Take a break from thinking about yourself for a second and ponder this: Do you ever ask what your partner wants to do over the weekend? Or do you just call all the shots without any regard for their wishes? When you two disagree on something, do you actually listen to what your partner has to say or do you steamroll the conversation?
If this sounds familiar, there’s a good chance you haven’t realized that you’ve been unfair to your partner. Below, experts share the signs that indicate you’re probably the selfish one in your relationship.
1. You expect your partner to listen to you vent but you don’t offer the same in return.
“One of the best reasons to be in an intimate relationship is that we have someone to tell our troubles to, who will take our side when the world feels harsh. That feeling of being understood and accepted is what intimacy is about. If you become immediately bored, or act like your partner is a drag when he or she starts to tell you about their bad day, it’s like slamming an emotional door in their face. Even if your partner doesn’t protest, it’s still a recipe for loneliness in a relationship.” ― Amy Begel, marriage and family therapist
2. You give your partner the silent treatment instead of tackling difficult conversations in a mature way.
“It is self-centered to not make an attempt to communicate when you are hurt or angry at your partner. Tough conversations often come up in a romantic relationship. You put your partner through a lot of distress when you refuse to talk.” ― Marni Feuerman, marriage and family therapist
3. You insist that your perspective is the correct one — on everything.
“This is a definite red flag indicating a strong degree of selfishness. If you find yourself always giving weight to only your own point of view, you are setting your relationship up to fail. What you are really saying to your partner is that you are really only in this relationship to get your own needs meet, with little or no consideration for the needs of your partner. If that’s the case, you really aren’t a partner at all.” ―Gary Brown, marriage and family therapist
4. You routinely accuse your partner of being the selfish one in the relationship.
“We can hardly tolerate qualities in others that we don’t like about ourselves. Often what we mean when we accuse partners of being selfish is that they’re not meeting our selfish preferences.” ―Steven Stosny, psychologist
5. You get pissy when your partner makes plans that don’t involve you.
“There is no reason to be joined at the hip. It is healthy to have your own interests and balance ‘me’ time with ‘we’ time. If you are always making your partner feel guilty for being an individual separate from you, then this is very selfish.” ― Feuerman
6. You’re overly critical of your partner’s friends and family.
“Occasionally I see couples where one partner refuses to hang out with the other partner’s friends, or belittles them, looks down on them or is otherwise unpleasant toward these friends. This creates a troubling imbalance in the relationship, where one person becomes the arbiter of who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘out.’ It also implies a sense of superiority on the part of the partner who pronounces him/herself as the judge of high-quality friends.” ― Begel
7. You’re oblivious to your partner’s needs.
“I always know there is a quality of deadness in a couple who comes for therapy where one partner isn’t at all worried about pleasing the other person. In a healthy relationship, we’re supposed to be aware of what pleases our partner and, at least part of the time, try to accommodate their desires. It’s of course always a question of balance: We don’t live to please our partner, but we’re not indifferent to our partner’s needs, wishes, desires. It goes a long way in a relationship when we know our partner is paying attention to what we need, even if it doesn’t always work out.” ― Begel
8. When you don’t get your way, you threaten to end the relationship — even if you don’t mean it.
“Even in the very best of relationships, none of us is always going to get what we need. If you spend your time threatening to leave your partner, how can they ever grow to trust that it isn’t always going to be about you and your needs? Someone who genuinely loves their partner is going to be mature enough and have enough self-awareness to know that it is extremely hurtful to threaten to abandon someone we love just because we don’t get our way.” ― Brown