Relationship Success – Do we get a cat or a dog? (On Compromise)

Relationship Success – Working on your relationship one step at a time

Welcome to this week’s Relationship Success post.

If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up here:

Working on your relationship one step at a time,

Whose responsibility is it anyway?.


I decided to write this series because I believe in the importance of raising awareness of the aspects of relationships that might help or hinder our ability to communicate and relate in healthy ways with our partners.

Once we are in a space to think about our behaviours, our partners behaviours, and how they impact on one another, we can then start thinking about how to resolve those miscommunications or missed opportunities to make things right.

If you feel you want to discuss this in a session, feel free to book by emailing me or contacting me via this blog’s contact form.

2In today’s post I want to start with a little joke that you’ve probably heard as many times as I have.

“So, my partner and I were having a conversation. She really loves cats and wants us to get one. I don’t like cats, I told her I’d prefer to get a dog. So, after a few hours of discussing this, we decided to compromise, and we are getting a cat tomorrow.”

Switch “cat” and “dog” with any two other things, and you can pretty much get the idea.

The take-home message here is that, in that scenario, one partner gets their way and the other is left with their needs not being met.

So how can we have actual, real compromise, where both partners get a bit of what they want – or all of what they both want – without either partner suffering or having to pass on what they really want?

I would say two things here:

  1. Pick your battles
  2. Come up with a third solution that works for both of you

3Let’s start with the ‘easier’ one.

Come up with a third solution that works for both of you.

Did you know that your solution or his/her solution are not the only ones out there?

Yes? No? Maybe but it’s hard to accept?

Sometimes it’s hard to accept this and try to find ways to fit in with both your lifestyles and desires.

Once you both get your heads around that, then there is a chance to have an open and honest conversation about how to move forward.

So maybe you end up getting a cat AND a dog (remember this is an analogy, replace cat and dog with your situation, it might be more complex than that though!), or you decide to get a Hamster instead, because you both agree that you both like hamsters. Or you just don’t have any pets or decide to leave it ‘til later.

A third solution might give you both a chance to get all or at least part of what you both want, or find a way to not fight or argue about the situation, and find something else that works for both of you, even if it isn’t 100% what either of you wanted.


A happy relationship full of communication, respect and compromise is much better than one where “I win” or “why did you get your way, again!”, or “I’ll get them, back next time I’ll get what I want, it’s only fair!”.





Pick your battles

Picking your battles simply means, is it worth it to have a big argument about this or that, or can it be resolved by “being the bigger person” or agreeing that it is just not worth it to fight, and let’s find a happy medium or a third solution, or let’s just drop it.

But, how do you know whether to leave it or fight it?

One question you can ask yourself is, will this matter in the long-run?

Is having a cat in the house so bad? is having a dog so bad? Is not having either so bad? Do we really need to have a cat or a dog, or neither?

Do I see myself being upset with him/her because they put their foot down and denied me the chance of having my favourite pet?

If the answer is yes, then this is a battle you need to pick, for the sake of your future self. But be sensible, empathetic, compassionate and understanding of yourself and your partner when you have the conversation!

If the answer is no, then there’s your answer: it is not worth it.


Now, we’ve been talking about things that are negotiable, like getting a cat or a dog.

It is important to the relationship that there are things that are factored in at the beginning of the relationship, so that everyone is clear on how the couple is going to handle certain things:

  • How to handle money. This is a big topic that can cause heartache or relief.
    • Do you keep separate accounts or is everything put into a joint account?
    • Are you good at saving but your partner isn’t, how will you deal with this?
    • What is acceptable spending during the week and what isn’t?
    • Can I spend my money how I want or do I have to consult my partner?
    • And so on.
  • Love languages. We can’t help what we prefer to get to fill up our love tank. (I will write a full blog post on this soon).
    • Do you or your partner like getting gifts?
    • Do you or your partner enjoy physical touch?
    • Do you or your partner prefer acts of service?
    • Do you or your partner thrive on quality time?
    • Do you or your partner appreciate words of affirmation?
    • Do you match with your partner’s main love language?
    • How can you get what you need and meet your partner’s needs as well, especially if your love languages are completely different and even a bit incompatible?
  • From that last one stems this last one – how to spend your time
    • Do you enjoy time on your own and in fact need it to recharge and be able to relate well with your partner and others again?
    • Do you need lots of people-time to recharge?
    • How do you want to spend your time together?
      • Planned outings
      • Playing games or watching tv at home
      • Other activities

6Think about these and talk to your partner about the things that are important to you. They might be the same things that are important to them! Or you can find a happy middle, or a way to meet both of your needs without much hassle.

To end this post, I want to leave you a bit more “food for thought”: there are some things that shouldn’t be negotiable in a relationship, things that are inherently vital to our mental health and wellbeing as individuals, and for the health of our relationships:

  • Respect for one another
  • Acceptance of one another
  • Supporting each other in your goals and aspirations.

If these aren’t present, then resentment might arise on either partner and things might get tricky and murky.

Good communication skills and practising empathy, understanding, acceptance and listening for the sake of listening, will help you and your partner find the path to happier conversations and solutions to the problems and situations in the relationship as they arise.

Have you got any ways in which you’ve achieved good levels of compromise, where both of you win? Leave a comment below!

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One response

  1. Pingback: Relationship Success – Round up and Upcoming Posts « Insights…from the desk of Karin Brauner

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