I have a confession to make. It turns out I’m horribly ill equipped to deal with marital relationships in the modern day. Obviously, I can’t tell you how that would’ve worked in time past. I can only make it clear that in my lifetime no relationship in which I’ve found myself has been successful.
I won’t talk about the most recent, since I’m still in it. In all the previous ones of a certainty, and to the degree I’m willing to discuss it, the present one as well, one of the most obvious issues, has been my unwillingness to yield.
You may think that’s a bad thing. You may be one of those people who insists that marriage is about compromise. Let me assure you that, to the degree I was willing to bend in the direction of a partner’s will, nothing good ever came out of that—for either that individual, or me.
Should you let your companion go to events that’ve been proven relationship killers? I have, it’s never worked out.
Should you lower your standards to make it so they meet them as they presently find themselves? How do you feel about things getting worse? In every case where I’ve done that, the other person has apparently recognized that my standards for them went down, and reduced what they were willing to do to keep the union afloat.
The sad part is, I’m not even sure they really noticed consciously, that I slid the bar downward in any way except that I stopped battling with them over what they needed to do and be, and why.
There’s a term for my actions with regard to my former and present partners. That term is appeasement.
They push, I relent, they push more, I either cave or stand firm. In the end, the results are pretty much never good.
I end up unhappy, and since, apparently, they’ve never been happy in the relationship, the feeling’s mutual.
This is obviously not something that applies only to marital situations.
It’s a common for people to practice appeasement when dealing with others on a variety of fronts.
One regularly practiced form is in the political realm and it too, rarely tends to work well.
In fact, there’s pretty much no place in which appeasement does end in success.
It’s almost invariably true that, when you give a person something they want, with which you don’t agree for the sake of smoothing ruffled feathers, the result is that the feathers again end up in a mess.
The expectation at that point is obvious, the person with whom you’re trying to work wants more, and since you’ve shown your willingness to bend in their direction in past, they feel sure that more is forthcoming.
Being clear, I’m not saying you can never show willingness to work with others. Rather my point is, when you do so, you should make it crystal clear there’re certain lines you’re pretty definitely going to be unwilling to cross.
Give and take is a part of life, and that’s fine so long as the lines are well drawn, such that people are clear at what point one will be uninterested in budging.
It comes down to this, when you move past places where you’re happy to find yourself with the expectation that you’ll continue to allow those things that cause you discomfort or pain without good reason, you enter into a state where a relationship becomes of questionable worth to you.
I understand there’re times when discomfort is exceptionally worthwhile. I also get that there are situations in which it’s inevitable. All of that goes without saying as far as I’m concerned.
Because of those times though, being talked or pressured into yet more situations where one is less than pleased to reside, make life at least harder to live than we would like, and potentially unbearable.
An invaluable lesson for me has been, when you enter into a relationship that starts life as contentious, you’re probably headed to a place where the other parties in that joint venture will seek to cause you to relent on things that were intended never to be mutable.
The simple reality is, when that happens, you tend to find yourself on a slippery slope. You’re doing all you can to get back to level ground, only to have the persons with whom you’re dealing, push you farther and farther down the grade.
Let me give you the benefit of my experience. When that happens, it’s probably time to call it a day. Better to end the partnership, than to allow further motion in directions you’ll rue for a good amount of time to come.
I know it’s hard to accept that’s the case, but failing to do so, likely means more pain, not only for you but for all involved. They’ll continue to work to make you shift your boundaries. You’ll continue to do so, and in the process, become more and more disenfranchised.
By the time it’s all said and done, you’ll wonder why you’re still in the relationship, and funnily, the person you’ve spent all that time appeasing will likely not be happy—never having not gotten you to bend as far as they’d have liked.
More amazing yet, they’ll likely lose respect for you—and that’s often a two way street.
In the end, what started as a workable situation, will become one that’s likely so far out of balance that it’ll never be able to be entirely restored to any sense of normalcy.
It’s always sad to watch a connection go down this path, and it’s often hard at the outset to realize it’s likely to progress that way. In the long run though, you’ll almost certainly feel relieved when you recognize you’re finally free of it.
In past, I’ve been willing to appease. At this point in my life, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s almost never a reasonable course. So if you’re getting into, or find yourself already in a situation where appeasement is an integral part, it might be time to consider letting it go.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.