Let’s agree to disagree

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LunchClick is the first dating app that is designed to encourage offline, face-to-face dates. Download it today!


I’m a big fan of compromise. I was not always this way, I promise. It took a while to get here.

My first five relationships followed a predictable pattern, in that they always ended around the one year mark – right at the point where my partner and I had our first disagreement. It always pained me when this happened, because I knew this signalled the inevitable end.

I had a firm stand on disagreement. To me, an ideal relationship was supposed to be conflict-free. If we were truly compatible, we would not disagree over anything. I saw compromise as forcing someone to change. No way would I ever compromise.

That way of thinking guided me through a decade of dating and breakups.

Come to poker night with me, I remember one ex who used to make this request. I always said no thanks and he would go off alone, seemingly fine. Eventually, after the umpteenth time, he blurted, All my mates’ girlfriends always come along. Exasperated, I remembered saying, Then get yourself a girlfriend who always trots along after you! The relationship unravelled soon after and ended. The scenarios differed from relationship to relationship, but the overall plot and ending was essentially the same.

After ten years, it finally hit me. It was not because my relationships would always work until they crossed the star-crossed threshold of 12 months.

This was a radical realisation: I was the self-centred, uncompromising one. I had never had to compromise simply because my partners always gave in.


I decided I needed to change. I waited for an opportunity where my opinions would be tested.

My current partner grew up on the beaches of Australia. Unsurprisingly, he has an obsession with Sentosa. One hot Sunday afternoon, early into our relationship, he suggested going there.

Me: Sentosa? Nah, it’s too touristy.
Him: I need the beach.
Me: It’s not a real beach. It’s reclaimed land, you know.
Him: I don’t care.

This was it. I sensed a retort on the tip of my tongue and bit it back. I gave in.

It was so hard. I cursed inwardly as we fought through the crowd on the monorail. It seemed all the tourists in Singapore chose that very same day to go to Sentosa. Great. Finally we got to Coastes, a beach bar.

Without thinking, I removed my slippers so my toes could wriggle in the sand. I looked up at the sky. The afternoon sun warmed my face and I could feel my tension melt away. My partner put a cold beer in my hand. I looked around. Little kids were running around building sandcastles. Couples and groups of friends lounged on the cabanas. I turned back to face my partner. We broke out into identical grins. This was way better than staying at home or walking in some mall. This compromise thing was working! It didn’t feel forced at all.


Over time, I’ve come to embrace these moments. Every time I have a kneejerk “hell no” reaction, I remember Sentosa and say a hesitant yes. And guess what, more and more of these hesitant yeses have turned into “hell yes”. I’ve now said yes to boxing classes, self-defence classes, and playing cricket in the driveway.

The curiosity of trying something new, and possibly even loving it, is such a rush. Your senses are stimulated and fully engaged to process all the unfamiliarity you are experiencing. You feel alive, knowing that you can and just did step out of your comfort zone, shedding your preconceived biases.

Even though I highly doubt I will repeat some of the activities I have been dragged to i.e. watching endless hours of UFC, at least now my partner knows I’ve tried it and simply found it not to my taste.

We are all different and that’s okay. And us understanding that has made our relationship stronger.

Besides, when I recount these often amusing stories to friends, the unintended side effect is that I’m seen as a ‘happening’ person. Hell yes, I’ll accept that reputation any day.


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