Never Appreciated

unappreciated

Never Appreciated

Do you feel that you have control over your life, but you are always getting stepped on? You go out of your way to show love, devotion, and perform grand gestures in hopes that they will be reciprocated. Instead, they turn out to be expectations. It stings the most when it’s a lover. But often those who are taken advantage of by romantic partners suffer at the hands of bosses, professors, friends and family too. If you’re never appreciated, or taken for granted more often than not, read on and you’ll know how to change it all around, and put some new direction in your life.

First, evaluate what you do for your lover and what they do for you. Writing two lists might make sense. Compare. Are you actually being taken advantage of? If your column takes up two pages with footnotes and addendums whilst theirs is barely two lines long, your lover has some explaining to do. Don’t get heated though. Instead, start to take a look at the patterns you take part in, in life. Do you get taken advantage of often, and by whom?

A lot of people are people-pleasers, so don’t feel bad. These people gain self-esteem from the gratitude of others. When they bestow their gratitude you get a bump. The problem is this person doesn’t often voice their own needs, wants and desires. No where do they feel more awkward at voicing their needs than with their partner. They secretly believe their own needs aren’t as worthy as others. But they are. So sit down with your partner and discuss how you feel with them. Tell them how hard you work on your grand gestures and how disappointed you are when they don’t reciprocate. Understand that they will be defensive. Don’t point the finger at them, or make them feel guilty. Just tell them how you feel and ask how they feel about that.

Approach it as a problem and invite them in. Have solutions outlined already. If your lover is resistant perhaps they aren’t in it for you, just for what you do for them. Assert yourself with your friends and at work too. Ask for what you want. Don’t overcompensate for past behavior. Be reasonable and ask in the right manner. But don’t back down. They may try to scare you off, but stand your ground. When you stick up for yourself others recognize it and you get respect. For more advice read the New York Times bestseller, The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome by Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D.

How Can You Tell if Someone Likes You Or Just Wants to Get in your Pants?

Just-A-Booty-Call

How Can You Tell if Someone Likes You Or Just Wants to Get in your Pants?

It happens when you least expect it. You meet someone and you can’t get them out of your mind. But what are their intentions? Though it does occasionally happen to guys, most of the time it’s the woman wondering whether he just wants to get in her pants or if he really likes her. Usually, this guy knows all the right things to say. You flirt easily and have a great rapport. The chemistry is real and it’s powerful. But in either case this could be true. So how can you tell? It’s in his actions as to whether he really wants to spend time with you or if he just wants to spend some time pressed up against you. Analyze the situation carefully and you can see through any player’s cover. First, how do you mainly interact? Are you constantly texting, emailing each other little articles you read online that remind you of one another and talking on the phone late into the night? Or do you mostly text and he drops off or disappears here and there, always reappearing with some catastrophe he dealt with or well-tailored excuse? If it’s the latter, you should watch your heart.

When you talk what do you talk about? If all he talks about is himself and he’s never inquired about your history, your likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams and more personal stuff, chances are he isn’t that interested. Guys who like you want to get to know the real you. They will go out of their way to show you that they remember something about you. A link on your page, a phrase or joke you share, a little thoughtful gift or a mention of something you are interested in such as your favorite band coming to town, or your team winning a game will show that he really cares. If there’s no personal touch, he doesn’t want to get personal, just physical. Have you ever met his friends? Or does he steer you clear of his crew? Guys who like you want to see how you interact with their friends. He wants to know if you can fit in with his circle, and vice-versa. But those that just want to get between your thighs don’t want to risk their circle looking down on them, so there will always be an excuse as to why you can’t tag along.

Do you pick him up, go to his place? Do you always go out of your way for him? Does it run in the other direction too? If not, he’s just not that into you. A guy who really likes you will make an effort. But if it’s all about him, or he isn’t that interested, he may not think twice about taking advantage of your time, money and more. When you hang out is all his attention on you or is he constantly distracted? If he likes you his focus will be on you. If he doesn’t it will be on his phone, his great fashion sense or daydreaming about getting your clothes off and what he will find underneath. Does he make last minute plans with you, or break plans last minute? If he doesn’t respect your time he doesn’t respect you.  Does he drop hints or make jokes about not wanting or not liking relationships? This is a red flag. Sometimes he could drop hints that he is only interested in a physical thing. If he is eager to get physical with you, to kiss and touch you he may only have one thing on his mind. Of course these days wanting a mere physical interchange isn’t considered wrong. But it could be wrong for some. Decide what kind of relationship you want. Otherwise, you may find you misinterpreted the situation and end up heartbroken. For more on interpreting the male of the species read, To Date a Man, You Must Understand a Man: The Keys to Catch a Great Guy by Gregg Michaelsen.

Are you a Pushover?

pushover

Are you a Pushover?

Are you dating someone that you think is taking advantage of you? In a relationship, for real love to blossom there has to be mutual respect and if there isn’t, then it’s merely a relationship of convenience. You can’t have a real relationship where one person takes advantage of the other. But what is the difference between being sweet, considerate, understanding and showing your appreciation for your significant other and being taken advantage of? Read on to find out whether you are a pushover or not.

Are you in a committed relationship? If not, are you interested in being in one? If you haven’t established exclusivity, you two have been seeing each other for a while, you want to establish a commitment but you are afraid of being left, you are a pushover. Of course, when you are first dating and figuring things out, you don’t want to push a relationship. It should develop naturally. But if you’ve been seeing each other regularly for months with no signs of commitment on the horizon, talk to your significant other. If they still don’t want to give you a commitment, when that is what you want, let them go. They aren’t serious about you. Discuss the issue, in depth to make sure there aren’t any extenuating circumstances. But by and large, if this is the case they are taking advantage.

Does he or she have friends over all the time and you feel more like the wait staff than their romantic partner? If you are cooking, cleaning, and taking off so they can have guys or girls nights at your place all the time, you are definitely a pushover. Why can’t they prepare all this themselves? And what about times when people aren’t coming over? Do you do his or her chores in addition to your own? If so, your significant other treats you more like a servant than a partner. Unless this is some type of weird fetish or you are female and very traditional from a certain ethnic or religious background that causes you to do all these things, you are a pushover.  Everyone goes out of their way once in a while for their significant other. But if you are always making accommodations, allowances, and keep saying to people that’s how he or she is when confronted by what they see as an injustice, you are definitely a pushover. Is this person loving, attentive, and do they surprise you with something, a little sweet text, a gift, take you out, something like that? If you feel perpetually taken for granted, while you do all the little niceties for your partner, you are a pushover.

If you avoid conflict and every fight ends with you backing down, you are definitely a pushover. Now what are you going to do about it? There are two problems here, your significant other is taking advantage and you are giving them more than enough opportunity to do so. Instead, sit down with them. Have a chat. Set some ground rules. Go over everything that is unfair and tell them what you think would make it fair. Hear them out. But if they aren’t willing to bend you have to be willing to walk. Instead of investing all that energy in your relationship start investing it into yourself. Work on your goals, your dreams, your career, going to college or whatever it is that will enrich you. You are worth it. If they don’t see how worthwhile you are, be brave and lose them, and find someone who does. For more advice read, How to Be More Assertive: Quit Being a Pushover and Boost Your Self Confidence in Any Situation by Alfred Hale.

Asymmetric Relationship Playbook

unequal

Asymmetric Relationship Playbook

Sometimes you feel like you aren’t giving as much as your partner is. This can be an imagined inequality perhaps caused by low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy. But other times it is an asymmetric relationship. Is it that your lover takes advantage of your commitment? First, try to evaluate the situation. There certainly isn’t ever equality in any relationship. One person may be better at some things than the other. One is hardier, makes more money, has more friends or some other advantage. The question is, how much value do you put on your relationship and how much does your partner? It starts out in the beginning of the relationship that you two value each other immeasurably. Some couples stay at this stage or float around it. What may begin to happen is that the value on the other or the relationship may start to diminish. If it diminishes more for one person in the relationship than the other, this is what we call an asymmetric relationship. There isn’t equality in value between one person and another in this relationship. And that is where problems occur. In terms of a marriage for instance, one person may revisit his or her options now and again, putting strain on the relationship.

It comes down to one person putting more value than the other on the relationship. If there isn’t equality in what each person is contributing, then the couple must discuss the issue and come to a conclusion about it. The relationship cannot last if this problem isn’t dealt with. Eventually it will drive a wedge between the two so that the relationship will cease to exist. The bond will be broken. If one or another person wants to leave, finding themselves or the relationship devalued, they may not be able to. They may want to stick it out for financial reasons, or for the sake of the children. They could find the divorce proceedings too painful and expensive to wish to endure them. Each person must make their own choice and find their own path toward happiness. If you are in this situation and find that you cannot find your happiness staying with this person, by all means get out. But if you can find bliss and still cohabitate or even try to repair the relationship, go ahead and make it work. The trick is to reach down inside yourself and decide what it is you want, and what you can accept. But don’t let someone take advantage of you. Never give consent if you hear “If you love me, you’ll do this for me.” That isn’t real love. It’s manipulation. For more advice read, Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting, and Enjoying the Self by Charles L. Whitfield, M.D.

Are you Just a Toy?

signs_your_man-is_using_you

Are you Just a Toy?

Mutual respect is the baseline for any healthy relationship. Without mutual respect it cannot take root. Sometimes when we are looking for someone not just to date but to get involved with, it can be hard to determine what their intentions are. Do they want a relationship? Or are you just a toy to them, someone to enjoy and cast off when they get bored? There are specific warning signs to look for so you don’t waste your time with the narcissistic, the callous, the diabolical or the fearful of commitment types, and instead focus in on what you are really after. No one wants to be cruelly tossed aside like yesterday’s plaything. Take a look at these indicators and make sure to steer clear of anyone who is displaying them.

Do you make dates for the near future? Or does the person you’re involved with only contact you at night? If you are only getting calls and texts as a late night thing, or dates are planned on the fly, this person isn’t really serious about you. How often are you contacted when this person is inebriated? If you are their common drunk dial, they may only be feeling it for you when they imbibe, not a good sign. What is the cuddling situation like? Even the meanest, most cold hearted or strangest person will cuddle if they like you. Not wanting to cuddle is a sure sign they want to keep a distance from you emotionally.

Does this person reach out to you when they are feeling insecure? Is cuddling okay when they’ve run into an ex and need validation? You could just be an occasional ego booster, with no real potential for a future commitment. Does this person go out of their way to see you? If you’re the one doing all the calling, the date planning, and driving over to their place just to see them, and you aren’t getting any of this in return you are probably just a toy. When invited to a special event by this person, do you get a special invitation, or are you just part of the big, impersonal invite? If they really cared about you they would go out of their way to show you they wanted you there.

How are you greeted when you see them? Do you get a big kiss, even on the cheek? Do you get a hug? Or only a head nod? If it’s just the nod, this person really isn’t into you. Test them and stop calling. See if they call you. Make them make the effort to plan a date in advance, or go out of their way to come see you. If they don’t do it, or make a big deal about it, you know you aren’t important or worth it to them. And if you’re looking for a long term relationship you know now that this isn’t working for you, and you need to move on. For more advice read, You Can Do Better: How to Improve Your Self-Esteem, Stop Dating the Wrong Men and Start Living the Life you Deserve by Ash Green.