Over the last few months, I’ve been meeting readers at my workshops and there’s a really strong theme coming through: Sure, there are fears about not being “good enough” or even being cheated on or hurt, that are stumbling blocks that direct them into unhealthy and frustrating partnerings, but actually, many are on some level nervous and sometimes deeply afraid of sacrifice.
Now, it’s not that they’re ‘selfish’ and afraid of compromise—if anything, they tend to compromise themselves in their relationships—but more that they conflate relationships as a whole with unhealthy sacrifice.
Let’s clarify what sacrifice is in a relationship:
Every decision has trade-offs. If you decide to be in a committed relationship, the trade-off is that you go from feeling as if you have umpteen options or that there’s the possibility of a different partner, to co-creating a relationship.
To make a commitment requires you to make the decision even though you don’t know how it’s going to pan out or know every itty bitty detail of what it’s going to entail, hence the need for due diligence.
While it’s understandable to have moments of twitchiness because you’re human and will probably grapple with fear of uncertainty at times or maybe low self-confidence that causes you to self-doubt, especially if you’re a perfectionist (you will want everything to happen right now rather than being vulnerable and showing up), putting a lot of your energy into questioning a decision you’ve already made or conducting yourself (privately and also with your partner) in a way that isn’t congruent with the decision you claim to have made, is a recipe for pain and frustration. It’s ‘un-deciding’ and that brings out a whole different set of thinking and behaviour to when you are living up to your commitment.
Every relationship will require that both parties, not just one, makes sacrifices for the greater good of the relationship.