We’ve all been there in the early stages of a relationship when we’re not sure how much of ourselves to show. Everyone becomes a people pleaser when they’re unsure of how to balance their affection with their self-respect. No matter how well-meaning, it’s not sustainable in the long term. Here are some of the struggles of dating when you’re a people pleaser.
You’re rarely honest.
Honesty is the best policy. That’s what we’ve always been taught, yes? But what happens when you have internalized the belief that your points of view or opinions aren’t important? Or, if when you were a teenager you didn’t think anyone would ever love you,and as a result, you become blind to their flaws because you’re so grateful for their attention? Well, this means that if you perceive the other person in the relationship to have the power to end, progress, and define the relationship, then you won’t ascribe yourself that power or agency. It means that you’re happy to just please this person in your life in order to keep them. To preserve the relationship rather than grow it. They deserve to know the real you. Let them see it.
You don’t communicate your needs.
Dating as a people pleaser means communication is pretty nonexistent or dysfunctional at the very least. You aren’t getting your needs met. No one is a mind reader, and we all need to be told, corrected, or guided in order to align with our partner’s needs. However, your role in the relationship is not to serve your partner – they should offer you support in return. Proportion is key. You shouldn’t doubt your relationship so much that you overcompensate by smothering them.
You will accept poor sex.
Or at least, you won’t make any attempt to be adventurous, spontaneous, or willing to improve things. The sex may well be good, or at least okay, but there’s always room to improve. Even if you don’t think so, experimenting with kinks, positions, conditions, is always fun. That’s what keeps things fresh and exciting for both parties. It gets to the point where it might have gone on for so long that you don’t feel like you can say “a little to the left” or “harder” during sex when it would make the world of difference. Your partner likely wants to hear this feedback from you, but you might have it in your head that they don’t want to be corrected. Don’t waste your life presuming things.
You define yourself by how you serve other people.
List three things you like about yourself that aren’t ways you serve other people. Go on. It’s hard, isn’t it? You have to get through the initial layer of people-pleasing and the desire for validation that we all have. It’s not a terrible personal flaw, but it’s still something to be mindful of correcting. Assertiveness and confidence are what we look for in a mate, after all.
You’re constantly anxious.
You accept everyone else’s burdens and you feel responsible for all their emotions, that’s a lot of pressure. Even though, the reality is that everyone has emotions and responses to things that can’t be predicted. Even if you think you are hacking the relationship, or manipulating things to keep them at bay, you’re not. Not as much as you think, anyway. Be certain of yourself, know that the moment isn’t fragile. You can return to things. You’re there for the long haul and so are they.
You think everything is your fault.
We all like to blame ourselves when things go wrong. However, things happen that aren’t just the result of your action or inaction. There are a thousand infinite ways in which our day-to-day routine is influenced by the world around us. Calm down. Sometimes people are narcissists and you aren’t the only person with flaws. Relationships end for so many reasons.
You put your partner on a pedestal.
You think that they can do no wrong. This comes from a place of low confidence or believing that you are fundamentally unworthy of the love that you are receiving. It makes you suspicious of it, untrustworthy. Value yourself. Put yourself in their shoes and reflect on all the reasons they love you. Always have the power to break up a relationship if you want more.
You’re a chameleon.
You love to absorb other people’s personalities and insert yourself into their lives, but you struggle to do the same in return. You doubt yourself and feel needlessly ashamed of introducing people to your family or your personal space because you think it will be inferior or embarrassing. However, this is a big part of being vulnerable, you have to share things. It’s a slow process, but a worthwhile one in feeling comfortable.
There you are, a few reasons why being a people-pleaser brings with it its own baggage in relationships, and why it’s worth addressing.