This myth destroys love rather than strengthens it
How does the relationship last? Over the course of one’s life, one reads and hears love advice everywhere – which is sometimes constant and can even hurt. Couples counselor Eric Heigman illustrates a myth.
Relationship means business. When you love, you compromise. Opposites attract. People of the same type stick together. Love is teeming with proverbs, grammar and expressions. Some of them come true over the course of life, while others turn out to be fallacies. However, most people learn to distinguish them from broken hearts.
Isn’t that easier? After all, people have been lovers since they existed, so we can learn wonderfully from each other. Because contrary to the way romance in literature and cinema wants to tell us, such a relationship rarely succeeds at first sight, and eternal love does not fall from heaven. So we’re frolicking in the forest of signs we’ve picked up at some point, stumbling, falling, getting up again, realizing we were on the wrong path.
Compromises don’t make relationships better
One of these errors is called normalization. How are you? concessions? But they’re the secret to a good relationship, right? Some time ago, while talking about love with couples counselor Eric Heigman, we stumbled upon his statement: “Compromise is a double-edged sword.” We thought it was one of those signs we could blindly follow.
After all, we only want something good if we want to get close to the partner. In theory, compromise is also a “sign of commitment that provides security.” However, in practice this also means:I only get a portion of what I really want. If this becomes permanent, I’m losing hope that I will ever be fully satisfied with this relationship. Without this option, people do not invest indefinitely. They give hope for a new connection,” explains Mr. Heigmann. At worst, we can chase each other if we are always willing to compromise – or ourselves.
Best: go to the relationship market together
“69 percent of all conflicts between couples cannot be resolved through compromises that keep both partners equally satisfied. That’s why I doubt the consistency of the old saying: Relationships are constant compromises,” says a couples therapist. Instead, it advises very practical barter transactions: “Instead of meeting in the middle, each partner can take turns fulfilling their entire desire, which the other must undo.”
Barter deals, we think primarily of flea markets where the big bargains are made. However, in everyday life, it tends to happen at home: “When you compromise, you meet in the middle of the problem. If you negotiate needs, I can proceed differently,” says Mr. Hegmann, illustrating the famous dishwasher example. A simple sentence could open up the market here: “My impression is that the dishwasher usually gets stuck in me. If you don’t want to empty it, what can you do instead to comfort me?” Suddenly, the 30-minute negotiation space became a marketplace of possibilities. From tax returns to day night, and from gardening to shopping.”
This way, couples can get to know each other and their needs better – and deal with them. Who knows, maybe your partner’s aversion to washing dishes is less than you do — and be glad if you’d rather have food prepared undisturbed. Not everything has to be done together, and not always in the middle.
But the ruse still encounters a small snag, as Mr. Hegman recently warns us: “Barter deals that are negotiated only in the head lead to frustration.” I always empty the dishwasher. I always do the shopping. Who feels caught? Please do not use it as an excuse in contentious situations: “Only if this is exactly what was agreed upon as a successful deal,” the therapist recommends. Then the new bazaar area can lead the relationship to completely new areas. With fewer hidden but clearly worded signs.