A couple is getting divorced.

Partner A would be thrilled to pay 1$ in child support. They would be OK with 2$, eh with 3, irked with 4 and downright hostile with 5.

Partner B would be thrilled to receive 10$ in child support. They would be ok with 9, eh with 7 or 8, irked with 6 and downright hostile with 5.

They go to a judge/mediator. It is decreed that A pay B $5.

Both are miserable.

Is that a good compromise?

Is it only a good compromise when both sides are mad? When both sides feel cheated? Think of my very simplified example: Neither side is happy with the result. But in order for anyone to feel happiness, one side was going to be really mad.

Is it better to have both sides mad as opposed to one side happy?

When’s the last time you truly had to compromise? I’ve been thinking of the last time I had to compromise and I can’t think of a specific example because we haven’t actually made a big family decision in awhile, but I know that people make compromises every day with their loved ones. And at jobs. And in a host of other ways. But the last time you compromised: how did you and the other person feel afterwards? Were you both equally happy or equally mad?

What do you think it takes to compromise? How do you think a compromise should be reached?

Give me 25-50 words on compromise…

80 thoughts on “Compromise

    1. How many compromises are no win situations though? I know my example is overly simplified, but think about situations where people may have to compromise…like buying a house. One person wants a more rural setting g with land, the other wants a more town/urban feel. One wants a big kitchen and the other doesn’t care. So you get the big kitchen in the rural house but the person is miserable because they hate not being in walking distance to stuff….is it really a compromise?

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      1. I think it is if they said they would give up town for the big kitchen. If town was more important than the kitchen but they gave it up anyway it isn’t compromise as much as one person just giving in.

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      2. That’s the problem…unless they move to a suburb with some land and maybe a little town life (where they’ll both be ehhhh) one person gets a big win, and the other a smaller win. I think compromise is probably the most difficult thing within a relationship. But then you could think about what questions you should ask if you’re in a relationship before moving further…what if one doesn’t want kids and the other wants 5?

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      3. That’s why my daughter always gets mad at tv shows when a couple waits until they are married before ever bringing up the kid issue. If you want kids you can’t marry someone who doesn’t

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      4. Ok…I’m going to give you two answers to this: 1) say you’re dating someone and it’s early in the relationship. You know you really are developing strong feelings. How early do you ask about things like where do you want to live and how many kids do you want? Would someone get scared off at say, three/four months in? Then if you wait, and are already in love, what do you do? 2) I have a friend who said she didn’t want kids. Her boyfriend said he didn’t want kids. Date for two years. Get married. After a year of marriage woman wants kids. Husband still doesn’t but they have kids. He’s a reluctant dad, responsible as in financially taking care of them, but very hands off. This annoys wife. Who is right/wrong.

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      5. How early I think depends on the relationship and hopefully both are on the same page on how serious it is getting. Second one is hard. I know people can change their mind, but having a kid is a big decision to make if one person doesn’t want it. Do you really want a dad who is reluctant to be a parent?

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      6. Completely agree with that statement. Yet, there are a bunch of people that will tell you that the other parent will “get on board” with the parenting thing. And yeah…people change their minds about stuff like that. Relationships and compromise are tough. It’s like Leslie said…somewhere along the line we should get lessons in compromise

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      7. I’m grateful my wife and I held our ground and didn’t become parents, honestly I got married late. I was 43…parenting wasn’t something i wanted to do in my senior years.

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      8. There is no yet, at least on our relationship. I’ve never met someone so against being a parent till I met jess. Plus she’s not keen on coming off all her meds for a pregnancy.

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  1. When parties are at opposite ends of the spectrum, then in order to achieve a fair middle, it’s likely both will be unhappy. I started to say that compromise was the middle ground, but it isn’t always. For most people compromise is reached over a variety of decisions and areas of life. I go to military shows with Himself & he comes to art galleries with me. Neither of us would chose to spend our free time in the way the other enjoys, so we compromise by putting the pleasure of the other first in a measured way. If there were too many military shows, or too many art galleries, then the balance would be off. Himself has no family, I have a fairly big one. I don’t require him to be involved in family stuff (except when he actively chooses to), as I’ve no way to reciprocate.

    My attempt at the 25-50 words is:
    Compromise is about achieving a fair balance in meeting the wants & needs of both parties, but not necessarily the middle point in any one situation, unless there is no other resolution available.

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  2. I think intellectual compromises are easier than monetary compromises. At least for me that holds true. I’m good at compromising. I actually like to come up with scenarios for compromise. But I also think that people with huge ego issues seem to have difficulty giving in to any kind of compromise. However, when it comes to your example of child support that’s a whole different issue. First off couples don’t really decide. The state decides that based on income. I know this because I learned the hard way in an actual divorce. I made slightly more money than my ex and so in splitting health insurance, child support etc.,it was all based on income. It seemed crazy to me that since I was the custodial parent doing everything I still had to pay more. I then understood why there were so many dead beat dads who elected not to work since it would increase what they had to contribute. But that’s a whole other blog for you. So there was no compromising. The law dictated how much money was given for child support. And if one party doesn’t comply the $ is taken out of their wages. ( I had to have that set up or I’d Never have gotten my child support. Yeah even though my ex contributed less by the formula designed by the state of Florida, he still was ticked that he had to give anything at all). Yep, He was annoyed at having to do any compromising!

    I’ve learned over the years that some people cannot let go of control. Or at least they hang on for dear life when trying to compromise.
    I was watching a British series called “Larkrise to Candleford”(based on novels) and they had an episode devoted to this topic. Due to the time period – England at the end of the 19th century- women were not given much credence when it came to anything, let alone compromise. Men made the decisions even if they were bad ones. I just watched an episode last night where the women rebelled. Laughable by today’s standards but still very true in many relationships. One person usually dominates and one tends to appease or give in.

    I believe in compromise. I don’t think a relationship can work without it. But in the workplace I’ve dealt with uncompromising individuals. And I’ve had marriage partners who were not particularly good at compromising. I think before people are married they need to take classes in how to compromise. My parents were very good at it. So I grew up expecting other people to discuss things, come up with a good compromise and create a viable solution. Boy was I surprised to learn that’s not how everyone thinks!

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    1. That’s actually a great idea…some sort of lesson on compromise before cohabitation. It really is a life skill that is neglected for the most part. We always need to compromise, but really, is there a good way to do it? Great idea

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      1. Sorry I just scrolled down and saw the 50 word limit… oops. My mistake. Once I opened my iPad saw it.
        But yes, I think if people go into relationships KNOWING that compromise is part of the deal then they won’t be so stubborn about it. I even used a mediator with my ex and he was so ticked. He couldn’t handle that his attorney and mine had to go back and forth to each of us. And he was frustrated because he couldn’t try to manipulate me. (I was only 20 when I married my first husband). I learned a lot. Lol Compromising was not his strong suit that’s for sure.

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      2. I was teasing about the word limit…trying to be funny…😉I love all comments and answers and thought regardless of length!! But yes…we need to realize that often we have to compromise

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  3. I tend to write like I think… a lot of superfluous fluff before I get to the point. Lol But I do get wordy.(I will quote the character, Dorcas Lane from the above series I mentioned) it’s my one true weakness… (she said that about everything, food, gossiping, etc) but being wordy is definitely one of my many weaknesses. Lol

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      1. Ok….not bad…but what about something like number of kids you’ll have…how do you compromise if the number each has in mind are different?

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      2. Those are deeper issues that need to be discussed before marriage or becoming a family. Compromise in that case will never please both parties, it is way too emotional maybe the way to that is to be very pragmatic list pros and cons etc.?

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      3. Well, I know a lot of people do. If someone changes their mind it would seem to be up to them to explain their new position. Can’t say that compromise can’t be reached but it takes 2 and unless a good case is laid out for change then it will leave at least one party feeling as though they have “lost”.

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  4. Compromise seems to be (perhaps should be) defined differently based on the situation. People compromise/give in based on their personal level of involvement with the issue at hand. Work compromise is handled differently than personal relationship compromise, which I think has to be much more difficult. I can find a fair solution much easier in a work situation than with family. I’m always right with family! I concede much easier with co-workers.

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    1. Very true. Family compromise is so hard! But as Leslie said, maybe we need some sort of compromise lesson when we enter into a relationship. How many things go wrong because someone feels they get the short end of the stick? It’s almost like it should be a class in high school. I don’t know how many of us get it right

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      1. I think in a simplified way we do teach compromise early on. Isn’t sharing among young kids a form of compromise? And look how parents nag about sharing with siblings and friends. Maybe as adults we rebel after having to share everything as kids!

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      2. I’m not a big beLiever in the sharing things as kids. I think in certain settings you need to. But if you’re out and your kid has their favorite toy with them, as is going to happen, why should they share? Someone broke one of my daughters favorite things. Kid had no remorse either. Btw…he was one of those hand raisers…..😉

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  5. I wouldn’t always say to get a 3rd party involved, but sometimes you need to if neither are going to be happy. If both are unhappy Id say that’s more lose lose than a compromise.
    Perhaps come to an agreement that the best decision is to make no long term action and to revisit the situation if both parties know the outcome won’t benefit them? X

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  6. In your scenario, it seems that both parties had unreasonable expectations, so there would never be a compromise that everyone was satisfied with. When people have reasonable expectations, compromises can be made where both parties are still happy with the end results. It may not have been the exact thing they wanted, but they were still content with how things turned out.

    Personalities will play a huge part in how compromises are made. If one party isn’t one to bend, the the other is the one that will never get the things they want and only one person is ever satisfied.

    Another huge part of this is being able to communicate openly and honestly, so that each party is fully aware of the other’s opinion and can understand their reasoning. That can help each person in making a decision that works well for both of them. Sometimes seeing things from another person’s perspective or understanding why something is important to them can shift how you view things and make it easier to decide if something another person wants or needs is more important than yours, or the other way around.

    Of course, those things aren’t always possible, but in normal, day to day life with family and friends, those things can usually happen.

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    1. I think lack of compromise/not knowing how is one of the biggest relationship busters. I did this simplified example because this is sort of how my in-laws divorce played out. Neither was happy with the settlement and my husband told them that he leaned in business school is the only good compromise is one where both parties are unhappy because it’s the most fair. I riffed on what my husband said at the time. My mil thought she laid too much, my fil thought he got too little. But like I said to tater, how does a couple compromise on say where to live, assuming they both have different ideas? How about kids? Are there really compromises or does one person get their way and the other miserable?

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      1. I’ve always wondered how people that have such vastly different ideals for life could possibly be happy in a relationship. You’d never find a happy middle ground. I’ve always seen being in a relationship as something that nurtures you and lifts you up. When you are in a constant battle with your partner over all the important things, that isn’t where you land. And those that go into a relationship thinking they will change their partner’s mind about those issues are just asking to be disappointed. I would have never ended up with someone that wanted to live in an apartment in a big city and never have kids because it is so far away from my life’s goals I would have been completely miserable. I have to disagree with your husband. I feel like the best compromises are the ones where everyone comes away feeling somewhat satisfied with the outcome because it means that everyone is getting something they want or need out of it.

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      2. In a perfect world everyone is satisfied. Now, the real world….I commented to tater before…I have a friend who didn’t want kids. Neither did her boyfriend. They dated two years. Got married. After a year she wanted kids. What do you do? Then…say two people begin a relationship. How early do you start talking about dreams of the future as far as living, children, etc? Things can be fine. Then they aren’t.

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  7. I didn’t want to move. I set the price way higher than what our realtor’s price so it wouldn’t sell. It sold above asking in four hours. The compromise with my husband came in house hunting. I fell in love with a home with spectacular views and an infinity pool. I knew I’d be happy everyday staring outside. The house didn’t have an adequate workspace for him. But we put an offer on it, we got it. In the meantime, we kept looking and found the house we both liked. I realized getting the house I loved and but my husband hated wasn’t going to end well. I felt sad and cried giving up such a gorgeous view, but compromised and a much more livable house.

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  8. I think both of us compromise. For example: I did not want to visit relatives this past March but we did and it was a good trip. I compromised. I left my husband for a year when I went to teach in the UAE. He knew it was important to me, so he compromised. If you can’t compromise now and then, you are a little narcissist because it is rarely all about you.

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  9. A bigger compromise which would equal the year in Dubai would be when his military buddy needing a place to say with his son and we offered our home for a little over 6 months. That was interesting! But we both compromise and as we get older, we understand one another better.

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  10. Seems to me that those with the most power have the hardest time compromising on issues whether it be a relationship, a employee/employer, or political parties. Take Texas for example and the vote to deny women their reproductive rights? Who’s compromising? C

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  11. 25 to 50 words, really, that’s it…hahaha. Okay, you know my situation, as having just gone through a divorce, and here is my reality. After 3 months of going back and forth, I said something to my lawyer, like, is this as “good” as we’re going to get; and, to my lawyer’s credit, she said, well, we could do better, maybe…and, after one night of reflection, I called my lawyer and said, you know, the terms are just fine, I am ready to sign. See for me, it wasn’t about happiness, or sadness, or insert other emotion here, it was more that, the terms were fair and equitable for both parties. I think when we construct an experience, any experience, as needing to walk away happy or expect to walk away sad, then we will, regardless of the outcome. A compromise is about good communication, and equity more than…..that’s enough. Jeez, more than 50 words here…

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    1. I’m fine with your word count..😉I think some issues are harder to compromise on. And just look at the republicans and democrats trying to negotiate?

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      1. Hahaha. I am glad that is so…😉 Indeed, I think that some issues are harder to compromise on, yet when we are open to all that we know and don’t know (the key), we can usually make our way towards a compromise. Republicans and Democrats? Well, many of them are not open and are lost inside of ideological fixed points. Not helpful, nor compromisable. It actually reminds me of academics. The more one learns, the more one thinks they know…and, while they do know more, there is still way more that they don’t know. When we realize this, without fear, shame and blame, we are then open to all that is possible. A fun conversation, LA, as always.

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  12. Unless you’re willing to forego relationships, life is essentially all about compromises. The more we understand what really matters, the easier it gets. The tighter we cling to material things and desires, the harder it is. Not that I’ve achieved serenity or expertise in this matter!

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    1. I think certain things are hard to compromise on: one wants to live in a city, the other rural. One wants kids, the other doesn’t, any bill that one party wants to pass that the other side doesn’t…

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  13. I do quite a bit of negotiation for work. I have found that fair compromise is rarely straight down the middle. You have some non-negotiable points, some giveaways, some middle ground. I find business negotiations easy in comparison to personal ones. My Ex’s dig in on personal ones and refuse to budge. Share the housework? No – with no room to negotiate. Go to this event or trip? Well OK but they sulk the entire time and make me miserable (or late) or both. Argh – I know part of the problem is I picked the wrong men, LOL. But I also know I would give too much to keep the peace. Ugh. Great question.

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  14. Your example was child support. Whether either side was happy or mad with it is rather beside the point – the point is whether it would support the child(ren) effectively. If so, good compromise.

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    1. To be fair, I based my example off my in laws and alimony. My mil thought she gave too much, my fil thought he got too little. My husband told them that he learned in business school that if neither side is happy then it’s fair.

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  15. Hmm on reflection I struggle like you to remember ‘anything’ I’ve had to compromise at? I guess that’s because I’m single yet I know for a relationship to work then there MUST be compromise…………on both sides. Still looking on the bright side I had sex on Saturday for the first time in ages! Lmao you didn’t need to know that but you know me!

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  16. The divorce attorneys we had said that if we were both miserable then we compromised well. How’s that for paid advice?
    And it’s not the last time I compromised either. I tend to compromise so we can both be happy and feel heard (when it comes to others) and I’ve found that when one person steps up to put ‘let’s compromise’ on the table, that helps the other one to do similarly.

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