So much of a relationship is finding a middle ground for both you and your partner's wants and needs — a balance between the way you spend your time, your favorite sex positions and theirs, how often you see your friends, and so many more day-to-day choices. But when you start to feel like the things that matter to you are starting to take a backseat to your partner's preferences more often than not, it can be a little disheartening. You may start wondering if you and your partner are equally invested in your relationship, and that could send you into a rabbit-hole of overanalyzing every little thing they do. But before you spiral, know that understanding whether you and your SO are both equally invested your relationship is actually easier than you might think.
But first, what does "equally invested" even mean? Well, for starters, "when you and your partner are equally invested in the relationship, there's an innate sense of comfort and security," relationship and love coach Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. "You're there for each other, have each other's backs, and can be counted upon as a source of support. There's no insecurity as to how your partner feels about you, or if the relationship is about to end."
One of the most obvious ways to know that you and your partner are on the same page in your relationship is if you share common goals and values, Winter says. "Your end goal for the partnership is the same (living together, marriage, family, etc.)," she explains. "You treat each other fairly and appropriately as befits the title of 'significant other.'" And not only do you have the same dreams for your relationship, but you also work together to make them a reality. "You don't feel like you're the one doing all the work," she adds. "You have a real partner in every sense of the word."
Another way you can tell if you and your partner are equally invested in your relationship is if things genuinely feel fair. "Both pragmatically and emotionally, there is a healthy give-and-take," psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Grant H. Brenner tells Elite Daily. "You meet one another's needs for an intimate relationship and tend together to the relationship itself." However, it can be important to note that while both of you should put in equal effort, some days, bae may need you to put in more work than they do, and vice versa. "There may be times when one gives more, or it may look to an outside observer that one person isn't as engaged," Brenner says. "But if you come to understand the relationship deeply, you will find there is a deep symmetry."
Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, recommends making a mental checklist to tell whether or not your partner is as invested as you are. Ask yourself, "Do you feel your emotional needs are being met? Are your partner and you willing to grow and change as each of you grow and changes over time?" Klapow tells Elite Daily. "Are you willing to make changes for your partner and vice versa? If the answers are generally yes, then there is equal investment in the relationship. If it is no for both or no for just one, then the investment is not there for both of you."
You should also keep in mind, though, that everyone sees things differently. "Equality, compromise, and investments can be very subjective and are in the eye of the beholder," Klapow says. "What you think is one-sided or [a] lack of investment may not be what they think is one-sided." So, it's very possible that you may think your partner's not equally invested in your relationship, and they may not even realize it, or think the same about you because of your different mindsets.
The best way to go about getting on the same page is to have an open and honest conversation. Understand what your partner expects from you, and make sure you're communicating your needs to them as well. Get on the same page about what compromise and equal participation looks like in your relationship, so that that's clearly defined going forward and there is no room for confusion.
"If you treat emotional investment as something that you both feel versus something that one is right and the other is wrong," he continues, "and you seek to get to a place where you both feel the division of physical, psychological, and emotional labor is equal enough — you will do fine."