Over the last decade I’ve spent working with clients who are suffering from a breakup or divorce, certain patterns seem to show up on repeat.

What I’ve seen happen again and again is people succumbing to a common myth.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It’s the myth of compromise.

It’s the idea that every love relationship requires each partner to make compromises for the sake of the relationship.

At first glance, this seems like a general truth — that you need to give a little and take a little in relationships to make them work.

But I’m here to tell you that actually, what we think of as “compromise” is a surefire way to set your foot firmly on the path towards resentment.

Trigger warning: what I’m about to tell you may feel “wrong” or unreasonable, but I’m asking you to hear me out.

Here’s the typical pattern that gets set into motion when we are asked to compromise:

You’re asked to change something. You don’t necessarily want to, but you do it anyway, out of a sense of duty to please your partner (or perhaps to just “shut them up”). You then begin to resent yourself for not staying true to yourself, which ultimately leads to feelings of resentment for your partner. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Now, I’m not advocating selfishness. Sometimes you need to make a change, sometimes you need to do things for the other person that you don’t want to do in the moment, for the betterment of the relationship.

But if we have a long-term pattern of this behavior, and that’s how we move through the relationship, the cumulative acts of doing things you don’t want to do divorces you from your heart and will create long-term damage.

This is when compromise becomes long-term sacrifice.

When you compromise, you disown your desires, leaving parts of yourself behind because you believe that’s necessary for the relationship. You feel put upon by your partner who’s “forcing” you to make changes that you’re not happy about. In doing so, you lose touch with your heart and start to feel each sacrifice is a little cut that will eventually bleed you dry.

Relationships become transactional, tit for tat, I did this for you, now it’s your turn to “compromise” for me.

What I think successful couples are doing is actually an “adjustment” where they find a way to sincerely agree with what their partner is asking of them, thereby bringing their heart into the action instead of compromising themselves.

This new pattern looks something like this: Your partner asks you to change something. Rather than compromising begrudgingly, you pause, look inside, and search for a way that this change is actually good for you.

You enroll your heart in the action, and see how it is aligned with a greater vision of what you want to create or who you want to be.

For example: After she moved in, my partner urged me to clean the basement. I could have acquiesced to her requests, perhaps even viewing it as nagging, and “sacrificed” a weekend of my life “to please her”, becoming more and more bitter about it with each passing moment.

Instead, I paused and asked how the act of this clean out would benefit me, how it was aligned with my greater vision of our partnership, and I realized, my girlfriend was just trying to help me up-level my game, become more organized, get rid of the old, and also make more space for her — all good things. Essentially, it wasn’t just her that would benefit, but me too, aligned with a greater vision of who I am as a man.

Viewed this way, it becomes not only an act of love for her, but an act of self-love. The act itself doesn’t change, but the motivation behind it does, and it’s no longer a source of resentment and scorekeeping.

If we reframe the idea of “compromising” ourselves and instead consider the changes we make to be “adjustments” that are aligned with our heart’s desire for the relationship,  we open the door to connecting with our partner while also staying connected to ourselves and our own hearts.

Instead of changing for your significant other, what would it look like if you changed for yourself?

How different does it feel to reconnect with the reason you got into the relationship in the first place, and see how that relationship fits in with the larger vision of your life, and then how the action ladders up to all of that?

This is how to stay connected to yourself in a relationship in a way that isn’t a sacrifice and doesn’t breed resentment. This allows you to transform and grow into the best version of yourself on this journey with your partner.

I hope this has given you some insight into how to stay in relationship with yourself while also creating something that’s healthy, long lasting and fulfilling with your partner.

How does this concept land? Where do you see yourself making long-term sacrifices rather than heartfelt adjustments in life?

Also, are you having a hard time staying true to yourself in your current relationship or relationships? Do you need some help to break out of negative thinking around your partner or your life? If so, I may be able to help.

I can help you stop going down the path of resentment. I can you help you come alive in ways that haven't felt possible before. Just click the link and let’s start the conversation to see if we’re a good fit.

Send me an email at [email protected]laytonolsoncoaching.com and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And if you’ve enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to my Youtube channel, where you'll find a ton of content like this, and more. I’ve also got a webinar coming up called 3 Keys to Attracting a High Quality Man  and a guide on the 8 Secrets to Creating a Rock Solid Relationship. Check these out — I'm sure there's something that will be aligned with what you're looking for.