Giving too much in a relationship
Should you share your passwords, allowing your partner access to your phone/computer, etc. What about personal space and privacy? Giving too much in a relationship is never advisable, especially if you have newly started dating.
You need to stop being gullible and stand up for yourself if you feel you’re giving too much of yourself in a relationship. More importantly, if you feel like you don’t get as much as you give, you need to take a step back and reassess your priorities.
I Give Too Much In Relationships But I Don’t Want To
A few days ago, I remember a writer friend of mine telling me the weirdest tale of his breakup that I had ever heard so far. It turned out to be a lesson on how to stop giving too much in a relationship when the other person is not reciprocating.
My friend, Roy, was in a residency program in Boston and had fallen for a fellow writer girl, Anna. Both of them were in their early 30s and were beginning to consider the closeness as well as the seriousness of their relationship after dating for eight months. They were pretty serious, to the point where Roy believed they were dating for marriage.
One evening, while Roy was preparing for the final rehearsal of his new manuscript, Anna was sitting on the sofa and reading something on her Kindle. After a minute, Roy heard a clinking sound and saw the Kindle falling and breaking into two pieces. Anna immediately broke into a howl and cried her guts out.
Roy tried to pacify her, and consoled her that it’s only a Kindle, the books are still on the cloud, and he would get her a new device. After Anna retreated to her room, though sullen-faced and droopy, Roy went back to his manuscript and continued with his rehearsals.
The next morning Anna came up to Roy and told him that she didn’t want to continue this relationship and didn’t want to be with him anymore. Roy was shocked at the suddenness of this revelation and asked her what had happened. Anna said: “You didn’t show enough empathy when my Kindle broke. You didn’t accompany me to the room and stay with me. I don’t think I can plan my life with a heartless, selfish man like you.”
Related Reading: Unrequited Love: How To Deal And What To Do?
Did I not do enough?
While it took time for Roy to even comprehend those words from Anna, in a way he always seemed stuck on one single question: “How much should I ever give (of myself) in a relationship?” And perhaps we all wonder, “Do I give too much in my relationship?”
We all have been through hardships and an immense amount of struggle in finding that fabled right partner for us. Some of us are still struggling to find the ‘right person.’
Some others are with someone, who they know aren’t the ‘fabled one’, and yet, till they find their north, they have decided to be with their east, west and south. But in all of these situations, we do end up investing a lot.
Sometimes a real lot more than we should. But why? Because as humans, even unconsciously, we are acutely aware of the constant threat to loss.
Everything may collapse, the person may leave us, they may fall in love with someone else, they may choose their career over us, they may return to where they came from. Anything can happen and that ultimately may lead to loss; and we all want to preserve.
We desperately want to preserve love and those we love. And this motivates us to give, invest and nourish the relationship with everything that we have, everything that we call our own. What gets missed in the process is a single valuable idea.
The thing that we call ‘boundary’. We have to remember that once when we were young children, we perhaps didn’t have a sense of individuation. We were what our parents were, we were simulations and in places replicas of their behavior, coping mechanisms, and sometimes ‘ways of expressing love’.
You want to know how to stop being the giver in a relationship? Start observing your relationship, and don’t go all in blindly. Make sure you’re getting attached to someone who is willing to put in as much effort as you.
Remember the limits
But as we grow up, we also start forming a personality of our own selves. We become the ‘I’ that we so desperately want to grow up to. And when we become that self-identifying ‘I’, we are again on the verge of losing it when we fall in love with someone.
In order to hold on to them and keep them where we are, we give so much of our ‘I’ that it turns out dangerously transgressive at times. That’s exactly what happened to Roy, when Anna accused him of not showing enough empathy when her Kindle broke.
Ridiculous as it may sound, these stories secretly tell us that something is wrong here. And that wrongness is the lack of an individual structure.
Giving or sharing your password with your spouse or lover, with guarantee, would elicit a fate similar to Roy and Anna’s; of course not in the exact way that happened to them, but in ways that will leave you with anxious retrospections of ‘why did I not keep tabs on how much I was giving?’.
Related Reading: How Do You Set Emotional Boundaries in Relationships?
Of 21 clients that I see in a week, 17 are dealing with issues of setting boundaries in relationships. Half of them cannot say ‘no’ or have never learned to deliver a negative response. Half a dozen fear ‘losing their loved ones perpetually’ on account of having denied them things that may be intimate, private and personal to the giver.
While we grow up in a culture that motivates and preaches to us to overshare things, what we don’t learn as we grow is a sense of boundary, and how to stop giving too much in a relationship, no matter what kind of relationship it is.
Assess how much to give of yourself
Whatever relationship it might be: be it what you have with your parents or what you have you have with your wife/husband, you need to inculcate and practice boundaries.
Without them there will be no structure, no foundation to fall back on, and even to lay down your own individual sense of being and existence even within the relationship. You cannot forget that you are in an adult body and for ‘you’ to exist, there must exist an ‘I’ and vice-versa.
Sharing passwords of your phone and computers can be the ultimate form of self-destructive transgression and dissolution of boundaries. Having said that, my advice to not share passwords or private details has got less to do with the revelation of a secret affair or a secret sexual kink, and more to do with one’s sense of self-preservation.
Therefore, one should be fully aware that even in love, one must remain whole. Only a whole being can be loved and nurtured, not the one that’s scattered. The latter only leads to desperation later and nothing else.
If they don’t love you back with the same intensity, you’re going to suffer heartbreak and the pain of unrequited love.
If you find yourself doing things that they aren’t doing – sharing passwords, saying I love you, being physically affectionate, and so on.