While one should always aspire to the best in life, it is only fair to understand what ‘best’ means in the subjective context of a relationship. That is why the art of compromise does not necessarily mean lowering expectations: it means centring the discourse on a more real level.

What are the right compromises to make in a relationship? If even the Italian language wants one to ‘compromise’, it does not necessarily mean that one’s life is somehow ‘diminished’ in stature. This sublime and ancient art is an exercise in balance and conversation that does not always work as it should.

Practising compromise means learning to manage conflict by considering one’s own options, which may be diametrically different from those of the other person. What is the boundary, and where is the line that makes a compromise a fair value? When, instead, do we give up a part of ourselves for the sake of a quiet life?

A couple, no matter how close-knit and with complementary tastes, will always have to compromise on many aspects of their life together. Let us say that this is perfectly normal. There is nothing wrong with finding a middle way that suits both, as long as the couple finds a balance in all things.

Compromise is the best solution for managing conflict, and it allows us to take into account the diversity of those we are next to, treating it as an asset to be preserved rather than an obstacle to be smoothed out. Even the most solid couple relationship has moments of tension that require empathy, proactive discussion and a willingness to come to each other (unarmed).

However, very often, for the sake of the quiet life we choose to adopt the art of compromise in order to avoid conflict, not to settle it. This means that even the best of us feel like coming up with some kind of half-baked agreement, born of rough and hasty motives, and wanted mainly by one of the couple members. While it is true that we don’t have to have strong opinions on everything, it is at the same time realistic to think that the correct way to find compromises draws a point, very subjective and very personal, beyond which the couple should never go.

Unfortunately, we cannot tell you exactly where that point is, but we can help you build your own. It is too personal a ‘grey area’, and different for everyone.

Synergy. Relationships are not a separate entity, where things happen by magic or by the wishes of an invisible writer who decides for us. Relationships are the result of hard work and the desire to be together. This means that one person should never take on all the dirty work for the benefit of the other. Without receiving anything in return. Compromise requires both partners to step forward, actively working to identify opposition and smooth it out.

Example: he wants to go out with his friends twice a week. She would like him to spend these evenings with her. A good compromise is to identify a group of friends to go out with, or to establish a day dedicated to friends. The truth is that these are minor problems, especially when you live together and spend all your free time together: everyone is free to go out as much as they want and have their own space, as long as they do their homework.

It may be a truism for some, but the reality is that there is often one side of the relationship that has to compromise while the other decides. And at that point what compromise is that? The right compromises are those whereby common ground is found to be happier together. If someone always ends up sacrificing more than the other, something is wrong. In such cases, one cannot speak of a right compromise, but of someone who is willing to accept to belittle his or her own desires in order to be together. This tendency is not good, especially in the long run, and will certainly tend to cause negative effects on the person suffering.

Not to mention all the freedoms the other person will feel they can take. Right up to the breaking point.

If you feel that you are sincere with your partner, it means that you are going in the right direction. Let us once and for all stop pretending to be enthusiastic about a compromise even when we want to shout our disappointment. Without getting upset or throwing plates, a new agreement can be found. Fairer and closer to both our tastes. Above all: never take each other for granted, especially when the person next to us tends to concede more than they would like. Sometimes it is important to realign ourselves, discuss together and find new compromises, closer to the wishes at that particular moment in our history together.

Love is respect, complicity, joy. If all this is lacking, then good becomes bad and you could be facing a form of emotional dependency, a condition that is not so easy to recognise. Let’s find out more.

Falling in love is one of the most beautiful feelings one can experience, yet this beautiful feeling can easily degenerate into emotional dependency. You will certainly have experienced, in the early stages of a relationship, wanting to become one with your partner, developing an almost symbiotic relationship in which you cannot do without the other person. Usually these ‘fusion’ cravings fade physiologically over time, and simply develop into a strong bond of complicity and harmony.

If this does not happen, then you may have become involved in an emotional addiction whose symptoms you may be unaware of, simply because you are led to mistake it for that overwhelming love you felt in the frenzy of the early days.

And yes, because it is absolutely normal to feel a strong attachment for your partner, if this attachment becomes extreme and pervasive there is something wrong.

If you feel that you have plunged into this condition, then it is important that you recognise what falls into the realm of ‘toxic relationships’ or whether it is a temporary problem.

To understand the concept of emotional dependency, try to think of the more classic drug and alcohol addictions. The sufferer only finds relief by taking this ‘substance’, which becomes a fixed thought even though it is actually harmful. Those suffering from emotional dependency believe that they are simply in love, but in reality they are immersed in what can almost be considered an obsession, in which they lose sight of themselves and become convinced that they cannot live without the person on whom they depend. This happens even if the relationship does not make us feel good, indeed, in such cases the dependency is exacerbated.

Emotional dependency is underestimated but it can really affect anyone. It is not that symbiotic attitude that you find at the beginning of a relationship, which you can classify as harmless, but that which is defined as dysfunctional.

In such cases, your personality and self-esteem depend on having a stable relationship behind you. Affective dependency is triggered by previous conditions, which can lead more easily to being unhealthily attached to the person we have chosen to have by our side.

Affective dependency can affect everyone, men and women alike. However, there are certain conditions that favour its onset. Let us see what they are.

These are adults who have not been put in a position to make decisions for themselves. They are thus unable to act independently and need to turn to someone to tell them what to do;

Those who perceive this feeling are inclined to behave in two different ways. On the one hand, they manifest a total distrust of others and reject any kind of bond. On the other, they show a morbid attachment to their partner for fear of losing him/her and experiencing a new separation;

Living one’s solitude serenely is very difficult. For this reason, one develops a tendency to become attached to a partner, even accepting all the risks this may entail. Being in a relationship can therefore appease this need not to be alone. Sometimes resulting in something bigger than we imagined.

Affective dependency manifests itself when a loving relationship is seen as the only reason for living and without which it would not be possible to go on. A tendency develops to give space to one’s partner’s emotions, completely stifling one’s own. And, while it is true that the joy of the one we love is also our own, it is equally important not to neglect our own feelings, annihilating ourselves in the name of a love that is hurting us…

This condition also leads to not being able to make decisions independently without the partner’s opinion. One feels bad when he is not there and has a constant fear of losing him. Distance is not tolerated, causing a constant feeling of discomfort that leads to disesteem. You also nullify all forms of care for yourself, eliminating all activities that do not involve the presence of your partner.

Getting out of emotional dependency and ending a toxic relationship is possible. Sometimes on your own, by becoming aware (not easy) or by turning to a specialist who can help you understand the situation and find a solution to remedy it.

The first step would be to admit that you are a victim of an addiction and start working on yourself, even starting to ask for help. You need to start recognising the situation in order to establish the right change of course.

In time (give yourself enough time), you can also try to learn to be on your own. Look at yourself from a new perspective, in a different light and in a light that is only yours. Do not see loneliness as a nightmare but as an opportunity.

Try to understand the causes that led you to this addiction and don’t face everything alone. Take care of yourself by trying to regain your self-esteem and question your understanding of love. You might even have conceived it wrongly: destroying your personality is certainly not the right way to love your partner. Remember that it is instead fundamental to bring yourself forward. Loving yourself is the first step to loving others.