Sometimes when you're in love, you find yourself saying (and hearing) things like "I would do anything for you" or "I would die for you." It's romantic, and it's usually backed by some real, deep emotion. But is it realistic? And what are unreasonable things to ask of your partner, or to do for your partner? The movies would have you believe that nothing is out of bounds. That if you can think of things you wouldn't do for your partner, then they're not your soulmate. Well, that's a heartwarming notion, but its also a load of crap. There are just a ton of needs your partner can't, and shouldn't meet for you, and you should never ask them to. And vice versa.
When I worked with couples as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I saw a lot of people with guilt because they didn't have that undying, all-or-nothing love of the movies. I also saw a lot of people who asked unreasonable things of their partners, and those partners felt guilty for not wanting to do them. I'm not talking about taking out the trash, either. I'm talking about big, life changing stuff. If you're asking your partner to do these unreasonable things, or trying to do them yourself, you're adding an unnecessary burden to your love.
1. To Be Your Only Friend
As you get older and closer, and life gets in the way of those easy friendships of your youth, it may seem like your partner is your best and only friend. But it's unreasonable to ask your partner to fill all the roles of a friend. I mean, who are you going to vent to when your partner gets on your last nerve? Plus, it's much healthier to have your own individual relationships with a few close friends and family members that you can lean on during those times when your partner is juggling their own stuff, or when they're not around. Your partner can't be all things to you, no matter how hard they try. And it's unreasonable to ask them to try.
2. To Give Up Their Dreams
We all have dreams. Whether those dreams are to write a bestseller, front a rock band, or play video games in your underwear for money, they're your dreams to have. You have as much right to them as your partner has to theirs. While it's totally fair for you to ask your partner to keep up their end of your combined life responsibilities (which may sometimes mean those dreams drop in priority) it's unreasonable to ask your partner to give up their dreams forever. It's part of loving your partner for who they are.
3. To Give Up Their Family
You can't ask your partner to give up their family, especially in a "pick me or them" scenario. I know that sometimes toxic family members make life miserable and it would be better for everyone if you your partner just cut them off, but that's not your decision to make. You don't have to have relationships with your partners family, and you don't have to tolerate inappropriate behavior in your home or your presence. But if you force your partner to cut ties with their family, you're just asking for resentment.
4. To Not Be Happy
Life in a relationship is a long string of compromises and sacrifices. Sometimes you get exactly what you want, and sometimes it's your turn to let your partner have their moment. In the long run, as long as things are fair and equal, these types of compromises make relationships stronger. But if what you're asking your partner to do would make them seriously unhappy, such as leaving family and friends to move across the country, or quitting a really fulfilling job to do something that makes more money but causes tons of stress and misery, that's unreasonable. Life is too short to force unhappiness on your partner.
5. To Read Your Mind
You have to communicate in a relationship, and communicate a lot. That's just the reality of things. Expecting your partner to read your mind is not only unreasonable, it's lazy. This will mean something different for every couple. It's not unreasonable, for example, to expect your partner to do something in celebration of your birthday, but if it's specific things you want, you need to speak up. If there are needs you feel aren't getting met, you need to talk about that. No matter how well your partner knows you, or how close you are, there's not a window into your mind that your partner can gaze into. Speak up!
6. To Face Danger
If your partner wants to volunteer to jump into an active volcano to retrieve the ring you accidentally dropped in there on vacation, that's one thing. But to ask them? That's another. In my house, that means not asking clumsy people to clean gutters, but it might be something more extreme to you. This is one of those situations where it's OK to know in your heart that your partner would take a bullet for you without making them prove it. It's totally unreasonable to place your partner in danger under the guise of "if you loved me, you would do it."
7. To Do The Wrong Thing
You and your partner are a team. Sometimes that means your partner should just have your back, no matter what. But sometimes it means supporting your partner's right to not support you. I know, that seems like a mouthful of nonsense. But you can't ask your partner do lie for you, commit crimes for you, or do things that don't sit well on their conscience, if they're not comfortable. It's up to each person to decide what is the right thing to do in any situation.
Your partner shouldn't have to prove their love for you in unreasonable ways. It should come out in everyday actions and words.
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