How’s cliché is that? Balance is important in any relationship, because of course it is, but give-and-take is not always going to be even Steven all the time, nor should it be.
But girl, if the thought that you’re always the one giving more than you’re getting in return is something that lurks in the back of your mind, at some point you’re probably going to ask yourself whether you should just give up on him and move on.
I’m not talking bailing on your guy the first time he doesn’t spend time with you because he has an intense week at work. I’m talking about you consistently playing the role of the giver instead of the receiver.
Maybe you’re asking yourself why you’re always willing to settle for the short straw. Other people are probably asking you why you’re being a relationship doormat, and if they’re not saying it straight out, they’re probably saying it to someone or at least wondering why a seemingly has-it-all-together woman (that’s you) is settling for crumbs.
We’re socialized to stick with things and to never give up — nobody likes a quitter. I say giving up isn’t always a bad thing. If any of these red flags are popping up in your relationship, maybe giving up is something you want to give consideration to.
1. He doesn’t initiate plans.
If you’re dating and he doesn’t reach out to you and make an effort to be in your company at least half the time, guess what buttercup? He’s not into you and you’re probably just a convenience. If you show up on his doorstep with Chinese and the promise of a romp, he’s probably going to accept both because you’re… well, just there.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t take charge and initiate evening takeout and sex, but if you’re always the one thinking and planning, don’t you wonder what would happen if you just… didn’t?
2. If you cancel on him at the last minute, he doesn’t care.
We expect our partners to be understanding when we can’t do what we say we’re going to do, but if we have to bail on something, it’s nice if they’re a little disappointed, right?
3. If his phone beeps and buzzes nonstop, and he interrupts whatever he’s doing with you to check it.
Being understanding about work calls and emails is one thing, but there comes a time when you should expect him to unplug and give you his undivided attention. If he’s interrupting couple time — or worse yet, sexy time — to look at every text and Facebook notification, you know you’re low on his priority list.
4. You went into the relationship with the goal of “fixing him.”
Does he party too much? Spends too much time gaming? Outrageously flirts with anything with a vagina? Think he’d be perfect if he’d just lose 20 pounds and join a gym? Girl, no.
If you’re looking for a fixer-upper or charity project, good for you. But if you try to slap one of those labels on a romantic partner, you’re always going to end up disappointed. Same for him expecting you to change. If you’re getting indications you’re his fixer-upper, get out. No matter what he thinks needs fixing, you deserve better.
5. You don’t hang out with his friends.
Or worse yet, you don’t even know them. You might not have that couple connection with his oldest and closest friends, and it usually takes time for “our” friends to emerge from “yours” and “his.” But if you’ve been together for six months or more and he has a separate circle of friends that you never interact with or who don’t even realize you exist, then giving up and moving on should be something you’re seriously thinking about.
6. Justifying his actions to others has become second-nature.
If you constantly make excuses for his absences, inconsiderate behavior or general douchebaggery, stop and ask yourself why. You might be doing this without even realizing it, but take a step back and listen to what you say when you talk about him to others. Oh, and worse yet? Justifying his actions to yourself.
7. He doesn’t show affection outside of the bed.
This can be a tricky one because not everyone is naturally affectionate. People have varying degrees of what level of physical contact and affection is acceptable and desirable. Just because he doesn’t want you to sit on his lap during a Netflix marathon doesn’t mean he doesn’t care, but if he never reaches for your hand or grab your butt without it being a direct prelude to getting busy …
8. He doesn’t ask you questions.
Or worse yet, he mechanically asks you questions for the sake of conversation and glazes out when you answer. Asking questions indicates interest or caring about the things that matter to you. If that piece is missing… well, what were his good qualities again?
9. He’s an a–hole to service people.
You can tell a lot about someone by how they treat the waiter. Everyone has their moments, but if you find yourself consistently overlooking (or making excuses) for his boorishness, why are you staying?
10. He’s physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive.
11. Your core values and beliefs are different.
There’s a fine line between “opposites attract” and someone whose basic life views don’t mesh with yours. I’m not saying you have to be on the same page about everything, but if you’re going to coexist and grow with someone over time, you probably want to at least be in the same section of the library.
12. You don’t love him.
Sometimes it hits you like a wrecking ball and sometimes it sneaks up on you, but you know yourself best. If you’re keeping hold of someone because you feel like you’ve invested something in them, are afraid you won’t find someone else, or are just hoping things will get better, take a look at the woman in the mirror and ask her some tough questions.
Love isn’t everything, and it is certainly possible to love a toxic person and still need to break away. The absence of love raises a red flag.
As a society, we’re conditioned not to be quitters. Giving up is viewed as something the weak and undisciplined do. But if you find yourself in a relationship where the “give” part is conspicuously absent from give and take, then giving up just might be the best gift you give yourself.