Have you ever given your best to a relationship and it never seems good enough for your partner? I see this at least once a week in my practice. He/she will come in and talk about how they feel drained from non stop giving, and never getting anything in return. To make matters worse, their social circle is all but non-existent now because they’re trying to make their partner happy. I tell them that they’re in the right relationship, just with the wrong person.
How does this happen? We take a person who is ready to settle down and commit to a higher level in a relationship. Then they pick a person who has no desire to reciprocate. Okay, but how does that happen? It usually happens when a well minded individual will over compensate just to be in a relationship. The sad fact is that women do so more than men. And when they don’t get the attention and or love that they are expecting, soon afterwards all men become dogs. Broken, angry and jaded they sit in my office.
This is a critical point in the evolution, or the beginning of the decline in their mindset for the rest of their relationships to come. Either they become bitter towards the opposite sex (assuming they’re in a heterosexual relationship), or decide to make better choices in the future. We have all heard the term “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Same principle. Stop giving away your love when it has not been earned.
I believe that so many of us are willing to do just about anything in order not to be alone. But the real crisis begins when you’re in a less than healthy relationship and feeling alone anyway’s. With that said, raise the bar on what you find acceptable behavior in a relationship. Okay, so how does one do that? We must train ourselves to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. The good news is that this process doesn’t take long.
You start by passing on events or hanging out with people just for the sake of having something to do. If you’re not a big drinker, yet you’re spending your weekends in a bar, guess what? Feelings of fulfillment will be far and few between. If on the other hand you were to do something more in your wheelhouse (despite being alone), you’ll begin to see the difference in your mindset. Sure, at first you’ll miss the company of another person to share it with. But gone are the days of feeling disrespected, not heard or just plain being drained. And if you stay with it, you’ll soon find that you will not tolerate being with people and in environments that leave you feeling off.
The beautiful thing about this exercise is that you get better at reading yourself. By doing so, you quickly discern who takes away or adds value to your life. I’m not talking so much about the everyday people in your life. I am talking about the person you spend everyday within a committed relationship. There are going to be people that we all will have to endure who are energy zappers. But, the person you partner up with should under no circumstance be one of them. And yes, there will be times when your partner zaps you as well. But, if you have fully invested in this exercise, your partner zapping you will be a rare occurrence.
So, if you should find yourself in a relationship where you’re the only one giving. Maybe it’s time to try this exercise. Because at the end of the day, no one wants to be in the right relationship with the wrong person.