An older, wiser gal pal and I were talking about relationships, and specifically the one I was in at the time. I was sharing that I loved, loved, loved being with my guy, but his contact between dates every 7-10 days was intermittent, and he didn’t set future dates beyond the next day. This was vexing, as I am a planner, and liked to know when I’d be seeing him so I could schedule friends at other times.
“He is in control. He calls you and sees you when he wants. It is you who asks, ‘When will I see you.’ It should be the other way around.”
She was right. I did ask the question more often, as I wanted to know at least 24 hours in advance. I’d explained to him that I’d like a few days notice, and sometimes he’d comply but mostly it was more spur of the moment.
She continued, “He wants you on his terms — when and where it works for him. While he makes a modicum of effort to appear to address your needs, he really pulls the strings.”
“Yes, he wants me on his terms. But I think we all want our relationship on our own terms. We want what we want. None of us gets 100% of what we want. That’s why compromise is so critical. If only one of you is compromising, then the power is unbalanced. One of you will feel put upon and disrespected.”
The key is to be cognizant of how much compromising each of you is making to keep it somewhat in balance. However, I’ve noticed it’s much easier to note what compromises you’ve made, as you’re less aware of the ones he’s made. When you observe his attempts at compromise, it’s important to acknowledge that you appreciate his working to find a common ground or give you what you want.
My friend pointed out that control issues can lead to abuse issues, so to watch out. I can see how that could be true. Although it was interesting to observe potentially controlling behavior in another, as my ex accused me of being controlling.
What do you think the balance is for each person to feel s/he is getting the relationship on his/her own terms? How do you know when you are compromising too much?