5 Tiny Ways You're Selfish In Your Relationship (Without Realizing It)

The selfishness might be coming from you.

Last updated on Mar 13, 2024

Woman ignoring her man Prostock-Studio | Canva 

Selfish behavior can make or break your relationship if you're not careful. Healthy relationships require empathy and altruism. Everyone, at some time or another, has felt like they are in a relationship with a selfish person. And it's not just with a romantic partner. This could be a colleague, friend, or family member. We've all been there. And we all seek relationship advice to deal with a selfish partner.


But, have you ever stopped and thought that you may be the selfish person in your relationship? Have you ever asked yourself, "Am I selfish?" Are your behaviors holding you back? How altruistic are you? Studies have found that some things, like holding the door open for a stranger and paying your loved ones back on Venmo, demonstrate altruistic behavior. Studies have also found that as you get older, you become more altruistic. Selfishness takes a toll on every type of relationship. It's not just limited to romantic relationships. If selfish behavior doesn't stop, it will eventually end what was once a great relationship.


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Here are 5 tiny ways you're selfish in your relationship without even realizing it:

1. You take your partner for granted

Nobody likes that feeling. When you've been in a relationship for a while, this can happen. You may even begin to feel better than your partner. When you are in a relationship, you need to feel equal. When you begin to feel better than them, contempt starts. This is one of the biggest predictors of a breakup in a relationship. It causes resentment. Remember, you can't go back to the beginning of a relationship.



2. You always think you are right

This means that you haven't learned to compromise. When you don't compromise in a relationship you create the "I win, you/we lose" scenario. This is the beginning of the end. Both people in the relationship need to feel equal. When you don't feel equal, you will grow apart.


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3. You ignore your partner's input

It's important to accept the influence of your partner in your relationship. This means that there is a speaker and there is a listener. This doesn't mean you just go through the motions. This means being genuinely interested in what your partner has to say. Be open to trying their ideas. This means action because the saying is true: action speaks louder than words.

4. You frequently bail on plans

Your partner will feel like they are not important in the relationship. Your partner needs to feel first in the relationship. This is how you know your partner has your back. This is what everyone wants in a relationship.

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5. You constantly seeking preferential treatment

This doesn't mean you have to give up your self-care plan. By now, you should know how important that is. But, when you are in a relationship, you do have to give up the 'me' and start thinking of the 'we.' As human beings, one of the most natural desires is to be in a relationship. You desire many types of relationships. You have relationships with your colleagues, friends, and families. But, when you demonstrate these selfish behaviors, they can interfere with having satisfying relationships.



Financial disputes can also cause problems in relationships. Money is one of the leading causes of stress in a relationship due to differing beliefs about money. One partner may live a more carefree life around spending while the other values budgeting and saving money. It's important to talk about your differences to create a better understanding of your relationship. This will also help your partner feel the altruism in the relationship.

Relationships don't have to be difficult. With the right attitude, they can be a lot of fun and satisfying for a couple. But, they do require selflessness on both sides. It's difficult for selfish people to learn how to have a healthy relationship if they don't try to change. So, if you are exhibiting any of these selfish behaviors in your relationship, stop today. Not only are they not good for your relationship, but they also aren't good for you.


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Lianne Avila is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice in San Mateo, CA. Her work has been featured in Psych Central, BRIDES, and Prevention.