How to Compromise

I apologize immediately if you thought this post is an explanation or a discussion on how you can best learn to compromise with someone else. It’s not. I’m actually asking you how to compromise with someone else who at times feels like they hail from another time-space continuum. How do you do it?

I feel like sometimes I nail it, right on the head, that sweet spot known as a perfect compromise. The decision that gets both parties what they want satisfactorily without anyone feeling like major sacrifices took place. Other times, I feel like the only way to feel like justice is being served is to duke it out Hunger Games-style until one person is dead and the other left standing victorious and therefore able to make whatever the hell decision he/she wants to make. Is this just me?

hunger games

The more time that passes in our relationship, the less I can tell if we’re getting better or worse at compromising. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or little thing. Most of the time, compromising feels like one of us is just giving up in order to move forward without a fight. Is that what compromise is in the end? Between two people who have chosen to spend their lives together, compromise = giving up? Should I be disappointed in this?

quick search of google gives you this definition of compromise

quick search of google gives you this definition of compromise

There are probably about a million things that Timmy and I agree on. But for those million things we agree on, there’s half we really don’t see eye to eye. Half of that stuff is non-important stuff that we can agree to compromise on, staying in that sweet spot zone. A quarter of non-agreeing stuff, I don’t think either one of us really cares about at all, so we agree to let the other person just have their way. But that last 1/4 of the stuff….holy shit, that’s the stuff that makes you stay awake at night, the stuff that you will destroy furniture and glassware for (not that I’ve done this), the items that you don’t think Satan or God could get you to change your thinking on.

Most of the stuff that Timmy and I agree on are those important life things, like core values, moral fiber, education, and relative equal standing in life. Those things have always been what I believe makes or breaks a relationship. If you can’t agree to the values that you hold dear in your own life, you have no chance of making it. I’ve experienced it before in past relationships and see loved ones’ relationships crumble all the time because the foundation they thought they had in common was built out of totally different and incompatible materials.

The stuff we don’t agree on, the items we would punch each other in the face over (if it were legal and not harmful), that’s the stuff I constantly struggle with deciding on how to compromise.

Take for example being punctual. In my family, we are HYSTERICAL about being places on time. This is not a joke. Many many many a fight has been launched because someone made the entire group late. It doesn’t even matter what we’re doing or where we’re going; it matters if we’re on time or not. I will admit that being punctual is probably one of the only things that gives me legit anxiety. And it’s a tangible anxiety that anyone can see starts to get worse and worse as the minutes tick by.

Timmy, on the other hand, I wonder if he can even tell time. I don’t say this to be a bitch, but to illustrate his inability to manage time. He is habitually at least 15 minutes late to everything, and when we have to go somewhere, that time has extended to two hours more than once. MULTIPLE HOURS LATE. Why…what…I mean, how is this even possible?!?!

When I get ready, I’m able to accurately estimate how long it takes me per item on my checklist: do hair (15 minutes), makeup (5 minutes), find outfit (5-10 minutes), pack (20-30 minutes), etc. It’s the planner in me. I know myself well enough to call it like I see it: I’m not spontaneous, I’m not chill, I’m not “fly by the seat of your pants”. I’m the complete opposite of all of that, and I love that about myself. I’ve been this way since I could form thoughts. I believe it really is a part of who I am and how I present myself to people. What I believe my planning and punctuality say about me is this: “Victoria is punctual and reliable. She wants me to trust that she will be places on time, be where she says she will be, that she is honest and trustworthy.”

I can’t even honestly tell you how Timmy approaches time management. I’ve never seen anything in my experience that suggests that he has a plan or is able to accurately estimate how long it takes him to do things. Most of the time, his time projections are off by about 20 minutes. From my viewpoint, he spends a lot of his time moving slowly, checking FB and his phones, stopping by the tv to watch ESPN, then moves on to do things on his checklist. We’ve been late to weddings, festivals, parties, vacations, and dinners because of his time management skills. And it kills me slowly every single time. All I had to do was read this article today in the Huffington Post to get anxious all over again about being late to things!

I know everyone is different and handles things differently. To each, his/her own, right? In most cases, I agree with this statement. I don’t want to ask someone to change something about themselves that is character-defining or is one of those core value items I discussed before. That would be ridiculous and just wrong.

But herein lies my problem: DO I GIVE IN OR FIGHT TILL I DIE ABOUT PUNCTUALITY??? His inability to move his arse into a similar gear that mine is in drives me crazy. Certifiably crazy. Should I just accept that this is how he is, and try to control the anger and rage that rise in my throat every time it happens? Or do I insist that he try to practice time management skills like alarm-setting, to do lists, reminders, itinerary planning, because it’s a necessary skill to have in life? Shouldn’t the mere fact that it drives his girlfriend insane be enough?

How do you compromise on something that you feel is important, with every bone in your body, but isn’t on the same list of priorities for your partner? I attempt to control my anxiety so that my reaction isn’t negative and strong. But in order for me to feel like it’s a true compromise, shouldn’t he also have to rise to the occasion?

Is this a typical male vs. female argument? That women are better planners and men just need to be told where and what to do in order to keep a relationship afloat? I for one refuse to buy into that gender norms crap. I think everyone has the ability to control their emotions (like how I try to) and improve their skills (like I think Timmy should). But it can’t happen without practice.

Before you think that I’m an exploding crazyass girlfriend, I will share with you that I know for a fact there are things I do that drive Timmy crazyface, and I have maybe not attempted to fix because I don’t see what the big deal is. Or maybe I like that thing about me that he can’t stand. Do either of our complaints or seeming apathy make us bad people not meant to be in a relationship with each other? Absolutely not. It makes us two different people trying to make a relationship work.

Either way, we’re not perfect beings without flaws. We will drive each other nuts sometimes, and that’s life.

compromiseIf we can all agree that it sucks sometimes to compromise, I think we’ll be ok. It works out in the end, and you just keep practicing and trying and working at it. I keep practicing at controlling myself, taking a breath, reminding myself that it’s not the end of the world if things don’t always go my way. It’s a part of being in a relationship, any kind of relationship, that oh-so-fun game of give and take.

But give me my watch, cause seriously, that shit drives me crazy.

♥, VB

How to Live With Your Partner…If He’s Male and You’re Definitely NOT

This post is based off an email conversation that I recently had with one of my friends. She’s planning on moving in with one of Timmy’s best friends in a few months, and she wanted some advice on how to live with a dude. I decided to expand the short list I gave her and share my amazing wisdom with the general public. If you have any additional insights, please do share in the comments. We women need all the help we can get.

Rules to living with a boy:

  1. Tell your soon-to-be-roommate your dealbreakers ahead of time. Things like “you cannot handle repeating yourself about cleaning” or “if you split the chores, then each person MUST do them” are important issues to get out of the way beforehand. I told Timmy waaaay before we ever moved in about my OCD tendencies because I knew we would move in together at some point and he needed to know NOW what I was like. I think I told him so much about my crazy organizing sprees and my need to fix the bed sheets when they get messed up in the middle of the night that I think maybe he thought I was exaggerating. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hardcore in sharing my issues, but I knew I needed to tell him so that it didn’t come up as a surprise later. It did though, against all my previous prepping. But now, after living together for over a year and a half, he gets it. Oh does he get it. So whenever he starts to get a little testy with me when I ask him to clean something up, I remind him that I’m not nagging, I warned him I was crazy about cleaning before! One of Timmy’s dealbreakers was that the dishes need to be dried after handwashing and immediately put away. I’m the type that washes them, then lets them air dry in the left hand sink compartment. I HATE towel drying. The air is so much simpler, right? But he freakin hates it. So I try to do my best, but I’m still not into it. It helps that when we’re in Atlanta at my parents’ house, he sees that my mom does the exact same thing that I do, and my dad is the one left to hand dry the dishes. Like mother, like daughter.
  2. Obvs, discuss the finances, utilities, and splitting of payment beforehand. Agree to a monthly budget, and stick to it. That way, if you buy something on your own, or he does, you can’t get mad because the budget was stuck to and all the bills were paid the way they were supposed to be paid. I can’t believe how many couples move in together before they talk about this stuff. Sure, things may end up shifting around once you’re actually paying bills and stuff, but at least you’ve opened the door to this discussion. Money is one of those things that people HATE fighting about but it’s honestly on everyone’s minds all the time. Just don’t be dumb, and work it out beforehand.
  3. There will be little hairs everywhere on the sink because of beard shaving. It honestly looks like their facial hair has exploded off of their faces and razors because the hairs are EVERYWHERE. My leg hair doesn’t do this in the shower, and believe me, I’ve let those hairs grow dangerously long. I have no idea how men do this, or if they’re conveniently blind to the clean-up but it is disgusting and will ultimately be up to you to wipe down the sink area thoroughly. Nothing you do or say will get them to clean it up better than you can. Those little hairs I swear will be the death of me.
  4. They have no clue how to plan for dinner or how to grocery shop without a list. Give him a list, and it’ll be fine. Make sure the list is specific. Timmy calls me from the grocery store to check on which brand of a canned whateverwasonthelist before he buys it. He will call for almost any item on the list that doesn’t have a brand name written before it. It annoys the crap out of me, but I know his intention is to make sure he gets what I want. Give him a detailed recipe and it’ll be fine. Sure, it may take Timmy three hours to make a salad, but it’s delicious, and his attention to detail is pretty impressive. But if left to his own devices, you will eat Mexican takeout every day of the week. I love cheese dip, but let me tell you, 10 extra lbs is not a good look for me.
  5. Try to turn off the tv at dinner. It’s SOOOOOO easy to eat dinner on the couch and watch tv, and tune the rest of the night out. Especially when you don’t have children, you don’t really have the responsibility to set a table up for dinner. Usually, it feels too formal for just two people. But without the tv, you actually talk to each other and reconnect, and it makes a huge difference. Trust me, the lazy way hurts your relationship.
  6. The toilet. Oh gross, the toilet. If you can, just get a place with two bathrooms. Either the one bathroom is disgusting, they pee and don’t flush, or the hairs, or whatever, two bathrooms will save your relationship. I couldn’t care less about about the toilet seat being up or down. I don’t even understand why that’s such a big issue with some women. Who cares? But what I do care about is when either one of us blows up the bathroom, and there’s no place left to dry my hair or for him to brush his teeth except our gas chamber of a bathroom. NO. Just No. Two bathrooms = amazing relationship.
  7. The mismatching internal body temperatures will leave one of you sweating to death and the other with a constant sinus infection. Timmy’s hot 100% of the time. He sweats like he just ran a marathon when we’re watching “Modern Family”. We have our ceiling fan and a standing fan and the AC on all day, all night. Meanwhile, it’s 85 degrees and 110% humidity outside, and I’m in fleece Hello Kitty pajama pants and my NYU sweatshirt, shaking from how cold I am. I think Timmy’s “Ferguson fanny”* actually steals the cold from the air around it, leaving the rest of Timmy’s body fighting for any additional cold that he can get. So while his booty is operating at a nice maybe 70 degrees, his body is 20 degrees hotter and that’s why he’s hot all the time. This is just a theory, but I’m willing to test it out with high-tech scientific gear and what not.
  8. He will attempt to have an opinion on your clothes, and you need to SHUT THAT DOWN. I will never listen to someone telling me that what I’m wearing doesn’t match if he wears polo shirts that ceased to have a recognizable color about 10 years ago with holes in the collar from the 8th grade. If I ask you how I look, I don’t care what you think about my outfit unless your response is, “You look sexy.” And you’d better say it in a Tim Gunn accent if you want me to take you seriously.

I think that’s it for now. This list might save your lives, ladies. Pay attention, print this out and laminate it if you need to refer to it in the future. You are not alone ladies, you are definitely not alone.

♥, VB

* “Ferguson fanny” refers to the bulbous, firm, sky-high booty that’s passed down through the maternal side of Timmy’s family. This booty defies gravity, weight loss, and nuclear bombs. This phenomenon should be studied, stat.

Why It’s Good to Live With Your Partner: Lesson #247

I’ve been a single mom to Floyd for a week and a half now and I’ve learned some pretty important things about living alone after living with a partner for a year and a half. First thing: God the house is so much cleaner. I love my man, but geez, the place finally stays clean once I leave it that way. I do miss that part.

But I think the lesson for this week was made apparent last night.

Lesson #247: It’s good to live with your partner because they keep you from scarfing down the majority of chocolate pieces out of the Special K® Chocolatey Delight cereal by subtly judging you.

When you live with someone, your secret behaviors aren’t so secret anymore. Living with my old roomie Lyndsay was wonderful because when you’re a woman and you NEED chocolate (esp during the best time of the month ever), another woman roommate ain’t gonna stand in your way. And Timmy’s been the best, occasionally running out and grabbing me a brownie or chocolate chip cookies when I’m in dire straits (probably because he knows what’s good for him). He has thrown a little shade my way though sometimes, like perhaps the day I took down nearly all of the cinnamon rolls by myself (DON’TJUDGEMEINEEDEDSWEETFOOD!). Thankfully, those days are really really uncommon, so I don’t feel the need to be ashamed or embarrassed. We all need cheat days.

But I really could’ve used his help last night keeping that in check. It’s more fun attempting to eat bad stuff when someone’s giving you the side eye.

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♥, VB