Imbalance in Your Relationship

Imbalance in Your Relationship: Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Nothing in life is even, fair, or balanced. There is always a give and take, credits and debits. But what happens when there’s a significant imbalance in your relationship for a long period of time? When one of you isn’t pulling your weight and the other's love tank is running on fumes?

Relationships are never 50/50, despite couples unfairly using this as the golden rule. Sometimes the split is 60/40 or even a 25/75 ratio. Shifting efforts is common and expected.

When it becomes a problem is when those inequities remain imbalanced long-term. Partnerships don’t run on autopilot. Both parties must take the driver’s seats at times. Great partnerships have two sets of keys and you both need to drive from time to time.

You Get Out What You Put in

My great-grandmother would always give me this advice:

With anything you do, the outcome will always reflect the amount of effort you put into it.

If you’re not expending the energy it takes to keep your relationship going, it will suffer. 

Relationships aren’t passive pleasures. They require continual effort and constant work. When one person stops actively participating, both people feel the effects. One person can only carry the weight for so long before it fails.  

Don't Put Your Effort Into Overdrive

So what happens when there is an imbalance in your relationship and your partner is perfectly content with cruising along in the passenger seat? If your primary Love Language is quality time or acts of service, you probably tend to make life pretty easy for them.

Years ago, I had a boyfriend whose job required him to move every two years. It was a financially sound, yet nomadic life best suited for someone single. When we first met, we were only an hour apart. But soon, visiting him required a flight instead of a tank of gas.

Before every move, we set expectations of how often we needed to talk on the phone and see one another before he moved on to the next new town.

I should note, made a conscious decision to view each of his relocations as a positive thing. Now, we could experience so many new firsts together.

So, taking two planes to see him was an adventure resulting in new shared experiences instead viewing it as a detriment of distance. After years of this, I paused one day and realized how much inequity of effort there really was in my relationship. His life became so easy. He no longer had to get on a plane, or drive to see me because he knew, even expected, me to do all the leg work of travel. He no longer had to try, because he knew I would.

Does the Weight of Your Effort Need to Go on a Diet?

I realized that all of the growth, strength of this long-distance relationship was solely attributed to the heaviness of the sacrifices and effort that I put in.

So, I stopped. I went on an effort diet. I stopped getting on planes. I stopped driving hours through multiple states. I stopped getting a house sitter for my pets. I simply stopped putting that level of effort into us, with the belief that he would jump into the driver’s seat.  

Guess what? We crashed and burned. Connectivity and communication halted. It is not easy to let go of the heaviness of your efforts, but at what point do you demand to fix the imbalance in your relationship? When it was his turn, he dropped the ball. I often would talk to him about it, inviting him to visit or join in on various activities in my city to no avail.  

Could I have continued as I had been? Yes. But, why would anyone opt to stay with someone who consciously chooses to not try? As a result, our relationship faded away, but sometimes break ups are positive things

Divorce Your Effort

If there is an imbalance in your relationship, and things aren’t 50/50 don’t panic. Just like life, relationships consist of constant ebb and flow. If there is no shift in the weight of your effort compared to your partner’s for a significant length of time, that’s when you need to take action.

Relax your level of effort and allow your partner to take the wheel. 

You will quickly see whether they’re a true partner, or your relationship’s success falls solely on your shoulders. If that’s the case, disengage from the imbalance in your relationship and reinvest that effort into yourself.

Self care is healthy for you and for your future relationship. Then, you can focus on finding a partner who wants to invest in you. Never doubt it, you are worth the effort.


Love Languages in the time of COVID

Love Languages in the Time of COVID

Are you familiar with the Five Love Languages? Today, we're going to take a look at all Five Love Languages in the time of COVID, and how to express each of them in a safe and healthy way.

Gary Chapman developed the theory over 25 years ago. The Five Love Languages states that everyone has a preference on how they like to give and receive love.

The Five Love Languages are: Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

Throughout 2020, we have had to adapt and learn new ways to exist in a world where our interactions with other people are more limited and restricted than any other period in modern history. 

For single people, this has been particularly challenging. Humans are social animals. Isolation is unnatural and uncomfortable. Lucky for us, we have technology which provides safer alternatives to in-person physical contact. It’s not a perfect system, especially if you’re looking for love.

Words of Affirmation

Let’s start with an easy one, shall we?

It only takes a few seconds of your time to make someone else’s entire day. Compliment the people you care about. Send them a quick text that you’re thinking of them. When they say or do something that makes you happy, tell them so. 

The good news is that a global pandemic doesn’t hinder our ability to speak this love language. Whether it’s a Zoom call or a carrier pigeon, it’s important that you make an effort to express your feelings, especially if Words of Affirmation is one of your partner’s primary Love Languages. 

Gifts

Luckily, we live in an age where you can have pretty much any good or service delivered to your door quickly and safely. We have options, it’s not just orchids or roses anymore, fellas. So, this is another Love Language that hasn’t been hit too terribly hard by COVID-19.

Gifts need not be expensive or extravagant. Of course, they can be, but the point is to fill your partner’s love tank, not shower her with diamonds. In a world where restaurants and bars are closed, use small tokens and gifts to fill the void caused by the Coronavirus. 

Acts of Service

This is where things start to get a little more difficult. Social distancing makes doing the small everyday acts of kindness tougher. This is the best Love Language for creativity and thinking outside the box.

Try to anticipate and alleviate your partner’s pain points to the best of your ability. What is causing her stress at this moment in her life? Is there anything you can do to lessen or eliminate that burden?

Quality Time

I’ve seen a trend online where couples are complaining about having too much Quality Time while they’re on lockdown together. 

So, what I want to do is look at the opposite. Single adults who live alone are experiencing the worst of this, in my very humble opinion. 

If you don’t have children who live at home, there’s a good chance you’ve spent a significant portion of the last 9 months in complete isolation. I know I have.

How can you spend Quality Time with someone when you’re not allowed to be around them?

Find new ways to do and experience things together. Even if you can’t be in one another’s space, there are safe, socially distant, outdoor activities you can do together.

A lot of places like museums and zoos have added features to their websites where you can do virtual tours and watch live feeds. It’s not the same as being there in-person holding hands, but it’s the next best thing.

Keep in mind, the objective is Quality Time, not necessarily quantity. Your goal is to show her spending time with her and learning more about her is important to you even though it’s not easy to do right now. Women want to see you put in an effort especially when there are barriers to overcome. 

FaceTime is your friend. I know the last thing you want to do between back-to-back Zoom meetings is more video calls, but being able to see one another right now is so important. Calls and texts only go so far.

Physical Touch

To all of my Physical Touch people, I know your pain and I wish I could give you all a hug!

My poor dog practically runs and hides when he hears me say the word cuddle these days. We are struggling, but we are surviving!

“Make sure you are taking time to connect physically with your loved ones. Give a shoulder rub. Cozy up as you read a book. Just be mindful to break from the digital routine for some good, old fashioned connection via Physical Touch.”

- Gary Chapman, on Love Languages in the time of COVID

The nation’s top epidemiologists recommend wearing a mask when interacting with anyone outside of your household, this includes during intercourse. So kissing is on hold.

Get creative. One woman built a Hug Glove out of clear plastic with sleeves.

We need to touch and we need to be touched. Depriving oneself of human contact can lead to a decline in both physical and mental health.

It’s important that you really take the time to weigh the pros and cons and do a risk assessment before partaking in physical intimacy with another person during this time.

I encourage you to lean on Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Acts of Service during this time. If you’re unable to see one another in person safely, make sure you’re filling each other’s love tanks in other ways, lest the spark die out. 

What are your Love Languages in the time of COVID? You can take the quiz here to find out.