Want to know a fast way to make yourself despise your partner and regret ever getting in a relationship? Of course you do! Who doesn’t want to learn that? Okay, before you start questioning my dating advice, read on to learn the importance of not being too generous in a relationship.
Most everyone understands that dating involves compromise. Even the most compatible people aren’t going to enjoy the same exact activities at all times. Love requires a balance of giving and taking. There are several, however, who don’t know when they are over-giving, paying so much attention to making their partner happy that they forget their own happiness in the process.
Though the intent is usually good, this often leads to perception problems. A boyfriend or girlfriend who once seemed perfect now looks lazy or ungrateful in the eyes of someone who has been handing him or her everything. A man may find he is too often the one doing the dishes while his wife reads or watches television. Likewise, a woman may tire of her boyfriend always wanting to go bowling when she asks “what do you think we should do tonight?” This is happening way too much; they’ve even stopped saying “thank you” at this point! How completely selfish, right?
Let me tell you a story.
I love sushi. I’m not talking just California rolls either. I mean the honest-to-goodness cuts of raw fish served on rice with ginger and wasabi. It doesn’t get any better than that.
I enjoy it so much that it’s difficult for me to imagine other people not liking it. When people say they don’t like sushi, I’m quick to ration that they just haven’t had real good sushi. I know this isn’t the case, but I forget that something I find completely awesome may not cause the same amount of pleasure in someone else.
Well, there was a time that every time my fiancé decided we should go out to dinner, he’d ask me where I wanted to eat. I’d always suggest this wonderful sushi place. He’d say that was okay with him and off we’d go. I was more than happy with this routine, and his lack of protest told me he was as pleased. And why wouldn’t he be? Sushi is great!
So one day he comes home from a frustrating day at work and wants to go out. I know the perfect remedy for this stress. Sushi! Following my suggestion, I quickly learned a few things about this man that I never picked up before. He hates sushi, doesn’t understand why people would choose to use chopsticks, worries that raw fish will make us sick, cringes whenever I mention the place, and thinks I’m completely impolite and careless for forcing this upon him at every chance I get.
“Whoa, whoa! What? You don’t like sushi? You were only eating there to make me happy?”
Yes, I was completely surprised. As romantic as the thought was, I had no idea he had to basically force it down in an effort to please me. I didn’t know that “I don’t really understand this menu”, “is it ALL raw?” and “I think I’m going to ask for a fork this time” meant that he would rather be somewhere else. I guess I’m not the best at picking up clues.
Anyway, I explained to him that as much as I loved eating sushi, I also love him and respect his tastes. If he’d rather eat at a different restaurant, he could let me know. I can adjust, but I can’t read minds. I was completely oblivious to this pent up frustration with me. Now that I realized, I wanted to make it right! We went out for Italian that night.
The moral of the story is this: Not everyone likes sushi, and your partner may not see a problem if you don’t tell them straight out. Hinting about something that really bothers you may not catch on when he or she assumes you’re just as happy with the arrangement as they are. Here are a few tips to make it easier for you to address issues similar to this one, unless you prefer quietly despising your partner, of course.
Just because they haven’t picked up on your hints doesn’t mean they don’t care about and love you nor does it mean they are stupid. You may be one of those people who believe they are being very clear with their hints, but honestly, no one really knows what hidden meaning, if any, your words and behaviors have. Only you know what’s going on in your head. Everyone outside you has to interpret. If there isn’t a perceived reason to assume you are trying to relay an underlying message, you may find it goes unnoticed. It’s not because a person doesn’t care; it’s because they simply didn’t get it this time. There are probably situations in which you didn’t grasp the hidden intent of someone’s words as well. It happens.
It’s okay to share your true feelings. I suppose it’s obvious, but I’ve never been the one to beat around the bush about things. It’s actually worked out pretty well, too. Being upfront and honest really does eliminate the stress of game-playing and makes for openness in the relationship from both sides. True, it may not work for everyone, and there is the occasionally bickering brought about by too much honesty, but if it’s something like chores, activities, restaurants, sex acts, etc., it’s important to let your partner in on your real feelings before these things cause emotional buildup and explode into a messier argument than needed. If your partner is worth dating, they will listen and very likely be willing to compromise.
Avoid laying on a guilt trip. Yes, you unselfishly allowed your partner to do whatever he or she wanted for a long period of time. It still doesn’t give you the right to collect on all the debt you believe they have all at once. Besides the fact that they probably didn’t realize what you were doing for them, you don’t have to right to “bill” them for something you chose to do. So, no, you don’t have the right to say “Mable, you got your ice skating every week for a month now. Now we’re going skydiving whether you like it or not!”
Respect your partner’s deal breakers. Everyone has some things they just won’t do. If my fiancé had said “I don’t like sushi, let’s go to a beehive instead and collect fresh honey to eat with a dinner of roasted grasshoppers” I’d have told him he could do that as much as he wanted, but I wouldn’t be joining. It’s not that I don’t love him or want him to do something he enjoys. It’s more of the whole bug phobia thing.
If your partner refuses to listen to your suggestions and would rather you remain a slave to their every desire, you should move on. I mean, unless you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not going to judge, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume most of the people reading this prefer 50-50 partnerships. If someone isn’t caring enough to work this out with you, then kick him or her to the curb!
It’s not selfish to not share an interest with a loved one; it’s completely human! If you want to preserve your mental state and the state of your relationship, however, you need to learn when to assertively speak up when something is bothering you. A loving partner will be willing to listen and work with you to make you both happy.