Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Trouble With Compromise

It doesn’t take a genius to realise this has been the year of the Great Compromise for me.  But it took a Doodle to make me consider what I was doing.

Ready for Samhain!
The plan, light a bonfire and supervise it while partaking in some nearby pruning.  When the Doodle grabbed a burning stick and raced across the garden, my multi-tasking idea went straight to hell. 

I got a canvas chair and sat by the fire.  No great chore because October’s probably my favourite season, the beginning and end of the year.  The expectations of spring, the hard work and giddy results of summer are over.  All that’s left is to clear away success and failure, get ready to hunker down for the long dark hours of Winter’s death and gestation.  Maybe do a bit of reflection.

Which brought me to the Great Compromise.  Not that I’m one of the shocking holy martyrs, mind you.  When the Bit-ler’s friends ask about my reaction to her transition (Lora didn’t sign up to be a lesbian, sure she didn’t), she’s lying when she tells them she couldn’t do it without me.  (Did you never feckin think that maybe I didn’t want to go through another goddam transition????)

One of each, please.
Sometimes another person’s dream is so big and so hard, there’s no room for you.  It’s what any Great Compromise is about.  If you need the last slice of cheesecake more than I do, you can have it.  But how do I know when you need it more than myself?  

While in Dublin trying (and failing) to sort out her mother’s care arrangements, the Bit-ler was invited home for dinner by an old school chum.  She offered to come as male, as if somehow this were a kindness to the family.  Old Chum accepted, so the Bit-ler pulled back her hair extensions, ditched the bra and went a la man-boobs. 

No explanation of her U2 Roadie hairstyle was given to the adult children, but another school friend was there.  After the kids scattered, he asked the Bit-ler if she were transitioning, got confirmation, then asked the usual question about what junk she still had in her trousers and that was about it.  No big deal.  Except that the Bit-ler’d been left sick in herself, relapsing into that male façade.

So really, what was the reason for the compromise? 

Let's make a joint decision.
That’s the difficulty with compromise, knowing where you end and I begin.  Should I do something simply because I have the strength to do it?  Should you accept my offer simply because I’ve made it?  Or should we both take responsibility for what’s happening here and decide jointly what’s fair to us both?

To be honest, I don’t know many people who do that, which is more a statement about myself than about most people.  During this year of the Great Compromise, it’s been the friends who were closest to me, who didn’t understand what I needed.  I suspect that’s because I don’t know how to not compromise.  And people like that.

So that’s my resolution for this coming year.  To figure out where you end and I begin.  To not do things simply because I’m strong enough.  To figure out what my Great Want for myself is.  Probably something to do with cheesecake. 


  1. That was VERY interesting. Thank you.

  2. Oh yes, Lora. Sometimes we follow the other's lead because they've worked out what they want/need before we've worked out what we want for ourselves. And the following takes us in a particular direction which can then make it harder to work out what it is we want for ourselves. Most couples compromise in various ways, but yours is a particularly big ask. Hope you can get to the point of discovering whether you really wanted that last piece of cheesecake!