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Putting Too Much Effort into a Relationship: Where to Draw the Line

You might think there is no such thing as putting too much effort into a relationship. But sometimes too much effort can be worse than a lack of effort.

putting too much effort into a relationship

We are constantly told to put effort into a relationship. Relationships aren’t easy. They take work. They require patience and communication. As much as all of that is true, there is such a thing as putting too much effort into a relationship.

Yes, a successful relationship is not easy to have, but it should be worth the effort you are putting in. It should add to your life and your partner should be putting in an equal amount of effort.

What is putting too much effort into a relationship?

How do you know when you are crossing the line from putting a good amount of effort into a relationship into too much effort? Well, it depends on your relationship.

If you are surprising your partner with romantic dates and expensive gifts regularly, that might be totally normal for you. If that is what you are both comfortable with that’s great. But for other relationships, not only could that be overkill, but it can leave feels of resentment and your partner feeling spoiled.

The amount of effort you put in is about what you and your partner’s expectations are. [Read: Healthy relationship expectations to define a good love life]

Take a step back and look at the balance. Are you going out of your way for them all the time? Do you spend time with their family and friends? If they do the same for you, great, if not you may be putting too much effort into a relationship.

Are you putting too much effort into a relationship?

As I said, the amount of effort you are putting into a relationship is dependent on you and your partner. But, if you notice these things in your relationship, there is a good chance you could be putting too much effort in.

#1 You feel underappreciated. Sure, we all have days or times in our relationship where we don’t feel appreciated. Maybe your partner is super busy with a project at work or is stressed over something. But if your feelings of under-appreciation are lasting, it probably isn’t situational.

If you regularly feel like your partner doesn’t appreciate the effort you go to to make them happy in both big and small ways you could be putting too much effort into a relationship.

This doesn’t actually mean you’re doing something wrong. You could put that same amount of effort into a different relationship and feel greatly appreciated. What it depends on is how your partner views your effort. [Read: 15 rules to be a good partner in the relationship]

#2 The relationship is more work than reward. Just like everything in life, relationships have both good and bad. Sometimes you fight and disagree but other times you can’t stop laughing. But, if the bad outweighs the good, you could be putting too much effort into this relationship.

A relationship is hard work, but it should feel worth it. The effort of making compromises and being vulnerable should feel worth all the good times and happiness you get out of it. If it feels more like work than enjoyment it might be time to reevaluate. [Read: 15 signs of a healthy relationship you should always look for]

#3 Your needs are not being met. Let’s look at the relationship from a different side. You putting too much effort in is not just about what you do, but also about what you are getting in return. It may not sound like too much effort to care for your partner, support them, spend time with their family, and even financially support them.

But, if your needs are not being met, all those things you’re doing are too much effort by comparison. Even just making dinner for your partner could be too much effort if they don’t do anything for you.

#4 They expect you to fit into their life. If your partner has taken your effort for granted, they may begin to expect that effort from you regularly. It is fine to get used to being treated a certain way, but when they expect you to fit into their life and their schedule, you can begin to feel overworked.

Do you have to change plans to meet their needs? You only see their friends all the time? Do you go to their work events? Sure, relationships require compromise. If you are the only one compromising, it isn’t right. [Read: 16 discreet signs you’re always being taken for granted]

#5 You’re exhausted. If your relationship makes you feel more tired than work, that is a problem. Your relationship should inspire and energize you. We all have ruts, but if having a conversation with your partner makes you feel like it is time for a nap, you are putting in too much effort.

Spending time together and communicating should make things easier and make you feel better, not worse.

#6 They manipulate you. This is a hard one to eyeball. The whole idea behind manipulation is that you aren’t really aware of it, at least not until it is too late. If you find yourself questioning your actions after the fact or feeling persuaded to apologize when it wasn’t actually warranted, you are bending over backwards for a partner that isn’t worth it.

If you are putting too much effort in, your partner may take advantage of your caring and kind nature. They are not worthy of the effort you put in. [Read: 12 subtle signs you’re being manipulated by your lover]

#7 They don’t make time for you. This is the one I have a ton of experience with. I had a relationship where I convinced myself he was just busy so I texted first. If I asked to hang out he would make an excuse. If something “better” came along, he would flake.

But when it was convenient for him and he had no other plans he would expect me to drop everything to see him. When someone is deserving of your love and effort they make time for you, even when it isn’t convenient. [Read: Are you feeling trapped in your relationship?]

#8 You are carrying the responsibilities. Whether you live together or not, if the burden of bills, cleaning, and cooking lands all on you, you are putting too much effort into a relationship. Sure, you want to have a nice place, but as a partner, they should be willing to help out.

Do you buy the birthday card for your partner’s mom? Are you reminding them of your anniversary? Do you get their clothes dry-cleaned and make their appointments? A relationship should be shared, all the responsibilities should not fall on you.

#9 You make all the plans. Yes, I know, some people are just more spontaneous and aren’t planners, but you will notice if you are always making the plans. Whether you are the one always making reservations, researching vacations, or even texting about dinner, you are putting in more effort than your partner.

If they meet that effort by doing something for you, that is one thing, but if you are always asking their schedule, carving out time, and sorting things out, you put way too much effort into your relationship.

#10 You feel pressure. College exams make you feel stressed. A presentation at work puts pressure on you. Even meeting your partner’s parents is nerve-racking. But if you feel like you are under pressure to live up to your partner’s expectations of you, you are putting too much effort in.

A relationship should be your safe place. You should feel relaxed with this person. You need to have lazy days and be yourself completely and feel good about it. If you feel ashamed for being yourself in a relationship, you are putting too much pressure on yourself. [Read: Why double standards in a relationship are toxic]

How to stop putting too much effort into a relationship

You may have noticed some of these things in your relationship. If so, all hope is not lost.

You do not need to pull back on putting in effort. Most people who feel they are putting too much effort into a relationship aren’t actually. They are just not receiving the same amount of effort back.

To give your partner the benefit of the doubt, they may not realize you are feeling this way. They are not a mind reader, so let them know. Talk to your partner and let them know how you are feeling.[Read: 13 needy signs you’re too available for your partner]

Tell them you love spoiling them with dinner and spending time with their family, but you would feel more appreciated if they did more for you. Whether that be doing a load of laundry, taking out the trash, or just saying thank you, they won’t know what you want or need without you saying so.

Now, if they become defensive and say your feelings are just all in your head and they do appreciate all you do, they are likely manipulating you. A decent partner will apologize for not seeing this was how you felt. They will try to amend their behavior and make things more balanced.

Your partner’s reaction to your realization that you have been putting too much effort in tells you if you should try to create a balance or let them go and find someone more deserving of your kind nature.

[Read: 20 signs you’re wasting time in a one-sided relationship]

Putting too much effort into a relationship only becomes a problem if you aren’t receiving an equal level of effort back. This can be sorted out with a simple conversation, but if not, you deserve someone worthy of your love.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...