Being Someone’s Girlfriend Doesn’t Mean You Have To Do These Things

When you’re in a relationship, it’s natural to want to look after and care for your partner, and that’s fine. However, it’s also important to prioritize yourself and ensure that you’re not neglecting your own needs for the sake of theirs.

Being in a relationship should mean being in an equal partnership, not shouldering all your partner’s problems and responsibilities as well as your own. In other words, just because you’re dating someone and things are getting serious, it doesn’t mean that you have to do these 11 things to keep them happy or keep the relationship going.

  1. Fix their problems Your partner comes to you to vent about their problems at work? Fantastic. They ask you for advice about how to deal with a mate who’s drinking too much? Great. Confiding in each other is a show of love and support, but there’s a limit. If you’re the one who always has to help them sort out their issues without them taking any responsibility for things, that’s toxic. You shouldn’t feel drained by someone else’s problems.
  2. Carry their drama They’re always causing trouble wherever they go and leaving you to clean it up. You’re the one who has to call their boss to let them know they’re not going to be into work because they’re “sick” (read: they drank too much the night before). You’re the one who has to call their brother after your boyfriend’s embarrassed himself at the family get-together. Ugh. Are you dating a man or a man-child? You’re not his mother!
  3. Control them They say that they’re a bit of a flirt sometimes so you need to tell them when they’re flirting too much. Um, what? Can’t they control themselves? Shouldn’t they know when their actions are about to cross a line? You’re not their personal policeman. If they don’t know what boundaries are important and respectful in a relationship, it’s not your job to train them.
  4. Be available all day every day You’re not meant to dedicate your entire life to your partner. That’s unhealthy. You need your own space and time in the day when your partner’s not expecting you to text them back within five seconds because you have other important stuff to deal with. They’re certainly not going to get upset with you over that if they’re a catch.
  5. Tell them what they want to hear They ask what you think about their new shirt and it looks horrid but you tell them it’s great. They ask if you think their music is going to make it, and even though it sounds like alley cats fighting, you tell them it’s wonderful. Although you want to make your partner feel good, you shouldn’t be blowing hot air up their butt. It’s unfair on both of you to keep the lie going.
  6. Never criticize them Your partner’s acting like a total jerk but instead of telling them that they should be less disrespectful to someone or they shouldn’t be so arrogant about their achievements, you just smile and nod your head. You don’t want to be the one to rain on his parade. Well, screw that. You’re supposed to be real with them! They’ll actually respect it if they have any sense.
  7. Invest in their crazy dreams You might not want to give them money to start a cat jersey business, but you figure it’s your duty to support them. Um, there’s a difference between supporting them and putting yourself in a bad situation. The thing is, you can support all their crazy dreams but that doesn’t mean you have to believe in them. And it’s okay if you don’t. It’s their job to feel passionate about them.
  8. Be their bestie There’s so much pressure out there to be your partner’s GF and bestie. It’s like a fantastic two-for-one deal but it’s ridiculous. Sometimes you’re not going to be your partner’s best friend and that’s OK. It’s good, in fact. Your relationship with your best friend is often very different from the one with your partner and they really don’t have to be combined.
  9. Wait for their happiness to make you happy Yeah, it’s fun to share a few mutual goals with your partner and awesome to see each other’s eyes light up over the same thing, but there are going to be some things they’re enthusiastic about that you feel nada for—and that’s healthy! Just because you’re their partner doesn’t mean that you have to become a carbon copy of them. That’s creepy. Have your own dreams and make them a priority.
  10. Adore their loved ones In an ideal world, you’d love their father and get along amazingly with all their friends. In reality, this isn’t always the case. There’s a lot of pressure to have good relationships with your partner’s loved ones, but stop stressing about it. As long as you keep things polite and civil, you really don’t have to make their mother your BFF in order to be a good girlfriend to them.
  11. Post couple selfies Just because you’ve been dating for a while, it doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to post couple selfies of the two of you together. A lack of photos online doesn’t mean that people are wondering if your relationship is legit. (And if they are, who cares?) It also doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your relationship. In fact, it’s probably best to stay away from social media if you’re in a relationship and focus on your real life!

You should always be willing to be there for your partner if and when they need you, just as you should always be willing to help when they need a hand. However, you still have your own life and your relationship is not your whole life. The more you remember that, the better off you’ll be.

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.