After a stretch of time with the same partner (we can’t say how long of course, as it varies from person to person, couple to couple), we will of course forget a little of what made them so special in the first place. The initial shimmer they once brought into our lives may have dulled to a glow, entirely by no fault of their own: chances are, they’re the exact same person with whom you started the relationship however long ago.
Have you found yourself overlooking the contributions that your partner continues to make in your life? Everybody’s guilty of taking someone for granted from time to time, be it a parent or even a colleague. And chances are, if you are doing it, you more than likely don’t even know that you are. However, despite the fact that you may be taking someone for granted unwittingly, it’s still a pretty shitty way to treat someone. So, if you’re doing any of the following or notice some of these occurrences in your relationship, then it’s time to take a good look at yourself and find out how to mend the situation
They–not you–do all of the activity planning
Sure, you might just be a laid-back person who wants to “go with the flow” while your partner plans all of your couple’s outings. However, that’s a level of emotional commitment on the part of your partner that they don’t need to be shouldering at all times. Take it upon yourself to suggest an activity or a night out for you both, as an acknowledgement that you’re just as invested in sharing time together as they are.
You’ve let yourself go
It’s a great thing to reach the point of your relationship where you can be comfortable with yourself. That night of snuggling on the couch bingeing prestige TV can turn into an entire weekend, for instance, or those sweats you saved for nights home alone may be seeing more light of day – and that’s fine. We’re nothing if not all about comfort and feeling good about yourself.
However, that effort that you put into your appearance back when you were trying to land your partner should not fall completely by the wayside. Making the effort to dress nice, even if it is once in a while, goes a long way to letting them know that you’re still willing to impress them. Oh, and on those weekends of bingeing shows and ordering in – don’t forget to brush your teeth and clean the pizza grease out of your beard. Have some respect for your partner and yourself!
You don’t take their free time into account
You know those times when your partner has a day off, with the house or apartment all to themselves, and you go and schedule a delivery drop-off knowing that they will be able to accept the delivery? That’s an abuse of their free time. As we all know, free time is a very limited and precious commodity, and using someone else’s time to perform an errand of yours – no matter how small it might seem – makes their free time much less ‘free.’
This also applies to being late whenever you and your partner make plans and you don’t bother or even try to show up on time. This is supremely disrespectful of their time, and a clear indicator of how much (or little, in the case of lateness) you value your time together.
They’ve grown accustomed to disappointment
When their plans that include you have built-in safeguards for when you eventually let them down (by showing up late, not showing up at all, or being negative or dragging down the mood when you eventually do show up), this is a clear sign of concern. At this point, your partner can’t envision not being disappointed, and then must downgrade their own expectations thanks to you and your attitude and lack of enthusiasm. Of all the red flags out there, this is a very big one that should be waving in your partner’s face – however, at this point they’ve resigned themselves to less than they deserve.
This list can really go on and on, but you know the other ways that taking someone for granted can manifest itself. This can be things like not checking in with them (“What’s for dinner?” instead of “Hey, how was your day?”), constantly complaining about them to other people, simply expecting them to make sacrifices that benefit you – it goes on. So if you’ve realized that you’ve been taking your partner for granted, what can you do to snap out of this way of thinking and being?
The most important thing to do once you’ve realized your thoughtless ways is to speak up. Saying “thank you” more often for the things your partner does – especially those things that you take as givens. In fact, go one step further here by sitting them down and thanking them for all the things they do for you, acknowledging that you don’t say it enough and are going to start saying it more.
Speaking up can also extend to giving them compliments on how they’re looking, even small things that they might not have noticed about themselves (the way a strand of hair always escapes from behind their ear when they try to push it back, say). Doing this reminds them, and to some extent yourself, that you notice them and validate them.
Speaking up also involves celebrating your partners successes and victories, no matter how small; because in this day and age, even the small stuff can seem pretty daunting. Commend them at the end of a week of commuting, working, and dealing with home admin for keeping it all together, and perhaps even ask in what ways you could help ease their load, should you have the capacity to. The biggest way to remedy taking a partner for granted is simply seeing them and acknowledging the things they do.