Five Things You Should Never Have to Give Up for Your Partner

One of the common perceptions about relationships is that you should both meld as this one unit, being part of a “we” now.  And so, there is this expectation or pressure to give up certain things that identify you as an individual. Here are five things that you should never give up for your partner:
  1. Your boundaries in your relationship

These are your personal limits. For instance, in the area of intimacy or sex, you might find some things that you find uncomfortable and you don’t want to do. Your partner may ask or request to move in that direction. And you might feel like it’s uncomfortable. If you say it’s uncomfortable, your partner should respect that. Quick script:  “I’m feeling pressured by you right now to do something I don’t feel comfortable doing. Please respect my ‘no,’ or we’re going to have bigger problems.”
  1. Your personal interests

You have to maintain a sense of your own personal interest. Some people feel intimidated or insecure by their partners’ interests. You may take a hiatus from certain types of things or cut them back, but that’s your decision as a person. It’s not your spouse’s decision for you.  Quick script:  “You knew before we got married or moved in together that I have this personal interest. I made it clear to you that this is an important part of my life. Please don’t expect me to give it up now because this is not going to happen.” 
  1. Your personality

These things are formed early in life. And over time, they get somewhat fixed. Some people are extroverted, others are more introverted. And so, we need to feel comfortable in our skin at all times.  Someone who constantly criticizes their spouse or partner about their personality is lacking in acceptance – and acceptance and tolerance of differences are important if you want to build a sustainable relationship.  Quick script:  “It seems to me that you don’t seem to like this about my personality. But this is who I am. If you can’t accept me, I don’t think our relationship is going to work long-term.”
  1. Your close relationships

If you’re in a relationship with someone who’s complaining about those things, sending subtle messages, or is trying to interfere, then that’s a warning sign. You have to set some clear boundaries with that person right away. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself losing out on valuable relationships because you’re caving in and placating this partner. Quick script:  “It’s obvious you’re not a fan of them, but I am. And this will not change. I’m not asking you to be a fan. But I do expect you to respect my relationship and be cordial with them. I’m a big fan of theirs. They’re a big fan of mine, and you are not going to interfere with that.”
  1. Your personal values

Most of us come in with moral, spiritual, and ethical values, and those are an important part of who we are. They should remain within our domain of control. Don’t think you have to give them up to a spouse or a partner who doesn’t agree with your values. Quick script:  “It has become abundantly clear that we don’t see eye to eye on this issue. Rather than trying to change each other, can we agree to disagree and not allow this to form a wedge in our relationship?” If you want to learn more about the five things that you should never give up for your partner,  check out