadays cos I feel I’m being hypocritical, cos some things I compromised on make me feel God isn’t happy with me.
      God help me….

  4. Ijeoma

    October 21, 2016 at 8:45 am

    You’re on point!!!!!

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