Ingenira has been working as an online writer for at least six years. Among dozens of other topics, she loves to write about baking.
Have you ever felt that you give more than you get in a relationship? Have you ever secretly wished that you could be loved by a man as much as you love him? It is painful when you try so hard to make a relationship work, but the other partner is not willing to try as hard as you are? You are not alone. Many people live life feeling brokenhearted, feeling that they are not loved equally. This article will help you understand how to have an equal relationship with your partner.
Things to Remember When Trying to Have an Equal Relationship
- Find the root of the problem.
- Don't always try to fill in the blanks.
- Try to understand your partner's perspective.
- Ask yourself why women tend to give too much in a relationship.
- Stop thinking about love as something you need to "earn."
Find the Root of Your Relationship's Problems
Relationships are difficult. People are complicated and always subject to change. At the same time, you can't depend on your partner to change. It's important to find the roots of your relationship's problems and address them with confidence.
Mistakes You Might Be Making in Your Relationship
- You have become an expert at filling in the blanks in the relationship.
- You are the one who thinks of and plans the activities you can do together.
- You suggest new and creative things to do and try.
- You initiate most of the sexual and physical contact.
- You create the environment for intimacy such as music, candles, dinner, and special evenings.
- When you sense the need to communicate, you talk more than your partner when you are together.
- You feel uneasy and nervous when your partner is silent for long periods and probe by asking him how he is feeling or what he is thinking.
On the surface, these are not bad qualities to have, but if you're doing all the work and getting little in return, these good qualities can actually backfire. We all initiate these activities some of the time. However, if you are the one in the relationship who usually does these things, you are definitely filling in the blanks more than you should.
Don't Always Try to Fill in the Blanks
In the beginning of a relationship, filling in the blanks makes you happy as you are “winning” your partner’s love and all your hard work is paying off. However, after some time, resentful feelings and frustration will start to build up when you realize that you are the one doing most of the work. Your partner has probably become used to your overexertion and assumes that you like to be in charge. In some cases, the partner will also feel deprived and resentful when he is not given a chance to take charge.
Try to Understand the Man's Perspective
Here are the facts about men you should know:
- Men feel good about themselves when they take charge or initiate action. Why men feel they need to take charge is complicated, but it's important to them. Therefore, when you don’t give them a chance to do this, they will feel resentful and deprived.
When a woman does all the initiatives, whether to initiates a hug, a kiss or sex, the man will either go with your leads or start feeling ambivalent towards you. He may secretly feel ripped off the opportunity to fill in the blanks. So, let go, let him.
- When you fill in the blanks all the time in a relationship, you deny him the opportunity to learn more about how to love and the opportunity to grow in a relationship.
When you are running the “show,” you may run the risk of deceiving yourself into believing you have a wonderful relationship. As you fill in the blanks, you create the illusion of a great relationship. The man may not resist you taking charge in the beginning. He might love it, because you helped him to avoid areas of his life where he felt inadequate. It also appealed to his ego to have a woman so crazy about him. However, after some time, he may feel a lack of emotional involvement and participation in the relationship. He wants to end the relationship and you are left wondering why. He may say that you are so perfect, but there is lack of connection in the relationship. In actuality, the relationship may look good from the outside, but lack substance internally.
Here is an analogy to help illustrate what it means to fill-in-the-blanks of your relationship.
Imagine that you and your partner are rowing a boat together in a lake. You sit in front and row continuously, while your partner sits at the back. You assume that he is also rowing along with you. As the boat is moving nicely across the lake, you think to yourself, “What a beautiful and romantic ride! Don’t we row well together?” At some point, you feel tired, decide to stop rowing and rest for a while. All of the sudden, the boat stops. You turn around to see what happened. You find that your partner was just sitting there or sleeping the whole time. Perhaps he is not even there anymore. You have been rowing alone the whole time.
So, when you work to fill in the emotional blanks, your partner becomes a passenger in the relationship. When you work hard to be a good giver, you don’t stop and ask yourself if you are receiving anything back. Remember, you have needs too.
7 Behaviors That Ruin Relationships
|Bad Behavior||What They Cause|
1. Having angry reactions to feedback
These behaviors shut our partner down and punish our partner emotionally.
2. Being closed to new experiences
It can foster real resentment between partners.
3. Using deception and duplicity instead of honesty
Mixed messages cause passive aggression.
4. Overstepping boundaries
Without noticing it, we may be intrusive or controlling toward our partner, acting in a manner that is disrespectful.
5. Showing a lack of affection
Our sex lives become mechanical or highly routine.
6. Misunderstanding instead of understanding
We may pick them apart, denigrating them by projecting negative qualities onto them.
7. Being manipulative, dominant, or submissive
We may adopt roles that hurt or limit our partners in a relationship.
Love Is Not Something That Should Be Thought of as "Earned"
Remember, love is not something that you can conquer or "win." You have to stay open to your own faults and try to make yourself vulnerable. Love isn't something you build all by yourself. We all feel afraid at times, but it's important to remember that other people go through these situations as well.
Common Problems Women Have in Relationships
- You are afraid that if you don’t work hard, the relationship will fall apart. Perhaps you have seen your mother work hard to earn your father’s love and believe that unless you do the same the relationship will end or be less satisfying. Or, maybe you are in a relationship where you are receiving less than adequate emotional involvement and contribution from your partner. By filling in the blanks, you believe that you can make up the difference.
- Women feel drawn to filling in the blanks. It is in a woman's nature to connect things together, to create something where there was nothing. Have you ever opened an empty drawer and felt the need to put something in the empty space? Have you ever walked into a man’s sparsely furnished house and felt the urge to decorate the house for him? In a relationship, women feel drawn to fill in the empty space: to fill the silences with words; to fill the distance with affection; to fill the free time with activities. This wonderful quality is a gift. However, when we overdo it, we end up rowing the boat by ourselves.
Stop Feeling That Love Has to Be "Earned"
Maybe you feel that you don’t deserve to be loved unless you work hard to earn it. Perhaps you weren’t loved enough as a child. Perhaps you feel that you have to prove yourself to be lovable. You feel that if you don’t love enough, the man may leave you. Whatever the reason, the conclusion is the same: you become an expert at working hard for love.
Well, just stop rowing the boat! Stop thinking that you have to work hard to earn love. Stop thinking that he will leave you when you don’t work hard enough.
That’s right, just stop. Stop making plans to fill in the spare time. Stop running over to your partner to give him a hug, initiating sex, and starting all of the intimate conversations. Stop everything and watch what happens.
Actions You Can Take to Keep Your Partner
- At the end of every day, list down all of the ways you fill in the blanks. Use this list as a reminder of what not to do in your relationship.
- Give your partner the opportunity to take charge. Pause in a conversation and let your partner talk or bring up the next topic. Stop initiating sex and give your man a chance to seduce you. When your partner asks about your weekend plan, you can answer with, “Think of something, darling. Why don’t you surprise me?” You will need constant self-reminders and a lot of self-control to follow through with this.
- Fill your life with other satisfying activities so that your relationship is not the only thing on your mind. Follow your dream, take good care of yourself, exercise, go to the gym to work out, take up music or dance lessons, just do anything you really like. Do something for yourself.
- Talk to your man about filling in the blanks. Tell him that you have the undesirable habit of giving too much and ask him for his help in catching you in the act. Tell him what you need from him and talk about sharing the emotional load in the relationship.
Make a commitment to yourself that you will not work hard to be loved. You don’t need to perform your best to be lovable. Let the relationship flourish naturally.
© 2011 Ingenira
YINNY on September 01, 2020:
I really love this article, I kind of resonated with the idea of giving more and at the end getting practically breadcrumbs. Thank you so much for helping me see how to learn to leave the space and not to try to fill in the blanks. I have written it down now I will not forget it. I love it.
M on February 06, 2020:
This is so me,,,,I am rowing this boat alone. I feel if I don’t fill in the blanks we would fall apart. I guess I need to have courage to stop rowing
SteadilyOnward on November 10, 2019:
This was a helpful article, except I must be the woman in all of these examples. I was searching for helpful advice because I feel like I do most of the heavy lifting in my relationship. I had to keep reading this as if it was geared towards advising me instead of a woman. Sadly, I find that most help articles out on the interwebs are geared towards women who give all the time. It's not always the case. It's certainly not the case in my relationship.
Amy on September 30, 2019:
When someone is letting you it’s because they are lazy. Period. I use it as a litmus test not a chance for growth.
Daisy on December 07, 2018:
This is really like, stereotypical. Like yeah I get it if this is an article targeted towards the heterosexual women demographic, but it should be more inclusive.
B on September 06, 2018:
Men can be the giver too. I think this article is overly gender biased
Edan on January 15, 2016:
I met a gentlemen who is very sweet and kind.Very mellow and sensitive. I did not mind initiating since I would give him the chance and he never took it. We were having great talks, great walks, dinners etc...But then I began to feel the weight...If I became ill he would do nothing, not even offer a cup of tea,, if something broke in my apt in which he liked to stay over often, something like a frame falling, he would not offer to hang it up...hed look at it and thats it...Hed nevet initiate anything! Hed getvnaked and lay down in a feminine pistion trying to look sexy but would never romance me or foreplay...I finally gave in and initiated...Then I decided to give him chances even afyer communicating it gently by giving ideas and how I like things sometimes...He still wouldnt get it...he would tell me that he felt so safe with me and how he just wanted to lie on my chest protected...At this point I felt I was with a woman...Id initate conversation but was left talking all the time...yes hed speak but if I said nothing then neither would he...i had alot of aspirations and activities in my life, he did not...he had no real friends since they wete all at the bar or lounge...Then I realized he had an alcohol issue...the more frequent hed stay over the more I began to see...he woould be a completely different man while under the influence but it would start getting ugly...Hed become too macho...He was a functional alcoholic and I failed to see the signs from the very beginning because he was not staying over...He finally got arrested and admitted to his alcoholism and after few outbursts and gettung no helo, I list all feelings for him...Now that I have communicated after the 8 th time I am done...Now he went to get help but it is not for himself it is an attempt to keep me...through experiences in life ive learned that some people are leaders and some are followers and until youve matured enough to have a healthy balance of both you will struggle...
Cj on January 02, 2016:
Lol... I love how this article assumes it is the woman who does all the giving. I found this article because I am having this issue with my gf.
Aaron on September 10, 2015:
Someone please reply with good news. Unfortunately I am desperate, I love this girl and I want this relationship to work. I just cant continue to do this to myself. It really hurts me.
Aaron on September 10, 2015:
Well this is just sad. Why am I reading this page? Well Im the one having these issues with my girlfriend. Im the one that does all that was listed. Im the one that fills in the blanks. Now, I know you say to stop, but how can i really do that? I dont know if i can. If i dont initiate anything i feel like nothing will happen. Ill just be sitting there sad that she isnt reaching out for me.
arazeli 40 on March 05, 2015:
Thank u it really open my eyes
melissa echols on September 19, 2014:
I can relate to this article complately and i strobgly believe that good communication is the ticket to a heathly relationship. Woman do try to hard at times to please there man which in the long one makes for a very unheathy relationship due to the man gets codeoendepent on his woman doing everything that he becomes lazy and irresponsiabel. Its important to set bandres for the relationship as well as goals to keep the relationship alive. I also believe that you need time apart everyday to breath and to relize what you miss and cant wait to get home too.
Chris on April 19, 2014:
It would be much better if this article was written without gender bias. As a man in a relationship where I give 110% and probably receive about 10% of that back reading this just instills even more that women have no clue how much some men give.
Instead of helping, this article has just re-established my feelings women are all the same.
X on January 22, 2014:
I'm a woman and I don't love too much. I recently found out how to care less about everything. The world will be less cruel and surprisingly men like it when you care less.
Ingenira (author) on November 24, 2013:
Dear William, I could feel your frustration and helplessness; how you are not appreciated for what you did. It may help if you go somewhere far for a while to cool yourself down and think over the relationship or just stop thinking about the relationship. Break yourself away. Join other friends for a trip and stop talking to her for weeks. Your absence may "wake her up".
William on November 24, 2013:
Oh, hold on. I'm the man and I give a thousand more times than my partner, I don't like it, I don't like being constantly in charge, where's your viewpoint from that? The relationship should be equal, not one person doing all the work. I do all the work in mine, I plan the dates, I make the first move, I give up things like going out on my 21st birthday just because she didn't want me to even though she's doing it herself. I'm giving up going out with friends and all kinds of things, and giving up everything like this is driving me absolutely nuts. Let's write things down from a different perspective, I do everything. I make the money to go on dates, I pay for gas, I buy her food when she doesn't have anything to eat at home, I try to buy her clothes and try to take her out to find clothes and everything. I'm a guy and I'm upset about having to do every single thing. It's a stereotype, you know who wants to be like that? No-one. It's the reason articles like this exist. I don't exist to serve anyone and yet I am to save this relationship. I'm not meaning to sound condescending or anything, but you're using old, outdated gender stereotypes. You want to know how much I know about what she wants to do? Almost nothing, she never tells me and I'm forced to make the plans. You have no idea how much I've grown to hate the phrase, "It's up to you." I don't consider it a kindness, I consider it a huge, huge burden, because if I choose wrong for the date the whole evening might end up in arguing in an Olive Garden parking lot at Seven O-clock at night. I don't want that and do my best to avoid it. I pay attention to everything she says, I do everything I can and still I get yelled at, or she complains about it. I feel worthless. I'm sick of this. I just want to make everything work. We used to be happy and me being in charge isn't doing that anymore. I don't want to be the only one in charge. I want her to do some things too. I'm sacrificing so much for her and I don't know what to do...
MercuryNewsOnline from Toronto, Canada on March 02, 2013:
A healthy and loving relationship between a man and a woman comes naturally when both partners respect, share happy moments together and value each other. Positive stroking is important as well as psychological and physical nurturing. There are great things a partner can offer a loved one besides materials things if he/she is passionate, loving, kind in words and action, tender, strong spiritually and physically and well-disciplined. Need I say more?
Elizabeth from ATLANTA,Ga on March 01, 2013:
Great hub! We hear all the time that relationships require work. Some want so much to have a successful relationship that we try to carry all the load. It's not necessary and the love should grow with out this much effort on one person. Love it!
Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on June 21, 2012:
This is so good to remember. I see my earlier wife self in the one who fills in the blanks. Now I see the roles have reversed and it's my husband who is the one who fills in the blanks. I can use your information to make our marriage more balance.
razer90 on May 21, 2012:
really interesting ... but if a man gives more than the women????
pooilum from Malaysia on February 15, 2012:
A balance relationship is the way to go! both sides must take action :).. if one is giving too hard, it wil break
Ingenira (author) on February 15, 2012:
yes, keeping balance is the key. Thank you, jamila for your kind comment.
jamila sahar on February 15, 2012:
interesting hub, useful in keeping balance in the relationship
Ingenira (author) on September 19, 2011:
very well said, MercuryNewsOnline.
We can't clap with one hand. We need both hands to clap effectively.
MercuryNewsOnline on September 19, 2011:
It is definitely interesting to read the comments in this hub. The opinions expressed by most writers are helpful, relevant and direct to the point.
Based on my limited experience, I am inclined to believe that love, intimacy, and happiness are the result of a couple's attraction to each other, good vibes, respect and admiration, accepting each other's true worth, learning to forgive mistakes, the spirit of sharing and enjoying each other's company, patience, nurturing, understanding and finding ways to improve ourselves as we mature in our relationship. Life is lived by the day, hour and minutes...Life is what we make of it, day by day.
Ingenira (author) on September 18, 2011:
Thank you for the dashing opinion, dashingscorpio. Most men would certainly feel good if a woman craves them.
However, for my case, I would only like the man I am interested in to crave me.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on August 27, 2011:
"You initiate most of the sexual and physical contact.." I believe most men would love to have a woman that "craves" them or make them feel desired.
#1 "You feel that love has to be earned." I guess this explains why many young women chase after the "bad boy" who is seen as more of a "challenge" as oppose to the "nice guy" that bends over backwards to please her.
When it's all said and done each of us "chooses" our own friends, lovers, and spouse. (We are with the people we want to be with.) No one is "stuck" with anyone. If you don't love yourself then you are content to settle for scraps. If you don't like something...change it. Each of us is responsible for our own happiness! You offered some great advice. I hope lots of women read your hub!
One man's opinion!:-)
Ingenira (author) on August 13, 2011:
ahsima on August 13, 2011:
Great lens for both... Realized lot.
Ingenira (author) on August 13, 2011:
Thank you for reading and commenting, dawney. :)
dawney from California on August 12, 2011:
Wow, you are the hammer to the nail. I loved this.
Ingenira (author) on August 11, 2011:
thank you, MercuryNewsOnline, for your humble and comforting comment. You are so right about what you said. I am sure many women will be uplifted by your comment.
MercuryNewsOnline from Toronto, Canada on August 11, 2011:
This is an interesting article to read. It is understandable that a woman may feel unfairly burdened by "filling in the blanks" and may ultimately lose the most attractive part of a supposedly enduring relationship. However, finding a good partner takes wisdom or sometimes pure luck. For many finding the relatively perfect 'one' comes from years of experience, keen observation and many times what many call a woman's 'intuition'. Have faith, there are many who are deserving of a wonderful love like this and know how to return the 'favour'. But who am I, anyway. I'm not an expert. I am just providing an opinion after reading your great hub.
Ingenira (author) on August 11, 2011:
Glad it helps, Justsilvie.
Justsilvie on August 11, 2011:
This is a great hub! Will have to share it with friends.
I really can relate to the “fill in the blanks” analogy. My mother once told me that she had never seen anyone work as hard at relationship as I did. Made me realize a relationship should not be hard work, but mutual effort.
Ingenira (author) on August 10, 2011:
Thanks, kathryn, I like your new avatar.
kathryn1000 from London on August 10, 2011:
Very good,Ingenira.Very useful.
Ingenira (author) on August 09, 2011:
Glad you hopped to this page, thougtforce as it gives me an opportunity to get to know another hubber. :) Thank you so much for your comment.
Christina Lornemark from Sweden on August 09, 2011:
I found this article when I was hubhopping and I was stuck immediately! Very interesting and I agree that women often "fill in the blanks". Women tend to worry to much and to take the whole responsibility for a relation is devastating for both parts. Great tips you gave here and I think communication is so important and probably the only way to change a relations like the one you describe. We should be living with each other as a couple, not beside each other! It is a waste of human power as well as time!
Thanks for a very interesting article,