I was sent a question for my ‘Sue Atkins Parenting Show’ podcast asking me:
‘Am I giving too much in my relationship Sue, as I find myself giving up things I like doing like watching football & having a few beers’ Rob Grant from Shoreham
We all want a happy, healthy & fulfilling relationships with our partners & if you are a naturally easy going person you may not think twice about being thoughtful and accommodating to your partner.
But if you find that you are constantly on the back foot it might be time to take stock.
Being too giving in a relationship can backfire on you when you start to realise that you’re doing all the changing to please your partner & they aren’t doing as much for you & perhaps in the process you are quietly losing yourself a little too much – if you discover that, then it maybe time to pull back & talk about balance & boundaries.
If you don’t know whether you’re giving too much, Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author, says there are two key signs to look out for.
One key sign is if you feel like you’re constantly “chasing” your partner to mutually invest in the relationship. This can potentially lead to imbalance which isn’t the sign of a balanced & mutually equal relationship.
Another key sign to look out for is an ongoing feeling of exhaustion from relationship issues. You’re either tired of fighting with your partner over their lack of effort, or tired over being the one who carries the burden of making plans or resolving issues or has to keep changing to please them.
When partners invest in a mutual & healthy relationship the overall balance offers incredible bonding power and resilience in the relationship & shouldn’t feel exhausting.
So what can you do when your relationship is out of balance?
According to experts, it’s first important to acknowledge that a “balanced relationship” doesn’t always mean 50-50.
Instead of trying to achieve a perfectly balanced partnership, you should aim for having a well-balanced life that includes your relationship.
A healthy relationship doesn’t require your attention 24/7 & there’s no score-keeping or manipulating by your partner.
A truly balanced partnership deals with a great deal of compromise as well as showing the willingness to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work. It has a ebb and flow that feels OK.
Giving too much in a relationship can stem from feeling like you’re not good enough.
These thoughts cause you to focus on trying to be enough for the other person, by always doing more, so they will stay with you.
To let go of the thought that you’re not enough, start to work on your self esteem & create a simple affirmation such as, “I am enough” or “I deserve love just the way I am.”
Whenever you feel anxious about needing to go out of your way for your partner, just take a moment to pause to ponder are you trying too hard.
Communication is the Key
Talk to your partner about making the relationship more balanced, explain about why having a more equal relationship is important to you.
Love yourself enough to respect your needs, and by setting some boundaries — to foster a more balanced relationship.
If you feel like you’ve been giving too much, here are some expert-backed ways to back off in a relationship.
Do, however, keep in mind that it’s perfectly OK to call it quits on a relationship that feels unfair — and stays that way no matter what you say or do. If you aren’t getting the level of love you want, it may be time to move on. A tough realisation and a tough thing to do but maybe the wisest gift you could give yourself.