Unbalanced Relationship

7 02 2008

Feel like you put more of yourself into the relationship than your partner? Here are 5 tips to bring back balance

After the holidays, you looked at the mounds of wrapping paper surrounding your mate, then you examined your own paltry ashtray full of tissue paper. “That’s not fair!” you tell yourself, “I’m tired of being the only one to give in this relationship. When do I get?”

This scenario doesn’t just happen during the holidays. If you’re sensing there’s an imbalance between what you give and what you get in the relationship, it’s probably a feeling that is with you all year long. It’s easy for me to explain away this problem by simply saying, “This is because you are so much more loving and thoughtful than your partner, and your mate is more ignorant and uncaring than you.”

Maybe that is the case. But before you jump to conclusions, consider the possibility that your partner sees him or herself as giving plenty to the relationship. He or she may also believe there’s an imbalance, but concludes it’s because you’re not pulling your weight!

Why relationships are imbalanced

Two elements contribute to relationship imbalance: keeping score and differences in individual needs.

Let’s look first at scorekeeping. Early in your relationship you didn’t consciously keep track of who was giving what. Back then, you were so excited about this attractive new soul that just being together counted for more than any individual act on his or her part. During courting, you tended to give your mate the benefit of the doubt, and every effort to make you happy was appreciated. If he gave you yellow roses (even though you love white) you were happy; if she bought you tickets to a Guns N’ Roses concert even though you preferred Jimmy Buffet, you were thrilled.

During the introductory period, you looked at wrongly-chosen gifts and attention as ways to learn more about your partner, not as an automatic judgment of how well they knew you. By the time your official courting days ended and you decided to take your relationship to the next level, your unconscious scorekeeper led you to the impression that you were getting a lot — and you planned on having it stay that way.

As the relationship proceeds, the scorekeeping becomes more conscious and often appears to be more out of balance. One reason your partner seems to come up short is because once people take their relationship to the next level, they do focus less on doing things specifically to please their mate. It’s normal, of course, for some courting behaviors to dip, but thoughtfulness shouldn’t disappear off the face of the earth!In fact, in most long-term relationships the giving doesn’t stop. So if there’s a fair amount of generosity on both sides, why does it seem like the giving well has dried up?

Bad assumptions

The reason is because of assumptions about who your partner is and what your partner needs. When you give truckloads of the things you value, you wonder why your partner doesn’t appreciate it and doesn’t reciprocate. That may be because you’re giving what you would like to have and not what your partner wants or needs. After settling down, if he continues to give her yellow roses on a daily basis, she begins to feel neglected because he should know she likes white roses.

Each partner makes a gesture, saying to themselves, “I give and give!” and receives by reflecting, “I’m not getting what I want.” As couples proceed day in and day out, they start to tally up what is owed to them and see that their partners are coming up woefully short.

The imbalances occur over many more issues than simply gifts.One partner may spend hours cleaning up the house spotlessly (as a gesture of love) and the other partner may not even notice. Another partner may stay at work and earn extra money for the family (as a gesture of love) and may arrive home to a mate who’s annoyed that dinner was delayed. Not only doesn’t the extra income “count” as giving to the relationship, it’s actually seen as detracting from the relationship.

Restoring the balance

The problems can be solved, though, with a few steps to get the scales adjusted.

1. Focus less on keeping score and more on maintaining the relationship as a partnership. Remember, you’re both on the same team, and the goal is to keep it moving in the right direction.

2. Be open to the things your partner is giving you that you may not have appreciated before. Your mate may be making a contribution in ways you may not notice, such as suggesting a better tie to go with that shirt, fixing something around the house, or just sitting by your side when you’re blue.

3. Look for what your partner wants from you to show love. (Hint: it may be the things he or she does for you.) If you can learn what your mate values, you have a better chance of knowing what to give. Once you figure it out, don’t hold back, even though it’s something that you wouldn’t value yourself.

4. Don’t expect your partner to be able to read your mind. If you want certain things, let him or her know. Be ready to experience some slip-ups along the way, as old habits are hard to break. But don’t be frustrated, and continue to be clear about the things that you value; eventually you’ll start getting more of it.

5. When you make a mental list of needs and wants, include the following: “to see my mate happy.” That way, even when it seems like your partner is getting all the good presents on the holidays, you can still take some pleasure in his or her joy.
If you struggle with feeling like you get the short end of the stick, in most cases you can work to get things back in balance. That’s something that both of you want.

Source: Yahoo! Personals




2 responses

7 02 2008

good perspective. ill try that. thanks.

11 10 2008

I can’t agree with what you said really….
please explain further a bit more for me :d

thank you

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