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Compromise or Settle?

What are you doing?

Often early in life we tend to look at everything through a rose colored lens. Nowhere is this more evident than on the subject of the perfect mate. Our ideal desires commandeer our consciousness as we think of what we’d like the ideal significant other to be like. An emotional and physical wish list develops and usually grows as you begin to date or otherwise interact with some potential suitors. Do you remember your wish list? How has it changed since you first began thinking about your perfect partner? Have the changes been a matter of dealing with reality or is it the result of failed experiences and frustration? Recently there have been many panel discussions throughout the country on the topic of how hard it is to find a mate. Many use the present state of predominantly black relationships as the foundation for why there is so much settling as opposed to compromising but really, what’s the difference?

The term compromise is usually embedded within the fabric of most discussions and overall belief in what makes a relationship work. However, how do we distinguish between compromising and settling? Compromise usually involves a level of sacrifice that one is willing to commit to for the sake of the relationship. Within the context of an existing relationship it could be viewed as an investment in its potential.

From a dating prospective, compromising when looking at your list of key traits and characteristics in your mate, usually involves some reflection whereby you look at some things that you can live with. Those things that we are willing to compromise vary but are different from the things that make us happy.

Settling is usually the result of a desire to make things work at a level that in most cases can be detrimental to a relationship at any stage of its development. In the early stages of dating, settling starts the relationship on the wrong foot. Often people settle because of bad experiences or a lack of access to the kind of person they are looking for. Settling usually comes with the assumption that either things will come around and what you’re settling for will turn out for the better. Perhaps you can change the person or better yet, change yourself. However, the changes tend to be temporary and you wake up frustrated over the reality.

If you’re still wondering what you’re doing, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are your requirements or standards reasonable?

2. How have your requirements changed since you’ve started to date?

3. What made you change your requirements or standards?

4. Has the adjustment in your standards or requirements made you happier?

Take some time to reflect on your answers so that you can begin to either make changes to your outlook on relationships or have a conversation with your significant other to better manage expectations. There is nothing wrong with compromise as long as it is in the spirit of building a stronger relationship or shedding unnecessary standards that will enable more frustration. Settling is the result of some of that frustration and usually ends badly. If you realize that you are settling only you can make changes to that arrangement. Breaking out o the cycle is very hard and usually requires the support of friends, family and at times professionals. Having a strong faith and coping with the often unwarranted fear of loneliness can also assist in transitioning from a settling mentality.

Sophia Avery, MA and Donavan Sterling West are a dynamic Relationship Counseling team! If you’d like further information, discussion or a Relationship Counseling session, please call us at visit our website at http://www.ChristianTalkTherapy.com AND become a fan of the Avery-West Counseling team! Visit our page on FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Philadelphia-PA/Avery-West-Counseling-Team/273651777811