If you’re upset with a man over how much weight he’s pulling in your relationship, stop and ask yourself these important questions – before you do anything else.
I get lots of letters from women who feel undervalued in their relationships – women who are tired of doing so much for the man they’re with and wondering how to make him step up to the plate. The biggest point here is that often the responsibility lies with us – and how easy it is to blame men for what we’re doing to ourselves. The next time you’re feeling fed up with a man, ask yourself these four questions first:
Am I putting in more effort than he is?
When you feel anger toward the man you’re with, this is often a sure sign that you’re simply doing too much in the relationship – what I call “overfunctioning.” Overfunctioning involves working hard to win a man’s attention and affection, and it also happens even when you’re spending a lot of time just thinking or talking about him.
When you invest this much energy in a man, you’re creating a deficit in the relationship – you become exhausted, and he feels pressured to reciprocate. But as your anger builds, so does the distance between you. And the reality is that you’re angry with YOURSELF for doing so much to begin with. Which leads me to the next question…
How am I treating myself?
The more time and energy you spend on a man, the less you have for you. And the less you invest in yourself, the less desirable you become to a man. Why? Because a good man does not want you to stop taking care of yourself. When you put yourself first, he’ll feel compelled to make you a priority, too.
Often times when we think a man is mistreating us, it’s because we are actually mistreating ourselves! If we’re not making sure we’re taking care of our needs and treating ourselves with love and respect, how can we expect a man to do the same for us?
Am I being honest about what I want?
We women have a habit of not speaking up about our true feelings. We don’t want to “rock the boat”. But the truth is that the waters get choppy when we DON’T express ourselves.
When you don’t voice your needs, you end up in situations that aren’t good for you. You also prevent a man from truly knowing who you really are, and you don’t give him the opportunity to meet your needs. If you’re angry with a man for something he did or didn’t do, ask yourself if you’re tolerating bad treatment, or if you’re stuffing down your feelings and pretending everything’s okay.
Am I trying to control the outcome – and him?
Control is about fear – we’re afraid of what might happen, so we try to manipulate a situation in order to minimize the chances of getting hurt. If you’re often feeling let down by a man, ask yourself if you’re trying to dictate the course of your relationship.
Often we’ll create a script in our heads of how a relationship is “supposed to be,” and we end up disappointed. In trying to manage a man and a relationship, you also lose out on discovering how a man truly feels about you. So let go of the need to control things, and instead allow yourself to be surprised.