“Healthy relationships are based on caring for each other,” says author Hara Estroff Maran. “We reach out to friends who need support, we try to understand what they are missing and what we can do for them. We know we should, but often we don’t do the same for our partners.”
In a relationship, we often take a lot of things for granted. We love each other, don’t we? However, a great imbalance in the level of mutual care or long-term dissatisfaction that we are not getting what we need from our partner, despite their best efforts, can cause great damage.
But even a simple must give, he did not apply. Of course, relationships don’t work on the principle of something for something, when one exchanges the service of one for an act performed by the other. You won’t say to your partner with the flu, “I made you some lemon tea now, so go grease my bread.” Naturally, we take care of a sick person for a few weeks. So how do you actually give the same?
Nothing lasts eternally
“There will be times in your relationship where you feel like it’s all up to you,” confirms relationship consultant Stephanie Struth, noting that that in itself determines the quality of the relationship unless it lasts forever.
“We all have days when we are desperate and days when we are strong. You can be someone’s strength in a relationship when they are weak, but the roles have to change.”
But if you have any doubts, it helps to first ask yourself if your counterpart is really doing something. Shouldn’t you, on the contrary, simply not see how he takes care of you? He may even have the same feelings as you – and when you confront him with your frustration, he’ll tell you that he’s not getting what he needs from you either.
“One of the most common partner complaints in my practice is that their partner doesn’t listen to them, clients feel ignored, unimportant to each other, and basically unloved,” says clinical psychologist Dianne Grande. In this case, he usually explains the concept of basic emotional needs.
According to psychologist Willard Harley, there is an emotional need for longing that, if satisfied, makes us happy and satisfied. But if it is not fulfilled, it leaves us frustrated and unhappy.
Storms and frustrations can involve both emotional and practical things. The psychologist interviewed a number of couples and in 2001 compiled a list of the ten most common emotional needs:
1. Appreciation and admiration. We receive compliments, the partner comments on our positive qualities, appreciates the work we do at home and at work, and handles criticism carefully.
2. Affection. It can mean hugs, lovely text messages, affectionate smiles, holding hands, and other expressions of love.
3. A partner for recreational activities. The partner spends time with us, for example playing sports or pursuing a hobby together.
4. Home help. We both help with household chores.
5. Devotion to family. The partner spends time with the children. He teaches them our common values, he is able to model good behavior with their example.
6. Financial support. It means having a partner who brings resources and helps the family to a certain level. It is also possible to agree with him when and for what money will be spent and when it will be saved.
7. Openness and honesty. It is the will of the other to reveal facts about the past and the present, but also plans for the future.
8. Intimate conversation. Enriching exchanges on subjects that concern both, as well as a willingness to listen.
9. Physical attractiveness. He just tries to pull us in naturally. Weight, clothing style, haircut and hygiene play a role. The partner thus shows that he wants to love his counterpart.
10. Sexual fulfillment. It’s about sexual intimacy, not just sex itself, but also the feeling of actual intimacy.
Partners are not our copies
Of course, these needs may not be the same for everyone. Experts confirm that it is perfectly normal for someone to not need a financial background, for example, but enjoy admiration and recognition. Neither the opposite nor a completely different example is of course wrong…
In this context, however, it is interesting to note that when Willard Harley asked the couple in the study to identify their five most important emotional needs, the partners generally chose five different ones.
“No wonder a lot of people have no idea what their partner really wants from them. Many of us assume that other people’s needs are the same as ours,” says Dianne Grande.
“You may find that some of these needs are communicated more often by men and some by women, but that’s not relevant in this situation,” says the psychologist, adding that it’s more important to determine which one our particular counterpart prefers.
However, it is necessary to take care of your partner and support him in a so-called healthy way. If our efforts exceed a certain limit, we will do a lot of damage. Everyone should honestly answer the question of whether a great concern for the other does not disturb their own well-being. You cannot give much more than you receive. Or take responsibility for another’s life.
In the same way, we can smother our partner with excessive care – in fact, we don’t even give him the space to do something himself. However, it is often difficult to stop excessive care. Even though we think it would be easier to spit it all out.
If you know this description, you’ve probably often had to rely on yourself in a crisis – and you’ve found that when you lock yourself in, things get better.
“In anxiety, we always look for the quickest way to calm ourselves and others down. For many people, the quickest solution is to deal with family, friends and strangers,” explains psychologist Kathleen Smith For those who help and heal, her activity usually brings not only calm, but also a sense of strength and a certain superiority.
Under permanent control
But there are also people who “solve” problems passively. When these two opposites meet in a relationship, there is usually a dynamic similar to that of a parent-child relationship rather than two adults.
A more active partner tends to control everything and get it themselves. He wants to fill the anxious void created for him by the fact that his partner simply does not act.
It is difficult to get out of such a vicious circle. Psychologist Kateřina Rychlá recommends those who care too much to take the first step by imagining that a “carefree child” does not need parents for a while, but wants a partner. According to her, the “parent” feels that his role is not welcome, but he does not know where to go. So it helps a lot when the partners clarify the actual roles.
“It just came to our knowledge at that time. Maybe completely differently, through a different topic, in a different way. Maybe they just need to be more aware. Grant- you to yourself. Not just to hear what the other is saying, but to understand.”
It sounds simple, but it takes a lot of determination and effort. “If you’ve seen your partner as a child for five or ten years, a similar move can be difficult, but I think it’s important. Because assuming you already really know each other, even the most basic alienation can come. “
According to the psychologist, after years of living together and entrenched stereotypes, it is perhaps almost beyond our power to realize that no matter how immature and threatened by the other person’s attitude towards life, the other person seems to us, few really want to be permanently under control. .
“It can be difficult to accept that our sage advice is not welcome. But it can certainly be a way to be happier in the end not only in the relationship with the partner, but also outside, “concludes the expert.
How to transition from parent to partner
- Review your motivations. People who have the experience that nothing will change without them are always ready to unfold the change for others. And that seems normal to them. But is it really necessary? You can’t really control an adult.
- Find out how you would like to behave. For every dysfunctional behavior, find functional ones. Try to drop what you want to fix, as it will scatter you. Endure doing nothing, even if you don’t like it. Let your counterpart do something you did for them. And compare the result with the past.
- Think of yourself. The things you left behind to take care of your partner. Take back responsibility for your life and leave your partner here. What favorite hobby have you given up to take on the weight of two lives instead?
- If you don’t have two, you won’t change anything. It’s like that. You can stand on your head and think with your ears, but ultimately it will be up to your partner to act as the partner.