Updated: May 2
Priorities are something that even I still struggle with, especially when I’m in a relationship. It takes so much compromise to help your partner grow while not losing your ambitions on the way. As a woman, I always feel like I have to put my partner above myself but I’m selfish when I prioritize myself. But why am I expected to prioritize him and his needs over mine?
In a past relationship, I chose to focus on my career. When I offered a time when we could be together that satisfied both our schedules, it became a fight. I learned that it wasn’t that I wasn’t a priority for him; I wasn’t even a priority for me. How could I expect someone to put my needs and wants above their own when I couldn’t do that for myself?
If you are looking at your relationship and thinking, “Why won’t he include me?” I ask you, are you including yourself?
What I mean is, do you remember that habit you had when you were 20 that made you feel good and helped you re-focus? I used to do a charcoal face mask every two weeks, on a weekend, and watch movies with a glass of wine followed by a bath-bombed bath. It wasn’t extravagant but I felt good about myself and felt like I had taken a moment to not pressure myself with the next deadline.
I wasn’t expected to finish all of my laundry because it was a day for me. I prioritized me. I was in a relationship for five years. I took a bath once and did a facemask maybe twice. It’s not that I didn’t want to; I was busy making sure I had groceries for us, or spending time with him doing what he wanted. I know that feeling all too well when you look at your partner and think, “You don’t care! You aren’t interested in participating in the things I like to do!” This isn’t the whole truth. Maybe your partner isn’t a super fan of bubble baths, but why should they prioritize your habits and happiness when you have never set the example?
Recently, I saw a marriage of 27 years take a toll on two people because of that very problem. The husband did the same three things that he always did with no regard to what other things needed to be done at home or with his wife. He still loved and cared about her, but she had never taken a step back in their relationship and said, "I do everything for you and nothing for me."
So, let’s take a collective deep breath and look at how we treat ourselves compared to our partners. Before you point a finger and claim they don’t prioritize you, ask, “Do I prioritize myself?” If the answer is yes then talk to him. Ask him what is important to him, and if or when he says 'you', dig deeper, ask what he thinks that means. Don't be vague and accusing, be curious, sometimes the way we think people should be prioritized is different. Maybe he does something that drives you crazy but for some reason he thought you liked it.
If you don’t prioritize yourself and you feel like he isn’t prioritizing you either, guess what? You have to sit down and talk about it. Tell him the things you love to do to make yourself better and why you stopped doing them. These conversations aren’t easy, and they will take time. Just remember that a relationship takes two people; a problem is never just one person.
You should always be a priority, for more than just him. You need to be the best you can be, so
make sure to take the time to show him what you need from him. Self-love turns into selfless love! You will be a priority in his life when you are priority in your own.
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