Have you ever felt like someone is taking advantage of you? Like it was all about them and never about you? It’s pretty terrible. That dynamic can breed hurt feelings, confusion, and eventually tons of resentment. This is especially true in romantic relationships. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s the thing: people treat us exactly the way we train them to. This means you alone get to decide if you’re going to be valued or taken advantage of. Here are 6 reasons you’re not feeling valued by the romantic partner(s) in your life, and solutions to fix your part in this ASAP.
1.) Apologizing for things that are not your fault. Have you ever caught yourself saying things like “I’m sorry you had a bad day at work,” “ I’m sorry that thing you wanted to go to got cancelled,” “ I’m sorry your dad sucks.” None of these things have anything to do with you. Why would you apologize? It communicates that you feel responsible for the other person’s emotional experience and that it’s not theirs to work through or deal with. You can totally be supportive and empathetic without taking on any of the responsibility for their feelings in situations that don’t involve you.
Solution: Only apologize for things that you believe are truly the direct result of your actions, words, behavior, etc.
2.) Being too accommodating and flexible. Being flexible is a huge part of having successful relationships, but there is a fine line between being cooperative and never sharing your opinion.
I used to think being easygoing was such an asset to relationships. And then I realized I was inadvertently saying “what I want doesn’t matter, in fact I won’t even bring it up or acknowledge it to myself, and that way we don’t have to have any conflict.” It was a way of staying safe and keeping myself small without even knowing I was doing it.
Solution: Flex your “no thank you” muscle. The most powerful word in the English language is “no.” With a million opportunities and choices coming at us every minute, it’s by being selective and conscious of what we are saying “yes” to (both literally and energetically) that determines how truly aligned we are with our values and goals.
3.) Dismissing or downplaying compliments. I witness this all of the time, and have to admit to being guilty of it myself. When someone would compliment my braided hair, I would respond with things like “Yeah, this is just what I do with it when I don’t have time to wash it!” It was like I could not just take in the compliment and feel good about it; I had to push it away for the risk of feeling seen or valued. It may seem like no big deal at first, but it screams “I can’t stand being seen positively or spoken to kindly, I don’t deserve it.”
Solution: Practice saying “thank you.” No follow up, aside, or explanation. Just the simplicity of gratitude. You may have to bite your tongue at first but it will become more natural with practice.
4.) Being too available. If you are free to hang out pretty much anytime, this basically communicates that you have no interests of your own. This is the antithesis of sexy. It looks and feels like you either are or will become dependent of the other person for most everything. Nothing makes someone turn and run in the other direction than the feeling that you are waiting around holding off on making plans until you have heard from him/her.
Solution: Set some personal goals and find individual interests. By having interests and activities of your own, you become more satisfied as an individual and you will become more innately attractive because you can bring a different dimension of experience and knowledge to the relationships.
5.) Splitting everything 50/50 financially and energetically. This is true based on if you want to be the feminine or masculine energy in the relationship. Regardless of gender identity, almost all couples have one partner that is more dominant and one that is more passive. This may be different in different areas of life (Finances, family roles/caretaking, social planning, etc.) If you insist on splitting everything down the middle, you deny your own strengths and weaknesses. It also suggests a resistance to being receptive, because it feels less vulnerable to give than receive for some people. Everyone is stronger or better in some areas that others. Allowing each of you to shine in your own way will help you both feel more aligned, authentic and valued.
Solution: Figure out which energy you naturally lean toward (masculine or feminine) and align with it. We all do our best when we are in our strengths; we shine brighter because we are being our genuine self and operating from our gifts rather than being over focused on things being even and fair all of the time.
6.) Getting sexual too quickly. Sex is hands down the most physically intimate thing two people can do. It is the most physically vulnerable a female can be, literally. While I’m not gonna give you the “you are a special flower” talk, I am gonna keep it real with you. You have to value yourself (and the privilege of accessing your body in the deepest way possible) before anyone else will. Great sex should be the icing on the cake to a loving relationship, not the appetizer. Once you’ve gone as far as you can go, you can’t take it back. And if you round home base in the first few dates, what is there to look forward to? Becoming sexual too quickly often sabotages true emotional intimacy.
Solution: Take things slowly at first. Get to know the person inside to fully determine if the relationship warrants that level of physical intimacy. By taking time to see who they are in different settings, under multiple circumstances and in different lights, you will get a feel for their real character. IF you are really into who they are underneath, when you do get to the physical stuff, it will be so much better and more exciting than if you hooked up the first week of knowing one another. Not to mention you’ll have given the relationship a chance for true emotional intimacy to develop without the confusion of raging hormones and sexually bonding.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to set the tone for how you want and expect to be treated. Men rarely operate from a place of not considering themselves, as it’s not how they are wired or socialized to operate. If you act in a way that communicates that you love yourself and value your time/energy/opinion, they will will too. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take the lead in sending the message that you are worth great love and energy for being the goddess that you are.
Want more tips on how to create healthy, loving relationships? Click here for 25 Love Truths.
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