The healing powers of compromise are often touted by counselors and psychologists as a balm to relationships. The sad truth is, whenever you compromise you aren’t getting what you want, because you are delaying your gratification in favor of “acting like an adult,” and putting your relationship before your current desires. That would be OK if it were really good for your relationship. The question is: Is it, or does it breed resentment?
Intellectually, it appears to be a selfless, mature choice; but, emotionally, the little child inside who wanted what he wanted when he wanted it (not next week, or on next year’s vacation) is angry.
You may not be consciously aware of your resentment because anger isn’t pretty and tends to get suppressed. In the short run, a little suppressed anger is no big deal, but when it accrues over years, it can become an impediment to a loving, intimate bond. This is especially true if one person is doing most of the compromising. Eventually, the anger will break through, or come out as passive-aggressive behavior (like: forgetting to get those special concert tickets, accidentally breaking your favorite plate, or speaking so quietly you have to strain to hear every word).
For clarity’s sake, here is an example of a classic compromise. It’s Saturday night and both of you want to go out to dinner. You crave Thai food and your partner has a yen for Indian. There is no way you will agree, so you say, “OK, let’s have Indian tonight and Thai next time.” The problem is, you really wanted Thai. Maybe you were dreaming of a particular dish, the restaurant’s ambience, or the lower price. It doesn’t matter. You were disappointed. If you had compromised, you might have each gotten take-out and eaten what you wanted in front of a movie at home. It wouldn’t have been exactly what either of you had envisioned, but both of you would have had most of what you wanted. Any lingering disappointment would have been shared. Instead of a win-lose compromise, you would have a mostly win-win.
There are some people who will maintain that they simply don’t care. It’s all the same to them. If that’s true, great; but, if they are really sitting on a landfill of built-up resentment, it will eventually come out. Yet another good reason to be as honest with yourself as possible. The more in touch you are with what you feel, the less likely it will come out in some unexpected way surprising you and your partner.
There are also people who are able to focus on the long-term gain versus the short-term inconvenience or annoyance; but, there are very few who can do it year after year without stockpiling negative feelings.
Next time you are at an impasse over some decision, big or small, try thinking outside the box. Ask: “How can we both get what we want?” With a little effort and some practice you will have a new template for solving many interpersonal issues.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang
Compromise or Cooperate? January 26, 2010
Sex With Your Soon-To-Be-Ex October 13, 2008
Only you can gauge if sex with your soon-to-be-ex is a good idea. In the short term it may feel wonderful; after all, you may have enjoyed a happy sexual relationship. It’s natural to want some physical affection and attention during this draught, and divorce is fodder for insecurities. What better way to quell those demons than with a rendezvous between the sheets?
First of all, there’s always the possibility it won’t go as well as you imagine; secondly, even if it does, it rarely leads to reconciliation. If having sex was going to repair your marital issues they probably would have been all sewn up years ago.
Do you have another reason for wanting sex with your ex, or soon-to-be-ex? Is it to show him or her how you’ve changed? Have you lost weight? Learned some new tricks? Want to make him or her regret the decision to split? Do you fantasize having another baby? (A baby could keep you together, but at what cost? Or, you might decide to end the pregnancy. This is one of those situations when it’s good to be careful what you wish for because you might get it. If you’re already a parent, you know how much extra stress a baby brings to a relationship. Is this the wisest choice? You may find yourself in the throes of passion and jointly craving the excitement and fantasized marital glue of a new baby; but, one second’s decision can change your life forever. Think carefully.)
It is axiomatic that separated and divorced people often connect for sexual relief, and its accompanying meta-messages that you are still desirable. Quite a heady emotional cocktail. Just be sure your liver can handle the detox and you won’t have a huge hangover in the morning.
If you’re lonely or randy there are other options: call a friend or make a play date with yourself. The long term consequences of giving in to your momentary craving may create emotional residuals that rock your world more than the best sex. Short term gain could easily morph to long term pain.
OK, let’s say you decide to have sex with your soon-to-be-ex. What are the likely consequences?
1. One night of great passion may ignite a reconciliation. Not likely. If it were that simple it would have already happened. And, if the relationship ended because of very different sexual appetites then your suddenly changing your style (i.e. having sex more frequently, or engaging in behaviors you used to shun) may woo your mate back, but you will probably revert to your old preferences as soon as you feel secure in the relationship again.
2. You might end up feeling guilty because you know you’re definitely divorcing, but you let your momentary desire rule the day. This could easily make a difficult situation worse: emotionally and legally. The last thing you need is a more scorned, bitter and resentful soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
3. Your children could wake up, find you together in bed, and assume all’s well.
4. You could get a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Whatever you think, you don’t know what your mate’s been up to. So, if you do choose to have sex, use a condom.
5. It may be hard to believe, but you could feel worse afterwards. More angry, depressed, anxious, worthless, or grief-stricken; especially, if things didn’t match your fantasy.
6. You could have more clarity about ending your marriage. Sex can bring semi-dormant or repressed feelings into high relief, and you may realize anew why you’re divorcing.
7. Perhaps sex was the one reliably good aspect of your marriage. If so, you could both have a good time and recognize it for what it was: connection, fun, satisfaction. However, since sex is fraught with emotional and psychological subtext, that’s pretty unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely. What’s more typical is one of you would be just fine and dandy while the other surfs an emotional storm.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang
Affirmations For Self-Empowerment and Emotional Freedom September 15, 2008
It’s best to pick the ones that really speak to you now and read them aloud two to three times a day.
It is natural for things to turn out well for me
I don’t have to figure it all out now
I have a fulfilling life and enrich other people’s lives
I assume the best
I listen to my intuition
I cultivate well-being
I am confident I can handle any challenge
People are kind to me
I focus on the positive
Unexpected good is coming my way
I acknowledge my pain and then move on
I fear no one
My finances are increasing
Those I love love me
I live in the present
I find something good in every situation
I feel safe within myself
I see what I want to do and do it
I am courageous
I take exquisitely good care of myself
I eat when I’m hungry and rest when I’m tired
I ask for what I want
I embrace change
I love myself
I am talented
I am a good listener
I believe in myself
I am creative
I grow stronger every day
Life is friendly to me
People feel relaxed around me
I am a calm person
I dare to be myself
My body feels healthy and at ease
I am able to relax at any time
I am loved
I am trustworthy
I face every day with a kind spirit
I am caring
I create what I want
I have infinite possibilities
I am confident and self-assured
I inspire others with my actions
I make the most out of my opportunities
I acknowledge I have good people around me
I cultivate peace
I control my temper
I think clearly
I have the ability to handle difficulties
I am my best friend
I take the time to enjoy my family
I am intelligent
I learn from my mistakes
I care for myself
I am flexible
I enjoy the gifts that life brings me daily
I love how I grow from change
I am kind
I am open to new experiences
I am important and I contribute positively to mankind
I always come across the information I need at the right time
I lead a happy and purposeful existence
I find easy ways to accomplish my tasks
I grow wiser every day
I am an asset to everybody that surrounds me
Abundance flows to me in surprising ways every day
I will achieve all my goals
I am always filled with energy to accomplish anything I want
All my past successes support me in thinking I am a successful person
I surround myself all the time with positive people and positive information
I am grateful for everything in my life
I attract abundance and blessings that benefit me and other people as well
I deserve to lead a wonderful and prosperous life
My self-knowledge grows daily and makes me be a better person
I value myself highly for the person I am
I respect myself and I act with integrity
I welcome good into my life with open arms
Every day in every way I am getting better and better
I forgive, heal and release anything that’s holding me back from my highest potential for love.