When a relationship and selfishness go hand in hand, they go right into the attorney's office.
Most of the dating relationship advice that is out there has to do with how to behave in a relationship. It discusses things like communicating, being honest, and, you know, not slashing each other’s car tires. Other dating relationship advice talks about how to handle life’s difficulties: break ups, non-committal make ups, and shake ups. Then there is the dating relationship advice that is purely in regards to who - and who you shouldn’t – date.
Doling out the latter can be tricky: I don’t actually know you (unless I do and in that case, “hi”). So, it may be hard for me to provide dating relationship advice that specifies what type of person is good for you and what type is bad. I simply don’t know what kind of things you’re attracted to (please don’t let one of them be “urine”).
But, I do know what makes a relationship work and what makes one fail. And, for this reason, I know selfishness (either from you or your partner) is the equivalent of taking your relationship to the top of a volcano and tossing it inside.
So, how do you know if you or your partner is selfish? Sometimes, it’s obvious (and no, it’s not really about hogging the bed covers), but other times you need to look for clues. These include:
It’s one person’s way or the highway: Most dating relationship advice will tell you that unions are a two way street; if they’re one way, a dead end is inevitable. Because of this, a relationship that is dictated by only one person’s wants and desires will never ever thrive. Instead, it’ll go the way of proper grammar or that kid from Hook: it’ll simply disappear.
You only see one set of friends and family: Another way to tell if your relationship involves selfishness is by the people you hang out with: do you only see your family or always hang out with their friends? If it’s one-sided, there’s a good chance it’s unfair. There are, of course, exceptions to this: if only one partner ever makes an effort to get together with people, then selfishness isn’t really an issue; it’s more about taking the initiative - you can't expect your partner to make plans with your mother. That kind of thing is up to you.
One person expects career support but doesn’t offer it: Perhaps one of the easiest ways to find selfishness in a relationship is through career support. If one person refuses to support their partner’s career but automatically expects support for their own career, then you are like Houston; you have a problem.
One person is blamed for everything: It takes two people to make a relationship succeed and two to make one fail. Even under circumstances where one person seems clearly at fault (they have an affair, for instance), there are usually reasons for their actions, reasons that point the finger at both parties involved. So, because two people make a relationship succeed and fail, two people should be willing to change, adapt, and give of themselves. If only one person is ever expected to engage in a metamorphosis, the relationship is about as doomed as pretty much all of Franz Kafka’s literary protagonists.
One person must do the heavy lifting: The final way to determine whether a relationship involves someone who is selfish is the heavy lifting: does one person always do it? Is one person expected to always do it? Does the job of “fixing things” fall on one person’s shoulders alone? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, the odds are high that selfishness is involved. The odds are also high that your relationship is in trouble: when one person does all the heavy lifting, they are more likely to drop the ball.
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