Many people know what it feels like to be used and undervalued in a relationship, but it’s harder to recognize when you’re the one causing your partner to feel that way. Self-centeredness is difficult to detect in yourself because it comes from a place of entitlement and lack of objectivity. Relationship struggles have many different causes, but if you’re experiencing any of these signs, you may be selfish in love.
You don’t compromise. We all have to make sacrifices in love, and if you aren’t willing to, you shouldn’t be in a relationship. Sharing a life with someone means that you have to merge your needs and desires, and that requires compromise. If you always insist on getting your own way and refuse to meet your partner in the middle, you are exhibiting self-centered behavior and are definitely selfish in love.
You can’t take feedback. One of the most fulfilling parts of being in a relationship is growing together as individuals. Being part of a couple should make you a better person. Your partner should challenge you to chase your dreams, call you out on bad behavior, and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. If you think you have no room for improvement and take offense when your partner pushes you to be a better partner or asks for what they need, you are refusing to grow.
You want them to change. While you refuse to take criticism from your partner, you have plenty of thoughts about how they could improve. Instead of accepting their minor flaws as part of their character, you expect them to change. While it’s important to support your partner in growing as a person, it is equally important to accept them as they are, flaws and all. If you find yourself constantly disappointed and irritated by them, you are either in an incompatible situation or selfish as a partner.
It’s always your partner’s fault. Whenever you get into an argument, you are quick to cast blame. You don’t even stop to question whether you might hold some responsibility in the disagreement because you always assume that you’re right. Love doesn’t require you to back down when you’ve been wronged, but it does require self-reflection and taking responsibility for the part you play in conflicts. You don’t have to take the blame when you didn’t do anything wrong, but you do have to listen to your partner’s side of the story and try to empathize with their point of view.
You always put your career first. You pride yourself on being driven and passionate about your job. In fact, it’s your main priority. That is not, in itself, a sign of selfishness. Being fulfilled in your career is one of the most important ingredients of long-term happiness. But when you’re in a relationship, you have to balance your private and professional life. If you always put career commitments before personal ones, you will not be a good partner.
You expect them to put your needs first. Another sign of being selfish in love is that you expect your partner to want all the things you want. It never occurs to you to ask their opinion about things because you believe that your desires are objectively better. This affects every decision in your relationship, from what kind of dish soap you buy to which house you move into together. It is worth noting that your partner bears some responsibility for this relationship dynamic. Speaking up for your needs is just as important as compromise. But it’s a two-way street.
You feel inadequate. Feelings of inadequacy are one of the common secrets behind selfish partners. You are a bottomless pit of affection: no matter how much love you receive, it never boosts your self-esteem. You need a partner who shows unwavering loyalty and support to stave off your feelings of inferiority. Any feedback your partner gives you feels like an attack. You fear they will leave you, so you demand complete devotion. These are all signs that your feelings of inadequacy are at the root of your selfish behavior.
You don’t think about your partner very often. You are so fixated on yourself that you don’t think about your partner as a separate person. The only thoughts you have about them pertain to your relationship. Who they are outside your relationship is uninteresting to you. You don’t know much about their work because you don’t ask. You don’t care about how they’re feeling unless it has an impact on you. If you’re brutally honest with yourself, you only really care about what they have to give you, not about who they are outside of their role as your partner. This makes you extremely selfish in love.
They’re always the one to initiate a check-in. They are always the one to text first to check in on how your day is going. You definitely meant to, but it slipped your mind…again. When you get home from work, you only ask them how their day was as a reflex in response to them asking you the same question. You care about them and want them to be happy, but you don’t think of it as your responsibility (it isn’t) and it therefore doesn’t concern you (it should). Mutual care is crucial to a healthy relationship. If you don’t have it, neither of you will be happy.
You plan every vacation. You like control so much that you are the designated planner for everything. From your perspective, it’s a chore. Your partner is incompetent and disorganized, so it always falls on you to get things done correctly. But if they offer to do the planning and you always turn them down, the problem may have more to do with your need for control and less to do with their incompetence. Relinquishing control is a form of necessary compromise. Your relationship is not equal if one person is calling all the shots.
Being selfish in love doesn’t mean you are a selfish person. It can be an indication that you just aren’t in a position to be in a relationship. Here are signs that you should stick to casual dating for now:
You’re working on your relationship with yourself. A lot of people think of self-exploration and introspection as selfish, but it only comes across that way if it overshadows a romantic relationship. Working on your internal issues and getting comfortable with who you are is one of the most important projects you’ll ever undertake. You should focus on your relationship with yourself because it is the only relationship that is guaranteed in your life. If you’re in a period of self-reflection and discovery, you are doing the right thing. But sometimes, the focus it requires is incompatible with a romantic relationship.
You’re not sure what you want. If you don’t know what you want in a partner, you will always be disappointed with the person you’re with. Nothing they do will ever be good enough for you because you will always be thinking about the alternative that you might like better. Until you know what kind of partner you want, you won’t be happy with anyone. Your indecision will make you incapable of satisfaction.
You’re at a critical point in your career. Being career-oriented is a good thing. Your professional identity will stay with you through breakups and relationships and should therefore take up a lot of your focus and energy. There are ebbs and flows in our professional lives, however, and in some careers, you will go through periods where you are almost too busy to eat and sleep, let alone have a fulfilling personal life. If you’re at this stage, it’s best to focus on your professional priorities and put your relationship goals on hold for a while.
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