Very few relationships are non-transactional. Romantic partnerships are often built on a give and take of affection, care, support, respect, and finances. Even so, it is not uncommon for one partner to be more invested in the relationship than the other.
Ask a couple how much effort they put into their relationship. In all likelihood, both partners will say 200%. However, most relationships have an over-functioning partner, who doesn’t hold back from investing in relationships, and an under-functioning partner, who gets away with doing the bare minimum.
This lopsidedness is perfectly acceptable to a certain degree. However, when the onus of making things work falls squarely on one person, it’s a sign your relationship is suffering. Such relationship dynamics essentially mean that you’re in a one-sided relationship. Let’s try to understand what is effort in a relationship and how can both partners strike a balance on this front.
What Is Effort In A Relationship?
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To be able to ascertain whether you and your partner are making adequate efforts to make your relationship last, it is important to understand what is effort in a relationship. Is it romantic dinners and expensive gifts? Cooking the other person their favorite meal? Running them a hot bath at the end of the day? Not everyone has the means to shower their significant others with expensive gifts.
Similarly, anyone can make a call to reserve a table at a fancy restaurant. If these things don’t qualify as effort in a relationship, what does? Examples of effort in a relationship best shine through in the little details of your everyday life. It is lending each other a helping hand in times of need, it is a backrub with no sexual expectations at the end of a long day, it is the ability to trust each other.
Most importantly, effort in a relationship is about sticking together and working your way through problems rather than running away from them. At the end of the day, money, gifts, and material things don’t make a relationship work. Two people invested in each other and their future together does.
Signs Of Being Invested In A Relationship
If there is one thing every couple should invest in, it is building emotional capital. For those wondering what does it mean to be invested in a relationship, it essentially boils down to cultivating this asset that will see you through the rough patches and keep you together for the long haul. Here are some indicators of what it means to be invested in a relationship:
1. You appreciate each other
Gratitude and appreciation are the hallmarks of investing in relationships. As people get more comfortable and settled in their relationships, they tend to start taking each other for granted. The practice of letting each other know how valued and cherished they are takes a back seat. To make an investment in your relationship, it is essential to appreciate your partner for all things big and small they do for you.
2. Investing in the power of touch
It’s amazing how much difference a simple gesture such as a loving touch can make in cultivating intimacy in a relationship. Couples who are invested in their togetherness value this aspect. They are keen on investing time in a relationship to be with each other, sans any distractions, day after day.
3. Giving and seeking attention
What does it mean to be invested in a relationship? Attention plays an important role in strengthening a relationship. Relationship experts describe this exercise as bids. When one partner makes a bid for attention, the other responds with love and care. This goes a long way in keeping the connection and spark alive.
4. Sharing values, goals and life plans
Investing in relationships means consistently sharing values, goals, and life plans. It is an important part of your togetherness that helps both partners see that they’re sharing their life journey with each other. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with each other all the time. The idea is to be each other’s sounding board and work toward shared and common goals in life.
5. The benefit of the doubt
Trust is an important aspect of any successful relationship. Couples who’re invested in their relationship give each other the benefit of the doubt when things don’t go as per their expectations. This helps in countering resentment and mitigating the risk of issues and differences becoming chronic.
Signs Your Relationship Is Suffering Due To Lack of Effort
When your partner starts pulling back in a relationship and you are the only one investing in your relationship, it signals trouble brewing between you two. Here are some of the tell-tale signs your relationship is suffering due to a lack of effort from one of the partners:
1. One partner feels like they’re making all the sacrifices
Every relationship demands some compromise and adjustments. But if either partner lives with the constant weight of the realization that they’re the only one making all the sacrifices, it’s an indicator of a one-sided relationship. In such cases, the other partner has either checked out emotionally or has become too complacent to make an effort.
2. Your togetherness hinges on the convenience of one partner
Whether it is hanging out together or planning a special date night, if all your plans depend on the convenience and availability of only one of you, it’s undoubtedly a sign that that partner is not invested in the relationship. Things take a turn for the worse when that person expects their partner to drop everything and be at their disposal whenever it takes their fancy. Naturally, a relationship suffers in such a situation.
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3. One partner feels invisible
If one partner is so self-consumed that they have no mind space to cater to the needs of the other partner or ask them about their feelings and thoughts, it’s a clear sign of lack of investment in the relationship. The person at the receiving end of such behavior feels invisible and unappreciated. This dynamic takes a toll on the relationship eventually.
4. There is no communication in the relationship
Another sign that your relationship is suffering because one of the partners is not making any effort is a complete lack of meaningful communication. This person is always too distracted or preoccupied to talk to their partner. Even when they do talk, all the communication somehow circles around their wants and needs.
5. There is no hope for change
The person who is not invested in the relationship not only does not make any efforts but also doesn’t offer any assurances of making things right. When one of the partners feels stuck in a “my way or the highway” kind of situation, it signals a one-sided relationship.
How To Find Balance When One Partner Is More Invested
Trying to make a relationship “work” when one person is doing all of the giving and the other is doing all of the taking can be a recipe for disaster. Being emotionally invested in a relationship does not mean giving up on your happiness. It means that you should treat your partner with respect and that you must stand up for what you want.
Giving your partner too much power over your emotions can also lead to problems, as well as enabling their negative traits. If you often find yourself putting your partner first, it might be time to re-evaluate the state of your relationship. Investing in a relationship should be a two-way street. You don’t have to fight for control of every aspect of your relationship, but the following considerations might make investing time in a relationship worthwhile:
1. Remember who you are
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new relationship and forget about your own needs as an individual. You can start losing track of things that made you happy before you met your partner. When you are emotionally invested in the relationship, you often overlook your individuality. Remind yourself of your priorities before the relationship started. See which of them you have been neglecting and refocus your energy there.
2. Communicate effectively with your partner
It’s important that you communicate effectively with your partner so that they understand what makes you happy. If there is something specific that would make you happier or feel fulfilled, tell your partner! If your partner doesn’t know how to make you happy, how are they supposed to be investing in your relationship?
3. Be clear about what makes each of you happy
You might not always be able to get everything that makes you happy. But if both partners know what they want out of the relationship, they can work on it together. Investing in a relationship is much easier when both of you have a clear roadmap to each other’s happiness.
What Do You Do When Your Partner Is Not Putting In Enough Effort In A Relationship?
Yes, an optimal balance in a relationship where both partners share equal responsibility for making things work is an idealistic expectation. A slight disparity in investing in relationships is only natural. But what do you do when your partner is not putting in enough effort in a relationship?
In such a situation, the first step should be to ‘hang in there for a while until the other partner realizes the need to make an effort in the relationship. As a person invested in the relationship, you can support them in this process, taking things one step at a time.
Talk to your partner about how important it is for both partners to put effort into the relationship. If you cannot get them to see the error of their ways and change, be prepared to move on. You deserve to be with someone who values you as much as you value them.
Being emotionally invested in a relationship means you strongly care about your partner, and want them to feel good about themselves and about the relationship. You might feel elated when your partner does something nice for you, or hurt when they fall short of your expectations. It also means being able to communicate with your partner effectively, which helps make sure you have a steady flow of positive energy between you both. In short, it’s all about treating each other well—and getting the same back!
The best way to be less invested in a relationship is to invest in other relationships. The more time you spend with people who aren’t your partner, the easier it will be for you to see them objectively. Honestly, the problem isn’t being too invested. The problem is being invested poorly. The solution to that is not to be less committed; it’s to be more committed — to something you have thought about carefully and decided is worth your time and effort and risk. That’s what almost all of us need: something we’re really committed to.
When it’s the most important thing in your life. When it’s all you can talk about. That’s a sign that you’re too invested. One way to think about it is that being too invested means you can’t see other options even if they’re right in front of you. If your relationship is all you’ve got on your mind and the rest of the world doesn’t exist for you, then you are too invested in the relationship.