Chances are, no one has ever begun a relationship aiming for mediocrity. “I think I’ll enter this relationship to demean myself, stifle my voice, and diminish my needs,” said no one ever. So why would we allow ourselves to get to that place? Further, how do we find ourselves in that place to begin with?

The greatest way to get a relationship that consists of mere scraps is to deny your desires and change your behavior, interests, etcetera based on what you believe your partner wants. In doing this, you compromise not only your needs, but your core as an individual.

You most likely know someone who’s a classic example of this. Maybe you have a friend whose personality seems to change based on the person they’re dating at the moment. You find yourself wondering when that person you’ve known for years decided to take up hunting, became a pro wrestling fan, or shifted from being someone who talked nonstop to someone who barely says three words to you. Typically, it’s easier to recognize in another person, although once you notice it, you may want to do some self-reflection, too.

Changing any aspect of your personality to conform to someone else’s is definitely the way to achieve mediocrity in a relationship. When you get down to the nitty-gritty, you’ll realize the reason you’re doing this is to avoid conflict with your partner.

Avoiding conflict and trying not to “rock the boat” aren’t necessarily bad things in themselves—until they cause you to compromise your voice and your needs. So how, then, do you get out of this cycle?

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