Have you ever felt like you are doing everything in your relationship while your man sits back and relaxes on the couch?
Do you feel tired, exhausted and almost resentful at how increasingly passive he is becoming while you do all the heavy lifting in your relationship?
Do you ever feel frustrated about why he doesn’t care and appreciate how much you are giving to him?
In other words, are you giving too much in your relationship and feeling tired at the end of it all?
If you have said yes to any of those questions, please know that you are not alone.
So many of us women, as kind and generous hearted as we are, step into the role of what I call “over-givers” in our relationships.
While we continue to “give to our man” chronically, he continues to withdraw and get more passive. This confusing pattern leaves us feeling frustrated, angry and resentful with our man, not adding in any way to the health of our relationship.
So how do we know whether we are “over-givers” and how can we break out of this pattern?
Let’s take a look at my private coaching client Katie’s question.
Here is Katie’s letter –
“Sami, I have been reading your articles and everything on your website the last days. Thank you so much for your wonderful work. I have been married for over 20 years to my husband. I don´t know where the spark has gone. He makes no plans for us, he is aloof and always busy with his phone, play station or the television. We end up having arguments when I push him for more attention. I am paying the bills, making our meals, planning our holidays and then even on the holidays we end up arguing. Can you help me change this? Thank you, Katie.”
My Answer –
Katie, I so hear you. And yes, we can totally fix your situation if you can just stop doing this one thing for me – It’s called over giving!
What is over giving?
You are over giving in a relationship when you “give” to a man, more than he is giving to you.
This looks like doing all the work, paying all the bills, cooking all the meals, planning all the holidays, making his needs a priority over yours and offering every bit of your support and strength to your man – so much so that you have none left for yourself.
Of course, you do this in the hope that he will see you as a good and worthy partner and will be pleased to have you in his life.
But if you look closely, does he really get pleased with you?
Typically not! My experiences and the experiences of my clients have repeatedly shown this.
Far from coming closer to you, your man unpleasantly surprises you by getting more passive, more withdrawn and more aloof towards you.
And you know what? It’s not his fault!
Over giving, subconsciously kills your man’s attraction and romantic drive towards you.
He doesn’t even know why it’s happening to him – he doesn’t even realize how passive he is becoming in the relationship. It just sort of happens to him, when you over give.
What you think is noble intentioned and well meaning (and it indeed is when it comes to other areas of your life), is not serving your romantic relationship at all.
Instead it is damaging it.
Men love to feel like the in-charge in their relationships, they love to feel like they can do something for us women and make us happy.
When you step into over giving mode, you take away that fundamental joy from a man – You deprive him of the pleasure of being able to give to you.
Just like an angry child, he gets resentful towards you.
The more you do, the lesser he does in return. As an end result, what you have left on your couch is a passive, grumpy and withdrawn man who has almost disappeared from the relationship because he feels like there is nothing he can do for you.
So, now that we know that over giving is not good for our relationship, how can we stop it. Here are 5 concrete ways to help yourself if you are an over giver.
1) Become Aware Of Your Urges To Over Give
In romantic relationships, awareness is everything. It is the key to transformation. Recognizing and saying to yourself, “Yes, I am an over giver” is an excellent start in the direction of correcting your behavior.
It will be helpful for you to recognize in which particular areas of your relationship you have a tendency to over give. In my case, I had a tendency to take over all the holiday planning, all the grocery shopping and all the cleaning in the house.
2) Creating Space In Your Relationship
Creating space in your relationship looks like not stepping in to do everything for your man and the household. It requires that you trust that your man is capable of taking care of things for you and within the household. Hence, creating space looks like stopping doing some things that you are generally accustomed to doing in the household.
3) Try Asking For Help From Your Partner
Ask your partner to help you in the kitchen and help you hoover the carpet. He will feel needed, get involved and without you even realizing it, become slowly but steadily more present in your relationship.
4) Learn To Say No
When your partner asks something of you that you cannot do because you are feeling tired, exhausted or busy, practice saying a guilt free no.
It might feel selfish to you at first but it is way more attractive to a man to have a woman as a partner who has a healthy sense of boundaries than someone who lays out her entire self at his beck and call.
5) Practice Receiving From Him
Over givers are so good at giving that they forget how to receive. As an over giver, to bring the balance back in your relationship, you need to train your receiving muscle. Practice receiving a cup of tea, a present, a date from your partner and show him how much you appreciate him doing it for you.
By practicing these 5 healthy habits, within no time, you will be able to create a reverse dynamic in your relationship where your partner will feel more needed, more included and more involved in the relationship.
Do you struggle with over giving? How do you help yourself? Feel free to let me know how this works out for you in the comments below.