When it comes to relationships, we can only do so much for our partner. We may want to be their “everything,” but relationship experts agree that trying to do that is only going to make the relationship more strained.
“‘You are my everything’ is a lousy pop-song lyric and an even worse relationship plan. No one can be ‘everything’ to anyone. Create relationships outside The Relationship, or The Relationship isn’t going to work anymore,” adds couples therapist Matt Lundquist, LCSW.
After all, we never really know how much “everything” really is. It might just be too much for any one person to handle. It’s okay if you can’t be “everything” for your partner. After all, you only need to be one thing: and that’s yourself. Here are some of the reasons why it’s okay, and even healthy, not to be your partner’s “everything.”
Here Are 5 Reasons Why Its Okay To Not Be “Everything” For Your Partner
“No one can be ‘everything’ to anyone.” – Matt Lundquist
1. You might encourage bad habits
As far as relationships go, we can sometimes find people who enable us to continue down the wrong path. When you try to be your partner’s “everything,” that sometimes includes being their enabler. Not wanting to make your partner upset, or create tension in the relationship, can lead to you encouraging habits that they should be trying to stop. Try not to be the enabler in the relationship. You can be loving and caring while still standing strong on not allowing them to continue bad habits.
2. You need boundaries
According to Dr. Deborah Hecker, a relationship expert, boundaries are extremely important in relationships. People need to be able to keep their own individuality when it comes to a relationship. That’s why trying to be your partner’s “everything” can sometimes turn south. If you both start combining your personalities into one, you may find it difficult to exert boundaries when you need to. It’s important, and healthy, to exert boundaries during the early stages of the relationship. When you start doing it early, then you’ll be able to adjust them as the relationship grows together. Some boundaries might disappear entirely, while new ones can be added.
3. You can’t be their parent
When it comes to being your partner’s “everything,” that can sometimes mean that your roles become more like parent and child. According to Marina Edelman, a marriage and family therapist intern, this type of thing can occur after marriage, and especially after having children. This specific type of relationship issue often happens when one of the partners starts to “parent” the other, which leaves more responsibilities and stress to the “parent” partner. As much as you want to be, and do, everything for your partner, you also have to be able to be your own individual adults.
4. You both need friends outside of the relationship
Friendships are practically crucial for any relationship to survive! So many people tend to forget that their friends are still around, especially after getting into an intense relationship. An unhealthy marriage is one where you or your partner become isolated from outside relationships, like friends or family. Relationship experts all agree that maintaining outside friendships is important to keep a relationship last. You need to be able to have time away from your partner. Spending time with people outside the relationship will give you a healthy reality check and keep your relationship strong.
5. You deserve an equal relationship
When you start to be “everything” for your partner, things can become unbalanced. Your partner may start expecting things to be done for them, or they may start expecting the relationship to go a certain way. This can leave you feeling neglected, or that your needs aren’t getting met. Dr. Nicole Martinez, a psychologist and life coach, says that equality in a relationship allows for both partners to feel understood.
“This creates more harmony, more willingness to express their thoughts and opinions, but also more willing to hear the other persons in return, as they know that each person’s thoughts and contributions will be of equal weight,” adds Dr. Martinez. When a relationship has uneven parts, or one partner expending more emotional labor than the other, things can become toxic or complicated.