Even when you have the best intentions, navigating a relationship can be a tricky endeavor. It's crucial to make some accommodations in any relationship, but you don't want to lose yourself in the process. As it turns out, if you compromise on certain things in a relationship, you're only lowering your standards. It's crucial to make sure you still value yourself, no matter who you happen to be romancing.
Although this sounds like common sense, it's sometimes easy to make serious changes in your life for someone else. Wanting to please your partner (or even a potential partner) is only natural, of course. But when you start compromising your lifestyle, personality, or even values to meet someone else's ideal, then that can turn into a dangerous impulse. For the most part, it's so much better to just find someone else who accepts you as-is. Of course, this is often easier said than done.
So wherever you are in your current relationship, here are a few things you shouldn't have to give up about yourself along the way. Just keep your own worth in mind, and don't put with someone who disrespects you or demands unnecessary changes. You deserve a loving, respectful relationship, after all.
1. Your Time
OK, so punctuality may not be the sexiest quality a person can possess, but hear me out. "If your partner is chronically late – even 5-10 minutes – you should takes this as a sign that he/she is untrustworthy," says psychotherapist Dr. Laura F. Dabney. In general, you want to be with someone who respects your time.
2. Your Identity
Don't lose yourself in the relationship. "This seems like a no-brainer, but all too often, I see clients who have completely abandoned their identity and sense of self in the service of pleasing their partner and making their relationship work," says Nicole Issa, PsyD of PVDPsych. It's important to still be "you" in the relationship.
3. Your Child
Navigating new relationships when you're a parent can be rough, but it's important to maintain perspective. "This may seem absurd, but people with kids from a previous relationship are sometimes pressured to prove that their partner is most important and sacrifice your relationship with your child," says Issa. Stay true to yourself as a parent first.
4. Your Pet
If pets are a big part of your life, then don't stifle that part of yourself. "If you need to give up your pet in order to please your partner, they are probably not 'The One,' says Issa. "While some people do have severe allergies or other problems with animals, this is something that should have been addressed earlier on." Ideally, your partner will love your pets (almost) as much as you do.
5. Your Special Occasions
How does your SO react to your special occasions, such as a friend's wedding? "A second important issue is having to ask your spouse to dress appropriately for a social occasion. If your partner respects you, they'll dress appropriately," says Byron Tully, author of The Old Money Guide To Marriage. If your partner flat-out refuses to dress appropriately for these events, then consider the message that's sending.
6. Your Family
If you have a good relationship with your family, then don't let some partner spoil that. "The old saying is true: when you marry someone someone you're marrying their family as well. You should never feel like your partner is keeping you from your family," says licensed therapist Dr. Santan. This is potentially a serious red flag.
7. Your Financial Goals
Particularly in the early stages of a relationship, your money is your business. "It's not healthy if your partner tries to control your money or where your money goes," says Dr. Santan. This kind of financial control is cause for concern.
8. Your Love Life
Lastly, don't compromise too much on love itself. "You really like them but they are more of a companion to you than a romantic partner. You are settling," says dating relationship coach Susan McCord. Remember, it's important not to give up too much for any relationship.