If You're Married To This Personality Type, Your Marriage Is In Trouble

The surprising danger of being married to a people-pleaser.

Being married to a people pleaser Samuel Borges Photography | Canva

"People pleasers" — We all know them, some of us are even married to them and you'd think that loving a person who lives to please you is like winning the relationship jackpot. What possible downside could there be to someone who's hardwired to make you (and others) happy, right? Well ... brace yourself. If you're married to a "pleaser," you're aware that they:

  • Agree to go somewhere they don't want to go, without objecting
  • Tell you what they think you want to hear, just to make you happy
  • Do what they think you want, to avoid conflict or disappointing you
  • Say everything is "fine," when perhaps their behavior or attitude demonstrates otherwise

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So what's the danger in that? Betrayal. Because the "Pleaser" is lying. Most of us don't think of it this way (because we're too busy enjoying getting our way all the time), but the reality is that not telling you the real truth about things — facts, as well as their feelings — is lying. You operate under the impression that you're building a life together; one that you both desire. But with a "Pleaser," you end up in the driver's seat while they passively take the back seat — they're always "just along for the ride" of their own life.

In some cases, "Pleasers" end up married and even becoming parents before they're ready to take on these roles because it's what's "expected" or what they think they're "supposed" to do. Sadly, I'm not exaggerating, I see it all the time with clients. And invariably, as their everyday betrayals compound resulting in a life they never truly chose, very often "People Pleasers" end up having affairs. Sometimes they "just" cheat, and sometimes they abruptly leave altogether; their discontent finally gets the best of them.


RELATED: 7 Reasons Why You Should Never Trust A People Pleaser

Because that is what occurs — while the "Pleaser" is busy making you happy, they're stockpiling resentments — all the clear "evidence" of how you get your way, dismiss them, ignore their wishes, and of how they "always" give in. Meanwhile, you may have no idea any of this is happening. They quietly go along for this ride — seat belt strapped on in the back seat until one day they just open the door and jump. They bail on the life you've built together because they've had enough of feeling unheard, unacknowledged, and unappreciated.

Rather than express their feelings of dissatisfaction to you — because that would mean upsetting you or having conflict — or understanding their role in how this imbalance came about, they just slide into the arms of another who listens, cares, and is curious about getting to know them. Like a drop of water landing on a dried-out sponge, that touch of attention feels irresistible and intoxicating. Almost every "Pleaser" who cheats says the affair began "innocently."


RELATED: 6 Tiny Signs You're Dating A People-Pleaser

So what's the solution? Over time in a relationship, the "Pleaser" disappears. His or her thoughts, wishes, needs, desires, or opinions fade from view and they inevitably become eclipsed by their partner. When you've built a life for two upon a shaky foundation of polite lies and the happiness of one, it's only a matter of time before that relationship crumbles.

While there is no failsafe measure to protect against betrayal when both partners show up every day — sharing the truth of who they really are — the risk is significantly minimized. So the next time your partner easily yields (once again) and gives you your way, understand that there is no relationship "victory."  Instead, acknowledge and start responding to each other's separate and distinct needs. Affirmation of both partners within the relationship keeps it fulfilling and partners are less likely to seek satisfaction elsewhere. 


RELATED: 3 Perfectly Normal Things That 'Good Girls & People Pleasers' Are Allowed To Do (But Don’t Know They Are)

Hilary Silver, LCSW is a therapist & relationship expert, who gives advice and strategies for keeping her client's relationship hot, healthy & happily ever after. She has been featured in Good Therapy, The Good Men Project, NBC, and Women's Health. and more.