It’s coming up to Valentine’s Day – the time of year that celebrates couples, romance, and true love. For most, it’s a time to splash out on expensive gifts, enjoy a dinner date or even go on quick vacation. Overall, it’s a day to generally pamper one another. It’s also a time for self-reflection, where couples assess whether things are working out between them, and the biggest red flag to look out for is whether or not the relationship is based on equality or not. An unbalanced relationship inevitably leads to misery on both sides, but for nobody more than the person who is doing all the work. If your partner is taking more from you than they provide, it could be a sign that you need to take action. A relationship that isn’t working, where a selfish lover is demanding too much and isn’t pulling their weight, can take a profound toll on your mental health.
According to Dr. Sirni Pillay, author of Debunking Myths of the Mind: “Selfish lovers often suffer from feeling inadequate. Their feelings of inadequacy run so deep that they end up feeling very ashamed. To cover up this shame, they are internally ‘still’ and this ‘stillness’ drives the giver in the relationship to want to keep on giving as a form of resuscitation since the taker often feels dead. When the taker then gives up just a little, this feels so relieving to the giver – it is like a glimpse of a sign of life. But unfortunately for the giver, this does not last too long.” So, is your relationship good or bad? Are you being taken advantage of? Scroll down to find out where the balance lies.
1. Your partner is constantly competing with you
Insecurity breeds jealousy, and jealousy leads to competition. If your partner has low self-worth, or is insecure about themselves and feels unworthy, then they may degrade and belittle you in order to validate their feelings. This leads to them diminishing the importance of your achievements or goals, and questioning your values. They might compare your problems to theirs in order to make you feel like you’re complaining about nothing, or they might seek to outperform you, either financially or in the interests you share. If someone is discrediting and discounting your experiences whilst constantly seeking to outdo you, then it could be a sign to move on.
2. Your partner likes to goad you into an argument
Every couple argues – no relationship exists without at least one big row – and sometimes playful debates or disagreements can be a fun way to spend an evening. But it can be exasperating when your partner wants to have a frank exchange of views over every tiny thing. Pointless, cyclic arguments aren’t about two people resolving a conflict or communicating and compromising over an issue; they’re just about point-scoring and dominance. It’s hard to avoid the urge to bite back and try to get the last word in when someone enjoys needling us and goading us into an argument, but it ultimately solves nothing. The only way to win is to refuse to play the game.
3. They refuse to compromise or apologise
Everyone makes mistakes – it’s how we deal with them and move forward that shows our level of maturity. From personal experience, I can honestly say that I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my time when it comes to relationships, but acknowledging hurt, accepting fault, and trying your best to do better can go a long way towards improving things. If your significant other doesn’t have the humility to ever apologise to you when they screw up, or to at least admit that they were wrong, then it’s clear that they don’t consider your opinion or feelings to be as valid as their own, which is a pretty big red flag that things aren’t balanced between the two of you.
4. You’re never sure how to make them happy
When you’re in an unbalanced relationship, it often feels like, no matter how hard you work at it, you just can’t seem to keep your partner happy, or cheer them up. Their moods swing erratically, and what causes them is a mystery to you. You might feel like you’re constantly treading on eggshells trying to keep them happy, or are desperately trying to gain their approval. This leads to you feeling powerless because you don’t know if your interactions are actually getting through to them or not. If the two of you are on the same wavelength, then making them happy should be obvious and elementary. If not, maybe something is amiss.
5. Blaming behaviour
It’s bad enough when you can’t stay on their good side. But when they make everything your fault, this is when you need to reassess whether or not your relationship is worth it. If you partner constantly finds a way to blame their misfortunes on you, then it could be an indication that they resent you somehow, or that they’re unable to take responsibility for their own personal development. Either way, their constant accusations could turn abusive, and gradually wear down your ego like a stick of chalk. Don’t let your partner turn you into their punching bag.
6. They don’t listen to you
This is one of the most basic indicators that your partner doesn’t respect you. If you find yourself repeating the same stuff over and over again, or if you think that your partner frequently misses the point or only makes the bare minimum effort to communicate with you, then it shows that they’re not willing to engage with you properly. All of the above issues can be fixed through discussion and diplomacy – except for this. If they don’t listen then the relationship isn’t working, full stop.
So this is what you shouldn’t do. But what about what you should do? Well, we’ve got you covered.