For a relationship to work, things should be as close to 50/50 as they possibly can be. While sometimes that delicate balance will tip in one direction or the other sometimes depending on what’s going on in your lives, you should feel content that things are pretty equal most of the time. Can you honestly say this is the case? Is your boyfriend pulling his own weight or is all the work left up to you? If you relate to any of the following, you’re the one putting in all the effort in your relationship and things need to change as soon as possible.
- You’re the only one making sacrifices. You shouldn’t have to give everything up for love, but every now and then, you both have to make sacrifices for your partner and your relationship as a whole. Your boyfriend isn’t holding up his end of the deal — this relationship has become all about him and nothing about you. While he won’t even give up one night with the boys for you, you offer him everything on a silver platter. WTF?
- You only hang out when it’s convenient for him. He expects you to drop everything when he’s available but not to bother him when he’s busy. You make time for him, but even when he’s free, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he’ll be bothered to ask you to do anything. He’s your boyfriend only when it’s convenient for him. Do you really want your relationship like that? Is it even a relationship at all?
- You plan every date. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, your anniversary, or even your birthday, unless you make all the plans, the night will be anything but special. He doesn’t make an effort to surprise or even romance you because he doesn’t think he has to. He’s learned that you’ll take the bare minimum, and now that he knows, that’s all you’ll ever get.
- He never asks about you. He never wants to know how you’re doing or if you’re happy in the relationship because he doesn’t want it to result in him having to make a bigger effort on his part. At the end of the day, he only cares about himself, and a selfish man will never make the effort you need.
- He doesn’t communicate with you. He doesn’t tell you about his plans, so you never know where he is or what he’s doing. It’s not that you’re trying to keep tabs on him, it’s that he doesn’t even tell you when he’s canceling — he just doesn’t bother to show up. If he grows bored of the relationship or sick of your nagging, he never tells you, because he doesn’t care enough to try.
- Nothing ever changes. When something in your relationship needs to be addressed, you have to push him or nothing will ever change. Even when he says he’ll “try,” it’s always half-assed. He doesn’t want to have to work to make your relationship better. He doesn’t care to grow, which means he probably doesn’t care all that much about you.
- He has no interest in taking the next step. Where you are is exactly where he wants to be. Not because he’s necessarily happy, but because he knows moving forward takes work, and that’s a burden he has no interest to take on. The boy is lazy, and if he really loved you, he’d have the motivation to at least try.
- You feel like a nuisance in his life. You’re doing all the work, but that doesn’t mean he’s grateful. Face it: you’re unhappy, and every time you try to improve or salvage the relationship, you just feel like you’re pushing him further away. You shouldn’t have to ask a guy to make an effort. You shouldn’t have to ask a guy to try or to care. If it doesn’t come naturally, you need to walk away.
- Your partner is a control freak. This may not seem like a sign that you’re the one putting in all the effort in your relationship, but hear me out. Do you often find that you go out of your way to do things that you know will please your partner because you don’t want to upset them or earn their disapproval? If you know he’s a control freak who loses his cool when things don’t go his way and you’re always the one accommodating him, there’s a clear imbalance. Relationships should include compromise. If he’s not willing to do that, you shouldn’t be with him.
- He’s your priority, you’re his option. You always consider him before you make plans or any decisions since he’s important to you and you want to make sure he’ll be okay with everything too. If only he offered you the same courtesy! Instead, you’re expected to fit into his life rather than him working to make sure there’s room for you. You make your relationship a priority while he acts as though you’re just another option when everything else falls through.
- You’re on your grind and he’s happy just to chill. Financial imbalances can be very real in relationships. I’m not saying that your boyfriend needs to make as much money as you or more than you, but if you’re constantly hustling to make sure you have the best things in life while he’s cool with a part-time gig because he knows you’re bringing home the bacon, that’s grounds for resentment to breed. It also means he’s taking advantage of you (or at the very least taking you for granted) and that’s really not cool.
- You feel lonely when you’re together. In a healthy relationship, the two people in a couple are complete, whole individuals on their own who complement one another’s lives and make them happier and more loving. If spending time with your boyfriend makes you feel lonelier than when you’re on your own, there’s a clear problem and you need to discuss it, change it, or walk away.
How to ensure you’re not the only one putting in all the effort in your relationship
We all want to have mutually fulfilling relationships, and while you can’t control your boyfriend’s behavior, there are certain things you can do to assure that you’re on the same page and putting in equal time, energy, and care when it comes to your partnership.
- Establish relationship boundaries. This is incredibly important for your mental and emotional well-being as it clearly draws a line in the sand when it comes to what you will accept and what you consider to be a deal-breaker. By establishing upfront the behaviors you won’t accept and the things you need and expect from a partner, you’re making it way more likely that you’re on the right track to forming a healthy relationship.
- Call out bad behavior. If you feel like you’re the only one putting in the effort because your boyfriend never texts you or expects you to handle everything while never chipping in, have a conversation with them about it. It’s possible that he doesn’t realize that he’s slacking or that he has a legitimate reason for why it’s happening at the moment and will appreciate the chance to finally open up and talk about it. If he does realize what he’s doing but thought he was going to get away with it, calling him out is a great way to nip that behavior in the bud and make him realize that it’s not cool.
- Make your needs known. In addition to establishing relationship boundaries, one of the best ways to assure that you don’t end up putting in all the effort in your relationship is by communicating your needs with your boyfriend. Maybe you really need a guy who will chip in with housework when it’s been a busy week. Maybe it’s really important to you that you hear from him before bed at night, even if it’s just to say goodnight. These little things that may seem silly but that are important to us could be totally easy for your partner to do for you as long as they know about them in the first place.
- Try to be understanding. If your frustration about putting in all the effort stems from the recent weeks or months and things haven’t always been this way, stop and take a moment to reflect on what’s really going on here. Has your boyfriend been having a really rough time lately? Maybe he’s dealing with a lot of stress at work because of a current project. Maybe he has a relative that’s sick or is struggling with mental health issues. If that’s the case, try to offer some kindness and understanding as you discuss the topic and realize that this likely won’t be a permanent thing. While you should never stay with someone if you’re genuinely unhappy, if this is simply part of the ebb and flow of life with a long-term partner, maybe it’s worth riding this wave out until things return to normal.