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How to Identify & Fix a Motivational Imbalance in Your Relationship

Achieving balance in your relationship isn't as hard as you'd think

We know how important it is to find balance in our lives when it comes to work and life. It’s just as important to have balance in our romantic relationship. An imbalance can be super-draining, especially if you feel like you’re doing all the work and your partner is coasting. It may even cause you to resent your partner if you think they’re being lazy, but most relationship imbalances stem from having different personality types. Feel drained but aren’t sure if you have an imbalance in your relationship? First, check these four signs.

1. One partner is resentful

If you or your partner is resentful of the other’s motivation and success, then it’s a sign the relationship is out of balance, notes certified counselor and relationship coach, Jonathan Bennett. “Both partners have gotten on different life trajectories and the gap will only grow if the imbalance continues.” 

2. You don’t feel heard & respected

If you feel like your ideas are always shot down or belittled, it may be time to redefine the boundaries and expectations in your relationship, explains relationship expert, Yahya Smith. Because of this, you are not able to help each other grow individually. “If you see no way that your partner is contributing to your growth — in life, love, business, etc. — then you are off balance,” she says.

More: 5 Expert Strategies for Dealing With Office Drama

3. An activity gap

If one partner is constantly busy with fun, exciting activities while the other does little or nothing, then it’s a sign the relationship is out of balance. “While both partners don’t have to be equally active or like the same thing, if one person is very active and the other never does anything, it will eventually create a strain on the relationship,” says Bennett. For example, you always want to go out and your partner always wants to stay in.

4. You feel drained & over extended

It’s as though you have to give and give the right things to be accepted, explains licensed marriage and family therapist, Lisa Bahar. “Feeling as though your partner is never satisfied and noticing you have more resentment than gratitude and are complaining more than admiring is a clear sign of an imbalance.”

Now that you’ve identified the imbalance, here are five tips to help you fix it.

1. Say no more often

Speak up and say no to any unwanted requests from your partner, advises Bahar. “Notice when you are compromising against your better judgment and be willing to communicate and learn how to accept someone not liking you for changing or not giving like you use to.”  Eventually, your partner will get the point that they have pick up their own dry-cleaning or pack their own lunch.

More: The New Rules of Workplace Productivity

2. Set ground rules

For example, you both go out to a club/bar. “Drive separate so the reserved partner can leave whenever they are ready without dragging the outgoing partner away from the fun or agree on a time that you will leave and stick to it,” says relationship expert and professional profiler, Angel Tucker. Pay attention to each other’s feelings at specific times. If you’re the outgoing partner, Tucker says to make sure not to abandon your more reserved partner when out. This will let them know you care about them.

3. Communicate about relationship goals

If one partner isn’t quite as motivated as the other, then communication about shared goals and values can be helpful. “It’s possible the less motivated partner doesn’t feel invested in the relationship and is worried about being left behind or getting dumped,” says Bennett. This means you have to truly understand and empathize with each other.

4. Assign roles in what is happening

For example, if you have both agreed that you need to accomplish a particular task, then assign pieces of that task to each person so that both feel like they are involved, suggests Tucker. “With each person assigned specific roles in the project, it prevents one partner from having everything the way they want it and the other partner wondering why they are even there.”

5. Celebrate each other’s wins

This goes for literal and figurative wins. “If you are very business-savvy and your partner is more spiritual, be open to allowing your partner to motivate you in the area where they are stronger so that you can grow together holistically,” says Smith. She adds that small celebrations can be incentive enough to help an unmotivated person get up and go.

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