“They always lose interest in me.”

The point where a relationship moves from the excitement of the ‘honeymoon phase’ of the first few months of the relationship into a deeper bonding phase can bring about dramatic change. It’s at this point that the experiences people lived within their family of origin begin to appear most clearly in their present day relationship.

How a person relates to the balance give and take in relationships is one of the themes that often comes to light. If a person was raised to give and rarely receive, they can fall into creating caregiver relationships in place of romantic partnership. If this happens, the most common red flag people report is that sexual desire has mysteriously dwindled.

What happened?

“Mom was the matriarch of the household, and no matter what I did, I was criticized for never being good enough. I spent most of my upbringing trying to cater to her needs hoping she would thank me just once.”

What’s happening?

“I end up being a sort of caregiver in all my romantic relationships. I go out of my way to meet all of my partners needs and it never gets reciprocated. I don’t need them to give in the same way to me, I just ask for a little in return. Eventually this strange distance develops in the relationship. Somewhere along the way it’s like they lose interest in me but won’t admit it. Soon after I’ll start catching them keeping secrets. Sometimes the secrets turn out to be major lies and the relationship falls apart.”

The Healing Movement

“I’ve begun to recognize that if I have to take care of my partners needs more than my own just to keep the relationship going, something’s not working.

At times I tried to compensate by pretending like I didn’t want to do nice or helpful things for the other person. But I’m a giving person, I like that about myself.

Instead of withholding my desire to give, two things really helped. Building the courage to ask for what I wanted when I wanted it was one. And even more helpful was developing a willingness to get angry when it was called for.

For the longest time I had no relationship to my own anger. Whenever a romantic partner or even a friend started to distance themselves from me or do something disrespectful my default reaction was to collapse. I would collapse into all these ideas that I was to blame. How did I cause this? What’s wrong with me?

Now I see that the way people treat me has WAY more to do with them and what they bring to the relationship than it does with me.

I have a right to ask for what I need and to have it be respected. And I have a right to get angry if a person is repeatedly ignoring these needs.

What I notice now is that I have a much stronger sense of whether or not a relationship is working. In other words, I don’t spend so much time wondering. If at any time I’m being treated like a mother rather than a partner I know it’s time to step back.

Closing Thoughts

When one person operates as the designated giver and the other the receiver, a rigidity develops in the relationship. In a sense, there’s a missed opportunity to grow because by and large, people develop closer relationships to those that they can give and receive with interchangably.

For example, on the surface it’s nice to be taken care of. Perhaps the person who receives the majority of the time never has to clean, cook or make plans. But in practice, this keeps them living in a limited space. People grow when they take responsibility for themselves and give to others. In taking responsibility, any last vestiges of ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ starts to lose its grasp and a more grounded integrated way of living can reveal itself.

The most common way we see that receivers aren’t really benefiting from this dynamic is how often they hold major resentments for the person that’s giving. Paradoxically, habitual receivers struggle to truly receive the other person in a deep way.

#balanceofgiveandtake #receiving #peterpan #innerknowing