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Relationship is a gift. Nothing should be taken for granted, especially Love.
We need to feel loved and appreciated in a relationship. Some signals that we are being taken for granted are;
- Our partner doesn’t have or make time for you
- They don’t seem to care whether you are with them or not
- They forget your birthday and anniversary
- They criticise you a lot, ignore you and expect you to keep giving all the time without it being reciprocated
- They don’t express their love and appreciation for you and the efforts you make
In Process Oriented Psychology, I would discover the meaning as to why someone might be very loving and giving without receiving much from their partner. I talk about how more mainstream psychology would approach being taken for granted in the practical tips section below. Although these factors are important, I believe that who we are and our behaviors have meaning. Unfolding our own process is important to either help us accept who we are or make it easier to change. It also means that we don’t feel pathologized or allow our inner critic to tell us we are weak because we can’t say no.
In Process Oriented therapy we may explore that someone has a strong spiritual life and believes that giving without expectation or needing much back is an expression of unconditional love. Another aspect is that even the phrase, my love is being taken for granted already has a negative connotation and needs to be examined more deeply. Someone might feel that way but on further talking, they recognise they have a loving nature and feel happy to give alot. Their friends are telling them they are taken for granted which has caused some doubt, but on looking deeper, they are satisfied.
It is a belief system that needs to be unfolded. Another process is that they like having a partner who looks to them for support and who gives back in other ways.
Some people like to ‘fix things up around the house and garden’ and this is how they show their love which isn’t always recognised in the relationship.
Some just enjoy doing and giving alot and only feel resentful and angry about what they give when there is relationship conflict on another topic. Or they realise that they have unrealistic expectations of a partner and they are being given back to, but haven’t acknowledged it. Perhaps we are the one who is taking our partner for granted but projected it onto them! There are many possibilities we may not have thought of.
Here are some practical tips on what to do if you do feel taken advantage of;
- Talk with your partner and be curious and open rather than attacking and blaming. Ask what’s happening for them and then tell them how you are feeling and what you need. Tell them it’s important that you are recognized for what you are giving and you need positive feedback. We often feel our partner should just ‘know’ what we want but they are not mind readers! Love needs to be acted on.
- Work out the specific things you are doing for your partner rather than just a general feeling that you are not being thanked or recognised. Either suggest that you share some of those tasks or do less or stop doing what you are resenting. It may help them recognise how much you are doing and express their gratitude and love more.
- If you change yourself, it’s very possible that your relationship may change. Both of you need to nurture your love and continue doing some of the things you did together when you first fell in love rather than falling into a routine and thinking the other person will always be there.
- Ask yourself why you’re making compromises that don’t work well for you? Work out why you keep doing things you don’t feel appreciated for. Is it just a habit or are you scared s/he may leave you? Did your mother do everything for your father or vice versa? Be like a detective and track all the clues so you deeply understand and can face and change your own behaviours.
- Love, appreciate and value yourself and focus more on what makes you happier eg. your own interests, friends, work and life. Self care and setting appropriate boundaries and saying no are essential elements of healthy self-esteem.
- Find a way to leave a relationship where you consistently feel that your partner is selfish, ungenerous and cannot express in words and actions their love and appreciation of you.
If you fall in love with yourself, your partner will fall in love with you. If you treat yourself well, you will be treated with respect and care. If not, find a partner who will!
‘Things you take for granted, get taken.