Never Give Your Partner These 12 Feelings
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I genuinely believe that most people don’t intentionally do things that hurt their partner or make them feel the things we’ll discuss in this article. It is, however, important to understand that intention and impact are two different things.
What I mean is, even if you don’t mean to spark these feelings, they might still exist.
The good news is, with a little extra effort, understanding, and mindful presence, we can minimize or even eliminate the impact of our unintentional actions.
Disclaimer: There are going to be people who tell me that you can’t “make” someone feel something, and that their true feelings come from within. The examples given in this article would be feelings caused as a direct result from a partner’s behavior, or lack of behavior. Yes, fulfillment, happiness, and self love must only come from within us — but the truth is that the actions of our intimate partner can spark feelings within us, and it’s our duty as a man or woman in a relationship to try our best to make those feelings as positive as possible, as often as possible. We may not be responsible for all of our partner’s feelings, but we certainly can be responsible for some.
Now, let’s explore:
1: Never make them feel like you take them for granted.
This is a big one, because gratitude is something that we can easily lose sight of expressing, or even feeling.
Life gets busy, obligations pile up, and you get into a comfortable and consistent routine with your partner as your relationship progresses over the years.
In most ways, this is of course a good thing! You’re really vibing and have built a lifestyle that works for both of you. You’re “in a groove,” so to speak.
The flip side of this groove, though, is that it all becomes “normal” after awhile. The things they do around the house, or the way they step in when you’re overwhelmed, or the way they offer to watch the kids so you can get a break…it’s all part of regular everyday life now.
However, that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked or taken for granted.
Just the opposite, actually.
Each thing your partner does, big or small, is done for you.
It’s done to show you they care, to make your life easier, to pick up the slack, to send a message of affection and love.
They are consciously and intentionally doing these things for you whether they feel like it or not.
Don’t get me wrong —nobody should ever be kind for the sake of a reward. That is no kindness at all.
However, I do believe we should be showing consistent gratitude and appreciation to each other on a regular basis for the efforts put into the relationship.
The EASY route is to become apathetic, complacent, and even lazy — many people fall into this trap over time and sometimes forget just how much work it takes to love each other in the midst of life’s constant motion.
This is exactly why that appreciation and gratitude should be expressed just as often as the efforts put in. How you express it, is up to you.
2: Never make them feel like you judge them.
The very foundation of a relationship is the ability to be completely yourself around another person. To let them into your innermost thoughts, desires, fears, needs, and even fantasies.
For many of us, these thoughts remain hidden or kept secret out of fear of judgment. Some even hide them from themselves because they may be too uncomfortable, painful, or embarrassing to think about.
I believe that if we cannot fully reveal ourselves to our partner (physically and emotionally), that level of discomfort will slowly build a wall around important pieces of ourselves, preventing a full and uncensored connection from being formed.
Loving someone is about accepting them as who they are today. Their past, their “flaws,” the decisions they made before they met you — all of the things that they’ve shied away from sharing with anyone before you.
I believe that when we can pull back the curtain and truly let our guard down around each other, the heartbeat of the relationship will strengthen.
Always make sure your partner understands that they can reveal their true selves to you and you’ll love them just the same (maybe even more).
3: Never make them feel like you disrespect them.
Mutual respect is non-negotiable in any relationship, but particularly intimate relationships.
Respect in relationships means respecting their opinions, respecting their boundaries, respecting their accomplishments, respecting their values, beliefs, worldviews…
Respecting the work they do, respecting the effort they put into love, and into life…
These things may seem basic and simple, but all too often do I hear from clients and readers that their (past) partner(s) never fully treated them as an equal, or as a teammate in the relationship.
If you cannot fully respect and consider your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and existence as a human — let them go to find someone who will.
4: Never make them feel pushed down your priority list.
You’re a busy person, I know. Your staff is always clamoring for your attention, the house needs work, the kids are crying, the errands need to get done, your quarterlies are due soon…
Life is crazy for all of us. However, I believe that our relationship must remain at the center of it all, because it is one of the only factors that can impact all of the others.
If your relationship is strained, you’ll lose focus in your business, your temper will be shorter with your kids, you’ll be frustrated running those errands, you’ll feel generally more tired and on edge at all times.
Not to mention how your partner will feel, too…
I’m not saying that you should ignore responsibilities or fall behind on important tasks in order to take your partner on a date, but if you’re choosing to be in a committed relationship or marriage, part of that choice is pledging to prioritize the person you love.
You can make time for them, even if it’s ordering takeout and watching a movie tonight, or taking 30 seconds to send them a nice text, or giving them an extra long hug in the morning.
If someone knows that you’re aware your attention has been so divided and you tell them (and then show them) you’re going to start changing things, at least there’ll be something for them to look forward to.
But, if they feel like everything else in your life is more important than them — the distance between you will only continue to grow larger.
5: Never make them feel like you don’t understand them.
…Even if you don’t.
Here’s the thing: We all want to be understood, on some level, by the person we love.
We want to know that they can hear the things we’re not saying.
We want to know that they pay enough attention to us to learn our nuances, preferences, likes, and dislikes.
All of these things show us that we matter to them.
If your partner feels like they’re living on a different planet from you, and that you just cannot grasp why they are the way they are — or even who they truly are at the core, they’ll never be able to fully connect with you.
And, frankly, you won’t be able to fully connect with them, either.
This is why compatibility is one of the most important but overlooked aspects of any relationship.
More important than attraction, more important than liking someone, and — yes, even more important than loving someone.
You can adore and love a person but still know that they’re not a match for you as a life partner.
When we are compatible, though, and mutually understood, that’s when we can feel truly connected.
6: Never make them feel like you’re not on their side.
Relationships are a team, and for a team to win, they must be working together towards a common goal.
They back each other up. They intertwine their skills and strengths to create harmony. They pick the other up when they fall. They inspire each other to do and be more as they work together.
If your partner feels as though your interests are not aligned, or that you’re harboring a level of resentment towards them, they’re going to start wondering if you’re fully committed to your mutual path and mission in life.
7: Never make them feel like you still want to live “the single life.”
Okay, so! You’ve been single for awhile…like…awhile.
You’re used to doing what you want, when you want, with whomever you want.
So, naturally, you’ve developed habits and routines that reflect single life.
Many of these habits, though, don’t align with the boundaries of a relationship.
“James, does this mean I have to stop doing the things I love?!”
I do not believe that a healthy relationship should ever take you away from your passions or interests — that is, unless these interests would be harmful to the relationship itself.
Or, make your partner feel uncomfortable.
Or, will put you in positions that jeopardize the relationship or your fidelity within it.
Certain things should just stop becoming appealing when you’re monogamous.
If you continue pushing against the walls of the relationship to keep living the life you were living before you met, your partner is going to feel left on the sidelines and that you’re really only “half in” on loving them.
The solution to wanting to live as if you’re single is simple: Just…stay single.
If you enter into a relationship, though, it requires that you live within certain parameters and expectations. You can’t live two different lifestyles at once.
8: Never make them feel like you resent them.
Let’s think about what happens if you follow point #7 above, but don’t really want to.
You’ve entered into a relationship, but are slowly discovering you actually miss your old life.
Maybe monogamy isn’t for you. Maybe you’re not quite ready for it yet. Maybe you’re focused on other things in life and a relationship doesn’t support it at this time.
Let’s make one thing clear: None of that makes you a bad person.
We are all ready for different things at different times and you have no obligation whatsoever to follow a “traditional” path in life. You’re an adult and can (and should) make your own choices about what’s best for you.
However, what does become a problem, is when you know something else is best for you, but continue down the wrong road for what could be a myriad of reasons.
Maybe it’s more comfortable. Maybe your family introduced you to this person and you don’t feel like you can break up. Maybe you took steps before you were ready and now you’re living together, or have a child, or are engaged to be married…
Deep down, though, you’ve been questioning this decision and longing for the life you once lived.
Inevitably, this leads to a feeling of resentment towards your partner, rooted in the knowledge that they took you away from the life that you loved.
Of course, we all know this isn’t true — no matter how hard it would’ve been, you had the option to part ways long before things got too serious. Each new step you took was one that your heart knew was wrong for you.
If you willingly walk down this road with someone, you absolutely cannot blame them — be it secretly or overtly — for “dragging you into” a life that you quite literally chose for yourself.
This is why open and uncensored honesty is immensely important at every stage of a relationship.
That brings us to…
9: Never make them feel like you’re lying to them.
Lying about what, you might ask?
Well, it really doesn’t matter.
Dishonesty in a relationship is like a termite invasion in a house.
“Just one” might not seem like that big of a deal…
Just one little termite; just one little “white lie” can’t really do that much damage, right?
Sure, in theory, but the reality is that it’s never just one, is it?
Termites show up by the thousands, and when they all work together to eat away at the house’s foundation, the damage is irreparable if they’re left alone long enough.
Similarly with dishonesty in a relationship, a white lie never happens just once — and even if it did, it’s going to sew doubt in your partner’s mind about what else you might’ve lied about in the past, or will again in the future.
“But James, the truth would hurt them!”
There are a few responses to this:
If the truth you reference is something you’ve done in the relationship that would be hurtful to your partner, then that’s on you — and they deserve to know who you truly are or what you’ve truly been doing, even if it hurts.
If you’re trying to save their feelings from bad news or a challenge you’re facing, any partner worth their salt is going to want to know the truth so they can best show up for, and support you.
Regardless of the reason, if you’re in a mature and adult relationship, odds are your partner would rather hear a painful truth than to be comforted by a lie.
Remember that lying to someone is like using a credit card — it might seem like a good idea at the time, but you’ll still have to pay for it eventually.
10: Never make them feel like you’re unsure about them.
Great relationships are a full time commitment. You’re either in, or you’re out.
If you run hot and cold, take days to respond to messages, are inconsistent with your affection, or communication, or time spent together…your partner (or new love interest) is inevitably going to start questioning just how committed that you are.
This is why it’s so important to get abundantly clear on your wants and your needs, to really understand what (and who) you’re looking for in a relationship. This, of course, starts with understanding yourself.
In doing so, you can be much more certain about what type of person is best for you, and far more easily recognize them when they come along.
Both you and your partner deserve someone who will be all in on this journey of life and love.
If that’s not how you feel about them — it’s time to let them go find someone who does.
11: Never make them feel like the relationship is one-sided.
Great relationships aren’t about give and take — they’re about give and give.
Both partners must put in effort to show affection, love, healthy communication, understanding…both partners must work to build trust and respect. Both partners must show up for each other in equal measure, in their own ways.
If your partner feels as though they’re the only one putting in effort, they’ll slowly begin to pull away from you out of self-preservation. They’ll know that the further they invest themselves into a relationship without reciprocation, the more risk there is of getting hurt on a larger scale down the road.
A great relationship is always worth fighting for, but it’s not a great relationship if only one person is fighting for it.
12: Never make them feel like they need to change to be loved.
All that any of us really want in a relationship is to be fully seen, fully appreciated, fully valued, fully loved by our partner as the most genuine and authentic version of ourselves.
You should never have to change in order to be loved. You are worthy of love and respect exactly as you are today.
The right partner should recognize this and embrace you as you are today, while they support you on the journey of evolution into the future.
No good partner, though, will try to alter or change your identity, beliefs, values, or moral code in order to “earn” your spot in the relationship.
You should never have to prove your value to someone.
You should never have to sacrifice your values, or betray your own identity.
It is not your job to prove that you’re worthy of being loved…
If someone cannot recognize that on their own, then they don’t deserve your emotional investment.
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Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 39 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.
James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.
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