You don't want to be a selfish person — at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Nobody wants to be that guy or girl who only cares about their own needs and completely disregards others' feelings. But when it comes to relationships, some people tend to be a little more self-serving than they should be.
Maybe you're well aware of the fact that you're being selfish in your relationship (and hey, maybe you're even proud of it). Or maybe it's just something that happens without you even realizing it — we've all been guilty of a little self-absorption at some point or another. It's human nature! Still, after awhile, this kind of behavior can wear on your partner and make them feel underappreciated or unimportant. And while you may not feel like being nice or making an effort all the time, that's no reason to take advantage of someone who loves you.
So what are some common signs that you don't care about your partner's happiness as much as your own? Here are 10 things selfish people do in relationships:
- Keeping score
Maybe you're mad because he forgot your birthday and didn't get you a present, but then you remember that last year he took you on an amazing trip to Europe, so you let it slide. Or she didn't call you back, but she did remember to pick up that prescription for your dog.
Whatever the situation, one of you not doing something doesn't automatically mean the other shouldn't do anything in return. If they don't do something nice, they should still be nice to each other because relationships are supposed to be mutually rewarding. They're not supposed to be a constant tally of who is more “deserving.”
- They don't take an interest in your interests
taking an interest in your partner's interests is a great way to show that you support them, but it's also a good way to be more connected to each other. Taking an interest in things that are important to their partner can help people become better versions of themselves and bring them closer together, says Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, senior vice president of clinical development with Elements Behavioral Health.
“When we genuinely care about something that our partner cares about, we feel connected,” he tells Bustle. “This connection will enhance intimacy, appreciation and emotional closeness.”
If you're not interested in the things your partner likes or does for fun, it doesn't mean anything bad about your partner. It just means that there are certain interests you share and don't share — but those don't define your relationship as a whole. If you're curious about what they do in their free time and why they enjoy it so much, though, it might be time to put yourself out there and join them the next time they're doing their thing.
- They make you feel bad for having other friends
One of the most selfish things people do in relationships is make their partners feel bad for having other friends. This is especially tough for women, who have been conditioned to believe that we can't and shouldn't have “male friends.”
It's crucial, however, to differentiate between male friends who are potential love interests and ones who are platonic. If a guy is a good friend, he'll understand that you don't want to date him or sleep with him or marry him. He'll be fine with that because he wants to hang out with you because you're fun and smart and funny and cool, not just because he wants to see if he can get in your pants.
If your partner makes you feel like shit for having male friends, then it's time to seriously question your relationship. You should never have to choose between your significant other and your friends. (That's what high schoolers do!) And really, if your S.O. can't trust you enough not to sleep with your male friends, then maybe you should be asking yourself whether or not it's worth staying in the relationship at all.
- They don't reciprocate PDA
When you are being affectionate towards your significant other and they don't return it, then it might be a sign that they don't care about you as much as you think. They could be selfish and only want to get what they want without giving back anything in return which means there is no balance in your relationship anymore.
- They don't show up to family events
If you don't want to go to your partner's cousin's birthday party, just say that. But if you're going to be a no-show, at least have the courtesy to let your partner know in advance.
This is one of the selfish things people do in relationships — they make their partners feel bad for trying to include them in their family events.
“It's okay to say no, but don't leave me hanging,” says Rachel Sussman, LCSW, author of The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman's Guide to Healing From a Breakup or Divorce. “You're leaving [your partner] in the lurch and potentially embarrassing them by not showing up.”
- They don't celebrate your accomplishments
One of the most selfish things you might do in a relationship is fail to celebrate your partner's accomplishments. Everyone needs to feel supported and appreciated, especially when they've worked hard. When you don't recognize their efforts, it can make them feel like they're not valued or respected.
When you love someone, you should want to participate in their joys and successes. You don't have to be excited about everything, but it's important that your partner feels like they can share their good news with you.
For example, if your partner got a promotion at work, it's essential that you're genuinely happy for them. You can let them know how proud you are of their accomplishment and tell them how much it means to you that they're getting what they deserve. If you're not sure how to react or how to show them how happy you are for them, just ask! It's easy to assume that your partner knows what makes them happy because you know them so well. But everyone's different, and sometimes we need a little help expressing ourselves appropriately.
You always have your own needs at heart more than anyone else, isn't it? We know, because both of us have experienced the pain of a near-fatal breakup that was caused by someone just being unselfish, whether it was fear or hurt or both. The list of things that are unselfish is as long as the list of things we don't want to repeat in our relationships with others and ourselves.