Do you over-function or under-function in your relationship?

Anish A R
couple in kitchen

Are you putting more effort into the relationship than your partner?

There are very few relationships that are non-transactional. Love relationships are often a give and take of affection, care, support, respect and finances. There are people in a relationship who put more effort than the other to make the relationship last. Clearly, there are under-functioning and over-functioning people in the family. ‘Functioning’ is really the capability, willingness and the readiness of the person to take life decisions, handle situations of adversity and to drive the family forward. If you ask a couple about how much effort/work they put in their relationship as a percentage, most likely both will say 200%.

However, it is seen in most cases that the one who puts 105% is the over-functioning (OF) individual and the other who is under-functioning (UF) puts about a 95%. Such a gap is healthy, but when it increases, the couple starts encountering more and more problems with each other. But how exactly do you find out if you are OF or UF?

Traits of an OF individual

While surfing the internet you stumbled upon this and if you are reading it, you are clinically an OF. Let’s face it an UF would never bother to check such kind of stuff. If you are focused on solving your partner’s problems first, giving him advice on how and when to do things, holding his life together because you fear it may fall apart without you and often get upset when your partner does not appreciate you for all the effort you put, clearly you are an OF individual.

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Traits of an UF individual

If you are dependent on your partner for taking care of things in your life, for parenting, finances, house chores, etc. then chances are that you are the UF in your relationship. While you may find your partner nagging you all the time for getting things done, you still however wait for your partner’s advice or approval to move things forward in your life. Why exactly do you do this, is a question that you are still trying to figure out.

You are an OF and your partner is an UF?

You will often find yourself caught up in a trap when you are an OF and your partner is an UF. Your UF partner will merrily offload his responsibilities onto you saying that it was your choice to do it and that he/she never asked you to do it. What’s worse is the reaction you give thinking that he/she is such a thankless individual for not acknowledging what you did it for them. Such is the cyclic pattern for a couple that has one UF and one OF.

An OF will always be stressed, anxious and find even the 24 hours of the day short, while the UF lazes around, does some work to imperfection and leaves it for his/her OF partner to make it perfect. This leads to them complaining about each other and it continues forever until you break the habit. “In a relationship it is necessary that both are optimally functioning individuals”, suggests psychologist Dr. Will Meek, “as they function as autonomous entities. This comes with its drawbacks as well, resulting into less emotional, financial, physical and spiritual connect.”

Read more: Tragic story of how a wife can mess up her husband’s life if she wants to

How does one strike the right balance?

If optimal functioning entities are a myth in a relationship, how does one strike the right balance to make life easier for both the OF and UF? When it comes to such matters, the only way is to let things be ‘hanging in’ for a while until the UF realizes the stagnant state of affairs and acts upon them. The OF can support them to the completion of the task or decision once the first step is taken by the UF. In order to change things, ironically, yet evidently, it is the OF who needs to make moves that will result in UF making real moves and take decisions. Very often, for the OF it can be a frustrating and emotionally draining to see organically negative effects in the life of UF or at times their life as a couple. Remember, no one wants to teach anyone a lesson or take any revenge. A slight role reversal may be the key to finding a good balance.

Finally, note that the stereotype of women being the OF and the men being UF needs to be broken. It is only the innate traits of an individual that make him either an OF or UF. Sometimes it is also the circumstances in one’s life that may lead an individual to be UF or OF. Gender has got very little to do with any of these personality types.

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