Do you do all the pleasing in your relationships?
Are you a person who never says no? Do you always push down your thoughts and feelings to please the other person? You might want to go to the cinema but your partner wants to go to a party. What do you do? Do you give in and go to the party or put your foot down and insist on the cinema?
Moderating your thoughts and feelings are necessary in many social situations, especially work – but in loving relationships, your thoughts and feelings are part of your connection to the other person. Both of you need to feel free to express yourselves as part of sharing a life together. If you are continually pushing down your feelings and not voicing what you want, then your partner is having a greater say. Do they have power with you or over you?
Do you fear your own autonomy, and the responsibility that comes with it, to the point you would give up your own hopes and dreams? Maybe even some of your identity to live a life someone else sets out for you. Also think what it is like to live with someone who never offers any challenge – perhaps that leaves your partner having to make all the decisions and shoulder the responsibility when things go wrong.
Some people stay in a relationship because it is better than living alone. They avoid conflict because it is easier to go along with the other person. There are lots of reasons why we can all do this – perhaps we feel guilty, or undeserving or maybe we are just repeating past patterns.
Your partner needs to know when you are hurting and why, and what needs to be different. If you always give in, how will they know the disappointment you are feeling inside? It’s not about being the boss either. It is about mutual accommodation, treating each other as equals. Sorting out differences in a way that is respectful and fair will not only make you both feel happier, it is also the key to a lasting relationship.
A good test is to ask yourself when was the last time you, or your partner, did something just for you? If we are always pleasing others, then we are always compromising ourselves.
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