I know the title of this post may sound a little intense, and could definitely be misinterpreted. However, I feel that this is the best way to title this post because it ignites a healthy and much-needed conversation. That I feel many need to hear. If I am being 100% honest, myself included. I don’t want people to misread this message as selfish or careless when it comes to their significant other. This post is simply about taking care of yourself from the inside out and loving yourself. So when I tell you why you need to put yourself first in your relationship, understand that I mean take care of yourself, invest in yourself, and don’t lose yourself within your relationship.
Because the biggest thing that I have realized while dating my boyfriend, Marlin, is that it is so important to put yourself first in your relationship. Not that I don’t love being there for him whenever I can, doing what he likes to do, or spontaneously doing kind things for him, because I do, 150%! But, I have noticed in past relationships and from being an outsider in my friend’s relationships, how easy it can be to neglect yourself and the other things you love while dating. And for many people, even in their marriage. So with that, here are my thoughts on the topic and why it is healthy and necessary to put yourself first in your relationship.
Why it’s good to be “selfish” in a relationship:
Before I get into my 4 points, I want to start off by saying that putting yourself first in a relationship can be good and bad for you. When we are dating someone, we have to remember to date ourselves, too! We have to put ourselves first in the relationship, and so does your partner, if you want to have a loving, passionate, loyal, and long-lasting relationship.
I know we all want to be our partner’s first priority, however, I believe that we should strive to be their second priority. Your partner’s first priority should be themselves. And as for you, you should be your first priority as well! Never neglect your own dreams and desires because it is those dreams and those desires that made your partner fall in love with you in the first place!
When you are constantly putting your partner first in a relationship, you run the risk of neglecting yourself. When you neglect yourself, you risk not being at your best self in order to give the relationship the kind of attention that it needs. Which brings me to my first tip on why you need to put yourself first in your relationship.
1. You can’t pour from an empty cup
This is a phrase used time and time again in the world of self-care, self-love, and self-worth. However, it is 100% true! And it wasn’t until I was in a very committed and loving relationship when I finally realized the meaning and purpose of this phrase. Granted, Marlin and I have only been together for a little over a year. Which is minuscule to many! However, we have definitely experienced some of life’s ups and downs already throughout our relationship. From death, to long-distance, to new colleges, to moving away, etc.
And although I think we’ve both done a pretty good job at taking care of one another in our darkest hours, we both have to always make sure we’re also taking care of ourselves. Therefore, when you begin to put your needs on the back burner, your relationship will begin to suffer. So if you are reading this thinking “yeah, I am putting my partner first and doing everything they need me to do. They are the center of my world. How is this relationship not working??” The answer is that it’s because you are placing them first, that the relationship is in jeopardy or growing apart.
Like I mentioned above, when you neglect yourself in a relationship, you run the risk of not being your best self. For me personally, if I am not satisfied with myself, whether it’s my health, my career, my education, my finances, etc. how can I honestly not expect my feelings of self-doubt to run over into my relationship as well? I can’t. It’s not realistic.
So think of the phrase again, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Before you met your significant other, you were not dedicated to pleasing them yet. You were still just pleasing you. You were simply doing what you wanted to do, focusing on your hobbies, growing, and pursuing your career or a different career. Your story may be different, but ultimately you were doing you. And now, you may feel like you’re sacrificing your life for their dreams and desires. That often means that we are abandoning ourselves and no longer nourishing ourselves in order to make time for our relationship and our partner’s needs and wants. But let me tell you something…
It is by nourishing yourself that you nourish your relationships.
It may sound counterintuitive, but ultimately, people are attracted to people who are attracted to themselves. People who are sharing their gifts and their best selves to the fullest with the world. By keeping yourself happy and well, you’re creating a sturdy and strong foundation for your relationship and everything else in your life!
When you keep your cup full and yourself a priority, you have enough energy and happiness to share.
Steps to take in order to keep your cup full:
- Communication with your partner is key!
- Make a list of the top 10 things you want to achieve in your life.
- Take time to do things that you enjoy. Your hobbies, passions, or side hustles. Take time to invest in something you love, outside of your relationship.
- Spend time each day doing some form of self-care. Whatever that looks like to you!
Related Post: “4 Things You Need To STOP Apologizing For Right Now”
2. You’ll discover your self-worth & so will your partner
Before you can truly love someone, it is so crucial to embark down the road of complete and pure singleness in order to truly know who you are, what you stand for, what you’re boundaries are, and what you deserve. When you are able to fully accept and love yourself is when you can fully accept another person’s love. And that is such an amazing thing to let into your life! Your happiness begins with embracing self-love and being 100% confident in what you bring to the table.
Therefore, having a partner who respects your dreams and ambitions is incredibly valuable. This is why I mentioned making a list of 10 things you want to achieve in your life. Think of the things you want to give and share with the world. That way, you can be on the same pedestal that you place your partner on. And vice versa in the relationship. You always want to encourage your partner to focus on themselves and their dreams as well! Mutual respect and appreciation for each other in the relationship will take you far in your wonderful journey together!
3. You won’t feel like a doormat
This one is for the girl who goes above and beyond to make her partner feel happy, loved, and comfortable 24/7. And if this is you, I completely understand how you feel day in and day out trying to make your partner happier than he/she was the day before. It may feel rewarding at first, especially for us people-pleasers, but then it just gets exhausting and frustrating all too quick. Many of my closest friends and family have described me as loving, caring, helpful and loyal. Though I am incredibly flattered that people choose these adjectives to characterize me, let me tell you – these attributes can really bite you in the ass when it comes to love.
I once heard this powerful quote that goes something like: “the problem with putting others first is you’ve taught them you come last.”
Let that sink in for a moment. People get used to the idea of you always doing things for them and being there for them at their beck and call. This, unfortunately, can cause many people to use and take advantage of you and your kindness. Especially in a relationship! When you act a certain way for a while or treat someone a certain way, they begin to get used to it and expect it more often. Therefore, if you don’t value and respect yourself, your wants, and your needs, then your partner most likely won’t either.
Putting yourself last means you start feeling like a doormat, BUT it’s important to accept that you are causing yourself to feel this way. No one else. We teach other people how to treat us, and if you don’t respect yourself enough to show yourself kindness why would anyone else.
So if you are a total nurturer by nature and you tend to put others before yourself 🙋♀️, take a step back and start focusing on your own needs. There is absolutely nothing selfish or wrong with that! Just like tip #1, you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Men, especially, like it when their partner is passionate and working for themselves. Always remember, if given the choice between your dignity and your relationship, always prioritize your dignity above all else! Your partner will respect that, you won’t lose yourself in your relationship, and your relationship will become stronger.
Recommended Read: “Why Men LOVE Bitches”
I highly recommend this relationship guide and self-help book by Sherry Argov!
4. Your relationship will improve & grow stronger
When two people get together and start working on themselves—when they aim to grow together instead of avoiding growth by being too dependent on each other—they build a connection on a higher level. When you focus on your own growth and goals and allow your partner to do the same, your relationship will flourish! Not to mention, keeping yourself at the top of your priority list is beneficial for everyone in your life! It doesn’t make you selfish or rude if anything it’s the opposite. It shows that you respect and love yourself enough to keep your health and happiness high. If you don’t take time for yourself, you won’t have the energy or time to help anyone else.
Couples who understand that their happiness and health is the greatest thing they can offer in their relationship have the best outcomes. They will experience true love and make it last the longest!
What do you think of these tips? Do you agree that putting yourself first in the relationship is key to a happy and successful relationship?
Let me know in the comments!
This really helped me…my boyfriend and I have been together for almost 4 years and I’ve always put him first and burnt out so many times. I always was afraid if I stopped now that it would hurt the relationship, and I also would guilt trip myself thinking it was selfish. But only thing that was hurting was me. I’m slowly and steadily taking little steps back and taking more care of me and I’m blossoming. Thank you for this