Finding That You’d Do Anything For Your Mate? What About Yourself?
When we love another person we want the relationship to work and to last and to be perfect. This is how all couples begin. But some people want a relationship so badly they will do anything for their mate. And this leaves some of us feeling as if we have lost ourselves.
It’s something many couples face. And there’s a good reason as to why this happens. We love our person and we want them to be happy. Of course we want our mate to be happy. So why wouldn’t we just think about what they would like and how to make their life better?
Is Taking Care of Your Loved One Preventing You From Taking Care of Yourself?
Perfectly normal to be interested in how to make our partner’s life better, but when we are consumed by thoughts about them and all our actions are geared toward what they would like, we might be forgetting to take care of ourselves.
This happens often too. People try and please their mate by doing everything they can to help them and make them happy, but they become depleted because they have forgotten to take care of themselves. Sometimes individuals are even mad at their mates because they do so much work in the relationship it feels as if they are the only ones putting in the effort.
Neglecting Your Own Needs Can Build Resentment And Even Cause Fights
This situation leads couples to get mad at each other. One might say, “Look at all I do for you. You just take me for granted.” The partner might respond with, “I didn’t ask you to do all that. You did that on your own.” Then there is an argument over motivation for doing good deeds and this is not what the feelings are even about.
When we go overboard doing for our mate it’s possible we are assuming that he or she will just notice how great we are and return the favor and do things for us. This is an unspoken wish. Many people just assume that if they work hard and do great things for the partner the partner will appreciate them and reciprocate.
Sometimes Our Partners Miss Our Unspoken Needs and Assumptions
This is a great system if the partner is aware that you are thinking this way. Unfortunately many people just wait for their mate to realize that they have been getting good treatment and then respond with some nice gestures. But waiting for the mate to do something nice without talking about it is like silently wishing for rain to fall, no one knows.
In relationships we have to learn how to ask for what we want. It is so hard to do this if we don’t have the comfort to ask for what would make us happy. And for most of us we don’t have the skill. If you are taking care of your mate, you probably learned this behavior when you were young and you are probably really good at it.
If you took care of others it’s possible you did not learn how to take care of yourself and your own needs. Now I am not talking about grooming or working in a job or going to school. I know you can do that. I am talking about taking care of your feelings.
To Take Care of Yourself, Assess Your Needs, Fulfill Those You Can, and Your Partner About the Rest
Those feelings that get worked up when you do too much for your mate are the result of not learning how to ask for what you want. Those feelings are telling you something. They are telling you to stop and take care of yourself. And how do you do that? You start to notice them. That is the first step.
The next time you do another act for your mate and he or she doesn’t say anything, notice what you are feeling inside. If those feelings had words they might sound like, “I wish you could take care of me the way I take care of you. And if you can’t do that maybe you could at least notice me and thank me. That would make me feel so much better.”
And if you are feeling really brave, maybe you could speak those lines to your partner. Now that might be a good change for you.
Get a Little Help with Taking Care of Yourself
Read a Book About Relationships
Can’t make it on Monday? Learn about how to communicate your needs softly and productively to your partner, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you take care of yourself, help your partner understand what you need, and help you both feel closer and happier than ever before. 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.