Are You Too Much of a Giver in Your Relationships? | Relationship Advice for Women by Mat Boggs


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# How to Know if You’re Overgiving in a Relationship

When I toured the country and drove 12,000 miles and interviewed America’s greatest marriages, literally hundreds of couples who have been married over 40 years, there was one quote that always stood out to me and that is a couple who had been married 55 years and one of ’em was a minister. And he said, « Some people spell love L-O-V-E but love should be spelled G-I-V-E. » It’s about giving, that love isn’t a feeling, love is an action, love is how you’re giving to one another. But what happens when you feel like you’re overgiving or what happens when you feel like it’s not even, like you’re not receiving and it’s not reciprocated in the way that you would love? How do you know if you’re overgiving to the point where it’s detrimental to the relationship and really detrimental to yourself? That’s what we’re gonna be exploring today. So we’re gonna first talk about three ways that you know if you’re overgiving that are signs that you might not be giving from the right space that contribute to overgiving. And then we’ll set up how do you actually receive in a way that’s healthy? How can you create a pattern in your relationship where giving and receiving is done freely and openly and is bringing the two of you even closer together?

## Giving with Strings Attached

The first question you want to ask yourself in am I an overgiver in this relationship is this, am I giving with strings attached? See, so many of us in relationships, what was modeled for us as in our parents, or what we learned growing up was that if you want to receive something, you give it first. And so you end up washing the dishes and you’re really hoping that the next time the other person’s gonna wash the dishes, or you’re giving a gift to the other person hoping that they’re gonna give back to you or you plan a date really hoping because you planned it this time, they’re gonna plan it next time. In other words, you’re giving with a scorecard and in the back of your mind you’ve got this scorecard of all the times that you’ve given and the lack of giving that’s coming back, which leads me to the second question, which is, have you asked for what it is that you want?

## Not Asking for What You Want

See, people aren’t mind readers, men don’t speak hint. And so if you want something and you haven’t verbalized it yet, the chances of you getting it are nil. In fact, and my wife knows this and she practices this and she had a good laugh earlier this week because I came down and we’re getting the kids ready for school and she’s making breakfast and I’m doing the girls’ hair and we’re packing lunches and we’re like, we’re doing all this stuff. And I came down and I was a little bit slower to kind of get out the things that I normally get out. And I was grabbing my protein drink, I’d just come back from the gym and I was getting that ready. And I hear her over on the stove let out this big sigh like (sighs) and like, you know the sigh that I’m talking about, it’s like something’s wrong with this. Like this is frustration exiting her body. And I said, « Are you frustrated about something? » And I knew, I was like, am I not doing something that I should be doing right now? And she was like, « Yes, I just thought that you would just jump in and help me and grab the bowls right out of the counter and grab this and that. » And she caught herself and she was like, « And I’m frustrated with myself because I’m not asking you for what I want. » She was like, « I know better. I shouldn’t just expect you to read my mind. » And I said, « What would you like? » And she described what she wanted and I jumped in and helped. But nobody’s gonna read your mind. If you want something, you’ve gotta be willing to be direct and ask. So have you asked for the things that you want and the person’s not giving those to you? Or is this a symptom of not asking at all?

## Giving Out of Fear

In a moment I’m gonna share with you a beautiful way to set yourself up so there’s a beautiful cycle of giving and receiving in the relationship but let’s talk about this third sort of premise for giving that can be destructive, and that is giving because it’s trying to satiate an underlying fear. And what that means is that you’re giving because you’re scared if you don’t, the relationship’s gonna dissolve. So you overgive, you overcompensate because there’s a fear that the person’s gonna leave because ultimately you’re not enough. There’s this internal belief that you’re not enough so you’re compensating and you’re doing all this giving and all this extra stuff for the person, while the gift, the action, the service, whatever it is that you’re contributing to the relationship is nice, the energy that is coming with is coming from a place of scarcity and fear begets fear, scarcity begets scarcity. It’s a constrictive energy. If you want the relationship to blossom, you want it to expand, you’ve gotta be coming from this centered place of love. Knowing that, look, if he’s not the right person for you and he wants to leave because that you expect there to be a reciprocal participation in giving and receiving, then that’s not the right partner for you if you’re worried that that person’s gonna leave. The work is to be done on the inside, you are worthy of love, you are worthy of an equal partner who’s both going to be giving and receiving in the relationship ’cause you’re giving and receiving in the relationship.

So let me share with you three concepts that can really foster a nice balance of both giving in the relationship because love is in the act of service and the act of giving but it also opens up the channels for receiving so your partner feels free to give back to you.

## Knowing What You Need

The first concept is to know what you need, know what you need, know what you want, what’s your level of self-awareness? ‘Cause oftentimes we can kind of get into a habit or a way of being and you’re just like, I just gotta get this done and that done and this done and that done. And you’re not even aware that, gosh, you know what, in this moment I could really use some help. Or today I could really use somebody else doing this errand or dropping this off or doing the dishes for me. Knowing what you need or knowing what you really would love and want is the first step because at that point then you can make a clear request. And so a great practice is to several times throughout the days to take a nice deep breath in and just check in with yourself and say, « Hmm, what do I need right now? »


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