I started writing this advice for my daughters out of worry and frustration. I saw some things in one of my daughter’s relationships that caused me great concern. As a mom, we never feel like we have done enough, taught enough or did good enough.
So, this was/is my way of telling my daughters or to help someone else’s daughter understand that selfishness doesn’t belong in a loving and healthy relationship. This advice applies to anyone in a relationship regardless of gender.
Selfless vs Selfish
Being selfless is a wonderful quality in a person. To be willing to sacrifice things you want for someone else and what they want or need.
Selfishness, on the other hand, gives no thought for anyone else; their wants or their needs. There is power in always getting what you want. He likely feels superior and entitled, because of his selfishness and expects to always get his way.
Selfless vs People Pleaser
Also, don’t confuse selflessness with someone who is a people pleaser. People pleasers have a tendency to neglect themselves in order to make everyone else happy. Being selfless when neglecting themselves and possibly those they love, by putting themselves last, isn’t really being selfless.
This type of person may end up with or already have a martyr complex. They often worry, unnecessarily, about what people think of them and have high anxiety from worrying about everyone else. Becoming ruled by how to make others happy and pleased with them.
Does he make sacrifices for you?
Sacrifices happen in relationships. They come from compromising and wanting to make your partner happy. In healthy relationships, there is a balance between the two of you and each gives and takes in turn. It is more in the a spirit of cooperation, rather than compromise, where relationships flourish. How are we going to work together, rather than what I can get from you. Wanting to make things beneficial for both of you.
Whereas, in unhealthy relationships one is doing most of the giving (or sacrificing) while the other does all the taking. There is a lot of selfishness that takes place when one is looking out for themselves more than their partner and children.
Is it really equal?
Watch out for equalizing unequal situations. For example: watching a movie the other wanted to see and you didn’t or eating somewhere you don’t like; it is a sacrifice, but not as big a sacrifice as giving up time with family or friends, in order to do what he or she wants.
Does he make small sacrifices and when something big comes up does he use what he did, that was small, and claims it is your turn to give in?
Compromise vs Cooperation
While I believe there has to be some compromise in relationships, cooperation is a more win/win attitude.
Does he keep score?
We went to where you like to eat last time and so now you have to come to my family event or do what I want.
- Is he willing to compromise?
- Are you always making big sacrifices for him? Giving up things you want to do or giving up being with friends or family for him.
- Does he equalize unequal sacrifices?
- Do you “owe him” because he has been or is such a good guy?
- How entitled is he? What does he think he deserves and is it at the expense of others or without a thought to anyone else?
- Is he critical of things you enjoy and want to do? Does he ask you to stop or discourage you from doing those things?
- What does he say about your family and friends? Does he say one thing to them and different things to you?
- Is he jealous when you spend time with or talk to someone else?
- Does he ask you to not talk to friends or family or to not see them?
- Is he selfish? Is he jealous?
Are your needs and wants as important to him as his own needs and wants? If they are not, this is a huge warning sign. Heed that warning sign and examine your relationship to see if there are others you have minimized or not seen.
Be with a man who is generous and giving. A man who cares about you and how you feel, your wishes and what is important to you.
Beware of selfish men. Don’t expect them to change. Selfish people care about one person and that person is always themselves. Unfortunately, having children doesn’t help to make them more selfless. It is unfortunate, but a trait to watch out for in your partner.
What do you think about selfishness and selflessness in relationships?
Have you had experience with selfishness or selflessness in your relationships? How did it help or hurt? What other advice would you give about this subject?