Healthy & Unhealthy Compromise In Relationships

Gwen Adams

Looking upon the internet, you might have stumbled upon articles, blog posts, and comments calling compromise in relationships a “nasty business” that leads to a tragic end of the relationship one way or the other. That’s just another twisted meaning of the phrase.

No matter how much you think you and your partner are made for each other, or through another way, there are some things that lack or maybe you are not the same. Maybe you like Chinese food, and your partner doesn’t. Or perhaps you think religious practices are necessary while your partner doesn’t.

So, every time they go to church with you or have Chinese food, they are making a compromise.

The fact is that no relationship can be successful without some compromises made on the way. After all, relationships are about compromise. Learning how to make healthy sacrifices is essential in monogamous relationships and can be the lifeboat for your drowning relationship.

Compromise In Relationships

What does compromise in relationships mean?

Compromise in relationships simply means meeting in the middle. To assess the problem at hand with an open mind, listening to each other’s take on it, then bridging the gap between your and your partner’s solution, and at last, meeting in the middle.

Compromise in a relationship means agreeing to a reasonable solution to the situation that does not favour only one partner but affects both the partners in an equal manner.

If these things are not taken into consideration by any chance, then the sacrifice made would be unhealthy. Making compromises is not an easy task, as many people still believe that compromising is a bad habit. Here are some tricks to make healthy compromises in relationships.

Here’s what compromise looks like in a healthy relationship

Compromising can be both healthy and unhealthy. It depends upon the partners’ intentions, whether they are expecting a mutual understanding or hoping for their partner to give up everything for them.

A healthy sacrifice is only when the partners don’t feel obligated to give up something just for the other person’s sake.

The sacrifice is mutual, not one-sided.

In many relationships, one partner naturally takes on the role of dominant partner while the other takes on the submissive role. Here, the submissive partner is constantly giving, and the dominant partner is reeling it all in.

These relationships are termed as ‘unhealthy’ since there is no space for the submissive partner to grow here. The endless sacrifices made to make the dominant happy or to avoid a fight are unhealthy compromises.

The sacrifice must be beneficial to both the parties involved and must be agreed upon by the partners for the growth of their relationship.

There’s good intent.

In a healthy relationship, both the partners will bring their best and positive attitude to solve a problem when agreeing on a compromise relationship. They will aim to find a solution that is not biased and advantageous in developing their relationship.

While, in many relationships, one or both of the partners always want the other one to sacrifice more for their benefit. These people think that compromising in a relationship is their partner’s job.

They will often bring their partner down for not proving their love is real by sacrificing something. They might even go down to forcing and verbally abusing their partner to compromise for their benefit.

Both people maintain their unique identities.

Change in relationships is good, it keeps the connection fresh, new, and alive. So long as it doesn’t affect the partners’ unique identities and personality traits. If your partner pushes you to alter your personality and makes you believe that is the only way forward in the relationship, then that is an unhealthy relationship compromise.

It’s okay to agree on buying a flowering plant when one partner wants a climber, and the other wants a flowering plant, but if your partner is asking you to change your beliefs and morals to match their own, you have got a problem.

A compromise should not hinder the personal growth of one or both of the partners in any way.

Communication is the cornerstone of every compromise.

Communication is the key to any problem. According to some stats, 65% of the marriages ending in divorce blame communication for the failure in their relationship. Thus, communication is essential for compromising in relationships.

A healthy compromise can only occur when the couple has heard each other’s opinion on the issue and have derived a solution that will influence both of them up to the same extent.

Likewise, it should be discussed if the solution they have found is entirely unattainable for one partner. Unhealthy relationships where communication is misguided or completely absent will only open doors for doubts and frustration to seep into the relationship and it.


Relationships are nothing if not many sacrifices made along the way for a better future together. Every relationship has problems, but if you broke it off every time you hit a roadblock, the concept of relationships would cease to exist and that’s where compromises come in. You tackle that roadblock together.

Compromising is not all easy. It might take time to come to an agreement that equally concerns both partners but you need to bring your best to the table and be perseverant.
Once you understand that compromise in relationships is a necessary skill, the word would not seem all that “nasty business” anymore.


How to talk about a compromise?

The only way to talk to your partner about compromise is to be crystal clear about it. Don’t beat around the bush, and don’t be condescending towards your partner.

Why can a compromise be tricky?

A compromise can be tricky because we are not taught the value of compromise, and it’s not always easy to find a solution that works for both partners.

How much compromise is too much in a relationship?

If you are continuously sacrificing a part of yourself to make your partner happy or avoid a conflict, that is too much of an unhealthy compromise.

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