Relationships take effort, they require you to work on them, we’re told. This is one of the most ubiquitous views about marriage. The problem is we do a poor job of defining what this work is and how much of it is healthy. So, when you find yourself sitting across from your partner and wondering, “When did this get so hard?” your first instinct is to silence that doubt, that question. Here are some potential signs you’re working too hard on a relationship.
You’re walking on eggshells
You know you’re walking on eggshells around your partner if you’re hyper-aware of their moods and are constantly adjusting your own behaviour to avoid inadvertently upsetting them. Not wanting to upset someone you care about is normal, however, if you’re constantly alert trying to avoid saying or doing something that may trigger them, something is wrong. Living this way is not going to save your relationship. It’s unhealthy, it’s unsustainable in the long term and it doesn’t work. Even worse, this is often most common in abusive relationships where victims walk on eggshells to avoid angry outbursts that may result in verbal, physical or even sexual abuse. If your relationship requires you to constantly be on this level of high alert, you’re working too hard and it’s not healthy.
White knuckling happens when you’re desperately trying to hold on to a relationship even when there are signs you should let it go. You’re likely doing it if you constantly find yourself wondering, “Is this working?” ”Should I leave?” “Can we fix this and should we even try?” This powering through the difficulties and hanging on for dear life is more common than we talk about. It’s especially worse when there are children involved. Research consistently finds that children have worse outcomes when living with parents who are constantly in conflict, whether they see it or not.
Other signs you’re working too hard
- You constantly sacrifice your own needs and wants and have stopped doing the things you used to enjoy in deference to your part
- You’re always the one putting in the effort or are the only initiator and are exhausted as a result
- You’re constantly apologizing which is often a sign you’re trying too hard to maintain the peace
- They are never the ones in the wrong and you have a list of grievances that never get addressed
- You’re neglecting other important relationships, focusing almost exclusively on this singular relationship
- You find yourself constantly having to justify the relationship to yourself and others who often can’t seem to understand why you’re together
- You’re constantly seeking validation and reassurance from your partner, trying too hard to make them happy
- You constantly live in fear of a break-up and may be dealing with anxiety and depression
- You constantly hope your partner will change and/or are making yourself change to fit what they want
Finding ways to make your partner happy and not doing things that may upset them is normal and healthy. It crosses over to unhealthy when it’s one-sided and you’re prioritizing their needs to the exclusion of yours, or when there’s fear and anxiety linked to your actions. The good should outweigh the bad so it doesn’t feel like you’re just surviving this rough patch until things get better in some imagined future.
Relationships: Reconciliation Mistakes To Avoid After Infidelity
Micro-Cheating: What Is It, How Does It Affect Your Relationship, And How Can You Deal With It?
100+ Alphabet Date Ideas To Spice Up Your Relationship
Sex-Related Relationship Red Flags
Relationships: 7 Tips For Managing Relationship Conflicts
Relationships: Here Are 8 Common Reasons People Resent Their Partners