Being tired from spending time with your partner is not a good feeling. But how do you know if you're being totally consumed by your relationship? What are the signs your partner is emotionally draining you? How do you know whether the exhaustion you are carrying all the time is related to your mate, or if you're just tuckered out in general? Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate feelings of being totally tapped out because of a job or life from the same feelings originating from a relationship.
As such, I posed these questions to a host of excellent relationship experts, who can tell one from the other and know when your partner is just straight-up emotionally draining you, and how you can tell. From feeling as though your boo is siphoning off all of your free energy to noticing that you're spending way too much time ruminating on what one expert calls "intrusive thoughts," there are some surefire signs of emotional drain via relationship.
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1. You Can't Stop Thinking About Them
"Your partner might be draining you emotionally when you spend an unhealthy amount of time focused on intrusive thoughts," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. She defines these as the types of thoughts that completely take over your airspace, as it were, at all hours of the day and night: "When you are thinking about what they are doing, who they are with, what they are doing with this person, or what the nature of this relationship is — this can be draining."
This isn't the fault of your partner, but an issue that you likely brought into the relationship from your past, which is good and bad. Good because it means you can work on it on your own, but also bad because it's all on you, and you'll take it where ere you go. If it's keeping you up at night, all the more reason to figure out how to stop. "If you are staying up to all hours of the night with racing thoughts and worries about your partner, this is definitely draining," Martinez says. For real!
2. You're Tired All The Time
"We are all energy. Our hearts beat because of energy, our brains function because of energetic impulses," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "Our cells are filled with energy. When we don't feel well, we feel tired. When we feel alive, we feel energized." This extends to your personal relationships. "When your partner makes you feel more like you have a cold or flu, rather than on top of the world, they are draining you emotionally."
But just because you feel under the weather when you're with someone a lot does not mean you need to break up with them. "It simply means you are perhaps giving too much; it may not even be them," she says. Though it's easy to point fingers, the call may be coming from inside the house, as it were.
"I urge clients to pull back when they feel this. You are in charge of your own energy," she says. Regardless of who is responsible, the answer is to go inward and take some time to figure out what you need. "If they are draining you, first look at you, then look at them," she says. "This is very fixable. If it is you, pull back. If it is them, pull back. Your energy is yours, and can't be given or stolen unless you hand over the power to someone else." Truth.
3. You Can't Wait For A Solo Weekend
"You’re relieved that you have a weekend alone," New-York-based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "When you’re spending more of your energy that you want to on your partner and his [or her] needs, a break is going to seem like much more than a break." Though we all need alone time, this extreme feeling of looking forward to having solo time is a flag.
"It’s going to seem like a cause for fireworks, champagne corks popping, and a loud 'Whoopee!'" she says. "If you’re all that excited to have a weekend alone, consider that the reason for your joy is that they're draining you when they're around." Not a good sign. "You should be happy to have a break, but not that happy." If you don't miss your partner when they're gone, then it might be time to give the whole thing some thought.
4. Your Partner Is Not Boosting You Emotionally
It may sound anticlimactic, but the fastest way to tell whether you're getting sapped by your partner is to just tune into the way you feel when you're together. "Particularly in an established relationship, we are prone to simply go through the motions without reflecting on how we feel moment to moment," marriage and family therapist and relationship expert Esther Boykin tells Bustle. "However, it is in the small moments, like when they text you or as you're getting ready to go out together, that you will find the most telling signs of how your partner is affecting you emotionally."
She continues: "Over time, Friday night date night may become routine, and no longer elicit the same butterflies of excitement — but does it make you feel tired and disinterested? Do you put off responding to their texts and phone calls, or avoid doing activities alone with them? The small responses to your partner's bids for attention are indicative of how they are impacting your emotional well-being. It is in these easily overlooked reactions that you will find the most accurate clues to whether or not your partner is boosting or draining your emotional life." If you feel drained, trust it, and talk to your partner about it.
5. You Have To Recover After You See Each Other
"You are with an emotional vampire if you find yourself physically drained," psychologist, image consultant and dating expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes tells Bustle. "Emotionally sensitive people and empaths often do not pick up on these cues right away." If you've just had a date, and now you feel flat-out exhausted, give it some thought. "[When] you are usually able to get through your day, and now need to spend the entire weekend recovering, it may be worth exploring who is sucking up your energy." If signs point to your partner, it's time to make a change.
6. You Feel As Though They Always Ask Too Much
"If you are emotionally overwhelmed by the requests of your partner, you have the feeling — 'Now it’s too much,'" Salama Marine, psychologist and online dating expert for dating website EliteSingles, tells Bustle. "It’s not about your partner’s behavior, but more about how you feel about it." In other words, one person's crazy is another person's normal, and there isn't a one-size-fits-all emotionally draining behavior. Rather, it's all about how you feel about the needs of your boo. "Everybody has their own limit," Marine reminds. If you are constantly hitting your breaking point, you're being emotionally drained.
7. Conversations Exhaust You
"A sure sign that your partner is draining you emotionally is a feeling of fatigue that washes over you whenever you get into a conversation with them," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "This may start as a tired feeling and then progress into quick-tempered annoyance at things that you would previously never have thought twice about." In other words, you may just feel tired out at first, but, slowly but surely, little things will start bothering you.
"Have you ever argued with someone and they end it abruptly by just saying the word 'whatever' and walking away?" he asks. If so, you may be dealing with someone who is very emotionally draining.
8. You Feel As Though You're Walking On Eggshells
"If you feel like sharing your own feelings or relying on your partner emotionally will rock the boat, chances are you feel emotionally drained," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "You never want to feel like someone's counselor, but that line can be blurred when there isn't a 50/50 split on emotional sharing." We all need to be able to lean on our partners from time to time. "If you feel like relying on them in the slightest bit will cause an implosion, it's best to reevaluate the stability of your relationship," she says. Though you can't rely on your partner for everything, in times of need, they need to be able to be there for you.
9. You're Not Getting Your Needs Met
"If they refuse to listen to you and communicate by arguing to get their way, you will feel drained, and that your needs aren't getting met," Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. "If you feel that most of the relationship is you listening and they are not, reconsider if this relationship is worth it," she says. Relationships must be a give and take situation, and if it doesn't feel that way for you, you'll feel exhausted from your partner all the time.
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