Love is all about sacrifice and compromise, but at what point does it become too much sacrifice? Are others taking advantage of you? If you answer yes to any of the questions below, you may be sacrificing too much in your relationship.
Would your partner do the same for you?
There are two sides to the same coin. Similarly, this also applies to sacrifice — there are multiple perspectives. Research by social psychologist Paul Van Lange suggests questioning whether your partner shows the same degree of commitment to you and the relationship. Are they going through the same thought process? Would they be willing to sacrifice if the shoe was on the other foot?
Do you make sacrifices in hopes of getting something in return?
Sacrifice should not come with rules or expectations. You, therefore, have to ask yourself: are your reasons for sacrificing for them petty or actually genuine?
Turkish psychologist Nazli Kayabol and colleagues did a research study on 110 heterosexual couples. They hypothesized that the motivation was behind strong commitment or lack thereof. Kayabol and colleagues concluded that when you sacrifice to make your partner happy (for pure reasons, not petty!) both partners would experience a boost in relationship satisfaction.
Are you sacrificing to manage threats in the relationship?
In the same study with Kayabol and colleagues, they found that those who were in a relationship and only sacrificed to manage threats (feelings of guilt, making the partner mad or upset through change), both partners would feel less satisfied with their relationship. All of this is to say your motivation behind your sacrifice matters to the relationship and how you feel.
Are you always the one sacrificing or surrendering to their needs?
Love is about give and take. When one person takes more than they give, the relationship may end up being dreadful and a chore to the giving individual. When this occurs, the giver needs to understand that setting boundaries is actually healthy and necessary for their mental health. You can read about setting healthy boundaries with people who take advantage of you, here.
Do they reciprocate love and appreciation?
It is nice to have someone recognize that you are participating in a selfless act. Having a partner who loves and appreciates you (especially when you are sacrificing) can make the relationship better. Are you always the one making dinner plans with them?
In a research study done by Francesca Righetti, those who do not have a supportive partner may often feel regretful of making such sacrifices because their partners are not appreciative enough. People may regret the sacrifices they make because they don’t feel appreciated or supported by their partner.
It is worth noting that some people are more secretive with their love than others (see the five love languages), but if they never show you how much you mean to them with their love language, then it might be time to dip.
Do you have lower self-esteem since entering the relationship?
One reason you may be feeling a little regret and resentment when performing sacrificial acts maybe because you suffer from low self-esteem.
A study done in the Netherlands with 130 found that “people with low self-esteem tend to feel vulnerable in their relationship” according to Douglas LaBier Ph.D.
Lead researcher Francesca Righetti reported, “[those with low self-esteem] are more likely to regret those sacrifices and this leads them to experience more negative mood, greater stress, and lower life satisfaction, even over time.”
LaBier ultimately says self-awareness is key. If you and your partner are both happy and on the same wavelength about maintaining and sustaining a positive relationship, then nothing else should really matter.