We all take our fair share of “stuff” from our partners in relationships. The bad mood, picking up the slack for their laziness, going along with what they want to keep the peace, irritating habits, and so on. In fact, as a partner, we see the worst of our mate and put up with more of their “stuff” than anyone else! You might say that’s the “privilege” of being someone else’s chosen one. We get the good, and we get the bad!
Now, there’s compromise, patience, turning a blind eye, and everything else we do to minimize conflict and keep a relationship going, then there’s next level endurance of a partner’s torturous behavior that is beyond what any reasonable person should have to put up with “’til death do us part!”
Here are 5 ways to know that what your partner dishes out is more than you should have to take:
1. It’s his way or the highway- all the time. Compromise is always part of a healthy relationship. Sometimes you get your way, sometimes your partner gets theirs. Hopefully both of you can agree on a happy medium that is mutually advantageous most of the time. Our partner should take pleasure in seeing us happy and having our needs met, just as we should enjoy knowing they are satisfied. If one partner or the other always has to be right and have it their way, that’s a major strike!
A couple I used to socialize with during my former marriage always struggled to find this balance. She was very meek and not very empowered to speak up for herself when she really wanted, let alone needed, something. We all deserve some niceties in life, and I recall him giving her a really hard time about even buying a pair of shoes! They both worked, and she even made more; but, she always felt as though she had to ask permission to do the smallest thing for herself!
One time, she went to him to discuss buying a new refrigerator. They needed a new fridge, and she put off this discussion as long as possible. He told her no, because it was too much money, then turned around and spent even more money on a new fishing boat. Strike one, buddy!
2. He puts the weight of the world on your shoulders. Marriage is a partnership; therefore, it’s only fair that each spouse finds a way to lift a fair share of the daily burden. This is up to each couple to figure out how to best balance their efforts, and it’s best if this can be something clearly-defined instead of just assumed. Maybe she does all the laundry and shopping and he mows the lawn and takes care of the cars?
In my former marriage, my patience met its limit when my ex continually lived as though he was some dignitary with special privileges that excluded him from helping around the house or with the kids. We both worked full time, and of course wanted to relax and enjoy our time outside of work. My second shift began at 5 pm when I would rush to pick up kids, cook dinner, entertain kids while cleaning the house and performing a variety of tasks. Meanwhile, my then husband would saunter in, plant himself on his reclining throne, and expect to be waited on hand and foot. That’s a big NOPE!
3. You are mistreated in any way. There’s just no excuse for anyone else to verbally, physically, financially, sexually, or emotionally abuse you! Anyone can have a bad day and say or do something regrettable; but, that should never include laying their hands on you, belittling you, or making you suffer. Love shouldn’t hurt! A partner who is abusive isn’t doing so because you deserve it; but, rather because they have serious issues!
A co-worker of mine described her former marriage as a daily exercise in walking on eggshells. She never knew if she would find Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde upon opening the door at the end of the day. Anything could set off her ex, and he made everything out to be her fault. She felt like a prisoner in her own home, and he manipulated everyone and everything around her to make her dependent on him so that it was all but impossible for her to leave. Leave she did, but not without first sustaining a broken orbit and PTSD. She learned that she could never make him change, and she would die if she stayed!
4. He leads a double life. A true partnership should include honesty and transparency. You should never have to wonder what your spouse is really up to! Your spouse should have no qualms about you viewing the contents of their phone, social media, e-mail, and other correspondence. If you catch your partner in a lie, it just raises the question “what else would they lie about, and why?”
Of course, no one wants to live with someone else constantly watching over their shoulder; but, in a trusting relationship, there’s no need for private investigators, GPS tracking devices, black lights, and keystroke loggers! A divorced woman shared with me that her ex employed all of these against her in a non-stop campaign of accusations of infidelity. The only problem was, he was the one running around cheating, and he projected his own guilt onto her to distract from his own sins!
5. He (or your marriage) has serious issues, and he refuses to get help. If your partner has serious issues (e.g. mental health problems or addictions), chances are that your marriage is also suffering! If your partner refuses to seek treatment for their problems, then you can be assured the situation will never improve. A person or a problem cannot be “fixed” unless the people involved recognize there’s a problem and actively commit to change!
Similarly, if the diagnosis is an unhappy marriage, but only one partner is conscious of the ailment or willing to work on the situation and fix it; there is very little chance for improvement. Some will argue this point and say that one spouse can force a change through persistent effort. I won’t categorize that as “impossible;” but, I will say it’s an uphill battle, at best, if only one partner cares enough about the marriage to work on it and salvage it. Otherwise, you are stuck with the choice to continue to live in a state of misery unlikely to change, or to take your chances and leave!
Your task is to determine how much of any behavior is more than you can bear? Are you giving up because it’s no longer as carefree and fun as you had hoped it would be, or is your partner practicing relationship-killing behaviors that are beyond toleration?
All of these behaviors have the potential to be abusive, on some level, as well as rife with disrespect, and just plain miserable to live with. You definitely have a right to expect better from your partner and to speak up for your right to honesty, respect, and equity in all aspects of your partnership!
P.S. You can do better!