If you find yourself trying to salvage your relationship, STOP. If you’re doing all of the relationship work while your partner is cooling their heels, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Trust me, I know from experience.
- Relationships only work if there’s equal effort by both people in it. You might think that if you put in the most effort then you’ll manifest the perfect boyfriend. I hate to break it to you but it just doesn’t work that way. In my experience, a guy needs to come to the decision to be in a relationship with you on his own. It can’t be coerced or compelled. You can strongly suggest or incentivize certain behavior until you’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day, he has to make that step on his own.
- You should be putting your energy into something that’s truly beneficial. Go to the gym. Work on your resume. Make a meal for yourself and a girlfriend. Whenever you get the urge to fix your relationship beyond what’s reasonable, redirect that urge back to yourself. Don’t give it all away just yet!
- If you do all the work, he simply won’t try. Remember when you were in school and you did group projects and there was always that one person who did all of the work to the point that no one else did anything? Yeah, that was character building for relationships! Even though it’s super crappy and immature behavior, a lot of guys just don’t rise to the occasion if it isn’t demanded of them. Keep your standards high and require him to pull his weight.
- It’s hard to hold someone accountable for actions you never demanded anything of them. So many women get upset when a guy just doesn’t read their minds or infer from their actions what they want. But think about it: would you like to be held accountable for something you didn’t know was expected of you? I say use your voice and state your demands. It’s OK to assert your expectations and standards in a relationship! That way, if he starts slacking, you have a basis for holding him accountable. Otherwise, you’re giving him an easy out.
- If you do all the work, you might think there is progress and there really isn’t. Trust me, I’ve made this mistake before. Like many women, I like being in control and doing all of the work in my relationships made that possible. As a result, I thought that my relationship was improving when really I was fulfilling my end of the bargain and then some while my boyfriend at the time did next to nothing. As always, my efforts proved to be a waste when he refused to pull his weight in our relationship anymore and I was left disappointed. Again.
- The guy should always put in a little bit more effort than the girl. I know that this is super controversial, but in my experience, women are usually the ones to be the most consistent with the effort in relationships. Guys, on the other hand, will be all over the place. One minute they can’t stop blowing up your phone and the next they’re going days without texting. My rule of thumb is always to examine my guy’s effort. If he’s keeping up with me or maybe trying a little bit harder then I am, I’m happy. Otherwise, we have a problem.
- Bending over backward isn’t healthy for you. Playing mental and emotional gymnastics with your significant other is so unhealthy. First off, you probably have so many other important things to do and to accomplish in your life. Making sure that another grown, autonomous human being is being the best that he can be in a relationship isn’t something that you should have to worry about. You’re not his babysitter.
- You don’t get extra credit for making your relationship work. In many areas of life, putting in extra work amounts to extra credit. People see your hard work and you’re rewarded with a bonus or a bump in your grade. In your romantic life, that just ain’t the case. No one is grading or evaluating you. No one is counting all of the extra effort you’re putting in. If you’re like me and you’re an overachiever in other aspects of your life, you have to find a way to switch that gear so that you’re not taken advantage of in your personal life.
- There’s something to be said about letting things happen organically. In a relationship, I tend to rush things hoping that I can get to the good stuff. But rushing the process is hugely detrimental. In my current relationship, I’ve forced myself to allow things to unfold much more organically and as a result, our relationship feels much stronger and grounded. We took the time to grow roots even if it wasn’t pretty. Sometimes he was distant and non-committal when I was everything but those things. The proverbial ebb and flow was absolutely exhausting, but giving us space and time to grow into a couple was the most significant way for us to be in a solid relationship now.