We 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.
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