What to Do If You Feel Like You’re Doing All the Work in the Relationship

Growing up I considered myself a “tomboy.” I had three brothers and was constantly competing with the guys.

I was a strong, confident, ambitious woman and much like many of the women that I work with, I prided myself on being self-sufficient and independent.

For most of my teenage and early adult years, I enjoyed dating but didn’t feel an urge to take it further into a deeper relationship. That being captivated and swept off my feet feeling wasn’t there. 

It wasn’t until I was 25 that I got into my first real relationship. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now looking back with my understanding around masculine and feminine dynamics, I can see that with most of the men I was dating, I was the one playing the more masculine role by advising them, having more of a vision and direction in my life, and being more emotionally stable and holding space when things came up. 

This became clear because I finally ended up meeting and getting in a relationship with a man who played all of these roles instead. He had more clarity, more direction, more stability, and more centeredness.

His way of being was really attractive to me and for the first time I started to drop in and get more in touch with my own femininity and it completely shifted my whole life. 

Understanding what it meant to be in my feminine and then shifting from my old way of being into a new way was quite a journey. Keep in mind this was before the whole wave of teachings surfaced about masculinity and femininity.

I learned a lot about the masculine and feminine dance in a relationship when my partner and I ran a yoga and meditation center together. I am the kind of woman that takes action and gets things done. Few people in my life have managed to keep up with me. So when we started a business together, I was running most of the operations while he did most of the teaching. I also took care of our home. 

I cooked, I cleaned, I ran all of the social media, I organized all of the teachers, and I basically ran all the operations of the studio. I thought I was such a great catch of a partner because I could do all of these things. 

I didn’t realize that in all of my doing and all of my giving, I was occasionally and unintentionally emasculating my man.

I thought I was being helpful, but he experienced some of my actions as controlling or they suggested that I didn’t trust him. But even more than that, because I was so in my “do mode” (aka masculine energy) as I took care of all of these things, I wasn’t in my feminine energy at all. Thankfully, we had a solid foundation of communication and he was able to reflect back on the impact of my behaviors.

At one point my partner explained to me that he didn’t want a maid or a secretary, he wanted a partner. 

That’s when it all started to land. I was a woman, living in my masculine and while he benefited from all my doing, it wasn’t what he wanted and it wasn’t what was needed to have an intimate and passionate relationship.

He suggested that we hire people to do work that I didn’t have to do, so that I could be more available, energized and relaxed for life and the relationship. 

Whether you’re in a relationship reading this or dating to find a quality partner – 

What I share in this article will:

  • Help you to stop doing all the work in the relationship.
  • Help you to see that your current patterns of overdoing, overgiving, and overextending yourself won’t ultimately get you the support, connection and love you’re desiring.
  • Bring clarity to the differences between men and women’s behavior and how each responds to giving and receiving. 
  • Teach you how to receive more from him, by doing less. 

1. Why Women Tend to Over Give and Then Are Resentful About It

In my work with coaching clients, I find it so important to help them understand the differences between themselves and their partner. 

Men and women act differently when it comes to giving, receiving, and doing.

Men for example, when they ‘receive’ or are ‘given to’ i.e. cooked for, listened to, or given a massage from their partner they relax into the experience and become open to receive even more. They take a more passive approach to receiving.  

In comparison, when a woman receives or is given to, it inspires her to want to give. There are several reasons behind this, which is for another blog.  What I want to address here is that because a woman is motivated by giving, she thinks by giving more to her man, it will inspire him to give too. She doesn’t realize he is wired differently, and so when her plan doesn’t unfold the way she had intended, resentment starts to build. 

This begins the cycle of giving and resenting and ‘over-doing’.  

For example, this has come up in my own relationship. When I help my partner to set up for one of his functions, he happily received my support. He said ‘Thank you’ and that’s it. It started and stopped there. 

Whereas, when I receive from him such as him tending to tech problems on my website, I start to look for ways that I can give back to him. The next day I’ll bring him treats, cook a special meal, or offer him a massage. 

With this understanding, I help my clients how important it really is to slow down, drop into their feminine, and give up overdoing and overgiving. We also work on better and more effective ways for them to get their needs met in their relationships. 

2. Why Women End Up Doing So Much of the Work

In today’s society, the world normalizes a self-sufficient, on-the-go, multitasking woman. 

How many memes have you seen that portray a woman juggling a stack of papers, kicking a soccer ball, talking on the phone, and stirring a pot in the kitchen?

Many modern women are conditioned to multi-task, do do do, and work on overdrive. 

This is largely because we’re good at it! We can move faster than men in some ways because our brain is capable of doing combined tasks and switching back and forth easily, whereas men’s is more single focused. 

While it may be what’s shown all around us or what we watch from the other women we know, doing all the work in our relationships and in our lives will not lead to intimacy, deeper connection in our partnership, or the ability to have a balanced relationship or dating experience.

I talk about this in much more detail and share some additional personal stories about my own life and relationship in my masterclass “How to Bring Out the Best in Your Man” available for purchase here

If you have a tendency of taking on a lot of things, just because you can, recognize this isn’t sustainable, nor healthy and will result in burnout, resentment and disconnection. 

3. How to Slow Down + Why It’s Important

Women, on top of multi-tasking and having a natural inclination to give, when stressed out become doing machines. They go into overdrive and often expect their partners to act the same and keep up with them and all that needs to be done. 

Often a step ahead of their partners, it’s easy for them to get upset and feel unsupported when their partners aren’t contributing at the same speed or when their partners aren’t doing what they think needs to be done around the house.

What’s actually happening is their men are resting and recharging which is what I invite my clients to do more of, too.

I used to be guilty of this myself. If I was stressed about a big project and felt like I had a lot to do, I would go full on with tackling my to do list: working until my brain stopped and then shifting to tasks that didn’t need my brain like the laundry, mopping the floors, instead of just stopping and resting. My partner would see this happening and just try and stay out of the way when in actuality, none of that needed to be done, at that hour, and I should have been resting like he was. 

We think we’re being helpful, a supermom, a get-it-all-done partner but what’s really happening is we’re wearing ourselves out, operating on fumes, and not actually allowing our partners to contribute and support us because we don’t allow them to in all our doing.

We aren’t in a receptive mode when we’re going at full speed

There’s no space to allow in help or really slow down to see what’s happening. 

When women get stuck in ‘do more’, it has a big impact on our relationships and how we make our partners feel in the process.

When they don’t feel like they can help to get anything done for us or provide the type of support we need, they feel irrelevant, inadequate, and sometimes emasculated. 

Slow Down and Do Less, So You Can Receive More

As women what we need to do is learn how to slow down, open up for support, and ask for help instead of buckling down to do it all ourselves.

 We need to prioritize rest and receiving and allowing the men in our lives to do more of the handling that we’re so used to taking on ourselves. 

I talk about this extensively in my masterclass available for purchase “How to Bring Out the Best in Your Man” and teach specific content, tools and provide guided support in my group programming for women “Adored”. 

 As women, it’s so important to understand that our partners are wired completely differently than we are. They have both different needs and different ways of getting their needs met. 

How we ask for and expect our needs to be met is sometimes totally opposite of how they do. Because of this it’s not uncommon for misunderstandings to happen and for desires to go unfulfilled. 

It’s vital to take responsibility for your part in the relationship, whether you overdo it and are completely disconnected from your femininity and aren’t present in the relationship or you’re overgiving in order to receive, leaving you feeling disappointed when gestures aren’t reciprocated. Wherever you struggle most, understanding yourself and taking opposite actions than you have in the past is what will shift the dynamic and frustration. 

 

Slowing down to receive more is the first step. 

Justine Baruch

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