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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello again TAM :)

So after reading numerous threads in this forum, making observations about my own relationship, past and present, and talking with my boyfriend, exes, friends, family members, and coworkers, I have always been wondered, what is the key to effective compromise and boundary-drawing so that both partners/spouses are happy?

Is there a way to do so, when two people just can't come to an agreement on what's okay and what's not?

How do you learn to compromise when one person is "set in their ways"? I've noticed that was more of an issue when someone is older / have lived alone for a long time.

I grew up in a family where nobody compromised and everybody insisted that they were right, so though I learned (from my father) that compromise is essential to a happy marriage / long term relationship, nobody ever taught me how to do so. That was a big reason why my parents divorced, both were very stuck in their ways and had a "my way or the highway" attitude.

For example, how would you compromise effectively or draw boundaries in these situations? Assume that everything else is fine in the relationship/marriage, no other major issues. Feel free to reverse the genders.

#1: Wife thinks it's okay to hang out with OSFs alone. Husband does not think this is appropriate. Wife can't understand why her husband isn't okay with it because she's been doing this for years, and to her, it's just "hanging out with friends" and after all, she has no feelings for them and they have been friends for years.

#2: Husband hang out with friends/cousins/brothers/etc at bars or clubs. Wife thinks this is inappropriate behavior in a marriage, but husband sees nothing wrong with it because again, he's just going to "hang out with people" and this is just what they do when they hang out together. He can't understand why his wife has a problem with it, because after all, he's going to hang out with friends, not pick up women.

Just two examples I could come up with, off the top of my head, though there were other scenarios that came up. Ie, disagreements on how to spend money, raise kids, whether to even have kids, whether to move or not, etc etc...I did read up on the Policy of Joint Agreement, but how would that apply if the two parties just have different viewpoints and different ways of doing things?

Look forward to reading your opinions and thoughts!
 

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I made a boundary with my husband (after the most recent affair in 2008) that "I will not stay married to you if you continue to drink in bars". We wound up separating for a month in 2010 because I found out he was drinking in bars and when he was busted, he chose that over the marriage. After a month with his mom, his mom and sister (who are both drinkers and gamblers themselves) told him he needed to stop for the sake of his family and go home. So he stopped and has not been busted again since then.

The quote below from marriagebuilders explains that POJA should cover alcohol use. I think you could put other addictions in for "alcohol" but the "hanging out with friends" thing you mentioned, that would depend on what kind of hanging out? Is it a drinking/partying thing? Or a chruch group? (for example). I could see an abuser using POJA to isolate a partner from friendships.

My definition of an alcoholic is someone who cannot follow the Policy of Joint Agreement because of their craving for alcohol. If your drinking in any form bothers your spouse, and you cannot or will not give it up for his or her sake, I consider you an alcoholic because alcohol is more important to you than the feelings of your spouse.Alcoholic Spouse #1
 

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#1: Wife thinks it's okay to hang out with OSFs alone. Husband does not think this is appropriate. Wife can't understand why her husband isn't okay with it because she's been doing this for years, and to her, it's just "hanging out with friends" and after all, she has no feelings for them and they have been friends for years.

#2: Husband hang out with friends/cousins/brothers/etc at bars or clubs. Wife thinks this is inappropriate behavior in a marriage, but husband sees nothing wrong with it because again, he's just going to "hang out with people" and this is just what they do when they hang out together. He can't understand why his wife has a problem with it, because after all, he's going to hang out with friends, not pick up women.
I think what is missing here and what is needed for compromise is understanding why the wife and the husband think that those situations are inappropriate.

For example, Blondie jumped right to thinking alcohol was the problem with the second scenario, where I jumped to thinking the flirty women at the clubs were the problem.

I believe the policy of Joint Agreement would say that neither situation was appropriate, because there is no enthusiasm about the situation from one of the parties.

I also think that people can come up with reasonable compromises. Maybe the husband can have a guys night once a month at the bar, and the wife will make sure that she only contacts the OSF when the husband and wife are together for most circumstances. Or maybe, after hearing it out, no boundaries are needed. Depends on the people involved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you could put other addictions in for "alcohol" but the "hanging out with friends" thing you mentioned, that would depend on what kind of hanging out? Is it a drinking/partying thing? Or a chruch group? (for example). I could see an abuser using POJA to isolate a partner from friendships.
As can I. Then again, most anything can be abused.

Hmm, let's just say for argument's sake, that "hanging out" = drinks, parties, gambling, dancing, with or without members of the opposite sex...as I doubt many people would have a problem with a church group, for example :p
 

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I've found in my own 21 year marriage that my husband and I think alike. I married someone who is very similar to me therefore what I want/think just happens to be the same thing he does as well. So those examples you gave were a moot point to us because we agreed on them from the get go.

We've had minor issues with kids and money but we're both logical, level headed people. We'd have a discussion, weight the options and decide on a best course of action.

We've had marital problems but compromising/boundaries wasn't one of them. We've done well with that just because we are compatible.
 

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My two cents, assuming there is no impropriety going on. Two things: moderation and inclusiveness. When it comes to the 'hanging out' thing, moderation is especially key. If one party does it too often it becomes an obsession. So, don't make an every other night thing of it. And, include your partner. It may not be his/her favorite thing to do, but if they know they're included there won't be nearly as much room for negative feelings and distrust.
 
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