How to Not Be Selfish in a Relationship - 15 Ways to Be More Selfless in Your Relationship
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The very fact that you are seeking advice on how to not be selfish in your relationship is worthy of commendation because it shows that you are willing to change. You understand that selfishness can kill a relationship, and you are taking action to prevent this – kudos to you.
What does selfishness mean in a relationship?
To be certain that you are exhibiting selfish behavior in a relationship, let’s look at some signs of a selfish partner:
- You are never wrong in arguments.
- You seem to blame your partner for everything wrong in the relationship.
- You don’t consider the views of your partner.
- You don’t show appreciation for your partner.
- You don’t consult your partner in decision-making.
- You somehow find a way to make everything about you.
- You feel superior to your partner and remind them of this every chance you get.
If you find that you are guilty of the above, you should take the initiative to better yourself for the relationship. Why? Think about those people you think are selfish and recall how you feel when you are around them. Now imagine your partner is the one feeling like that when they are around you. Not a very pretty picture, is it?
If you want to be a better person, then try to internalize some of the following tips:
1. Recognize that you are selfish
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The first step in solving any problem is admitting that there is one in the first place. If you want to know how to be an unselfish lover, you first need to sit down and have a talk with yourself about any selfish behavior you may be exhibiting.
It would be very helpful to note the various selfish actions you engage in because this would allow you to target them better in your quest to be more selfless.
2. Practice empathic listening
Selfish people in relationships don’t listen much to their partner’s opinions because they feel like their opinion is the only one that matters. If you are one such person, the remedy to this is to practice empathic listening.
Doing this means that you don’t interrupt your partner when they speak, and you listen very attentively to understand the point they are trying to get across. Empathic speaking helps you pick up on emotional, physical, and intellectual clues to better aid you in understanding your partner.
3. Take your partner’s feelings into consideration
One of the pathways to overcoming selfishness in relationships is to think about how your partner would feel if you engaged in certain actions. Putting this in mind will help you avoid selfish actions because you would try to avoid doing things that would hurt your partner.
You can also take this a step further by going out of your way to do things you know would make them happy. As their partner, you most likely know their love languages so take advantage of those to make them happy.
4. Express appreciation for having your partner in your life
A sign of a selfish partner is one that takes their partner for granted. Indeed, according to a survey by HireAHelper, this is one of the worst ways to be selfish in a relationship.
One of the most valuable lessons in How to not be selfish in a relationship 101 is, therefore, to show appreciation to your partner for the things they do and for being in your life.
You can do this by:
- Telling your partner you are grateful that they are in your life.
- Buying them little thank you gifts.
- Calling them to say you miss them.
- Acknowledging the things they do.
- Complimenting them on how they look.
These acts of appreciation will go a long way in showing your partner just how much you appreciate them, thereby strengthening your bond with them.
Find out other ways to show appreciation at Ways to Make Your Husband Feel Appreciated.
5. Allow for the possibility that you could be wrong
Emotional selfishness in a relationship can manifest as an unwillingness to admit wrong. Such a person will always claim to be right without caring to listen to their partner’s opinions.
This is akin to imposing your opinions on them, and if you notice that about yourself, the best way to combat it is to keep it in your mind that you may just be wrong.
Listen to what your partner has to say and why they think their opinion is correct, and then offer your opinion on the matter. If they are indeed wrong, calmly explain this to them in a way that they will understand.
6. Learn to compromise
A selfless partner realizes that they cannot always have their way in a relationship. They understand that a relationship is all about giving and taking and meeting their partner halfway.
If you want to know how to be less selfish in a relationship, one answer is to learn the value of compromise by allowing your partner to “win” now and then.
7. Try putting your partner first
Being emotionally selfish means constantly putting your thoughts and emotions before your partner’s. This doesn’t seem right because if you love someone, you try to put them first in your actions by doing what they would like.
So next time you’re thinking about doing something nice for yourself, think about your partner too.
8. Work on humility
Humility is synonymous with being selfless because it leads to one acting in a way that doesn’t make their partner feel inferior. Practicing humility means, among other things, that you admit your mistakes, apologize for them, and approach situations without a superiority complex.
Suppose you are a selfish man or woman in a relationship. In that case, your partner will feel happier when you start displaying signs of humility because it would make them feel more valued and respected.
9. Actively seek your partner’s opinions
A selfless partner understands that some of their decisions could also affect their partners. They, therefore, seek their partner’s input in these decisions to ensure a favorable outcome.
Apart from involving your partner in decisions that affect them, you can seek their opinions in other choices; after all, two heads are better than one. Doing this will make them feel like you value their input which can be quite refreshing.
10. Stop being too demanding
Sometimes working on how to not be selfish in a relationship involves understanding that the standards you set for your partner are way too high. This might be why you lose patience with them easily and act in other selfish ways towards them.
Understanding that your partner is human and so isn’t perfect will help you lower those expectations and will, in turn, spare your partner from having to walk on eggshells around you – a truly selfless act.
11. Treat your partner how you want to be treated
Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice on how to stop being self-centered in a relationship is to follow the Golden Rule – treat others as you want to be treated.
Everyone wants to be the recipient of selfless love in a relationship, and often the best way to get this is to give it as well. When you constantly show selfless behavior towards your partner, you set the standard for how you should be treated, leading to selfless behavior from your partner.
12. Think before you act
Sometimes people exhibit selfish behavior in a relationship but only realize it afterward. However, this wouldn’t change much because the damage would have already been done.
To avoid falling into this trap, practice thinking before acting in certain ways towards your partner. Think of how the action would affect your partner and the long-term effect on the relationship. If all you can come up with are negatives, then it isn’t an action worth engaging.
13. Practice not blaming your partner when things go wrong
Playing the blame game is one sign of selfishness that can be particularly destructive to a relationship. Constantly blaming your partner when things go wrong can lead to resentment and a loss of trust and respect for you as a partner.
You can get over this by employing several strategies such as:
- Calming yourself down before a conflict escalates.
- Thinking of the effect of what you have to say to your partner.
- Trying instead to communicate why you feel as you do instead of passing the blame.
- Replacing “you” with “I” in the conversation.
14. Talk to a therapist
Sometimes therapy can be the best way forward to helping you overcome selfishness in a relationship because therapists are specially trained to offer more personalized services. They will be able to pick up on why you may be exhibiting selfish behavior and provide unique solutions that will be of great help to you.
Therapy is also much more accessible and affordable these days, thanks to the internet, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding one who can help you become a better you.
15. Recognize that you can’t change overnight
Lastly, you need to be kind to yourself by acknowledging that you cannot change overnight. You have just started a noble journey, and there will be times you stumble. Don’t fret it too much so long as you show signs of improvement overall.
Talk to your partner and tell them to be patient with you as you try to be better, and if they see that you are putting in the effort, they will most likely be more supportive of the process.
Apart from being selfish, here are other things not to do in a relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I become less selfish in my relationship?
- Firstly, you need to recognize that you are being selfish.
- Take note of the selfish actions you engage in to target them specifically.
- Practice being an empathic listener.
- Take your partner’s feelings into consideration before you act.
- Show gratitude and appreciation to your partner.
- Learn to compromise.
- Seek your partner’s opinions on decisions.
2. Why am I selfish in my relationship?
- You might be insecure about yourself or the relationship.
- It might be a result of the environment you grew up in.
- Negative emotions emanating from other circumstances in your life.
- A huge ego that refuses to let you “lose” to your partner.
3. How do I stop being a selfish partner?
- Recognize and take note of selfish actions you engage in.
- Try putting your partner first.
- Stop being too demanding.
- Treat your partner how you want to be treated.
- Seek your partner’s opinions in your decisions.
- Work on being humble.
- Talk to a therapist.
Is it okay to be selfish in a relationship? This depends on what kind of selfishness we are talking about. Good selfishness involves engaging in self-care to make yourself a better version of yourself. Bad selfishness involves actions that hurt other people because you put them down to feel better.
Bad selfishness is a definite no-no in a relationship, as it can destroy what you have with your partner. Therefore if you notice it in yourself, employ some of the tips here to get on the path to being a better and less selfish partner.
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