How you were parented, your culture, gender, and generation all influence your beliefs, expectations, decisions (and choices) regarding what is, and what is not, acceptable to you in relationships.
Understanding and knowing this will help you to understand that it's your belief system that determines how you interact in relationships and what you are "comfortable" with regarding balance in your relationship.
The following is a "generalization" to give you an idea of how your beliefs influence balance in your relationships:
Generally speaking, young girls are taught to be givers and caretakers. Women have been inherently trained to put the needs of others before themselves without consciously being aware of it. As a result, you find many women in professions where they are helping people.
A great example would be when I was growing up, I remember watching my mom eating the worst cooked vegetables and meat to make sure others had a meal they enjoyed.
Watching this behavior, like it or not, programed me to believe I must put the needs of others before myself.
On the other hand, young boys are taught to be tough (don't show emotion) and be the provider in the home. If there are problems, they learn to be quiet and "just get on with it."
Did you ever watch one or both of your parents putting the needs of others before themselves even when they needed to take a break? Or observe a parent appearing distant and unapproachable because they needed to "unwind" after a hard day at work?
Watching and observing your parents/caregivers' behavior, like it or not, programed you when you were a child to meet your parents/caregivers' expectations, which you did, to ensure your survival.
No more putting the needs of everyone else before yourself—yes, this includes men need to do this too!
This type of thinking and behavior creates an imbalance in your relationships, particularly your intimate relationships. When an imbalance is created in a relationship (which you can unconsciously set-up to re-create unresolved childhood issues), you are continuing to support your stories of inequality and imbalance to confirm you're right.
Sometimes you may feel as though you're walking a "fine-line," trying to strike a balance between your needs (requesting and accepting support), and giving the relationship what it needs!
“Doesn't mean that you both agree to do things that you hate, or give up things that you love, so that you can co-exist. It means that, while there is always some give and take, achieving balance should not require huge foundational trade-offs.”—marriage.com
What Does Balanced Mean?
No doubt you've heard the importance of having a balanced life, which is about making sure you have enough downtime and your life is not all work and no play.
When it comes to relationships, it's about a balanced "partnership;" equality where you are living a balanced life with your partner. It is not about one partner in the relationship thinking, acting, or believing he or she is better or "more entitled" than the other person. You support one another to achieve and attain your individual life goals. You don't give to receive, and you know your partner has "your back," and vice versa.
Balanced relationships are about feeling at ease and being comfortable with one another. When this does not happen, you know something is wrong and you've run into difficulties such as resentment in your relationships.
In your relationship, do you feel there's an imbalance? For example, you may be in a relationship with a person and you live together, however, one of you moves into the other person's home and that partner "holds" this over the other. For instance, when you disagree, they make "snide" comments that it is "their house" and you're lucky to live with them. They may even threaten to kick you out. This will more than likely cause fear in the relationship.
That is not a balanced relationship and it is certainly not a "healthy" relationship; it's a power imbalance! So when you have a balanced relationship, you've also got a relationship where there's a balance of power!
Out Of Balance
Growing up, if you didn't have a balanced person, or have balanced relationships as role models, you are more than likely going to believe that imbalance is how a relationship is meant to be and you take this belief into your intimate relationships.
When you believe something enough, you will "always" find ways to support your belief of inequality if you look hard enough. So regardless of your relationship, and who it is with, you will find "inequality" in something such as they're not doing enough chores or providing enough financially.
However, the opposite is also true; look for evidence to dispute your theory of imbalance, and you will find it too, you will find equality, positivity, and balanced relationships in your life!
What you pay attention to increases
It can be difficult to create a healthy balance in a relationship when an imbalance has been established. Issues can arise when one partner has enjoyed his or her power over you, going back to the previous example, where one partner owns the house you both live in and they hold this over you; it creates a loss of respect for the other person, resentment, uncertainty, anxiety, and emotional divide in the relationship, etc. the relationship becomes, "toxic."
A balanced relationship resolves many issues!
The following paradigms help you to identify your uniqueness so you can step into your authenticity and self-power; no more giving away your best-cut meat and cooked vegetables! To regain, or establish, more equilibrium in your life and relationships, the following seven ways can support you to move towards having more balanced relationships.
The first step to create balanced relationships is to know your priorities in life.
Identify your priorities and be clear with your partner what they are. A healthy relationship is based on open and honest communication.
An example of a priority could be, you need "you" time. You may have identified and know that you "have to have" time by yourself to recharge your batteries and restore balance. And if you don't get time on your own, you "know" it will impact on your emotional well-being and your relationship.
Do you prioritize your partner's needs over your own by making sure you're available when they're free for you? If you want to go out with your friends, say so and do it. If you keep saying no and putting the needs of your partner (or perceived needs) before yours, you will become unhappy and resentful.
How many times have you said "no" to friends because you were hoping to do something special with your partner but it doesn't work out because they're too tired, too busy, or there's not enough money, etc, etc? You've prioritized your partner's needs over your own by making sure you're available, "just in case." The tricky thing is, maybe prioritizing someone else over yourself became a habit in past relationships, which can make you feel temporarily unbalanced. You only have to change one response by making a conscious choice and it changes the balance in your relationship right away.
If you want to become financially independent and go back out to work after being a stay at home mom, go for it!
If you want to take up a new hobby, do it! This does not mean you are excluding your partner and your relationship, you're enhancing it.
You will be happier when your needs are met, and when you do see your partner, you will both have more to talk about. You will be more attractive to your partner because you're happy; we're more attracted to happy people!
Know your boundaries.
When you move away from your boundaries your life will feel unbalanced. Be clear with your partner, what is acceptable and unacceptable to you in your relationship.
We all have different limits, so your partner must know what they are; they're not a mind reader.
An example of a boundary for you could be: "To be in a monogamous relationship."
The thing about boundaries, they change and evolve. What was a boundary for you when you were in a new relationship may no longer apply. What makes people feel safe one minute may not be needed the next. So how do you keep track of what's a boundary for you, let alone your partner, and vice versa?
The easiest way to know a boundary has been crossed is when you start to feel unbalanced. You may start to feel angry or resentful, which is an indication that one (or more) of your boundaries has been crossed/violated.
On the other hand, when you see your partner getting angry, or sense resentment, that can be an indication you may have crossed one of your partner's boundaries. Your partner may not know you've crossed a boundary, or which one has been violated, they just know they feel unbalanced, irritable, and maybe angry.
4. Don't be a punching bag for anyone!!!!
Just because your partner feels comfortable enough with you to show their true self (show you they're having a bad day), do not be an emotional or physical punching bag for them! It is their crap, and it is "NOT OKAY" for them to verbally or physically attack you so they can feel better!
You are 100% responsible for your issues, situation, and feelings! Own it.
Your partner (and everyone else for that matter) is also 100% responsible for their behavior and issues. They need to own their behavior. Do not own it for them!
When your partner tries to "off-load' their problems and issues on to you, and blame you for their situation—stop it and shut it down straight away, particularly if they are shouting, yelling, and/or getting physically abusive.
If you don't like the way you're being spoken to, say so and walk away. Let your partner know you're available to listen when they have calmed down.
On the other hand, when your partner feels upset about something, it is important to accept their feelings as valid. Do not dismiss or ignore your partner's feelings, as I'm sure you would not want anyone to minimize how you feel.
Try to come from a place of love and curiosity about your partner's situation, but it is important that your partner OWNS it and takes full responsibility for their predicament and does not put it on you and make it "your fault"!
If you do not feel physically and/or emotionally safe in your relationship, consider why you are in it and if you're better off ending things. If you feel unsafe, please contact a local emergency support agency to ensure your immediate safety so you can leave the relationship!
If you don't feel safe enough to contact a support agency, tell your best friend, a person you can trust to get help!
Gone are the days when it's the norm for women to remain in the home full-time cooking, cleaning, and taking the care of the children while men went out to work.
Today, women are more often than not working full-time as well as doing the majority of household chores. Roles in households are no longer clearly defined. Resentment builds within relationships when there's an apparent imbalance in household tasks and chores. Remember, your gender, culture, and upbringing influence your ideologies regarding roles within the home, so you may have to develop new skills such as, asking for help and listening to your partner.
The key? Communicate how you feel and ask for help! Your partner does not read minds, and it is important to ask for help and support when it's needed.
Check-in with yourself often and make sure you're feeling supported. If you believe there is an imbalance in household tasks/chores, consider, "What support can I ask from my partner to have more balance in my life?"
Do you find you always give in to what your partner wants?
Are your partner's needs prioritized over your own?
Do you find yourself going clothes shopping with your partner to keep them happy but you'd rather go fishing?
Or do you find you go to "golfing" holidays but you'd rather romantic trips away together?
Relationships are about "give and take." Believe it or not, give and take is much better than compromise. When you compromise, both of you are not happy!
For example, you want to go to an Indian restaurant, your partner wants to eat Chinese, so you compromise and have fish and chips = lose/lose!
Give and take: This time you will eat at an Indian restaurant, and next time you will have Chinese, or vice-versa. When you arrive at the restaurant though, don't ask what your partner is eating and opt for that too. Choose what you want!
Do you want balanced relationships? Learn the art of receiving; accept help when it's offered!
Sometimes it is easier to give, but you must learn to receive and appreciate what you do have.
Just because a person is your partner, it does not mean you're obliged to do what they want to do all the time. Your needs must be met too!
But it can also be fun to try new activities together...you never know, you just might enjoy it!
When you value yourself and your life, you attract others into your life who will value you and love you. How you treat yourself is how others (yes, this includes your partner) will treat you. It's all about self-esteem. If you have high esteem, you will value yourself. If you have low esteem, you have difficulties honoring what makes you happy.
If you struggle to value yourself, how can you expect your partner to value you?
Learn to take excellent self-care of yourself. Accept and understand that self-care is not being selfish or narcissistic.
You are worth the time, love, and effort.
If you are responsible for the care of children, what message do you want to pass on to them?
Do you want them to grow up believing they are not worthy of decent cuts of meat and nicely cooked vegetables? Or, do you want them to believe they are a loving, beautiful person who deserves the best in life and all it has to offer, including loving respectful, equal, and balanced relationships?
Children learn through observation. Why not set the best example for your children? Show them that you prioritize your self-care. Show them that it is important to have balanced relationships.
Start today, because you are worth it!
There you have it, seven ways to have more balanced relationships.
Your turn: What other advice would you add?
Finally, choose 3 actions you can do to create more balance in your life and relationships.
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Until next time
Relationship Coach and Dating Coach
Coach 2 Connect
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