“I feel like he takes me for granted. I look after the house. I make sure he has lunch everyday. I do everything for him and he doesn’t do anything for me. It’s like he doesn’t even care.”
I used to feel like this in my relationship. I’d give and give and give only to have nothing, or very little, given back.
It felt one sided. I was doing all the loving.
“Why can’t he just say thank you? Why am I the one always giving?”
Feeling taken for granted for slowly poisons our relationship. Resentment builds and love dies down. It’s one of the reasons that people fall out of love.
So what do you do if your partner is taking you for granted?
You start asking why you are giving.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t give in your relationship, but WHY you are giving is even more important than the fact that you are giving.
We can’t be taken for granted if we only give what we want to give.
When we are giving to get something back, that’s when we start to feel unappreciated, unloved and taken for granted.
But isn’t love give and take?
There is a type of love that is give and take. It’s called transactional love. It’s saying I’ll do the dishes if you clean the bathroom. Often parts of our relationships will be transactional. We will share part of the load. This isn’t a bad thing, but if you are feeling taken for granted the answer isn’t to figure out how to get more transactional love (i.e. how to get your partner to give more). The answer is to figure out how to get more real love.
Real love is the sort of love where someone loves you even if you don’t do the dishes, say the right thing, or wash your hair. They just love you for you. No matter what.
You can’t earn that kind of love.
It’s just given or not given.
Giving and giving and giving, even when we don’t want to, is a sign we are trying to earn love. Trying to earn love keeps us from getting real love. It keeps us from being ourselves.
So how do you fix it? How do you stop feeling taken for granted and start feeling loved?
You stop doing things that you don’t want to do.
It’s the hardest thing and the easiest thing.
You can still make the lunch.
You can still re-arrange your schedule to accommodate them.
You can still not speak up when something bothers you.
But you can only do those things if you really want to do them. I’m guessing that if you are feeling taken for granted it’s because you don’t really want to be doing them.
When you start to only give when you want to, and not because you think you have to, you stop trying to earn love you get to see if someone really loves you, or if they just wanted what you were giving.
That’s how you know if it’s real love.
P.S. It can be really hard to know the difference between doing something because you want to do it and doing something because your unhealthy relationship patterns are telling you that you have to do it. If this is you, send me an email and we can set up a time to talk through it together.