How Being An Overgiver In Relationships Is Making You Miserable

Relationships are supposed to be 50/50. While that’s not always possible, the scales should never tip too heavily in one direction or the other for any length of time. As women, many of us have the innate need to become caretakers, and that means we also tend to become overgivers. The problem with that is that it rarely leads to healthy, fulfilling relationships with other people. In fact, prioritizing your partner’s needs over your own is making you totally miserable in ways you may not even be aware of.

  1. It drains your energy. We start with a full cup, but if it’s not regularly replenished, we soon realize we’re trying to pour from empty. Being an overgiver takes everything out of you and leaves you feeling totally exhausted. It’s so important to set boundaries to avoid this happening, as well as prioritizing self-care to make sure you’re not overextending yourself for the sake of someone else.
  2. It makes you resentful. They say you shouldn’t give to receive, and that’s true. However, constantly doing things for your partner and going out of your way to make sure their every need and desire are taken care of while yours are neglected is bound to lead to resentment. Over time, you’ll start to feel taken for granted and like you’re not being valued. If you don’t want this to happen, you need to be able to communicate and find balance.
  3. You lose your sense of self. The more you’re doing for your partner, the less you’re doing for yourself. He only likes football, so that’s all you can ever watch on TV; he hates Chinese food, so you haven’t had your favorite takeout in months. He’s not into fitness so you never go to the gym anymore. Before you know it, you forget even who you are and what you used to love. Make sure you’re making time for your own hobbies and interests and maintaining your individuality. You’re part of a couple, but you’re also still a whole person on your own. Remember that.
  4. You become codependent. One of the reasons being an overgiver makes you so miserable is because you’re nowhere in the equation. Your number one priority is your partner’s well-being in every sense of the word, and that often leads to your emotions being tied to his. If he’s upset, you are; if he’s happy, you can be. Because you cease to have your own independent life outside of him, you find yourself becoming codependent on him, which is not just a relationship killer, it’s self-destructive. Make sure you can still stand on your own feet without him — and that he can do the same.
  5. You start to attract nothing but takers. Not everyone has the best intentions in love. If crappy guys notice that you’re a serial overgiver who always puts herself last and is happy to basically become a second mother, don’t be surprised when they try to stick to you like glue. It’s important that you recognize the signs of someone who’s only out for what he can get, and get the courage to walk away from situations like that when they occur. You deserve so much more!
  6. You suppress your true feelings. If you’re an overgiver, you’re likely also a people pleaser. This means you mute your own thoughts, feelings, and ideas in favor of your partner’s and defer to him so that you don’t upset him. It’s an incredibly damaging practice that can have long-lasting effects. So, it’s important that you find a way to express your feelings and be assertive about things that matter to you. Also, make sure you don’t get involved with a guy who doesn’t value you and what you bring to the table.
  7. You forget how to receive. When you’re always giving, it becomes harder and harder to remember how to take. It gets to the point that when someone does do something nice for you, you feel awkward, uncomfortable, or even ashamed. Everyone should be able to accept love, help, and even gifts graciously when warranted. After all, both giving AND receiving are important parts of a healthy relationship, so you should know how to do both.
  8. Your relationship becomes stunted. At a certain point, an overgiver always starts to be miserable in their relationship because things become stagnant. It’s no wonder since the reciprocal dynamic needed to continue growing and evolving as a couple is absent in these types of relationships. If you want to be with him for a long time and vice versa, make sure you’re exchanging equal amounts of love, care, respect, consideration, and support. This balance will serve you well as you continue on your journey.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill