Putting in more effort than the other person is a common problem in relationships. And in a way, it's a good problem to be giving too much in a relationship — it shows that you're a caring person who wants to put yourself out for other people. But the issue comes when being a giving person leaves you in a one-sided relationship.
"Feeling like you are giving more than your partner is a very frustrating situation that can definitely wear on a relationship," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "One of the reasons that it’s so common is because people have different needs. Often we give to our partners in the exact way that we want them to give to us. Rather than follow their cues we assume that they have the same needs as we ourselves do."
I've watched so many friends think that they can change someone by just giving and giving — and I've done the same. But it rarely works. "If you feel that there’s a mismatch ask your partner what kinds of giving behaviors [they] appreciate and give [them] more direct feedback about what you want from him," she says.
But how can you tell if you're giving more than the other person? It can be tricky. Because everybody needs a little more TLC some of the time and, if a person is taking advantage of you, they're going to make it sound like they really need it. Hell, they may even believe that they need it. But if someone is always getting the attention and the emotional support, than the relationship is one-sided. So make sure you're honest with yourself about what your relationship really looks like. Here are the signs you're giving more than they are.
They Expect You To Fit Into Their Schedule
If your partner is only willing to see you at times that are convenient for them, something is up. "If your partner feels that you are not necessary or important in their life, they will accord you little of their time in their schedule," relationship coach and psychic medium Melinda Carver tells Bustle. Sure, everybody's busy, compromise is key in a relationship.
They Drain You Emotionally
If you're giving too much, your body can probably feel it. Soon, you'll end up feeling tired from it and like you just don't have the emotional resilience anymore. "You are with an emotional vampire if you find yourself physically drained," psychologist, image consultant and dating expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes tells Bustle. "Emotionally sensitive people and empaths often do not pick up on these cues right away." You need to watch out for yourself.
They Don't Integrate You Into Their Lives
If someone isn't putting effort into a relationship, they may not care about making you a real part of their life. "They will not introduce you to people that are important in their life like friends and family, even though you have been together for some time," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle.
You Clean Up Every Mess
If you find that you're doing all of the emotional work — and the actual work around the house — then something's amiss. "[An emotionally immature] partner expects you to do everything for them," speaker and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "You may have to ask them multiple times to do something; they may do so grudgingly and possibly make you feel guilty in the process."
They Get Defensive
Nobody's perfect, but your partner needs to be open to criticism and concern that they're taking advantage of you if you approach them about it. If they get defensive, that's a clue that they're going to just keep doing it. Try to explain how it makes you feel. "Start with communicating in a way that doesn't leave them defensive, and that means not accusing, When possible, take ownership," she suggests, adding that "I" statements ("I feel," "I am") are useful here. "They can't really accuse you of not feeling a certain way," she says. "They may still remain defensive. Gently point it out and even offer an alternative." But if they don't budge, you might have to.
They Pass The Blame
“The blame game is something that has caused relationships to crumble for years,” executive editor and founder of Cupid's Pulse Lori Bizzoco tells Bustle. “If your partner blames you for everything, then it's time for you to speak up, share your perspective and ask them to listen to your point of view.” They're just using you as an emotional dumping ground — and it's not OK.
They Won't Make An Effort With Your Life
Whether it's spending time with your friends, bonding with your parents, or even just showing up to the work Christmas party — there are some times when you want your partner to step up to the plate. If they won't do this, they are not being a supportive partner. "They are not putting energy into the relationship, and you simply date when it's convenient," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "Relationships should progress, not stay stagnant." If you feel like you're the only one putting yourself out there, you deserve better.
It's not easy to admit you're giving more than they are, because you want to think that they care just as much as you do. But you need to take care of yourself. If you're giving more than they are, go find someone who will meet you in the middle.