Responsibility In Relationships – Different Forms And How To Foster Them

April 9, 2023 |
Updated On: April 9, 2023
responsibility in a relationship
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So how do you feel reading all those posts floating around on social media about responsibility in relationships? Inadequate? Immature? Ill-equipped? Deep inside, you really do want to be proactive and responsible. But how? Well, you can’t just wake up one morning and decide, “I will be responsible from this very moment”. So, then, how exactly do you go about it? Let me help. 

Relationships almost always start on a dreamy note. But once the initial spark wears off, reality makes a grand entrance with a bag full of responsibilities. To be able to shoulder their weight, you need to become responsible in a relationship.

You will be able to discover the truest and most authentic version of your partner only when you show up for them, take full accountability for your actions and become a source of their strength. Now that we have touched upon why it’s important to be responsible in a relationship, let’s dig a little deeper into the different forms of responsibility in relationships and how you can foster them.

The 7 Different Forms Of Responsibility In Relationships 

How do you show responsibility to someone you have a romantic relationship with? Let us look at a hypothetical situation to help you understand. Say your partner’s mother is undergoing surgery. They would need you by their side to survive the sleepless nights. Your constant support, emotional or financial, will automatically enhance their level of trust in you. Believe it or not, actions speak louder than words.

Fear of responsibility in relationships, on the other hand, can be crippling, especially if you feel like you’re taking on too much too soon. Being responsible in a relationship is an organic process that goes hand-in-hand with genuine feelings and a sense of care between two people. Responsibility comes in many forms which give a different narrative to a relationship dynamic. Let’s discuss the seven big ones that you just cannot gloss over:

1. Emotional responsibility in relationships is the most desired 

Here, we take your various personal traits into account, such as emotional integrity, maturity, and level of compassion. Your first role as the emotionally responsible counterpart is to acknowledge that your loved one is not in the exact same headspace as you are. You are supposed to make peace with that and be a strong support system if you want this relationship to work well.

I admit human feelings cannot be segregated into clear black and white boxes. But, in case you are in two minds about what to do when your partner is being fussy or stubborn, as long as it’s not a deal-breaker, let a few clashes go. Emotional responsibility in relationships means not holding grudges, making excuses, or keeping scores. It means that sometimes you have to be the bigger person. 

Related Reading: 9 Examples Of Emotional Boundaries In Relationships

2. Quitting the blame game and balancing accountability

You don’t need to be an expert to realize that a major responsibility in relationships is taking accountability. I have seen my neighbors dragging themselves through a dysfunctional state of affairs for a long time. Michael was always too busy with business trips and came home late every night. Claire, his wife, was a shopaholic, burning through their savings to add more expensive cocktail dresses to her wardrobe. With time, their fights got uglier, when the solution was a simple step away – accepting their own shortcomings. 

Trust me, you will reach nowhere with misplaced blame and constant criticism of each other’s annoying habits that kill romance eventually. Stop right there and reflect upon the issues you are struggling with. The moment you begin to take accountability in a relationship, all the other factors will fall seamlessly into place. Why drag a nasty argument on and on if you can find the remedy in a warm hug?

3. Taking care of your personal responsibility in relationships 

I know what you are thinking. Relationships are supposed to be built on mutual effort and respect, aren’t they? Yes and yes. I cannot stress enough the couples’ shared responsibilities in relationships. But, before focusing on ‘us’, analyze if you are strong enough as a ‘me’. Are you getting into this relationship because you are facing a monetary crunch? Are you desperately lonely? Do you share PDA pictures with your bae on social media just so you can blend in with your friends?

Any kind of codependency in a relationship will only put you through a series of emotional upheavals, never hitting that sweet spot of peace and harmony. That’s why it’s crucial to be clear about your own motives and responsibilities as an individual before you get into a relationship. If you cannot control your own inner turmoil, how can you expect to be sensitive toward another person?

4. Being thoughtful before throwing your words out there 

It’s true, nothing cuts as deep as a hurtful comment from someone whose opinion you value a lot. People lose their minds and reason in rage; haven’t we all been there? The devil sitting on our shoulders makes us use appalling names and say unspeakable things. Sadly, there is no turning back once the harsh words are uttered.

Even during an ordinary conversation, a petty slip of the tongue or a loose remark can pierce straight into the heart of the person at the receiving end. Ponder on the fact in solitude – is it very civil to play rough with someone you love dearly? Think about it from your partner’s perspective. The art of taking responsibility in relationships lies in choosing your words mindfully with empathy and warmth. 

5. Being financially responsible – Finding growth in tandem 

Let’s discuss a practical matter as serious as the financial compatibility of a couple. A survey result from The Economic Times Wealth states that 89% of the participants believed in the importance of similar monetary habits between two partners. Here are some handy tips to make sure money doesn’t create any unnecessary conflict between you two:

  • Accept the difference in your pay slips and appreciate your partner’s hard work
  • Depending on your commitment and the age of the relationship, you may create a joint account or maintain your finances independently
  • Make sure you contribute equally to every joint venture or at least proportional to your respective incomes 
  • Hiding a large credit card debt or reckless purchase bills from your partner is a deceit if you are sharing expenses; you better be completely honest
  • Lastly, when you are willing to take financial responsibility in your relationships, consult each other about every life choice, regardless of whether it’s minor or huge 

Related Reading: 8 Expert Tips To Navigate A Rough Patch In A Relationship

6. Upholding your commitments toward each other 

As we talk about shared responsibility in a relationship, this should be at the top of your priority list. By commitments, I do not necessarily hint at the aspect of fidelity in a relationship. Think about the small plans made on the way of our humdrum life – a date night, grocery shopping together, seeing your partner off at the airport, or maybe a trip to your parents’ house. Yes, each one of these is considered a valid responsibility that paves the way for a happy and healthy relationship

Let me share a little story with you; a few days back, one of my friends was leaving a party quite tipsy. But he was too proud to admit that he could not handle the wheel. I was in awe of how his fiancée took charge of the entire situation and safely drove him home. So there, go shoot your cliched gender roles – you have got to break free of them when you are trying to stick to your rights and responsibilities in relationships.

More on relationship advice

7. Planning the future together

In almost every job interview, we answer the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Now, what if I were to ask you, “Do you see your partner in that future?” Not only is it a big deal, but it’s also a big responsibility in relationships to set your goals jointly unless, of course, you are looking for a fling. 

Wait for a second, I am not trying to be the spoilsport here. We are all for carpe diem and living in the moment. But there are certain decisions in life that require prior planning and mapping out. For instance, let’s say, your dream of going to Cambridge contradicts your partner’s desire to work for unprivileged kids. Here, you can avoid an abrupt, soul-crushing breakup if you are realistic and honest with one another about the short span of this relationship right from the very beginning.

10 ways to be responsible in a relationship

Tracing back to personal experiences, I can fairly say that fear of responsibility in relationships is a valid concern. So many of us fall into the trap of ‘what ifs’ and give up on our chances of love. We end up looking for familiar patterns of old toxic lovers or deep-seated childhood trauma. Consequently, we push the nice ones away even before the relationship gets enough time to mature. 

But have you ever thought of it this way, “Being responsible in a relationship makes me more confident and powerful?” We would like to make sure that you neither run away nor flake out over taking ownership of your actions. For that, you may want to incorporate these 10 strategies to develop a habit of taking ownership in relationships:

1. Communication is key

I bet you cannot offer a better alternative to transparent communication. I mean, how else would you know what’s going on in a person’s mind which triggers certain behavioral traits? Please don’t bottle up your feelings because you dread confrontations. Find a way to convey your emotions and not only the negatives. Sweet compliments or a message of gratitude every now and then act like the glue to keep you attached. If nothing else, lend them a patient ear to help them vent. 

Related Reading: 11 Ways To Improve Communication In Relationships

2. Conflicts can be constructive 

Yes, you heard me right. If you go on for a long time without a single fight, it means you are not challenging each other. Your growth as a couple has come to a standstill. Certain disagreements and clashes of opinions are absolutely natural. If both of you resort to a problem-solving approach, you will come out of it stronger and your relationship will evolve into a better version of itself. Remember, you are allowed to correct a mistake in your partner as long as you don’t take a superior tone. 

3. Value personal space 

Are you often accused of giving too much in a relationship or taking over relationship responsibilities? In fact, do you take over completely? Slow down! Otherwise, it may bring about discord and ruin the rhythm of your union. You don’t need to feel alarmed if your partner wants some space. Reconnecting with self, indulging in a favorite past-time, and enjoying one’s own company are not only important but also good for your relationship in the long run. Your presence in the backdrop and holistic support will be helpful.

Infographic on - How to be responsible in a relationship?
How to be responsible in a relationship?

4. Be the bigger soul

You know what, responsibility in relationships is not about keeping score. “He won the last fight. This time I will not yield. Let him crawl back to me and say sorry. Then we’ll see.” Wrong! For the sake of this relationship, you have to let go of a few things from the past. Once in a while, be more empathetic toward your partner and try to comprehend their point of view. You will see that sometimes it’s not so difficult to forgive and forget or to slip a small apology note in their purse. 

5. Uphold mutual commitments and responsibilities 

The word ‘responsibility’ won’t sound like a burden when you are both ready to take up equal parts of it. Do not expect your partner to come back home after a long day at work and take care of home chores very efficiently. How about you divide and conquer? You can swing this partnership into a smooth ride by aligning your goals and life choices in a similar direction. 

6. Show up when you promised you would

My friend Andrew from New York is an amazing human being, a doting father, and a loving husband. I asked him to share his secret tricks of being accountable in a relationship with our readers and he says, “Being responsible in a relationship, for me, means being reliable and trustworthy to my wife. It should come spontaneously when you are in a serious relationship.

“I would give you one little tip – always try to be sincere with your commitments. If you gave your word to pick up the kid from school or to take her to the dentist, be there. Show up! The moment you do, your partner will know this person cares about me and respects my time and concerns.”

7. Be genuine with your apologies

One major part of the rights and responsibilities in relationships is to have the emotional maturity to apologize and mean it. We are not suggesting that you feel responsible for your partner’s mistakes or walk on eggshells around them all the time. But when the time comes and the power is in your hand to fix the relationship by apologizing because it was your mess, you should set aside the ego and do it.

8. It’s okay to seek help

You see, happy relationships are not a myth. While there is no standard recipe for reaching that state of absolute bliss, we do the best we can. We love, we fight, we learn, and we grow. You cannot hope to be successful in life by taking a shortcut, right? Well, that holds good for relationships as well. They demand time, patience, sincere effort, and undivided attention. 

Then how do you show responsibility to someone you have a romantic relationship with? If you feel that a little professional guidance would help to straighten up your queries and confusion, drop by our Bonobology panel of counselors to seek expert help to remedy your situation.

9. Learn to accept criticism with poise

The goal of a relationship is not to merely survive and enjoy life together. You want to thrive in your personal and professional lives together. Partners who inspire and influence each other in becoming a better version of themselves are actually taking the game a notch higher than the others. In that pursuit, you need to be more open and calm while receiving a piece of judgment or analysis from your partner because, at the end of the day, they want the best for you.

10. Be proud of your relationship

Nobody likes their relationship to be a secret unless it’s mutually agreed upon by both partners. You want to accept responsibility, right? Flaunt your partnership – show the world how happy and grateful you are to have this person in your life. Take your partner to brunch with your family, invite them to meet your friends. They should know that you prioritize them and that will do the real magic!

Key Pointers

  • Relationship responsibilities could be of different types such as emotional, financial, personal, and mutual
  • There is no substitute for healthy communication if you are willing to be responsible in relationships
  • Be constructive with conflict management and your criticism of your partner
  • Don’t hold on to past conflicts and apologize honestly when you are doing it 
  • Respect the personal space of your partner

As I state the importance of becoming responsible in a relationship one last time, don’t presume this article to be your one and only guiding manual. Listen to your heart. Connect with your partner on a deeper level. Once you realize what your set of responsibilities to make the relationship more alive than ever are, the road to Blissville just becomes that much smoother. 


1. Why is it important to become responsible in a relationship?

It’s absolutely important to become responsible in a relationship if you are willing to sustain a healthy, long-term bond. The moment you start to show up, take accountability, and manifest honesty in your relationship, it will improve automatically. You will feel more confident about your role in this partnership and your loved one will be able to trust and depend on you without thinking twice. It will strengthen your bond and help you connect much better.

2. How do you build a responsible relationship?

There are a few tricks and strategies you can incorporate into your relationship dynamic to build a responsible partnership such as – healthy communication, respecting each other’s personal space, apologizing when it’s your fault, handling conflict with a problem-solving attitude, fulfilling your commitments toward one another, and so on.

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