For many, an ideal relationship is a partnership, but it's not unusual to have a partner who's more passive and one who's more assertive in a relationship. Which can be OK — in moderation. But if the relationship is too unbalanced, you might not even realize it, but resentment can start to build. "The real problem here is that resentment can build up over time and, like rust, it never sleeps – it just silently eats away at your relationship," Gary Brown, PhD, LMFT, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles who works with individuals and couples, tells Bustle. "As time goes on and the resentment builds it can reach the point where your partner actually begins to feel the worst form of resentment – bitterness. Once resentment reaches this state, a fair amount of damage has been done to the relationship."
If you have a tendency to be more passive, you should make sure that you're actually OK with it and that it's not slowly becoming a problem. It can be a thin line — a naturally passive person shouldn't have to change who they are — but it's an important thing to keep an eye on. Here's how you know if you've gotten too passive, because no matter what your personalities, you need to be an equal player.
1. Your Relationship Is Stagnating
If you're passive, there's a chance your relationship will suffer. "If you find yourself not actively building your relationship, then you're settling," life coach Danny Zoucha tells Bustle. "I don't care if you are 89 years old. If you're passive about it, you are settling and doing both of you a disservice." If neither of you are active participants in the relationship, your relationship will bear the burden.
2. You're Moving Faster Than You're Comfortable With
If you're really passive in the relationship, you can get swept away with what your partner wants. If they want to move quickly with things like defining the relationship and moving in together, you may be going along for the ride. Make sure that you're doing things that you're comfortable with.
3. You Always Defer To Your Partner's Choices
Choosing a movie? Picking a restaurant? It should be a conversation. If you're always going along with what your partner wants, then you're missing out.
4. You Find Yourself Parroting
If you're really passive, you may start absorbing your partners views and opinions. If you find their opinions coming out of your mouth, you need to stop and think why that is happening.
5. You Don't Feel Like Yourself
Similarly, if you feel like you're just becoming an add-on to another person, rather than a person in your own right, that's a sign that your passivity is going to far. A relationship is made up of two distinct people — don't lose yourself in it.
6. You're Growing Resentful
Like I said, being passive can easily lead to resentment. If you feel like you can't speak up, you may find it more and more difficult. "Resentment is a huge trigger in any relationship," executive editor and founder of Cupid's Pulse Lori Bizzoco tells Bustle. "Couples are bound to fight and even blow things out of proportion sometimes, but the key is solving the problem and moving forward." To do that, you may need to step up to the plate and be open about how you're feeling.
7. You've Given Up Things You Care About
If you have a demanding partner and you're used to giving into them, you may find yourself giving up things that are really important to you. Make sure that you're not letting go of your deal-breakers. “A deal-breaker is an issue that is so important to a person, that if the other person will not compromise or concede, the relationship would probably not work out," psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "They are things that are so deeply and utterly important to the person, that they could not be in a relationship with someone who did not share, or at least support and respect them."
Being passive as a person isn't a problem, but if you're too passive in a relationship, then you can lose a part of yourself. Make sure that you're keeping an eye on it, because you and your relationship can both suffer.