Dating and Relationship Help
In the course of relationship counseling I sometimes notice that one person accommodates his or her partner too often in order to avoid “rocking the boat.” If this describes you, it might be time to consider whether you’re really helping your relationship by doing this.
Is “Going Along to Get Along” Really Helping Your Relationship?
When someone makes too many sacrifices in their relationship, they often think it’s helping to “keep the peace,” and don’t realize that they’re actually having a very negative effect on the relationship. When we override too many of our needs, we tend to start feeling resentful, angry, depressed, and dissatisfied. I’ve observed in relationship therapy that people who go along with their mate’s preferences too often harbor a lot of resentment and anger towards their partner. And they obviously have to find outlets for these feelings.
For example, they may make passive aggressive comments and engage in passive aggressive behaviors with their mate. They may sometimes have unexpected, angry outbursts at their partner. They may talk to others about the resentment and anger they have for their mate, and, hopefully, may seek individual or couples therapy because of these built-up emotions.
I’ve also noticed in relationship counseling that people who cater too much to their partner’s needs may feel depressed because they’re neglecting many of their own preferences. Depression makes their life difficult and causes the relationship to go from bad to worse.
And, sometimes people who accommodate their mate too much experience general dissatisfaction with the relationship. This can cause them to feel attracted to other people, have an affair, and/or secretly consider ending the relationship. If they’re getting relationship help, this added layer of complexity has to be sorted out.
Relationship therapy helps people stand up more for their needs
Do You Make Too Many Sacrifices in Your Relationship Due to Fear?
Some people continue to “go along to get along” in their relationship, even though this is harming their relationship and causing them to feel more and more unhappy. So why would anyone continue doing this? In my work as a relationship therapist, the answer I repeatedly encounter is fear.
Most people I work with don’t think fear is a big issue for them. They’re surprised to discover that they’re afraid of standing up more for their needs. Once I give them the tools to do this in relationship therapy, people often tell me that they’re afraid their partner will get upset with them for stating a preference or request. In other words, they’re afraid of the tension that may arise if they try to get more of their needs met. However, if they continue to give in to this fear, they can expect their mental health and the health of their relationship to continue declining. This is a high price to pay for so-called peace in the relationship.
Fortunately, relationship counseling can strengthen people enough to stand up more for their own needs. I’ll discuss how to let your mate know your preferences in part 10.
By Cynthia Mansur, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
THE CONTENT PROVIDED IN THIS BLOG IS NOT MEDICAL or THERAPEUTIC ADVICE: This blog is not provided for purposes of consulting, evaluation, treatment, instruction, diagnosis, prognosis or professional services of any kind. The content of this blog does not incorporate discussion of all known therapeutic techniques, and is not intended to apply to any specific individual, specific condition or specific clinical situation. The content of this blog is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified, state-licensed and practicing professional who is providing you with professional services based on a written agreement between you and that professional. All content in this blog is intended as general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice, including but not limited to medical advice, nor is the content of this blog to be relied upon as such.