Some people think that love means making sacrifices, but there are some things you just don’t have to give up — no matter how much pressure you’re under. Sometimes the pressure comes from a partner because they have unrealistic expectations of what a relationship means and feel entitled to everything you have, like all of your time, energy, and efforts. The idea of soulmates — and the belief that we can get everything from one person — only makes this worse, because it justifies a complete devotion and dedication even at the expense of your own happiness. And you should never have to give up your life for someone else’s.
But sometimes the pressure has nothing to do with her partner and is more about the pressure we put on ourselves. If you’re naturally a people-pleaser, then you may have the tendency to feel guilty even when it’s not necessary. And you may find yourself making unfair sacrifices that your partner never even asked for. And I get it — I’m someone who’s prone to feeling guilty and can set expectations for myself that are just unrealistic. But luckily, I have a girlfriend that puts as much emphasis on my needs and wants as she does on her own and encourages me to make myself happy.
Whether they come from internal or external places, it can be difficult to know what to do when there’s pressure to make sacrifices in relationship — especially because compromise is such an important of being a couple. It’s a fine line. “A relationship is really built on compromise,” relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. “If you want to be able to do everything you want exactly when and how you want it, then you are better off alone! Being in a relationship with someone entails having to give some things up in order to gain them. But if you find that your partner is insisting that all the sacrificing be on your part then it’s an inequitable and ultimately unsustainable relationship.” Here are seven things you should never feel obligated to sacrifice for love: