The Myth of “Perfect” – Staying True to Who You Are…

For most of our lives we search and search for the “perfect” partner. Movies and books aid and abet us in persuing this magical human being…feeding us bullshit lines like, “you complete me.” Let’s start talking about reality here, people…. perfect is a myth.

No one is perfect. You aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. The goal instead should be finding someone who complements you and what you bring to the table. A relationship with the right person will be smooth sailing most of the time. You will bring out the best in one another and fill in one another’s gaps.

So, since perfect doesn’t exist…how much should you compromise when looking for “the one”?

Compromise is great in small doses – turning down the TV while the other person talks on the phone or seeing a movie that isn’t your first choice because your partner likes it. These compromises do not threaten to our core needs, wants, or deepest desires—the reasons we got into a relationship in the first place.

It is when we start compromising who we are that the cracks in the foundation of relationship start to show.

A healthy relationship will affirm who each partner is and allow each person to meet his or her needs together with the other. A lesser relationship demands that one or both partners change in a deep and meaningful way to meet the needs of the other, which compromises one or both of the persons involved.

This may seem obvious, but it is hard to keep this in mind when in the throes the beginning infatuation stages of a relationship when you’re willing to give up anything and everything to be with the other person and you don’t really realize the costs of what you’re giving up. (The same thing can happen at the end of a relationship, when you push all the pain down and promise the world if only the other person will give you another chance.)

And sometimes these incompatibilities and compromises aren’t even apparent early in the relationship—maybe they don’t come to the surface until you’ve moved in together. But once they do manifest themselves, they cannot, and should not, be ignored, not if the relationship is going to last (if it even should).

Looking back I can identify numerous times when I went along with things I didn’t want to try and make a relationship work. The incredibly frustrating thing to think about is that in hindsight, I knew darn well that I shouldn’t have compromised my ideals, things I liked or wanted for the other person. It was just asking too much…but I went along to get along…until. Until I realized that it was baloney…that I couldn’t take it another minute and finally wised up. It frustrates me even now to think about those times and how I wasn’t true to myself. All you can do is learn from these times and wise up enough to stick to your laurels with the next one who comes along.

The bottom line: Little compromises are natural and unavoidable, but ABSOLUTELY DO NOT give up too much of what is important to you for the sake of a relationship. Good relationships don’t require you to lose yourself. Good relationships bring out the best in each person.

What have you compromised in past relationships? What would you never compromise again?

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Photo credit: Denise Mayumi’s Flickr photostream 


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Categories: Discussion


I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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8 Comments on “The Myth of “Perfect” – Staying True to Who You Are…”

  1. November 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Other than my sanity? I think I just let too much slide, trying to be diplomatic and accepting… until it all built up. Being mocked, several bits of getting picked on/criticized, and not seeing enough of a level of committment. No more, it’s not acceptable. (and I won’t compromise the last banana – it’s MINE!)

    • November 21, 2011 at 1:23 am #

      I think that’s totally normal.Everyone wants to be loved and wants relationships to work out. Unfortunately, I also have come to believe that if you’re too open and accepting that people take advantage. People like to push the envelope and see how far you will let them go…how much of yourself you will compromise for them. As a result of this I think I started to develop a tougher outer shell that someone needed to break through first. I think it ended up helping me weed out the bad ones…I dunno.

      All that you described is absolutely unacceptable. You deserve the last banana…and more!

  2. November 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Good post. I can attest to giving up myself and my wants and desires for someone else. Thanksfully, I’ve learned that if someone loves me they will WANT me to fulfill my wants and desires.
    Easy. I like easy. No, it’s not going to be easy all the time, but it should be for the most part. It should flow. So many times in life we force something that wasn’t supposed to happen in the first place. I like to think I know the difference now between forcing something, and just letting be what’s meant to be, although I still fail from time to time.

    • November 21, 2011 at 1:27 am #

      So true. If someone is the real deal, they will want to see you happy…they will want to be the one who contributes to making you happy.

      I agree about forcing things…been there, done that and got too many of the t-shirts. It’s tough to realize that great doesn’t equal dramatic and angsty, since we are taught by the media that is how it goes. I think some people also mistake “steady” for boring and cut bait. Then at some point down the line, they realize what they gave up for a little drama and misery… intuitively it doesn’t make sense…and so we fight against what we should embrace.

  3. November 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Great post. I agree for the most part. I think one should be themselves; the compromise comes in way of acceptance… To a degree of course.

  4. November 21, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    Hi William! Thanks for your comment! I agree that we should all be true to ourselves and that compromise is necessary. It’s all about degrees…and not trying to change yourself to fit what someone else wants you to be. You won’t be able to be happy that way long term,

  5. February 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    This is an amazing post and it’s something I wish I’d been told years ago. My first long-term relationship was one that required me to compromise all of my wants, all of my interest, and all of my security and any sense of trust I may have had for the opposite sex. This was the kind of relationship where I had to do everything he wanted to do and my interests, sexual preferences, everything were under constant scrutiny and if they weren’t consistent with his bizarre pedestalized and completely contradictory version of who he thought I should be (selfless, chaste, studious, kinky, video-gaming, always available) I would be told that I wasn’t good enough so what was initially compromise and empathy became this role that I had to play. When the relationship finally ended I actually literally could not even remember what I used to buy for groceries because I’d stopped buying and eating the things that I liked and only buying the things that he liked.


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