If He’s Not Making An Effort, Why Are You?

Because relationships are all about give and take, there should never be just one person doing all the heavy lifting. If you’ve realized that you’re the only one who’s making the effort while the guy you’re dating sits on his butt doing nothing, you need to ask yourself a very important question: What the hell are you doing?

What does a lack of effort look like in a relationship?

While expecting a relationship to be a 50/50 effort 100% of the time is somewhat idealistic, the ratio shouldn’t stray too far from that number. When you’re dating a guy who makes no effort, things begin to seem a bit more like 90/10. Here are some of the things that may be happening.

  • He makes excuses for not pulling his weight.
  • He rarely calls or texts first.
  • You have to plan all of your dates.
  • If you live together, household duties generally fall to you.
  • They’re comfortable to the point of complacency.
  • He never offers emotional support when you need it.
  • Your pleasure isn’t a priority in bed.
  • He’s not interested in resolving conflict. He expects you to just “get over it.”
  • You have to beg him to do the bare minimum.
  • He regularly forgets your birthday or anniversary.
  • He makes you feel bad for needing things from him.

Why dating a guy who makes no effort is a waste of time

  1. You’re better than this. It’s not just a matter of deserving more but being better than sticking around and giving someone your everything when they give you nothing in return. If you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and recognize all the great things that are you, you’ll see that you’re better than this. In fact, you’ll know that you’re better than this.
  2. You need to take a stand. I know when we really love someone, we blindly allow things to happen that we wouldn’t normally allow to happen. We forgive things we shouldn’t, we overlook things that shouldn’t be overlooked, and we let things roll off our back that shouldn’t be rolling off our back. You’re not alone in this behavior, but where you can be different is by taking a moment to step outside yourself and the situation and see it for what it is. You may not like what you witness, but it’s the only way to get away from a vicious cycle of you being the giver and him being the taker.
  3. Aren’t you exhausted? Think about it: you’re the only one making the plans, you’re the only one texting him to hang out, you’re the only one, for the sake of argument, giving a damn. Aren’t you effing sick of giving a damn? Isn’t it time that someone else, as in the guy you’re seeing, gives a damn too? I wouldn’t think so. I would think you’d really like to take a nap and let him take over for a change.
  4. You wouldn’t let a friend tolerate this BS. If a friend came to you, complaining about being the only one who’s making an effort in her relationship, you’d probably tell her to not just end it, but run, run, run, in the opposite direction, and never look back. What this means is that you’re very much aware of how unfair such a scenario is. If you’d tell your friend to bail, then you need to give yourself the same advice.
  5. You can’t do this forever and respect yourself. I can’t stress enough just how much being a fool sucks. When we allow ourselves to become the fool, it means we’re at the whim of the other person in the relationship and that a power imbalance has been reached. You’ll never see the words “self-respect” and “fool” in the same sentence because they have no business being even remotely associated. So don’t be the fool if you want to keep your self-respect in check.
  6. You can’t place your bets on change. Let’s say you’ve reached the point where you’ve seen the light. You now know, as clear as day, that you’re the only one making all the effort. So, what’s next? You honestly believe he’s going to change? Is that what he told you? Fun fact: people don’t change. They can try, but trying requires effort. If he’s not making an effort in your relationship, you can’t expect him to make an effort in being a more engaging and better partner. It’s simple math.
  7. You don’t have the time. Realistically, when you look at your life, do you actually have the time in the day to be the only one putting in the effort? Between your career, your social life, your family obligations, your need to just sit and stare at the TV for a couple of hours to unwind, do you really have enough hours in the day to cater to a person who doesn’t want to lift a finger in the effort department? I highly doubt it.

A few things to remember

  1. He knows what he’s doing (or not doing). If you think for one second that he doesn’t know he’s not holding up his end of the bargain and is completely unaware that he’s lazy in the effort department, then you’re kidding yourself. More accurately, you’re effing delusional. He knows exactly what he’s doing. No, he doesn’t mind what he’s doing. You continuing to make an effort is just allowing him to remain complacent.
  2. You need to understand he’s not the only guy out there. I realize this isn’t’ breaking news, by any stretch of the imagination, but I also know that that aforementioned blindness can be debilitating when it comes to seeing things clearly. He’s not the only guy out there and, as much as it might seem a little impossible sometimes, there are more than a few guys who won’t just make the effort, but make the effort and want to make the effort, too.
  3. It’s okay to be selfish. Being selfish is sometimes a good thing. When you’ve given all you can and received nothing in return, it’s more than okay to wash your hands of the situation, sit back, and just be done with it. If he doesn’t pick up the slack that you left when you decided it was time to quit putting so much effort into things, then you have your answer. It’s time to move on to someone else.

It’s important that you value your own well-being above all else. Even if you really like this guy, you deserve better. Demanding that your partner knows your worth is the bare minimum. There’s someone out there who’s on your level. He will go above and beyond to not just meet your expectations but surpass them. Hold out until you find him.

Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.