We all know that relationships take work. But how much work should we be prepared to do?
Effort always needs to be balanced and reasonable.
When it’s not, we end up giving up too much of ourselves to keep the relationship alive.
Here are the signs that’s what is happening…
1) You’re emotionally exhausted all the time
One of the clearest indicators of problems in our relationship is how it makes us feel.
Of course, no relationship is hunky-dory 24-7. But it is important to listen to our emotions as they provide important signals.
If your energy levels feel constantly depleted it may be that you are emotionally drained.
Your morale is at an all-time low.
You may feel like:
- You’re always worrying about the state of your relationship
- You want space from your partner
- You find it difficult to open up to them
- You’re physically exhausted
- Your relationship issues are having knock-on effects for the rest of your life
- You don’t have the energy to fight anymore
- It’s hard to be yourself around your partner
We may experience these things occasionally if we’re simply going through a rough patch.
But if you’ve been feeling like this for a long time now, your relationship is stealing too much of your emotional energy.
2) You no longer feel like you
The person you once knew has melted away. The spirit you once had has drained from you. The happy-go-lucky nature left a long time ago.
Truth be told, you feel like a shell of the person you once were.
We all change. It’s only natural. But if you have changed beyond all recognition then ask yourself why.
A partner should enhance us, not strip away at us.
We shouldn’t feel under pressure to be someone different. If your relationship makes you feel like you need to be, it’s not the right one for you.
You get to decide who you will be in life.
If your other half wants you to be someone different and you’ve been trying to please them, you are betraying the real you.
3) You’re sacrificing your personal values
They are the things that we believe matter the most in life.
For example, some of my core values include freedom, honesty, and fairness.
Whilst there are plenty of things that I value, these stand out above and beyond the others. That means these are things that I am not prepared to sacrifice in life.
Your values are unique to you. Things such as your culture, upbringing, education, personality, and your experiences help to shape them.
They silently guide our decision-making, our relationships with loved ones, and our vision for the future.
So strong are their influence that you will most likely struggle to be happy if you feel like you are abandoning them.
4) You’ve abandoned your ambitions and plans for the future
Sacrifice is a part of all relationships at some stage or another.
In an ideal world, our visions for the future will harmoniously match up. But it doesn’t always work like that.
Unfortunately, sometimes you may be heading in different directions.
Maybe their studies mean that you need to move away from the city you love living in.
Perhaps their career path means your hopes of starting a family have to be delayed.
Whilst some compromise is to be expected, it shouldn’t all be on one side.
Neither should you be asked to give up things that are fundamentally important to you.
If your future plans are at odds with one another, there’s a good chance you will come to resent giving up on your dreams.
No matter how much we love someone, we all need to have lives where we can find meaning and fulfillment.
5) You’ve lost your self-respect
You may not have even noticed at first. Rather than go all at once, self-respect is often chipped away at in bad relationships.
We find excuses to justify it happening. We diminish its impact.
An often overlooked aspect of putting up with shitty behavior in a relationship is what it does to your self-respect.
You may feel embarrassed by how you’ve allowed your partner to treat you.
Perhaps you are ashamed to tell other people in your life, for fear of what they would say.
6) Your needs and wants always come last
If you are a natural giver, you may find some people take advantage of that.
Being selfless can feel like a wonderful trait, and it is — to an extent.
Because there is a point where endless giving becomes weakness rather than kindness.
We all have a right to consider our own needs and wants. It is not only okay to put those first sometimes, it is essential.
Relationships are equal partnerships. That means both parties need to contribute.
It also means that both must make sacrifices, and both must be prepared to do things for the other.
If all the giving comes from your side it is unsustainable.
You have a right to fill your own cup.
Maybe you like to please your partner and keep them happy. But do they feel the same about you?
If your needs always come in last place in your life, you are giving too much.
7) You feel desperate to keep them in your life
Love makes us do crazy things, right?
When we meet someone who we fall deeply in love with it’s tempting to give them too much status in our lives.
What do I mean by that?
You may begin to build your entire world around them. And as you do, the thought of ever losing them becomes an end-of-the-world type scenario.
The thought of breaking up may fill you with absolute terror. You cannot imagine your life without them.
You fear you will never find anyone else. You don’t know what you would even do without them.
But this state of mind isn’t good for a relationship. It points to an unhealthy dependency.
Whenever we are desperate, we create a needy energy that destroys the balance.
It sounds very romantic, but the truth is that unconditional love is dangerous. Because there should be conditions for our love.
Otherwise, you cannot create all-important boundaries.
8) Your boundaries feel non-existent
They cheat (again!) and you forgive them (again!).
You say no, and they disregard it.
They go through your phone to check up on you, but you feel like there’s nothing you can do about it.
Maybe you do try to stick up for yourself when your partner crosses a line. But you have to keep doing so. The fact that you do, means your boundaries are not being respected.
Your boundaries shouldn’t be up for negotiation.
You shouldn’t have to ask nicely to be treated with decency, you shouldn’t have to fight for the basic expectations of any relationship.
It’s easy to give away our power when it comes to boundaries. But as trauma and relationship counselor Katie Lorz reminds us, they’re actually down to us:
“A common misunderstanding about boundaries is that someone else is crossing them. One of the most important parts of boundary work is understanding that you are responsible for holding your boundaries with someone else. Your boundaries are yours to keep, communicate, and honor.”
9) You feel like you have to watch what you say around them
Freedom of speech is so important that it’s even a fundamental human right.
So needless to say, it’s something that we should always expect within any loving relationship.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we are free to tactlessly or hurtfully blurt out whatever we think at any time. But it does mean that open and expressive communication is vital.
Both of you need to feel heard. If you don’t, chances are you feel like your feelings thoughts and opinions are not valid or important.
Walking on eggshells is a sign that communication has broken down.
You may want to avoid arguments, but doing anything for a quiet life isn’t the way to go about it.
If you feel like it is better to keep quiet for the sake of keeping the peace, you are sacrificing your voice.
That’s something that everyone is entitled to have.
10) You’ve ditched many of the things you once loved
When we find ourselves in a relationship, our priorities may start to shift.
After all, we must make space for this important person in our lives. But they shouldn’t dominate all of our time and energy.
A certain amount of independence and autonomy is healthy within any relationship.
If they demand all of your time, that’s far too high a price to pay.
Your partner should never expect you to give up on the things that you enjoy doing. Maybe that’s a certain hobby or hanging out with friends.
They may try to make you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with other people or on other activities.
But it’s important to remember that we should not be asked to abandon our interests, careers, friends, or family for the sake of our relationship.