But how? When I think about my home-owning friends, from the outside everything looks perfect – they have fabulous homes and fabulous lives and everything looks so easy. Upon closer inspection, however, I discovered that things aren’t always what they seem; compromise is what got them here. Aiden and Jacqui couldn’t find a place they wanted in their price range. They knew they wanted to start a family right away and they wanted a place they could stay in for a while, so they stretched their budget for their big purchase. Husband and I want to have the comfort of not spending all our cash on housing, so we decided not to go that route. Edward and Robin went in the opposite direction – they bought smaller and cheaper, and now, a short time post-purchase, have grown out of their digs – another undesirable outcome in our book.
Meanwhile, back at our place (which was actually my old apartment, from my single days) things had reached an impasse. There was only one thing we seemed to agree on: we weren’t moving forward. I blamed his laissez-faire attitude and he blamed my over-involvement, and it was literally becoming a kind of relationship cancer. We finally had a major blow-out and didn’t talk to each other for about seven hours.
It was at this point that we both began to realize just how silly – and unproductive – this was. We made a truce, then sat down and asked each other why we wanted to move so badly – and the answers weren’t all that surprising. His parents and mine value investments in real estate, and we both grew up thinking renting (even on vacation) was wasteful. Clearly, the fact that we both want a sound investment was shading our thinking and goals. The next three items on our “most important” list: closet space, light and a place that can be our own little ‘love nest.’ How did we suddenly get here, after months of running in place? He compromised by letting my drive the van, no questions asked. And I compromised by selecting just three needs to zero in on and not over-thinking them.
Last week we signed a lease on a brand-new, cozy rental apartment with sweeping Manhattan views and great storage. We’ll continue to look for a place to purchase, but the search doesn’t seem quite as life-or-death as it once was – especially since I’ve now got a washer and dryer in my new home!
Tell Us: How do you make compromises in your relationship?
Jenna Mahoney is an editor and writer based in Brooklyn.