People are always talking about how “asking for more” from your partner will bring you closer and solve all your relationship problems, but when I tried it, my relationship crumbled. What the hell?
It seemed to come as a surprise that I wasn’t there to make him happy.
I’d spent so much of my life trying to be the peacemaker and making sure everyone else was doing OK that when I’d finally had enough and started asking for what I needed, my boyfriend didn’t seem to recognize me. I’d always just thought of myself as someone who got along with everyone, but I started to realize that I’d actually just been putting everyone above myself.
He’d gotten used to me being a pushover.
My sudden demand for normal human decency was a bit shocking for my ex because I’d been so eager to cause as little disruption as possible throughout our relationship. We’d gotten along great, as any couple would when one of them refuses to confront their frustration over the other person’s selfishness. It’s no wonder he wasn’t sure how to handle it when I started asking for what I needed.
I learned a few things about my boyfriend that I wish I’d learned sooner.
To put it mildly, there’s a reason some guys date easygoing girls, and it’s not because we’re extra lovable. It’s because the guys who want to date girls who don’t ask for what they want are narcissists with zero regard for anyone else’s needs. This can be difficult to detect when you’re falling love with someone, but in hindsight, it’s crystal clear. If only I’d been so clear-headed when I first met him.
I became myself, and it wasn’t the person he’d been dating.
When you’re falling in love with someone, it can be easy to let your own needs take a backseat. As our relationship got more serious, however, I started noticing how comfortable my boyfriend was with putting his own needs first and ignoring mine. When I finally put my foot down and started asking for more, he had no idea who I was. He’d been dating me because I allowed him to be selfish and when I stopped putting up with his self-absorption and was just myself, he didn’t recognize me.
You’d think being agreeable would make a relationship easy.
At first, going with the flow (which actually means doing everything the other person wants to do) made life easy—no arguments, happy partner, what’s not to like? But eventually, it turns you into a repressed, angry, and deeply unhappy person. Our relationship was effortless for him but for me, it was exhausting.
Disagreements tell you a lot about who you’re dating.
There is no better way to see a person’s true colors than when they are upset with you. You’d think that couples that never fight would be the most stable and healthy, but it’s been proven time and again that couples who fight together stay together. By avoiding confrontation at all turns, I was ensuring that we never got to really know each other, which, you know, isn’t ideal in a relationship.
Sometimes broken things shouldn’t be fixed.
Once we’d established that I wasn’t going to indulge his selfishness anymore, it became pretty clear that we were over as a couple. Relationships take work, obviously, but it’s also valuable to know when to just call it off. Some things shouldn’t even have started. Get out early. It’ll save you a lot of grief and time.
Dating is harder, but I’m a lot happier.
I don’t put up with crap anymore, which really weeds out a lot of potential terrible boyfriends. These days, I only date guys who want to share their lives and make me just as happy and fulfilled as I want to make them. It sounds obvious, but look around, there are a lot of really unbalanced relationships out there. I’m not going to be in one of them again.
You should never compromise yourself for a relationship.
The first rule of being a human being on planet earth should be to stay true to yourself, and yet somehow, most of us forget to do this, especially where relationships are concerned. You will never be happy, personally or in a relationship, if you allow yourself to fade into the background for the sake of someone else.
My own happiness comes before anyone else’s now.
While I’ll never be as selfish as my ex (some people are particularly talented in that area), I’ll never go back to being the easygoing girlfriend who puts everyone else before herself either. I say no to things I don’t want to do and date guys who are good partners. I argue with them and love them and know them better because of it. Most importantly, I listen to my own needs and make them my priority. I don’t know about you, but that’s the recipe for a happy me, and I’ll take happiness over a relationship any day.
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