When you have a partner you love and trust, you know that relying on each other is just the name of the game. But sometimes you get into such regular patterns with your loved one that you start forgetting how their contributions take effort and commitment that should always be acknowledged. While everyone does it sometimes, looking out for
signs that you’re taking your partner for granted and don’t realize it, is a good way to make sure that you don’t.
Even if you feel like you might be guilty of this, worry not. Relationships take a lot of work, and it’s never too late to start reconsidering your approach. As
Myles Cohen, dating and transformation coach, tells Bustle, you always want to consider your relationship as being like a third party. It’s you, your partner, and then everything that’s between you. That can be a first step to simply cultivating awareness that your relationship is its own living entity that deserves its own space and has its own needs.
“If you can both commit to the mutual goal of seeing your relationship as a third entity which needs to be nurtured and protected, you're both able to zoom out and see the bigger picture,” Cohen says. ”This will allow both partners to understand that any obstacle you face is only temporary, and will help prevent you or your partner from taking things too personally.”
Check out some signs that you might be taking your “number one” for granted, and what to do about it.
You Are Always Putting Your Needs And Wants First
Whether it’s always choosing your favorite restaurant, the aisle seat on a plane, or consistently being the first to share about your daily stressors, thinking about what you want and need first and foremost can be waring in a partnership.
“If you're not considering your partner's thoughts and feelings when you make decisions, they're most likely going to feel taken for granted,” says Cohen. “A
relationship needs a team mentality to flourish.”
While you always want to listen to yourself and be honest about what you need, make an effort to know about and honor your partner’s needs as well.
Your Partner Initiates And Plans Most Things
Your partner sets up the Friday night plans, makes dinner for the week, and is even the one who initiates sex. Does this sound familiar? “If your partner seems to be the one who initiates most things, you may be taking your partner for granted,” relationship expert and
counselor David Bennett, tells Bustle. Even if you are someone who likes to go with the flow and your partner loves to plan, keep in mind that it is important for you to make active efforts in your relationship as well. It never hurts to plan a date night, for example.
Your Partner Does Most Of The Heavy Lifting Emotionally
Being in a relationship is kind of like doing a group project. Everyone needs to do their fair share when it comes to doing a good job.
“I see many relationships where only one partner seems concerned about the relationship’s development, and the other partner doesn’t,” says Bennett. “If your partner is the one who always suggests increasing communication, working things out, or even getting help when needed (such as counseling), you may be taking them for granted.”
It’s also important to be on the same page when it comes to what both of you want out of the relationship, so that you can communicate the best way to take care of it and each other.
You Just ‘Expect’ Your Partner To Make Sacrifices
Now, you don’t need to give your partner a sticker every time they do the dishes, but appreciating both the little and big sacrifices made in the relationship is really important for sustaining a lasting connection.
“It’s easy to just 'expect' your partner to do certain things,” Bennett says, “whether it’s working overtime for extra money, taking out the trash, or making some type of other sacrifice, rather than truly appreciating what they do.”
But nobody likes to make sacrifices without being seen and thanked. So if you find yourself feeling entitled to something you “expect” your partner to do, rather than being truly grateful and appreciative for what they do, Bennett says, this might be a sign that you are taking them for granted. Even simply making a genuine “thank you” a habit in
your daily communications can go a long way.
You Get Frustrated When They Talk About Their Feelings
While this can be a hard thing to admit, it’s true that one of the most difficult things about being in a relationship is that you’re dealing with another living being who has tons of emotions. “If you feel overwhelmed or frustrated when your partner shares their feelings, this might be a sign you're taking them for granted,”
Nancy Ruth Deen, a breakup coach, tells Bustle.
This is an opportunity for you to feel into what's coming up for you while you hear your partner speak about their emotions.
Instead of just asking "how are you feeling?" when you notice your partner seeming distant or removed, respond empathetically by asking, "you seem a little frustrated, is there something you'd like to talk about?" This can be extremely helpful to have a partner identify needs and feelings even before they realize it, says Deen. This also signals to your partner that you want to understand them, and are creating space for that to happen.
You Complain About Your Partner To Other People All The Time
Of course, letting off some steam to your friends about your partner is to be expected. But if you find yourself frequently complaining about them, focusing solely on things you don’t enjoy about them, it could be a sign that you are taking their other qualities for granted.
“There is no perfect relationship, but what you focus on expands,”
relationship coach Crystal Irom, tells Bustle. “And as you focus on the things you don’t like, they’ll become more irritating and blatant. You’ll take your partner for granted even more. It becomes a continuing cycle.”
While this could be a sign that something needs to be addressed in your relationship, also try to focus on what you love about your partner deliberately, she suggests. “Everyone can evolve if they want, but instead of trying to change your partner, try to love the things that are wonderful about them.”
You Care Less About Your Appearance
While being comfortable in your relationship can be a good thing, according to
psychotherapist Christine Scott-Hudson, if you are getting lackadaisical in the personal hygiene and self-care department, this might be a real signal you are taking your loved one for granted.
And again, if you want to stay in and watch TV in bed with your loved one and wear something cozy, that’s great! “But, even of you skip the fancy restaurant, don't skimp on your personal hygiene routine, take a shower, floss and brush your teeth and comb your hair,” she says. You want to make sure you treat your partner as someone worthy of your respect, even in a physical sense.
While it all might
seem like a lot to keep in mind, small considerations for your partner and expressions of gratitude throughout the day really go a long way. You might be surprised at what a positive difference it makes, and while you appreciate them, they are more likely to appreciate you as well!