7 Red Flags You're More Invested In Your Relationship Than Your Partner Is
So much of being in a happy, healthy relationship is tied to being on the same page as the person you love, so it can really hurt if it feels like you're more invested in your relationship than your partner is. Sometimes it's just a nagging little feeling in the back of your head that's not necessarily tied to something deeper (like maybe your partner is stressed out about work, and they don't even realize it's affecting your relationship). In other cases, that feeling means that it's time to really think about your relationship and whether or not you're getting back what you're putting in, because you absolutely deserve to be in love in a fulfilling, mutual way with a partner who reciprocates your effort.
So, how do you figure out if you're on the same page as your partner? You just need to know what signs you should be paying attention to. I spoke with professional life and love mentor and bestselling author, Susan Winter to get her take on the red flags you should be watching out for and why each one matters — even if it's something that feels small, like always being the one to text first.
1. You're Always Texting Them First
If it feels like you're the only one in the relationship who ever sends the first text or initiates a conversation, it could be cause for concern — and not just for the obvious reason that you're putting in more effort. Winter points out that not only does it often signal that you're not a priority, but that when you realize you're putting out more than you're getting back, it can be uncomfortable.
"Optimally, it should be mutual, and in a fluid relationship, you're not keeping score as to who's reaching out," Winter says. "Think of it as your internal accountant ... You don't really get an alert from your accountant until you're going down."
2. You're Never Really Sure When You'll Have Plans Together
Being in a relationship typically means spending a good portion of your free time together, so it's something to pay attention to if it's difficult to get your partner to commit to plans, or it feels like you never really know when you're going to see them next.
"If you get an invitation to a wedding, of course your plus one is going to be your partner," Winter says. "But if you have the kind of relationship where, even though they're your partner, you can't really count on them to be around, then you're not in a relationship where you're both equally invested."
3. They've Met Your Friends, But You Haven't Met Theirs
"One of the signs of closeness in a relationship is if you're in the inner circle," Winter says. That means that you know your partner's closest friends and have probably met their family (and vice versa), which is normal in a healthy relationship. But if that's not the case for you, it could be a red flag.
"If the inner circle is withheld, there's a reason for it, and they're not putting you in their inner circle," Winter says. "So what we're looking for is an all-access pass."
4. They Don't Ask You Personal Questions
Part of caring about your partner is being interested in their life and how they're doing, from asking about the little things (like, "How was your day?") to being curious about the big things in their life and getting to know them even better. The problem is when your partner isn't reciprocating that or has stopped over time, and there are a few explanations for this.
First, it could mean they don't care — in which case, Winter says "they might say you're a couple, but they've got you isolated to a very small segment of their life." On the other hand, it could potentially be that they're bored, distracted, or don't even realize it's something they should be doing, she explains.
5. You Get The Sense That They're Holding Back
Does it feel like your partner is holding back about themselves, as if there's something there they won't fully let you in on? This, Winter says, can be another red flag to watch out for.
"You know there's another level, and they're closed," Winter says. "You get a very clear sense that you're not getting all of them. It's one thing if you've got all of them and that's all there is; this is the kind of thing where there's another level and they're not letting you [in]."
6. You Find Yourself Worrying About Looking Insecure Or Needy
A major red flag to watch out for? If you're feeling anxious about your relationship, especially if you're also afraid to talk about issues as they arise because you're worried that you might come off as insecure or needy, focusing instead on being agreeable.
"When there's an emotional disparity, we begin to edit ourselves," Winter says. "We become fearful of speaking up when our partner has been thoughtless or insensitive or downright hurtful, and we're terrified that any expression of discontent means we're difficult and that they'll get rid of us."
7. Talking About The Future Feels Like A Struggle
So, your partner doesn't like to talk about the future — or maybe, when they do talk about their future, they don't really mention you. What if you want to ask about the future, but are afraid to hear their answer? In any case, if talking about the future feels like a challenge, it could be a sign of a deeper problem and that they don't anticipate you being in their future.
"The fact that they don't plan a future with you is telling," Winter says.
It's important to keep in mind that if you're only experiencing one or two of these issues, it might not necessarily mean you're more invested than your partner is — it could just be something you need to work on, or that they don't even realize they're doing. But if you're checking off the majority of the boxes here, it's time for some reflection.
"All of these together are dangerous red flags," Winter says. "Any one alone, maybe. Maybe. But if you put all of them together that's not just a red flag, that's like a banner for a continent."
So what do you do if these red flags feel a little too real?
"The person in question should carefully review their goals in life — 'What do I want?' — and ask themselves, 'Do I think in my lifetime this person's going to give it to me?' and if not, really reassess where they are," Winter says.
At the end of the day, there's one thing you should keep in mind: As Winter says, "Relationships are supposed to be two people who want the same thing, and they want it together."
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