8 signs you’re being too “nice” in your relationship and your partner is taking advantage of you

Posted 21 Nov 2023, by

Tina Fey

Let’s face it: being too “nice” often leads to exploitation in our society.

Your kindness can, unfortunately, fuel this.

It’s a harsh reality.

We’re living in an era of unbalanced relationships, so it makes sense to assess your own behavior based on how it is being received rather than what you intend to convey.

What matters even more than your behavior are the implications of your excessive niceness.

Below I’ve pinpointed 8 signs that you’re being too “nice” in your relationship and that your partner is taking advantage of you.

1) You’re always the giver

Think about your relationship right now.

Are you always the one giving compliments, planning dates, and making sacrifices?

While absorbing these words, you’ve probably remembered numerous instances of your selflessness.

But here’s the key question:

Is this selflessness reciprocated?

The simple truth is that relationships thrive on the principle of reciprocity – a balance where both partners give and take in equal measure.

Simply put, that’s a non-negotiable. 

If you find that you’re constantly the one putting in effort and it’s not being returned in some form, it’s a clear sign of imbalance.

Whether it’s through small gestures or significant compromises, you need to know one thing:

Healthy relationships are built on mutual care and effort.

When one person is always the giver, it sets a precedent that can lead to feelings of being underappreciated or even taken advantage of.

2) Your boundaries are blurry

This reality dawned on me when I began to study the dynamics of healthy relationships at university.

Look, pop-psychology advice on how to maintain a relationship often suggests “always compromise” or “put your partner first”, right?

While this is widely accepted, it’s not an “absolute truth”.

Instead, a healthier approach comes from developing a “conscious understanding” of your own boundaries. It comes from observing your own comfort levels.

The thing is that when you try to be “nice” all the time, you give too much power to your partner’s needs.

That’s exactly how you give up your own emotional autonomy without even realizing it.

Now, I pay more attention to my boundaries. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable with certain requests. Other times I’m feeling overwhelmed by the demands. 

But I don’t dismiss these feelings anymore.

And you as well, you need to remind yourself to protect your emotional well-being just as fiercely as you nurture your relationship.

3) You’re afraid to say “no”

How many times have you agreed to something in your relationship, even when everything inside you screamed ‘no’?

This fear of saying ‘no’ is a classic sign of being too “nice” and can lead to feeling taken advantage of.

Here are a few common situations where this might happen:

  • Changing plans – You cancel your own plans to accommodate your partner’s last-minute requests.
  • Financial decisions – You go along with financial choices, even if they’re not in your best interest.
  • Physical intimacy – You consent to physical intimacy when you’re not really in the mood, just to please your partner.
  • Social gatherings -You attend events or engage in social activities that you don’t enjoy, simply because your partner wants to.

Does any of these seem familiar?

Well, in these situations, saying ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’ can leave you feeling resentful and undervalued.

Perhaps not surprisingly, saying ‘no’ is not just about setting boundaries — it’s about respecting your own needs and desires as much as you respect your partner’s.

4) You feel guilty for your needs

I initiated this article by highlighting the importance of actions over intentions.

The fact is, intentions and actions also dictate how we perceive our needs.

In your case, you may have been constantly trying to please your partner. Why?

Simply because you have become engrossed with their happiness.

Yes, your intentions are noble. You’re trying to make your relationship a source of mutual joy.

But when you’re so consumed, you can slip into the habit of thinking your partner’s needs are more important than yours.

You can lose touch with your own desires. You become frustrated and possibly not such a pleasant person to be around.

If you judged yourself for your intentions, you wouldn’t question your behavior, would you?

Instead, because you don’t solely rely on your intentions, you are more capable of reflecting on your actions and changing how you behave.

Trust me, how you acknowledge your needs is what matters — not the intentions that drive your behavior.

5) You’re always apologizing

This was a difficult pill for me to swallow.

In my past relationships, I found myself constantly saying “I’m sorry”, even when I wasn’t in the wrong. It became a default response, a way to keep the peace and avoid conflict.

I thought that by shouldering blame and apologizing, I was maintaining harmony. But in reality, I was only creating an artificial peace, one that was punctuated by my suppressed feelings and unaddressed issues.

The result?

My identity started revolving around pleasing others rather than standing up for my beliefs.

The reason I’m telling you this is that you need to realize one thing:

You’re not an emotional scapegoat.

It’s important to distance yourself from the illusion of peace that comes from needless apologies. They don’t bring real harmony.

Your authentic feelings do, and they are most effective when they are acknowledged and respected.

6) Your happiness is secondary

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “As long as they’re happy, that’s all that matters”?

While it’s natural to want happiness for your partner, it becomes problematic when your own happiness consistently takes the backseat.

Here’s the central point:

This understanding insists that we consider our own happiness, comprehend what we need, and honor the importance of self-fulfillment.

This raw and honest self-reflection is crucial in understanding whether you’re being too “nice” in your relationship.

For those feeling neglected, acknowledging our own happiness can provide a sense of self-worth.

It’s a reminder that we are part of a larger equation, a relationship that thrives on mutual satisfaction and will continue to flourish with shared joy.

Prioritizing our own happiness encourages us to see our journey as part of a balanced dynamic and can provide a sense of purpose and belonging.

7) You’re losing yourself

Finally, in the midst of consistently putting your partner first, an unexpected consequence may emerge:

You start losing touch with who you truly are.

Embracing your partner’s interests, accommodating their preferences, and molding yourself around their lifestyle may seem like acts of love.

But when these efforts lead to self-neglect and loss of individuality, it’s no longer about being “nice”.

It simply means that you’re losing your identity. Or worse — you already lost it.

It’s ironic that in the journey of becoming an ideal partner, you may end up becoming a stranger to yourself, right?

While relationships indeed involve compromise and adjustment, they should not demand the sacrifice of your self-identity.

Retaining the essence of who you are, cherishing your individuality, and respecting your personal growth are just as crucial as loving your partner.

After all, a relationship thrives on the harmony of two unique individuals, not on the dominance of one and the submission of the other.

8) You rarely receive acknowledgment

Think about when your partner last genuinely acknowledged your efforts or expressed gratitude for your kindness.

In relationships, recognition and appreciation are key ingredients for mutual respect and love.

An interesting fact is that in successful and healthy relationships, partners regularly express gratitude, which strengthens their emotional bond.

If you’re finding that your acts of kindness are consistently overlooked or taken for granted, it might be a clear indicator that your partner may be taking advantage of your giving nature.

Unfortunately, feeling unappreciated can lead to an erosion of self-esteem and a sense of being undervalued in the relationship.

That’s why it’s vital to have a partner who not only accepts your kindness but reciprocates it with acknowledgment and appreciation.

If this element is missing in your relationship, it’s important to address it.

Communication is key.

Letting your partner know how you feel can open the door to a more balanced dynamic where both of you feel equally valued and appreciated.

Bottom line: Maintain self-identity in kindness

Being “nice” in a relationship is a beautiful quality, but it should never equate to losing yourself.

In the quest to be a loving and supportive partner, your individuality, needs, and happiness are just as important.

A truly healthy relationship is one where both partners can thrive without overshadowing each other.

So, if you find that your kindness is turning into self-sacrifice, it’s time to pause and reassess.

Your opinions, desires, and well-being matter.

Reflect on these 8 signs, question your intentions and actions, and strive for healthier dynamics in your relationships.

Because being “nice” should never equate to losing yourself.

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