Relationships are hard work. You've no doubt heard people say this before. But the notion of "working hard" on love can be confusing. Exactly how challenging is it supposed to be? When can you tell if you're actually putting too much effort into a relationship and not getting enough back?
Well, if this possibility is something you're grappling with, begin first and foremost by checking in with yourself and your needs in the partnership. And as therapist Dea Dean, who has a private practice in Mississippi, tells Bustle, there are some more obvious signs you may be in an imbalanced dynamic where emotional work is involved. For one, if the invitations you extend to your partner for connection, partnership, or communication are denied or dismissed repeatedly, this indicates a problem, Dean says.
"If your partner says they are willing to meet a need (more quality time, healthier boundaries with friends or family, equal share in household responsibilities), yet their behavior consistently reveals unwillingness and a lack of follow-through," Dean says, that's not a good sign.
And as Lisa Myers, 32, tells Bustle, she has found herself in unbalanced relationships where she gives things up to focus on her partner's needs. "My biggest thing has always been 'dumbing down' my success or how social I am because it makes my partner's uncomfortable," Myers says. "Literally every one of them."
While every relationship has its ups and downs, and the internal dynamic between the two of you might shift, in general, it should be a give-and-take that works for both of you. Below, take a look at some signs that you might be doing too much when it comes to keeping your relationship working.