A sustainable relationship is one that works for you over the long-term.
Too often we compromise in relationships. Compromise is a dirty word.
Compromise means you get half of what you want and feel like the awesome life you wanted to live is slipping away.
Relationships—or people, rather—don’t like compromise.
A relationship is sustainable when you can be your true self in it and that increases the love between you. If being yourself kills the relationship, it was a good death. You can’t walk on eggshells with your partner and enjoy the relationship.
Partners in a sustainable relationship negotiate terms and norms on an ongoing basis rather than compromise. They don’t go passive, keep quiet or give up on having an awesome life. As we say in my line of work, ‘avoidance kills relationships’. You have to take the bull by the horns everyday, speak up, and make it what you want.
What’s the difference between negotiating and compromise? Let’s say you like going out to parties and your partner likes eating ice cream and watching TV at home. Compromise is going to half the party and kind-of dancing through half the songs so you can both get home and eat a little ice cream before bed. If you’re the partier, chances are you didn’t enjoy the party that much, and the stay-at-homer didn’t get the relaxing evening he or she wanted either. Negotiating would be tearing the pants off the party and coming home late with a few war stories, then dedicating the next night to ice cream heaven and a Breaking Bad marathon. Negotiating is helping one another live the life of our dreams, not cut the dream in half so no one is uncomfortable. A great relationship challenges each partner to grow into more than he or she was before, with support, kindness and a sense of humor.
The neat thing about a sustainable relationship is that love can deepen and mature over time. The more someone knows your true self, your real and vulnerable self, the more he or she can love every part of you. You can develop a ‘oneness’ that is stronger than anything life can throw at you. You don’t feel so alone in the world. You have a shared foundation and shared memories with another person. You are connected from the deepest part of you.
A sustainable partnership has a depth that overcomes our weaknesses, frailty, and the craziness of life. It is a kind of magic. This kind of relationship takes a commitment to making it awesome, not giving up or settling for kind of okay. Want to learn how to make a relationship this awesome? Check out the skills program I developed for couples at readysetlove.com, and join my free newsletter to receive the latest relationship tips. #bSustainable!