The next time someone tells you that real love is based on compromise—correct them. Tell them “No, actually it’s not. True love is about collaboration.” 

My boyfriend and I were watching reruns of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” last night on Netflix, and needless to say the show is anything but an accurate portrayal of the lives of teens in America. Regardless, it’s our guilty pleasure; it’s pure entertainment and 45 minutes full of hilarity and disbelief that this show actually made it on the screen.

As two characters on the show were speaking, the one told the other something along the lines of this; “True love is learning to compromise.” And while in some aspects, that phase can be held true, there’s an idea even better than that. My boyfriend shouted back at the screen, “True love isn’t about compromise. It’s about collaboration.” And I grabbed a Post-it note to jot down that idea, to elaborate on it today.

Compromise, by definition, is an agreement or settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions. Other terms you may think of regarding the notion of compromising may be settling, or sacrificing. Although this can be held true, there are other, more successful ways to go about the treatment of dispute, troubles, or anything causing complications, doubts, or troubles in a relationship.

In a sense, compromise is necessary at times. Maybe you would rather have Chinese, but you’re boyfriend is dying for pizza. What do you do? You compromise. Maybe you’d rather watch Sex and the City reruns, but he’s dying to see Limitless. What do you do? Compromise. Compromising in a relationship is inevitable, however should also come natural. In a romantic relationship, if you feel that you are constantly forced to compromise, there are some things that should be sought out before continuing. 

Picture this—you and your significant other are in the midst argument. You both have reached the point where you’re sick of arguing. You’ve stated your side, and he’s clearly states his, but for whatever reason, this argument won’t seem to end. What do you do? Here’s what you don’t do— settle. Don’t settle and apologize if you feel that he is in the wrong. Compromising will come natural, however settling should not occur. 

Compromising, in a sense, carries a negative connotation with it. So does accommodating. When it is forced, it is not natural, and therefore it is not love. When coming to a compromise, it should not solely be for the other person, it should also be for yourself, because you want to. 

Rather than compromising in a relationship, why not collaborate? To achieve the greatest amount of success for the greatest number of people, collaboration is key. 

Collaboration allows more flexibility in a relationship, rather than compromising. To collaborate with one another, you must learn and adapt, rather than settle and accommodate. By collaborating, the modifications that can be made in a relationship will benefit both parties, as equally as possible. 

There’s no doubt about the fact that everyone must make compromises in their life. The real question, is how we as individuals, and as a couple, are able to turn our compromises into a collaboration.

To measure the profoundness of a romantic relationship, see how often your compromises can be substituted with collaborations between your partner and yourself. 

The saying, “true love conquers all,” to me makes us out to be lazy humans. True love can conquer all as long as it is cultivated, nurtured, and given the ability to grow. 

When collaborating, think of this— your outcome will result in a greater success and a greater happiness for the greater good, and the greatest number of people, i.e., you and your significant other. Communicate with your partner. Have compassion for your partner. Care for your partner. And collaborate with your partner. 

Bounce ideas off of each other, intertwine ideas and plans and make each other happy. If he wants to watch Limitless and you want to eat Chinese, but he wants pizza and you want to see Sex and the City— COLLABORATE. Eat Chinese and watch Limitless with him. Collaboration is part compromising, part consideration for the relationship. 

Despite it all, compromises, collaborations, and even miscommunications, the fact of the matter is that the true romantic love must be able to withstand anything placed in its path. In most healthy relationships, we can’t always withstand a problem. Attempting to cope with difficult times may be discouraging, however to maintain romantic love, having the greater flexibility to collaborate over compromise, true love will survive.