What To Do If Your Partner Is More Invested In The Relationship
Particularly if you're in the early stages of dating someone, it's normal to worry that you might not be on the exact same page as your partner when it comes to your investment in the relationship. While an imbalance in commitment level might be obvious to you if you're the one who's all-in, the signs your partner is more invested in the relationship than you are can be easier to miss, especially if you aren't looking for them. But first, what does it even mean to be "invested" in your relationship?
"I’d define relationship investment as actively participating in making the relationship healthy and happy," Jonathan Bennett, Relationship and Dating Expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "You do the work needed to make it a success. While no relationship will ever be 'equal' in terms of investment, it’s important that both partners at least have similar levels. Without similar investment one partner will start to feel burnt out as [they] begin to do all of the work in keeping the relationship healthy."
Relationships take a lot of effort to maintain, and if one person isn't willing to put in the work to keep your connection strong, inevitably, that imbalance will cause problems in the relationship down the line. So how can you tell if you're the one who could stand to put a little more effort into the relationship?
"If your partner always plans dates, events, and couples activities, you’re probably not as invested in the relationship," Bennett says. "While not everyone enjoys planning and scheduling, both partners should at least make an effort to spend time together in meaningful ways."
Aside from being hands-off when it comes to planning dates, there's another, more serious red flag that you're not all that invested in your relationship — and it can have serious repercussions. "If you never want to address the problems in your relationship and resist your partner’s efforts, it’s a sign of low investment," Bennett says. "Not dealing with problems when they arise will damage the relationship in the long-term."
If you feel like you and your partner might have different levels of investment in your relationship, here are five expert tips for getting back on the same page as your partner — and figuring out exactly where your relationship is (or isn't) headed.
1. Pinpoint Why Your Partner Is More Invested
Before anything can change, you have to do some introspection and figure out why your partner might be more invested in your relationship than you are. Ask yourself tough questions: is there something holding you back? Is your partner giving more because they're more satisfied in the relationship?
"It’s important to pinpoint why [your] partner is more invested," Rachel MacLynn, Psychologist, Relationship Expert, and Founder of Vida, tells Bustle. "Is it because [your] partner is not contributing much to the relationship and getting a lot of reward in return? This could be addressed by discussing with your partner what they can contribute more to satisfy your needs, which in turn will help you to become more invested."
2. Redirect Your Free Time
We're all busy with our own stuff — work, friends, hobbies — but when you're in a relationship, it's important not to let spending time with your partner fall by the wayside, especially if they make it a point to prioritize you.
"Look at ways you spend your free moments and direct some of that to your partner," Bennett says. "For example, instead of mindlessly playing video games or watching Netflix, suggest going for a walk and talking about your day."
3. Find Ways To Get Reinvested In Your Relationship's Success
If you've grown comfortable with your partner, it's possible that you might subconsciously start to take your relationship for granted, instead of being actively invested in helping it thrive. Re-frame how you view your role in the relationship's success, and tap into your strengths to help nurture your connection.
"I’d advise a less invested partner to find ways to become more invested in the success of the relationship," Bennett says. "Everyone has different strengths and talents. The key is to make sure you’re giving your best to the relationship, especially in terms of your time and energy."
4. Reevaluate Your Relationship Goals
Sometimes, what we think we want in a relationship is a lot different than what we actually want. Thus, it's important to reevaluate your relationship goals every now and then — particularly if you've been feeling something is off-balance in your relationship.
"If you find yourself in a situation where your partner is more invested in your relationship than you are, it is time for you to re-evaluate your relationship needs and goals," Justin Lavelle, Relationship Expert and Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified, tells Bustle. "Can you see yourself becoming more serious with this person? Or do you want something more casual? Understand that it is okay to have different wants for a relationship."
5. Be Upfront With Your Partner
If you're trying to get back in sync with your partner about relationship status, the most important thing is to have open, honest communication throughout the entire process.
"Be upfront and honest when you discuss this issue with your partner, and work together to find a solution," Lavelle says. "Explain to your partner how you feel that your relationship is moving too fast or how you are not interested in this kind of commitment. Let your partner decide whether or not [they] want to continue on in a less serious manner, to wait until you feel comfortable to plan a future, or to end the relationship before investing any further."
Whether you're just not that into a new relationship or you've fallen out of love with a long-term partner, it's OK if you realize that your investment in your relationship has faded. From there, though, your path forward is totally up to you: either move on to a partner who's on the same page as you, or put in the effort to reignite your commitment to your partner and your relationship.