Lately, I’ve made huge strides in overcoming my codependency issues with the help of my therapist and a ton of research on my part. But, none of this would have been possible if I didn’t sit down with myself a long time ago and asked myself, how do I stop putting so much effort into my relationship?
Here’s a look at how I would summarize the lessons I learned on not putting so much effort into a relationship and being used or codependent.
You need to stop initiating contact all the time, split bills reasonably, set boundaries and have standards for what you need from the relationship, be prepared to walk away if you need to, make time for yourself, prioritize other areas of your life, give your partner a chance to make an effort and say no to things that make you feel uncomfortable.
But, before you do any of these things, have a conversation with your partner expressing your desire for them to make more of an effort so that the two of you can have a better, healthier and happier relationship.
Communication is the key to all relationships and is a prerequisite to any change within it.
With that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and discuss these changes you need to make in more detail.
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How To Stop Putting So Much Effort Into A Relationship
Stop initiating contact all the time
When you’re excited and in love, the desire to close the gap between you and your partner is overwhelmingly powerful.
You’d be willing to drop whatever you’re doing to just talk to your partner.
In fact, you’re probably the one always initiating contact first thing in the morning or when a few hours have passed since the two of you have talked.
It can be easy to fall into this routine of being the one to text and call first all the time but is it really a good habit to form?
Personally, I like the idea of being contacted too.
I want to experience the joy of feeling wanted. You can’t experience that when you’re not willing to wait for your partner to reach out and contact you.
Perhaps, this is something that they would love to do but you’re always texting them or calling, preventing them from ever having the luxury of coming to you for some time and attention.
For this reason, I think it’s time for you to dial back the number of times you are the one to initiate contact with your partner.
If they are the ones to end a conversation because they’re going to address something in their life, it’s perfectly okay to wait until they initiate the next conversation.
It’s natural and organic.
Additionally, there’s no doubt that they want to talk to you because they would be the ones making the effort to contact you.
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Split bills reasonably
We live in 2022 and there’s no excuse for why one partner should shoulder all the burden of bills for dates or living expenses and one doesn’t unless there’s an agreement between the partners that the one who stays at home has to take care of it and the kids.
For a relationship to thrive, experiences that promote growth must be shared between the partners.
In other words, having mutual goals that pertain to life improvement and growth are paramount.
Nothing causes growth more than responsibility.
And nothing creates investment more than effort into a relationship.
Be with someone who is willing to split the bills with you as best as they can.
Take care of what you can but leave some room for them to pay for something or do something that saves you both money.
It doesn’t make you unkind or cheap to rely on your partner from time to time, especially if they can contribute to the relationship financially.
Have a conversation with your partner.
Tell them that you’d really like it if they can help you out in some way or take you out for a change because it would make you feel more appreciated and nurtured.
If they really love you and can afford to, they will.
If they don’t love you or if they can’t afford to, then they’ll find another way to make you feel like they’re contributing to the overall happiness of your relationship.
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Set boundaries and have standards for what you need from the relationship
People who truly value their time and effort will never put up with subpar behavior from those in their life.
They know their worth and as such demand a certain degree of effort from someone they date.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing so.
In fact, it’s important that you have boundaries and standards because that improves the probability of your needs being met in a relationship.
But at the same time, people will treat you how you allow them to.
Put differently, it is your responsibility to stand up for yourself and vocalize what you expect and need from a partner when they are not showing up appropriately in your relationship.
You can’t blame them for not making the right effort in your relationship if they don’t know what you want.
So, take some time to figure out your love language and what you need to feel happier with your partner and then let them know.
It is loving to help your partner understand where they need to improve in the relationship.
That is so much better than ending the relationship without giving them the respect they deserve to know what you actually need.
Be prepared to walk away if you need to
When you have tried everything you possibly can to improve your relationship but you’re stuck with a partner who is lazy, stubborn, inconsiderate and toxic, then it may be time to walk away.
Even if you don’t plan on leaving permanently, it may serve you to take a break from this person and think about how you want to move ahead.
In that time, it will reinforce reality for your partner.
He or she will have to get a taste of what life is like without you and if they are someone who usually has to lose something to realize its true value, then this could be the turning point that saves your relationship.
It could be the wake-up call they need.
More importantly, it forces you to address and fix the parts of yourself that encourage you to make so much effort into a relationship without expecting more and better behavior from your partner.
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Make time for yourself
Let’s examine this for a second. If you’re putting so much effort into a relationship and you’ve struggled to stop, there’s a possibility that you’re codependent.
This means that you derive satisfaction or a sense of usefulness by being needed and serving your partner.
At least, that’s how I look at codependency.
When exploring different ways to break out of this, I realized that I needed to create something more compelling to me during chunks of time in my regular life.
I need something that makes me feel excited, useful, happier, joyful and productive outside of my relationship.
When I found these things, it became a game-changer for me.
Now, while I’m single, I’ve placed a greater emphasis on doing things that are compelling to me and that make it infinitely easier to make time for them.
So much so that I struggle to find time in my life to date at the moment.
Coming from someone who was always dating or in relationships for the last decade, this is a huge development in my personal growth.
So, make time for yourself by focusing on something compelling, meaningful and significant to you that offers some form of reward other than your relationship.
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Prioritize other areas of your life
It’s easy or actually difficult to put so much effort into a relationship when you have a busy life filled with things and people you love.
You don’t need a ton of people or goals, just a few that you care about enough to make time for them regularly.
This means taking some time away from your relationship to take care of your body, visit family, spend time with friends, pursue a craft and relax.
When you strive for balance, that’s when things start falling into place and you create a healthy amount of distance from your partner to insert more desire and excitement into your relationship again.
Give your partner a chance to make an effort
Making all these changes and having necessary conversations with your partner is fantastic and may create the perfect opportunity for you to have a more balanced relationship but then you need to step back.
Have you noticed that when someone spends too much time working on something, they struggle to surrender control?
They don’t step back and give their partner a chance to make changes because this change is actually uncomfortable for them.
In fact, I’d go so far as to point out that they fool themselves into reverting back to old ways because they’re afraid, anxious or unwilling to let go a little.
You cannot do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.
You have to make a change and embrace discomfort to unlock growth.
That’s the way life works.
Give your partner a chance to adjust and show up. It may take some time but exercise patience and encouragement.
The best way to get someone to do more of what you want is to praise them when they show up in the right way.
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Say no to things that make you feel uncomfortable
Isn’t it difficult to imagine saying no to our partners? I get it. You don’t want to disappoint them, you’re afraid of being left, you feel guilty for prioritizing your own comfort and so on.
But, here’s the thing.
It’s okay to prioritize yourself at times, even in a relationship.
The whole point of being in a relationship with someone is because they make you feel good and you do the same for them.
There should be an understanding that one party should not have to suffer unnecessarily to make the other person feel good.
So, if you’re uncomfortable with something, speak up for yourself.
It’s okay to decline a request that makes you feel bad or doesn’t align with your values, even if you’re saying no to your partner.
If they respect you as a person and understand that you’re not being malicious or unfairly selfish, they’ll be kind and accepting.
More importantly, they’ll make an effort to do something else or to help out instead.
You’re not put on this earth just to be a free maid or butler for someone.
I have to say that the only way you’re going to stop putting so much effort into a relationship is if you address the tendencies within yourself that make you prone to overcompensating and seeking extreme levels of validation from your relationship.
It may or may not be that serious but issues left untreated can lead to extreme outcomes in the future.
When that silly voice in the back of your head tries to guilt you into reverting to old ways and abandoning balance in your life, make a conscious decision not to listen to it.
You have to pursue your purpose in life that extends beyond a relationship to truly be happy.
If you can, things will fall into place eventually.
With that being said, I hope you found this article on how do I stop putting so much effort into a relationship to be insightful and practical. If you have any questions or thoughts that you’d like to share with me, please do so by visiting the comment section below.