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Compassion in Intimate Relationships


‘a suffering with another; sympathy, pity; tender-hearted, kindness’


a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress together with a desire to alleviate it

Serious dating is the stage to deepen intimacy between the two of you. This is the stage where one begins to open their heart and share all your secrets that you’ve never revealed to another human being; this is a time to share what Thomas Moore would term, your shadow self—your less-than-perfect self, your fears, your regrets, your ‘insanities.’

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure.

I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle.

But if you can’t handle me at my worst,

then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
Marilyn Monroe

Without having gone slow enough in the casual dating stage to develop a level of care and concern for one another it becomes difficult and even unwise to move into serious dating.  This new stage encompasses developing compassion, cooperation and compromising with one another. It is pretty hard to have compassion for another person if you don’t know yourself or your partner well enough to be genuinely concerned about their thoughts and feelings.

Another word for compassion is kindness. One alleviates suffering through kindness – in thought, word and deed. Are you truly compassionate for what your partner has been through, or is going through?

Examples of Kindness

One small, thoughtful gesture can make someone else’s day…

  • Say “Good morning” to your partner every morning.
  • Offer to pick up groceries for your partner, especially in extreme weather.
  • Say “I love you” to someone you love.
  •  Out of the blue, send flowers to your lover.
  • Say “please” and “thank you“—and really mean it.
  • Don’t interrupt when someone is explaining themselves.
  • Listen with all your senses.
  • Simply say “I’m sorry” when you’re wrong.
  • Encourage your partner if they seem despondent.
  • Ask your partner “How are you really doing?”—and then really listen to their response.
Thriving-Baby-Boomers - Compassion - "Compassion is the wish to see other free from suffering." ~ Dalai Lama

“Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering.” ~ Dalai Lama

It takes genuine compassion to turn your own wants/desires aside and let free adults make their own mistakes; free will gives others the right to choose…

 At times prayers are all one can offer.

 In its definition passion/compassion means strong love.

Listening to someone who is in need and comforting them would be considered great compassion.

To act tender-heartedly toward one’s partner is essential in order to bring harmony to one’s relationship. In order to do this, one must be able to understand and have empathy for what your partner is going through.

Thriving-Baby-Boomers - Compassion - Asian calligraphy for Compassion on a rock

Compassion written on a rock in Japanese


Can you feel what your partner is going through? Have you had a similar experience to compare and share your feelings with your partner? Whether it is a death in the family or your partner losing their job, can you be empathetic and understanding, or are you more likely to expect them to ‘suck it’ up and go on with their life?

I have written a whole chapter on Compassion in my upcoming book, The 8 Cs of Relationships.

For more information on when The 8 Cs of Relationships will be published (anticipated publication date late 2023) and where to pre-order your copy, please fill in the form here.

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