Give and Take (Part 2)

“Okay, counselor, so, what if I’m in a relationship where I’m the only one giving anything? I give all the time. They need to give sometimes too!”

Did you read Part 1 and find yourself thinking this way? Most of us have felt this way at least once in our lives! It is true that relationships must go both ways. Both people must give and take. A purely one-sided relationship cannot last for very long. If you find yourself in that type of relationship, read on for some ideas on how to handle it.

Identify why the “give and take” has gotten unbalanced. Is the other person overly invested in some other activity or event, like co-workers who are distracted by other big projects and ignoring your group project? Or perhaps they have gotten so used to you doing something that the other person has gotten lazy in that area.

Recognize the emotions that are involved. If you feel taken advantage of in the relationship, you are probably feeling frustration, anger, or sadness. These emotions will influence your thoughts and reactions, so try to be aware of them. And what about the “over-taker” in the relationship? People are likely to withdraw from relationships if they are feeling scared, guilty, lonely, or angry. Is there emotion in their life that may be limiting how much they “give” today?

Talk it through. The dynamic of give and take will not magically change, if it has gotten so far off-balance that you now feel like it is always you who is giving and the other person is taking. You will need to talk it through. But, wait until you are calm, they are not rushed or busy, and there is time to finish the conversation.

How do you “talk it through” when the relationship give and take is unbalanced? Check out Part 3 of this blog series.