Episode Summary

In this episode, we discuss the different aspects of resolving a problem in the midst of a relationship. Compromise is one option but it’s not always the best one nor is it always possible. We’ll go through the whole spectrum.

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An excellent place to start if you want to learn the basics is the Emotional Embuffination book. In it, you'll find a comprehensive walkthrough on how to resolve conflict and live your best life possible. It's available on Audible, print, or as an e-book.

Show Transcript

All right, hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Emotional Embuffination podcast. I’m your host, David Enevoldsen, and here on Emotional Embuffination, we are training to become emotionally buff enough to overcome any conflict in life. And at the same time, we are trying to discover and optimize new levels of happiness, success, and just make sure we’re maintaining all those joyful, positive feelings that we can experience in life. This podcast is just one of a number of different resources I have available. If you want to learn more about any of that, check out the Emotional Embuffination website, which is embuff.com. That’s E-M-B-U-F-F.com. When you are there, make sure that you sign up for the newsletter which has quick weekly Emotional Embuffination tips that are going to help you on your emotional embuffination journey. Okay, On today’s show, we are going to be talking about what I call the compromise spectrum. Now, this is going to get into a little more detail in just a second, but this is sort of a sub category of another topic that we’ve talked about, which is the OUR method. But very specifically, this is about how to resolve conflict and mean resolve very specifically, like how to actually take action to solve an issue, in particular within a relationship. So especially relevant to romantic relationships, but it can also be like family type relationships. Mom, dad, son, kid, sister, siblings, you know, anything like that. Um, so this is, I call this the compromise spectrum.


Now, this is a, I’ve heard some of these ideas in variant forms with other people, but the concept of this, as put together, is something that I’ve constructed. Now, let’s start with the OUR method here. I’m not going to go through this in total detail, but I want to at least make sure that people understand the basic concept such that you know what we’re talking about, or you had a quick refresher. If you don’t know what this is or if you have heard about it before, if you don’t know what this is, it’ll give you at least some sense of what we’re talking about. All right. I talked about this in a lot more detail in episode 18. So if you want, go back and listen to that episode first or if you’ve already listened to that, you should have a good sense of where it is or if you just want to go on the the dialogue that I have here about what the OUR method is. But the, OUR method is essentially just a system that you can use to kind of break down and understand what’s happening when you have conflict with someone especially relevant to relationships but not limited to that. How do you understand what’s going on with you, with the other person, and then how do you fix it? Like, what do you do to kind of take action to move forward and end yourself in the best possible position? So OUR, it’s an acronym.


It’s O, U, R, and each of the letters stands for Own, that’s the O. Understand, that’s the U. And resolve, that’s the R. Own is the first step in the process. So you start off with Own and own is all about taking responsibility for your emotions, your actions and, your contribution to what’s going on. It’s about making sure that you have control of you. It’s not, it’s about not saying or doing things that are going to make everything worse. It’s about essentially getting a grip on what’s going on, recognizing that you do indeed have a role in any situation that’s going on and at a bare minimum, altering the mindset to say that I have power over the end result here, no matter what the end result is or how inequitable it may seem, I have some power over what’s going on here. Everything has to start with Own. If you don’t go through the Own step, then it just this doesn’t work like you terms into potential blame and it sort of sabotages the other steps. It just doesn’t do well. You have to start by getting control of yourself. Once you’ve done that, you move on to the next step. And the next step is Understand. Now, Understand is about looking at your partner or your adversary or whoever it is that you’re in conflict with and getting a sense of why they are taking the position they’re taking or why they’re taking the actions that they are taking.


In other words, what is it that’s motivating them? What’s driving them to do the things that they’re doing that’s leading you into this conflict in the first place? The last step is Resolve. Now, once you’ve gained control of yourself, once you’ve gotten a sense of why the other person is doing whatever it is that they’re doing and you understand essentially where they’re coming from, you then have to take all of this information and translate it into very specific actions or an action that is directed at solving the problem and kind of fixing the issue that’s that’s going on between the two people. Again, trying to leave you in the best possible situation. There’s a few kind of sub categories to this. I mean, we want to think about we want to think through what the impact of the actions we’re taking are going is going to be. We want to think about our default behavior patterns, what it is that we slip into just as defense mechanisms, make sure we’re not slipping into something like that. We want to make sure we’re picking our battles. We want to make sure that we are not arguing with facts unnecessarily, with somebody that’s already decided on a position. And a very important one is we want to make sure that we’re not taking a retaliatory action.


This has to be a non-retaliatory action. And I’ve talked about all of these things in different podcast episodes and in the Emotional Embuffination book, I have a whole chapter on several of these things, like picking your battles, not arguing with facts. Each of those has a chapter. The whole idea of taking non-retaliatory action that’s also in there. So in essence, the Resolve step is I’m going to figure out what to do and then you’re going to do it. Okay, like I said, we’ve covered all this previously, so I’m not going to go into too much more detail than that, but within that whole umbrella what we’re going to be talking about today falls under the last step, the Resolve. So this is okay, you’ve gotten a sense of yourself, you’ve gotten a sense of control over your actions and you’re embracing that you have responsibility for what’s going on. You have accountability for what’s going on, and you have some kind of understanding of where the other person is coming from. Then we move on to the Resolve and within the Resolve we have the compromise spectrum, which is this thing that I’ve named. Okay. This whole thing starts with, the reason I’ve called it the compromise spectrum is that it’s kind of starts with the idea of compromise. However, I think that compromise is only one piece of this whole equation. But when you ask most people like, what’s the key to having a good relationship, or how do you have a romantic relationship that can endure forever, you know, that kind of thing.


Compromise is always one of the first things people spit out. They say, “You got to learn to compromise.” And I’ve heard literally just the other day I heard a podcast by someone who was promoting the idea that all you need to do is find a way to compromise and you can overcome any problem at all, period. And it was that was the end of the analysis is you just compromise. That’s it. And I think a lot of people walk around with this idea. Well, we’ll actually touch compromise in just a second. But before you even get to compromise, because I think we have to distinguish between win-win, which a lot of people conflate with the idea of compromise and compromise. Now, win-win to me is something where you have some sort of problem and you give everybody something that just makes them win. Like there’s no giving up anything. It’s just everybody walks away totally happy. They’ve completely gotten what they wanted. Um, I want the marble over there and you want the jacks. Okay, let’s swap. Now we’ve you we have exactly what we all want. However, compromise definitionally involves giving something up. So compromise even though people call this win win, by my definition, it isn’t win win just definitionally. Because in compromise you have to sacrifice in some way.


If you’re in a win win situation, you haven’t sacrificed in some way. And I’ve done a lot of mediations as an attorney, and one of the things that I hear all the time is mediators going in and they try to spend an enormous amount of time listening to each of the parties, often on an individual basis. They’ll go in and talk to them and say, okay, tell me what’s going on. What is it that you want? Like if you could only pick one thing here, what would be the most important thing? And what they’re trying to do is figure out what the biggest motivators of each of the parties are. And so they can then take those motivators and see if there’s a way to blend all these things together so that everybody can kind of give up something and walk away with the biggest thing that’s most important to them. Now, if you can use those to find a mutually agreeable solution, you have compromise. But that generally requires that you’re giving something up. I’ve heard a phrase a million times when I go to mediations and I feel like every single time I go to a mediation or settlement conference or something like that, as an attorney, I’ve heard somebody say this usually near the beginning of the mediation where the mediator will say, okay, there’s this old adage that in order to have a successful mediation, everybody has to walk away unhappy.


And the theory there is that in order to get to a place where everybody can kind of live with what’s going on, you’ve got to be giving up something. And so if everybody kind of walks away upset, that means the mediator was successful because everybody gave something up in order to come to a resolution. Win-win is different. So let’s talk about win-win first. And I think win-win is the simplest. And it’s just situations where you can figure out a way to get everybody exactly what they want without having to sacrifice. Here’s an example. I want Chinese food and my spouse wants pizza. Those are mutually exclusive objectives, because if we go out and get Chinese food, my wife can’t have her pizza. If I go out and I get pizza, then I don’t get my Chinese food. So one way or another in that kind of very binary situation. If we just pick one of those things, we all lose. Now, here’s a possible win win. Let’s say that I go to the mall and in the mall they have a food court. And in that food court, there’s a Chinese restaurant and a pizza restaurant. We both go to the mall. I walk over to the Chinese restaurant. My wife walks over to the pizza restaurant. We both sit down and eat together. Everybody’s happy. We have a win-win situation.


Everybody got exactly what they wanted. Problem solved. Nobody really had to give up anything. That’s win-win. Now, a lot of times win-win is not possible because there are frequently situations that become mutually exclusive. Let’s say, for example, there is no food court around and there’s nothing anywhere near us that’s going to give us this option. We have to do something a little bit after we’ve got to show that we’re going to go hit after we eat dinner so we don’t have time to go to like two different restaurants and just pick up whatever we want and eat in the car. So we’ve got to really pick one. Now we have to get into the realm of compromise, which means that somebody is going to give up something. Now, again, this sounds great and it is. And I don’t want to say compromise is not a good thing because if you can’t create a win-win situation, I think compromise is your next best option. So I don’t think it’s bad advice. I just think it’s incomplete advice. And this is, again, where everybody seems to go to with relationships is just learn to compromise, you know, figure out how to compromise. I would say this is just one step in the whole tier of problem resolution. It’s how can you create a situation that’s going to give everybody the optimal achievement of their most important objectives. In such a way that both of you can kind of live with it.


These things happen. Like, it really, really happens where it’s just not possible to get around it. Now, I’ve heard a lot of people condemn the idea of compromise with this definition because a lot of times people feel like they’re not standing up for their own rights or they’re just going to create a pattern of unhappiness. And there’s an element of truth to this. And we’re going to talk about this in just a few minutes. But I would advocate that compromise, if you cannot create a win-win situation, is a good thing. It is, it’s the next best solution to resolving the problem. One very important step in compromise is making sure that you understand exactly what everybody’s talking about, especially when you’re in the midst of a fight. Because and this is something, again, that I talk about in the Emotional Embuffination book, particularly in the cognitive dissonance chapter. But very often when people are fighting with you, they’re not really fighting about what it is they sound like they’re fighting about. There are very frequently other motivators underneath the surface. This is not always the case, but it is frequently the case where the thing that you’re really adamant about and screaming about is not what you’re really upset about. Here’s an example I’ve seen as a family law attorney. I’ve watched people fight over custody of a child and one of the two parties it seems if you really dig down deep, really what they’re fighting about is control and fear and just upset about the loss of the relationship. The other parent might be fighting for the exact same thing, more parenting time. But what they’re fighting for is because they want to get more child support or they want to pay less child support or something like that. Now, those are subtle differences, but it’s important, I think, to really isolate what it is that we’re talking about, because if you’re sitting there saying, let’s discuss a resolution about parenting time that might not be tapping into the very things that everybody’s concerned about. Like, for example, if you have an ability to waive child support and that’s not as important to the person that wants to have the kid for more time then you might be able to say, “Hey, how about I just take the kid more and you don’t pay me as much child support as you might otherwise be doing. Let’s deviate from whatever that is.” Now, I don’t want to go into all the mechanics of a family law negotiation or anything, and that’s a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s very important to talk about the things that are truly motivating people before you start trying to negotiate a compromise. One of the things I had an experience with a past girlfriend that really hammered this and made the light bulb go off for me, this this situation became very salient to me when when I was with this girl.


So I had a girlfriend who I got into arguments with a lot. We were just it was like perpetual bickering, you know, we would get along great, but then there would be a fight over something and the fight would just go out of control. And it was just this insane arguments over what felt to me like nothing most of the time. And it would just blow up out of control. And it didn’t make any sense to me. And I remember one argument in particular, and I’m not going to go into the details of what exactly was said in the argument or the substance of it. But let’s just say that I go into the argument, I leave. I’m very frustrated because I’m sitting here saying, your position doesn’t make any sense. And so I was talking to a friend of mine, a woman who has a lot of psychology background. And so I was explaining to her the whole situation. I said, this is what my girlfriend is saying, and she’s saying X, Y, and Z. And I said, X, Y, and Z doesn’t make sense, right? Because I’m sitting here looking to this other lady for affirmation that I’m in the right. I want to just be confirmed for saying my position makes sense. And so that’s what I wanted to hear, right? And that’s why I’m relaying all of this to her.


And so she listens to the whole story and she goes, “David, you’re an idiot. She’s not talking about the thing that I was talking about. She’s talking about this totally other thing that has nothing to do with the surface conversation.” And remember, that’s when the light bulb went off for me and I went, “Oh, my God, you’re right.” And so the very next time I had an argument with this woman, I remember it, I felt it starting to escalate. And I stopped myself and I went, “Okay, wait a second. What are we actually talking about?” And I thought for a minute and I went, “Wait, it’s very obvious she’s talking about this other thing.” And then I started talking to her about this other thing, and the whole thing immediately de-escalated. So, it’s very, very important when you’re talking compromise, when you want to try to figure out what it is that’s going to motivate everybody and let everybody walk away in as happy a position as possible that you first figure out what it is that everybody wants. That’s what mediators do. But you very often don’t have the mediator involved. You’re just directly dealing with your spouse or your partner or whatever the other family member or person that’s involved in your life. And so you just have to figure it out. And so this goes to a lot of the other stuff, and this goes to the other steps that we talk about in the OUR method.


So remember, Own and Understand. Understand in particular is about trying to figure out what it is that’s driving them. Why are they doing what they are doing? Why are they taking the positions that they’re taking? You have to get a grip on that or else compromise is going to be very difficult. It’s going to be tough to push that forward. And even if you do seem to have a surface compromise, you might not really have a lasting compromise because you might have agreed to something that wasn’t really that relevant to the underlying issues. Now, one of my favorite examples of of this, just to give you some some clarity on the idea of somebody might not be talking about what they’re really talking about is and here again, I talk about this in the book but the debate between evolution and creation. To me, this is almost always a very stark example of people not really talking about what they’re actually talking about. Nine times out of ten when I’ve heard an argument about creation versus evolution the people in that argument really don’t care about creation or evolution, either one of those. And on the surface, that’s what they’re arguing about. They’re saying, well, creation has to be false because of ABC facts. Well, evolution has to be false because here’s some different facts, which again, is arguing with facts, which I’ve condemned in the book and elsewhere in the podcast, etcetera.


But if you dig deeper than this, like, why why does anyone care about evolution or creation? Like, why does it matter to just average Joe Schmo whether he is taking a theistic paradigm, a Christian paradigm or whatever religion you want to embrace, why does it matter if evolution is right or not? I mean, is this something you’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis? I mean, do you go to your accounting job and evolution has some relevance there? Does creationistic theory, on the flip side, does it matter if that’s right or not? What difference does it really make in terms of how we came to be where we are in your day-to-day life? Now, if you’re a biologist and this is like what you’re working on all day long, or maybe if you’re a pastor and for some reason you have some interest in creationism or something, maybe this has more relevance. But in the vast majority of cases that I have seen people talking about, it really doesn’t have anything to do with the underlying issues. And I have a vivid memory of it was in my Psych 101 class. I was in a community college during my undergrad and we had just started talking about this was like a very basic class, right? And we just briefly touched on the idea of evolution and Darwinian theory and all this.


And remember when we left the class, there was this guy that was talking to another person. He goes, “Come on, we’re going to go prove that evolution is false.” And I remember thinking, “You don’t know anything about this subject yet. You just heard it introduced and now you’re running off to go to the library to figure out how to prove it’s false.” You already decided your conclusion and the fact that you’ve already decided what your conclusion is means that really what you’re talking about is not the actual thing, it’s something else. And really what this boils down to is people talking about their belief in faith or their belief in science over faith. That’s typically the contrast there. So to me, this is a great example of oftentimes when we’re having arguments, because I’ve seen ridiculous arguments over creationism versus evolution, this idea that I didn’t say this, I’m just assuming everybody knows what creation versus evolution is, but creation is this idea that God just created everything essentially, as it is, and it’s had maybe micro evolutions or something. But evolution is this idea that things have sort of, over time gone through mutations and over millions of years developed into what they currently are based on fitness as adapted to any particular environment. I don’t think most people really care about that underlying argument. They really just care about, and it seems patently clear to me when I hear discussions about it, most people don’t really care about the technical stuff about it.


I mean, they’re using the technical stuff as a vehicle to drive their underlying emotions and positions. But really what they’re arguing about is faith versus science, and that’s pretty much it. Now, again, this is part of the Understand step in the OUR method, the Own, Understand, Resolve. But it is a necessary step in order to get to the Resolve and to start talking compromise. Now, compromise, it’s not win-win. So let’s say go back to our food example for a second. Let’s say that I really wanted the Chinese and my wife really wants pizza. There’s no food court nearby. We’ve got that that event that we’re doing later today. So now we have to figure out how does somebody give something up in order to come with an acceptable resolution? Well, maybe we get Chinese food today and my wife forgoes pizza, but tomorrow we do Chinese food, in which case I don’t get the pizza. Or maybe I say something like, okay, we’ll get the pizza today, but I get to pick where we’re going for dessert or something like that. That’s compromise where everybody’s kind of sacrificing something so that you can get to a place where it’s acceptable, like you can live with the solution. Step three of the compromise spectrum, we’ve gone from win-win, can you compromise? Let’s say that we can’t compromise for some reason, just for whatever reason.


I hate pizza and there’s just no way I ever want to go and get pizza. And my wife wants pizza, but I want the Chinese food. So we’re running into a wall here like on this this compromise spectrum. For whatever reason we can’t compromise. We can’t create a win-win. Where do we go from there? Well, the next step that I like to take is take a gauge, take an assessment of how intensely everybody feels about their respective positions. Now, the easy way to do this is just to ask on and you can do like a 1 to 10 scale. Say, okay, how intensely do you really want the thing that you want? I want the Chinese food. And I feel like I really want that on maybe a three level of intensity. And my wife wants the pizza on like a nine. She, like, really wants that pizza. Maybe she’s pregnant or something. I don’t know. But like, for whatever reason, she just has to have the pizza. Well, if we kind of hash that out and I’m not feeling that intense about it, it makes a lot of sense to just acquiesce to her and say, “Okay, well, it’s not that important to me that we have Chinese today. Let’s just go get the pizza. I can live with pizza.” So you sort of induced a compromise but based on everybody’s relative level of intense feelings about the thing that you’re talking about.


We can have that in the flip, too. I could be like, “I really, really want pizza and I really, really,” excuse me. “I really, really want Chinese food and I really don’t want pizza.” And maybe I’m at like a ten on that and my wife is at like a five, you know? Okay, maybe she gives up the pizza today and we’re going to go and do Chinese food. So creating a tier like this can give you comparative interests. And when you have comparative interests, that can give you a sense of where people can give in and, you know, you don’t necessarily have to go out and expressly discuss, we’re on the 1 to 10 scale. I think it’s a good idea for just sheer communication purposes to have that discussion. But you don’t have to. However, you should, at a bare minimum, try to get some gauge about how intensely somebody is feeling about the thing that they’re after in this this context. Now, there’s a very important caveat that I have to throw in here, and that is that sometimes people will have personality constructs that will by default shift into just acquiescing. They will shift into I’m just going to sacrifice to get along. And that can create a lot of problems. Now, we’ve talked in a previous episode about the Big Five Personality Aspect Scale, which I’m a big fan of. And one of the the five, I guess, factors or axes within the personality construct that you use in that model is called agreeableness.


Now agreeableness is essentially just how how important is it to me as a personality trait to try to get along with people and to try to eliminate conflict? And very often people that are high in agreeableness are going to sort of self-sacrifice in order to just get along with people. So the danger that we run into is that if you have somebody that’s in that situation or you are in that situation and this is all over the map in terms of gender, but there is a statistically speaking, women tend to be more or higher in agreeableness than men do. Not always. There are definitely men that are higher in agreeableness than women, and there are definitely women that are low in agreeableness. But in a very macro level, statistical sense, women tend to rate higher on the agreeableness spectrum. So regardless if you have somebody that is high in agreeableness, you have to be very careful that they’re just not perpetually sacrificing and saying that they’re at a lower number on this rating scale just to get along. Because what can happen if they’re just always giving up and they’re always self-sacrificing is that they can start to generate some latent resentment. They can start to feel like they’re just never getting anything that they want and that can start planting seeds of resentment.


And when resentment starts to pop up, if that’s not headed off fairly quickly, that can be really damaging to a relationship. So just be very, very careful. If you are high in agreeableness and do a do a personality test if you want to or just look, I mean, are you do you have a tendency to just always self-sacrifice and not be the one that takes on what you want? And if that’s the case, when you’re going through one of these conflicts, if you’ve gotten up to this like comparative step, you can’t find a win-win. You can’t find an obvious compromise, and now you’re comparing how intensely people feel. Just make sure that you’re not just sacrificing for the sake of getting along every single time, because that’s going to create problems. On the flip side, if your partner is the one that’s super high in agreeableness and you aren’t, then make sure that you’re not just perpetually stomping on your partner’s wishes because that that’s going to start generating resentment in them and they’re going to come back at you. And eventually that’s going to create disastrous potential results in your relationship. So just be on the guard for that. Like watch for agreeableness or excessive self-sacrifice, that kind of thing. Okay. Let’s let’s get to the last tier of this whole thing and that is when win-win doesn’t work.


Compromise, you can’t find an acceptable compromise for what’s going on. You’ve rated comparative intensity of desires for your respective positions, and they’re both high. Let’s say you’re both at tens. I, this comes up in a limited number of situations, but there’s definitely some important ones. Here’s an example. Let’s say that I really want kids and my wife really doesn’t. Or vice versa. My wife really wants kids and I really don’t. Now we’re getting into some very tough questions because this is not something you can just split the baby on. Splitting the baby is another great example. I mean, you go back to the biblical story. Only one of the two moms can have the baby, right? And I mean, you can’t just cut the baby in half. So compromise is not really an option. The same thing is true with with this issue. And this is that example that I just gave you in terms of like I want to have children versus not. That’s a surprisingly common one. And I’ve seen this as a family law attorney. I saw several different divorces that resulted from this exact question. Now, here’s a scenario, this exact scenario I saw several times. Husband and wife get together before they’re married, they say, let’s talk about kids. Do you want kids? And they both say, nope, I don’t want kids. Everybody says, yay, great, let’s get married. Obviously, there’s other stuff going on, too.


But they they know that they’re on the same page in terms of kids. They get married time, time passes and then wife says, “Whoa, hold up. I just got some serious biological urge. I have to have a kid, like I have to have a baby.” Then she goes to husband. Husband gets irritated and he’s like, “We talked about this. We agreed. We weren’t going to have kids.” And she says, “But I have to have a kid.” Like, that’s what she’s saying. I’ve seen that create divorces. Like that, that biological drive can create a real rift. And so now you have to figure out how to deal with these, like, mutually exclusive situations. There’s no win-win here. You either have the kid or you don’t. There’s no in-between. You, you can’t split the baby, which sounds like a horrible expression to use in this context, but it also illustrates a very realistic issue in terms of like, how do you resolve this conflict between the two of you? And in a sense, I think that the short answer is you have to either have somebody has to give in. Or you have to accept that you don’t get your way. And really you have to at that point compare is that thing more important to me than the relationship, or is the relationship more important to me than that thing? And that’s a frustrating question and it’s a serious and difficult question to come to, but it’s one you have to confront if you’re in this situation, because if you’ve got super intense desires about a thing and you’re both, it’s mutually exclusive.


There’s no way to compromise on it. Somebody’s got to give. And if somebody’s not willing to give, really it’s going to boil down to is this thing important enough for you to throw away the relationship? And sometimes it is. Like I said, I’ve seen divorces over that question about children before. And I think that where this most often comes in is when you get those like serious, deep-seated, like primal drives, you know. Things like kids here’s and again, I’ve seeing several marriages end over that. And here’s another interesting example of one I’ve seen a number of different times. Let’s say that the parties get together and they agree that they’re going to be non-monogamous in some way. And they say, okay, we agree, we’re going to be swingers or we’re going to be polyamorous or something like that. So they’ve got some kind of an open relationship where they agree that they can sleep with other people. And then after they get together, wife says, “I’m not really on board with this.” I just want to be the only one in your life. I want to be I want you to not have eyes for anyone other than me. And this is a really common female drive, and it’s an understandable one from a number of different perspectives.


We also very commonly have guys who say, “I want to be able to sleep around.” I want like all the girls, but I want you to be number one. That’s not an uncommon dynamic, but it’s also another one of these like tapping into primal drives in a way that’s mutually exclusive because you can’t simultaneously be sleeping around or have multiple romantic relationships while at the same time not having multiple romantic relationships where you’re sleeping around or even looking at other people. So there’s lots of dynamics like this that you can get into. But at the end of the day, these are really, really tough questions because they come down to the core of you either have to give in, accept that you’re not getting what you want or end the relationship. And that’s tough. That’s like really difficult. And sometimes I think it’s appropriate, like these the situations that I saw where there were marriages ending because the wife really wanted to have a kid and the husband really didn’t. I saw a lot of resentment from husbands often, the fact that the marriage was ending over this. But I also kind of understand it. I mean, at the end of the day, we’re trying to figure out how to make you the most happy you can be throughout your lifetime. And if you’re going to be miserable in a relationship because you can’t have this thing that you just really, really want on a deep, intense biological level it might make sense to let it go and try to get into another relationship where it makes more sense to optimize your happiness. Now, I’m not advocating for divorce all the time. I think you should be very cautious about jumping into something like that, or just even if you’re not married, just throwing away a relationship. I think you should be extremely cautious about just doing that. But sometimes that makes sense and I don’t think divorce is always a terrible thing. And of course, I’m speaking as a former divorce attorney, but there are a lot of times when divorce makes sense, but tons of times where divorce makes sense or getting out of a relationship makes sense. If you’re in an abusive relationship and it’s been kind of escalating towards abuse over time and you have kids especially, you don’t want to teach your kids that the abuse dynamic is an acceptable one. And you also don’t simultaneously want to be abused. So it makes a lot of sense to try to get out of that. You know, just favoring the marriage over perpetual abuse is not a good idea. So I don’t think you should always just prioritize retention of a relationship just because. However, at the same time, we don’t want to just throw away relationships. We want to, especially marriages in particular. I think it’s important to try to preserve those as much as possible.


So if you’re going to get to this level of something. Ask yourself, stop and ask like, “Is this really what I want?” You know, And if so, is it important enough to me to drop the whole relationship? But that’s essentially it. So this is the the compromise spectrum. We’re starting off with, can you win-win? If you can’t create a win-win situation, is there a way to compromise? You know is there something, make sure that we’re talking about the same thing. And see if we can get to a place where everybody’s getting essentially a thing that they want by sacrificing something. If that doesn’t work, let’s move on to analyzing how intensely every everyone wants, whatever it is that they want, and then seeing if there’s a way to budge the or break the tie, in essence, based on that information. And if everybody’s intensely wanting whatever their respective positions are and those things are mutually exclusive, you can’t win-win. You can’t create a compromise. Then you’ve got to say, okay, is this thing important enough to me to throw away the relationship or do I need to let go of this thing? Assuming somebody isn’t just flat acquiescing. And that’s it. So that’s the compromise spectrum, which again, is a subgrouping of Resolve. We want to go through Own, Understand, Resolve. You can use the compromise spectrum as a way of guiding what it is that you are doing to take action to fix the situation that you’re facing.


Okay. I’m going to call it there. That’s going to bring us to the end of today’s show. I hope that you found this useful. I’ve this is something that for me, has evolved over time. I’ve taken little pieces of this this whole compromise spectrum and sort of assembled it from different things I’ve heard. And I find it useful, I think, in terms of understanding what’s going on. And it takes a lot of the condemnation out of things when somebody is making a choice, which is fascinating to me. Like I remember once seeing one of these couples that I knew who was dealing with that kid issue that I was describing. And there was another woman who just started saying that the man who didn’t want to have kids was just being utterly selfish. And from the man’s perspective, he was saying, but we talked about this like, I don’t understand. Like we agreed we weren’t going to have kids and I don’t want to have kids. Like, I really, really don’t want to have kids. And there were other people that were just starting to finger point and blame and say and that when you start getting into the blame, that inflames situations. So you always need to make sure that you’re also, even if you are going to end a relationship because of one of these issues, compartmentalize that.


Don’t turn it into like vilification and blame and, you know, attacking the other person on all different fronts. Just say, okay, we’re not agreeing on this thing and this thing is too important to me. So we’ve got to end this like take it to that level. But it’s very important to understand what’s going on. And to the whole point of this is to optimize happiness. It is to reduce conflict, to make sure that we are ending up in the best position possible so that we can live the happiest life possible. And so you’re using this as a tool to try to analyze, how do you get there? So I’m hoping that you found this useful. I’ve found it useful over time in increasing ways. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter on the Embuffination website, which is embuff.com. Remember, keep becoming more emotionally embuffed all the time. This is not something you just work on one time. You don’t go to the gym and just say, “Well, I did a couple reps of something and now I’m like, buff forever.” You go all the time and you keep doing it. Same thing with Emotional Embuffination. You have to keep working on this all the time. At the end of the day, I want you to be emotionally strong enough to go from saying things like, “The struggle is real,” to saying, “What struggle?” Thank you all for listening. Have a great week and we’ll see you on the next show.