Self-care in relationships is essential. While it’s important to be a good partner and try to accommodate your loved one’s needs, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well.
Overlooking Self-Care in Relationships Often Comes When We Focus Too Hard on Our Partner’s Needs
Most of us enter into a relationship trying to do the best job we can for our mate. We are pretty capable individuals and we often apply what we think they might need, enjoy, desire and want and try to anticipate what that might be, and then produce it.
Everyone does this in the beginning. But something happens after we try and try to make things good and right. We might get frustrated that our partner doesn’t understand all of our efforts and we might even get mad and feel unappreciated at them for not seeing what we are doing for them.
Self-Care in Relationships Begins with Understanding and Acknowledging Your Limitations
Does this sound familiar? I think all of us in a relationship have been here before. So, what do we do about it? This is where we learn to do what we can and not do more than we want to do, and reveal what may seem obvious.
Not in a selfish me-first kind of way, but understanding how we are able to contribute to the relationship and how we are not. I was helping a couple recently. One of the partners we doing a lot to make a festive occasion for the two of them.
But the other partner didn’t want an occasion and instead wanted something very different and quiet. Both had not talked about what they wanted with each other and both assumed the other would understand what they wanted instead.
In this instance, neither one took care of themselves in the relationship. Instead they felt put upon by the other because they were both misunderstood. The one who was planning the occasion was working hard to make things nice, (and for sure this was intended to make the partner happy). And the other mate felt that the partner should have understood what she needed. She needed quiet time because something big was coming up and there was no room for festivities.
Assumptions Can Lead to Mistakes on Both Sides of a Situation
So, who is right? They are both right. But this did not lead to peace and calm. Both people got their feelings hurt. So, here’s how they could have handled this differently.
The one who wanted the party should have talked it over with the mate and find out if the mate was up for the occasion before planning it. The other mate should have talked with the partner and told them about their limited energy and need for a quiet night.
They didn’t do this. They just assumed that the other person either knew what they needed or would enjoy the effort. And the unfortunate part is that they both got burned.
Reminding Your Partner That You Love Them Can Help You Take Care of Them Too
This couple really loves each other. I think you love your mate too. So, the bottom line is to talk with your mate about what you want and what you need. It may seem redundant to you to overstate what you think they should already know, but to your partner it might be much needed information. I know I had to learn that even though I thought my partner should know certain things about me I had to explain them to him in order to be sure there were no miscommunications.
And that’s what we all want, fewer mishaps with the one we love. Say more about what you want and need even if you think they should already know. It will decrease your difficulty. I promise.
Need Some Help Practicing Self-Care in Relationships?
Read a Book About Relationships
Get some help with understanding and communicating your needs and limitations, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. Better understanding between partners helps self-care in relationships, by making us less likely to overextend and feel unappreciated. Want to know how? Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.