Are you taking your partner for granted?
In the last episode I introduced you to a concept called hedonic adaptation and you learned that we are actually wired to take our partners for granted. If you missed it, make sure you go back and check it out because it really sets up the premise of today’s lesson.
In today’s episode you’re going to learn how to recognize whether or not you’re taking your partner for granted and if you are how to stop.
Have you ever had a demanding boss or coworker? Someone who would ask you to do something for them and never say thank you? Maybe there is someone like this in your family or a friend you used to have. At some point in our life, we’ve all had the experience of not being appreciated. It’s a pretty bad feeling and it can create a lot of resentment.
In a relationship, it is toxic.
The worst is causing someone we do love and we do appreciate to feel that way.
One of the most fundamental things a human being wants is to be seen. We want to be noticed. We want to know that we matter.
Appreciation is a very important part of that.
One of the biggest problems I see my clients face is that there isn’t nearly enough appreciation being felt, demonstrated, or expressed in their relationship.
Appreciation is like the gas in your car.
A car is an amazing invention that can do wonderful things for you and your life. It can give you far more reach than you’ve ever had. But what happens if your car runs out of gas? Nothing. It stops. Until you put more gas in it, it’s just a hunk of metal and rubber. It’s the gas that brings it to life! Or the Electricity if you’ve got a hybrid.
Our relationships, get a lot of mileage and we need to be refilling the tank every single day.
The good news, is unlike gas, appreciation is free, and eco-friendly.
So what are some signs that your partner might be feeling taken for granted?
1) Your partner complains that you don’t appreciate them enough
This is a pretty big sign. If you’ve heard this from your mate before, or worse, if you hear it all the time, LISTEN.
People don’t usually make these things up. In their experience, there is truth in it. So get curious - ask “What makes you say that?” and really listen to the answer.
Ask “what would our relationship look like if I was appreciating you the way that you want?” or “What do you need to feel appreciated?”
2) You find yourself nagging or complaining
Sometimes we can get so focused on what isn’t being done, we miss what is.
What’s your ratio of compliments and Thank You’s to complaints and digs? If it is less than 5 positives to 1 negative, you’ve got room for improvement. If it’s less than 2 to 1, you’ve got a problem.
Remember, appreciation is the gas in the car. If your car is out of gas it doesn’t matter how many times you step on the pedal! That car ain’t moving.
If you find yourself saying the same thing over and over again, try a new strategy, lead with some praise and gratitude. Turn up the dial on thank you’s and compliments. I promise it is only going to help.
3) There less attraction in your relationship
Do you feel less attracted to your partner? Or do you sense that they feel less attracted to you? This could be a sign that someone is being taken for granted.
When I say attraction, I’m not talking purely about physical attraction, although that is a part of it, I am talking about how drawn you feel to your partner.
Think about it, how attracted do you feel to someone who is taking you for granted? Or to someone who is not listening to you? Provided that you have a healthy attachment style, probably not very.
Attraction is one of the best indicators we have for the health of our relationship because it is highly sensitive. It is the canary in the coal mine. It’s the first thing to go when there’s something off in the relationship and it’s a really good cue to use to monitor the health of your relationship.
"Attraction is one of the best indicators we have for the health of our relationship because it is highly sensitive." #lovesmarter
4) You know the script by heart
Your partner might do things for you everyday that you’ve grown so accustom to, those gifts fade into the background or become expectations.
Even if you are saying thank you - are you just repeating the same script you use every time?
My husband cooks dinner for me every night and if I’m not paying attention it’s really easy for that to become routine or even worse, an expectation.
Sure, I say thank you, or give him a quick kiss on the cheek tell him it was delicious - but that is because I am being polite, not appreciative.
There is a difference between manners and appreciation.
Being polite is saying “Thank You” because that’s what you’re supposed to say when someone does nice for you. Being appreciative is actually allowing YOURSELF to FEEL appreciation. It is an emotion.
Appreciation is more than just a communication - it is an experience. Something you feel.
In the moments when I am genuinely appreciative, I am able to communicate that appreciation in a whole new way. I am able to say “Thank you so much for providing for me like this. You take the best care of me and make me feel like a queen. I am so blessed that I don’t even need to think about what I’m going to eat for dinner because you do that for me. I know that takes a lot of your time. Thank you. ”
Now that kind of thank you has a different impact.
Do you think your partner is feeling taken for granted?
Even if they’re not, it never hurts to add extra appreciation anyway. Remember, appreciation is like free eco-friendly gas! So stop acting like it’s $5 a gallon and you’ve got to pinch your pennies.
Fire up your relationship! Go throw some gas on it!