11 Signs You're Trying Too Hard To Make Your Relationship Work
All relationships require a healthy dose of effort to keep them healthy, and moving in the right direction. But if it feels like you're trying too hard to make your relationship work, it may be a sign your relationship isn't meant to last long-term.
"Many people 'try too hard' because the relationship itself is seriously flawed," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. It could be you aren't addressing certain underlying problems, or that your partner isn't willing to meet you halfway when it comes to creating a healthy relationship.
But it could also be a sign of incompatibility, which is sometimes fixable. And sometimes not. "Incompatibility can be addressed and overcome simply by gaining a deeper understanding of each persons' needs (whether emotional, activity based, or values based), communicating these needs to one another, and offering each partner the opportunity to meet them," dating and relationship coach Rachel Perlstein, LCSW, tells Bustle.
By talking it out, you may find that your partner is willing to compromise, or that things begin to feel more fair and balanced. It's important, however, to be honest with yourself and look at the relationship from an outside perspective. Is it actually healthy? Is it worth all the effort? If not, you may start to experience some of the problems listed below, which experts say may be sign your relationship just isn't mean to be.
1. You Can't Fix The Emotional Disconnect
If you've been trying to bridge the emotional gap between you and your partner for some time now, but your partner refuses to meet you halfway, you may need to step back and see the relationship for what it really is.
"Both partners need to work together to create an intimate friendship and close bond," Katie Ziskind, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "If your relationship is missing out on emotional connection, it may not be worth it."
Of course, only you can decide what feels right. And no relationship will ever be 100 percent "perfect." But you should never feel like you're the only one who cares, or like you're the only one who's making an effort.
2. You Feel Drained All The Time
While relationships can certainly be difficult — and even downright draining at times — that shouldn't be the case 24/7. So if you only ever feel dragged down by your partner, it may be a sign this relationship isn't worth the effort.
"If you find your relationship and being together draining, whereas you find more joy and fulfillment in your life when you’re not together, then this might be a red flag," Heidi McBain, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.
It can also be emotionally draining when you're making a big effort to fix something that just can't be fixed, such as a major lack of compatibility. Keep in mind that, at some point, it may be healthiest to back away.
3. You Are Blamed For Everything
"If you are involved with someone who tends to blame you for their anger and problems, and you spend too much energy either defending yourself or trying to be understood, stop expecting the light bulb to turn on," mental health consultant Judith Belmont, MS, LPC, tells Bustle.
At some point, it may be healthier to accept that your partner isn't on the same page, and may not be willing to see the role they play in the relationship. And that's not something that's likely to go away.
4. You're Constantly Irritated
When you're the only one making an effort in your relationship, you're bound to burn out eventually. And when that happens, it can lead to feelings of irritation that just won't go away.
"Everything your partner does irritates or upsets you, and results in avoiding your partner or picking on/engaging in conflict all the time with this person," Perlstein says.
While it's fine — and even healthy — to have the occasional argument, ongoing bickering and feelings of irritation may be a sign you're forcing things to work.
5. You Keep Arguing About The Future
If you aren't on the same page about the future, don't be surprised when you end up having arguments about where your lives are headed, where you see yourselves in five years, and so on.
"It’s normal to argue," Bennett says. "But, if your arguments center around different life goals (e.g. commitment level, having kids, and so on), then you’re probably trying too hard to make the relationship work. It’s possible there’s a fundamental incompatibility."
While some incompatibilities can be overcome by compromising, an ongoing argument that can't be solved is a sure sign something's not working. Try to be honest with yourself about what you want, and from there, decide if the relationship feels worth it.
6. You're Always Seeking A Second Opinion
It's definitely healthy to turn to friends or family for help when you need some relationship advice. But if you find yourself turning to them every single day, with new or worsening problems, take note.
As Bennett says, "While I highly advise seeking outside help if you have a relationship problem, if you’re always trying to find ways to fix your relationship, you need to ask, 'Why does it constantly need fixing?' It might be that the relationship will never work as it should." And the sooner you can acknowledge that, the better.
7. Your Relationship Is Definitely One-Sided
"If the relationship effort is one-sided, then it’s a huge red flag," Bennett says. "Relationships take the full attention of two people. If you feel like you’re doing all of the work to make the relationship healthy, then is it really worth investing in for the long-term?"
You can certainly bring this to your partner's attention, and see if they'll be willing to pick up the slack. By talking about it, you may be able to create a healthier relationship. But if they're not willing to meet you halfway, it may be best to just move on.
8. You Always Feel Inadequate
If it feels like no matter what you do, or how hard you try, your partner will never appreciate you, that's a sure sign you're trying too hard.
"A healthy relationship should make you feel like the best version of yourself," Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site TruthFinder, tells Bustle. "If you feel like you're always falling short, it's time to reevaluate the things (or people) that make you feel that way."
9. Your Relationship Feels Like An Uphill Battle
"When something is right, it feels effortless and everything flows," Graber says. "On the flip side, if something is wrong, your relationship might feel like an endless uphill battle. From making conversation to making plans for Saturday night, everything feels like work."
While you can't expect every day with your partner to be smooth sailing, you shouldn't have to try this hard. "A relationship is not meant to feel like a job," Graber says. "If you feel like you've been working overtime, but you still feel stuck in the same place as you were a month ago, it's time to sit down with your partner and have a talk about where things are going."
10. You've Lost Yourself In The Process
Unhealthy relationships require more effort to keep them going, so take note if you find yourself putting your own wants and needs on the back burner, and instead spend all your energy patching up problems with your partner.
As Graber says, "If your relationship has become about trying to satisfy your partner's needs, while ignoring your own, it's a red flag that something is wrong."
11. You've Resorted To Changing Yourself
As a last ditch effort to keep a dying relationship afloat, you might try changing certain things about yourself as a way of winning your partner's love. This might include adopting a new appearance, or even swapping out long-held values to make your partner happy. And both can be considered red flags.
"In our interpersonal relationships, we should aim at being our true selves," Graber says. "Experimentation is a good thing, but if you feel like you're trying to impress your partner by becoming someone else, you might be trying too hard to make it work."
If you notice any of these problems in your relationship, have a conversation with your partner. It's always possible to fix unhealthy dynamics and turn a relationship around. But if you feel like you're trying too hard to make things work, that very well may be the case.