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Making Relationships Work – How Far Should You Go?

relationship work

Making a relationship work isn’t always moonlight and roses! These tips on making relationships work will help you figure out how far you should go.

The healthiest relationships are very close to 50/50 or equal partnerships. If you do all the work in your relationship, then you need to stop. Unless, of course, you’re happy doing all the work (but I hope you aren’t, because that’s not fair).

One of my favourite books about relationships is ScreamFree Marriage: Calming Down, Growing Up, and Getting Closer. It’s not just for married couples – it’s probably more important for new couples, engaged couples, or couples thinking about marriage. Why? Because it’ll help you “start as you mean to go” in your marriage.

In ScreamFree Marriage, Hal describes how his wife was doing all the work in their marriage, and how she convinced him to pick up the slack. She didn’t nag, cajole, beg or threaten – she tried it, but it didn’t work.  Rather, she let Hal lie in the bed he made. He’s now an equal partner in their emotional life, as well as in the household chores. If you’re tired of doing all the work in your relationship and at home, read that book. It’ll show you what “making relationships work” really means.

3 Tips on Making Relationships Work

These tips for making a relationship work are inspired by a reader’s comment. Here’s what Michelle says:

“I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for three years. He’s a freshman in college, and I just graduated high school. Recently he told me he doesn’t feel close or comfortable around me like he used to. He makes me feel like everything is my fault. However, I work hard in our relationship every day to prove to him that I am committed and there for him, but he doesn’t do anything to show me that he cares. He is busy because he works and is a student but I just don’t know what to do anymore. Someone please help me, should I make this relationship work?” – from 10 Signs of a Bad Relationship.

How far should she go to make their relationship work? There is no cut-and-dried answer, but I have a few thoughts…

Let go of your need to please

Why are you doing all the work in your relationship? Because he doesn’t do anything – or he does little. Because he’s not as invested in the relationship as you are. Because relationships are often more important to women than men. Because you need to nurture, please, and make him happy. Because you’re scared to lose him.

What would happen if you dropped the load you’re carrying? If he breaks up with you, then you will mourn the loss and move on. If he complains that you’re no longer doing all the work in your relationship, then you need to be honest about how you feel. Maybe you and he can save your relationship, or maybe you need to call it quits. Sometimes making relationships work is about getting independent, strong, and healthy!

Do you respect yourself? Are you proud of who you are in your relationship?

The most attractive women are happy, healthy, and independent. They know what they want, and aren’t afraid to express themselves. They have goals and life plans, and are passionate about moving forward despite their fear or uncertainty.

If you’re doing all the work in your relationship, it’s time to stop focusing on being a girlfriend or wife. You need to grow into a healthy, happy, mature WOMAN who isn’t bending over backwards to please her man. You need to build yourself into someone you respect and admire – but the more you respect and admire yourself, the more others will respect and admire you.

Feel the fear of the break up…but don’t let it paralyze you

Are you scared that your relationship will end if you stop doing all the work? If so, you’re normal! It’s hard to leave a relationship, even if you’re unhappy in it. But it’s better to leave your boyfriend than to keep drawing out the pain of an unhealthy relationship.

Breaking up is sad and difficult, especially if you have children. I’m not saying you should break up with your boyfriend or divorce your husband just because you’re tired of thinking about making relationships work. But, you need to be realistic about your future. If you want your partner to do more work in your relationship, will he be willing and able? Or, will he back away slowly (or run screaming for the hills!)?

A huge part of making relationships work is knowing if you’re coping with the “normal” relationship problems. Read 5 Most Common Mistakes in Relationships.

Review your three options for making relationships work

You need to decide how you want this relationship to play out, and then you need to find the courage to take the next step. That may mean continuing to do all the work and accepting that this is your relationship (option 1). Or, it may mean confronting your partner and giving him a choice to pull his weight because you can’t continue this way (option 2). Or maybe it means walking away now, because you know he’ll never step up to the plate (option 3).

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What do you think of these tips for making relationships work? I welcome your comments below!

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