When discussing relationships, I often ask patients, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” This may seem a bit confusing, but it really is not.
Hopefully, these two things can coincide most of the time, but there are times where they don’t. That’s when it’s decision time. In the other non-relationship world, most of us try to persuade others to see our point of view. In essence, we want to be right. In a relationship being right can come at a pretty high cost, even as high as the whole relationship.
Sometimes being happy is far more important than just being right. Good relationships are about compromise. Unless it really goes against something for which you stand, try to be flexible. Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here by thinking you have to give in on everything. That’s just not so. And certainly, if you are going to go along with your partner, do NOT say, “Whatever.” That’s just as bad as arguing. As a simple example, if you said you wanted to go out for a hamburger, and she/he replied that sushi sounded better, you could just reply that sushi was a good idea, too. I can’t tell you how many couples have argued in session about the exact date that some event occurred, when the date doesn’t really make a difference about the issue. Being the truth nazi is a surefire way to disrupt your relationship. Just shut up and be happy. Don’t try to always just be right.
In a good relationship both parties hold happiness as a much higher priority than just being right. Certainly, one has to occasionally hold ground on important issues, but most of the time a good compromise will advance the relationship much more efficiently. No one likes being told they are wrong all the time. If you want to discuss something, replace the, “You are wrong. It is this way,” with, “That sounds like a possibility. How about this?”
Again, keep in mind that you don’t have to be a wimp and not stand up for yourself in order to be happy. When “right” and “happy” can happen at the same time, it’s great. If it can’t, I suggest being happy over being right. Being happy together is much more fun than being right and being alone.
Until next time, this is Dr. Andrew telling you to “Be kind to yourself.”