A selfish partner can cause a lot of trouble and pain in any relationship. But let me also say this. We are all selfish creatures. It’s in our nature as humans.
The issue begins when self-centered, inconsiderate, careless and egocentric behavior becomes the norm. If you start feeling lonely, unheard and unwanted in the relationship, you have a high chance of being with a selfish person.
Most importantly, the question isn’t how you can change your partner but rather, is this the right type of relationship for you.
How to define a selfish partner?
According to F. Diane Barth – psychotherapist – there are two defining characteristic of selfishness:
- Being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself
- Having no regard for the needs or feelings of others
The third one I would add myself is that usually selfish people are not actually aware of how selfish they really are. There is no “we but only I” for them. This is no surprise. Alcoholics or drug addicts and so on also behave the same way.
In certain ways it’s necessary to be selfish. It helps us to take a good care of ourselves and achieve our goals. However when it comes to romantic relationships; compassion, empathy, compromise and taking care of our partner’s emotional and physical needs are essential qualities to have.
To be able to realize that you have a selfish partner you must read the unmistakable signs in your relationship.
They rarely ask, “How was your day?”
It seems such a small thing but when it presents itself day by day, it can certainly feel like they don’t really care about you.
It’s natural to ask our loved one how their day went. And not only for small talk but because we are genuinely interested and curious. We want to share their success or sorrow.
However when you are the only one who is asking, it shows that they don’t really care about you in general.
There is no “we” but only “me”
What does this mean? Generally their sentences starts with I. For example:
⇒ I am going to go to cinema tonight
⇒ I will eat vegetables for dinner
⇒ I want to have sex now
⇒ I will go to Barcelona for holiday
⇒ I am going to move to London next year
⇒ I need to rest tomorrow
⇒ I am going for a walk soon
The list can go on. What I am trying to point out here is that there is no question or offer in their mind. It’s just going to happen whether you like it or not. You don’t have a say.
They don’t have a conversation and they are not going to ask you for your opinion or input. As you live with someone like that, sooner or later you will begin to feel like you don’t matter. Sadly this is the truth in case you have a selfish partner.
Before you go too deep into the relationship you may want to check out if you and your partner are actually a good love match.
They shut you out rather than tackling the problem together
A self-centered person will not make any attempt to communicate with you in tough situations. Uncomfortable scenarios are common in romantic relationships. Sometimes there are anger, hurt or pain.
They are totally normal feelings and emotions to have. However when your partner is giving you the “cold-treatment” and ignore you, it can put you through a lot of distress. As I always say ignorance is a cancer of relationships.
They are always right, and you are always wrong
A selfish partner is right all the time. They never make mistakes or misjudge anything and anyone. Why? Because their huge ego doesn’t let them. Or so it seems.
The truth is that even selfish people are sometimes aware they are wrong. But they will never admit it. And that’s even worse than if they didn’t know. Obviously one thing leads to another and in this case they will unlikely to apologize.
Again, their ego won’t let that happen. The issue is that their partner expects an apology, specially if they were hurt in the process. But it’s not going to come.
They are oblivious of your needs
Of course we don’t live to please our partner but that doesn’t mean we should be indifferent. Everybody has needs – physical and emotional – desires, wishes and preferences.
Ideally, in a healthy relationship we are supposed to be aware of what pleases our loved one. Most importantly we should accommodate their needs as much as we can.
That doesn’t mean sacrifice or force yourself doing something that you hate, but more like adapting to your partner’s needs as long as it’s comfortable for the both of you.
This includes intimacy as well. It’s not uncommon that couples have different sex drives in a relationship. If you want to know how to handle such a sensitive but crucial issue click on the link for tips.
They lack of empathy
To put it very simple; a selfish partner often lack empathy. Unfortunately this can be a deal-breaker in any relationship. Why?
Just imagine that your partner was not able to show their interest, care and support. You may be really struggling emotionally but all they could do is ignore you. They would avoid you and leave you alone with whatever issue you must deal with.
To make a relationship work and last long, both parties need to show empathy towards each other. Look out for signs of lack of empathy, it’s an essential part of any relationships.
They receive, but never give anything back
It’s a classic one. You do:
⊗ Listening to their issues
⊗ Providing emotional support
⊗ Meeting their physical needs
⊗ Taking care of finances
⊗ Prioritizing them over yourself
But, they don’t do any of those for you. They only take advantage of you.
I am not saying that everything needs to be 50-50 in a relationship, because it would be a lie. There are no perfect matches and that’s absolutely fine.
However it still must have some sort of balance between the two of you. Not only tiring it will be to only give, but never receive, but also dissatisfying and frustrating. Do you really want to live your life with a person like that?
They take you for granted
All the good that you are and everything you do for them, they take for granted. They have such a strong sense of security that they think you are never going to leave them. And they certainly don’t think that you would ever change your mind.
Therefore they believe they can act as they want – even if they were hurting you, it’s fine – they can cause you pain. Perhaps they keep ignoring you and show absolutely no care whatsoever.
You better express yourself and communicate that it’s not right. It will hopefully allow them to adapt and change if necessary.
It’s their way or the highway
Basically it means that they are the ones who expect you to change. And if you don’t, they show you the door.
They will claim it’s an honest way of being in a relationship? But is it really?
Don’t forget! Just because they live this way, that doesn’t mean it’s the right way. When a relationship is one-sided, there is no balance, no agreement, no compromise and definitely no understanding of what you actually need.
Be careful, this will not lead you to any good.
Selfish partners will hide their vulnerability
First of all, vulnerability is strengths and not weakness, specially in a romantic relationship. Therefore it’s very difficult to get to really know somebody who is selfish.
They are afraid of showing their feelings and expressing their emotions. This makes it very hard to understand them. They resist and shut people out.
They think of vulnerability as a weakness and will avoid situations where emotions come into the picture. They don’t see that vulnerability is an essential part of being a human.
To form a healthy and happy relationship with such people is extremely challenging.
It’s not going to come as a surprise when I say, you have two options:
The first one is that you try to make the relationship work with your selfish partner. I believe this should always be the first step. Nobody is perfect and we all have our flaws.
Express and communicate your worries to your partner. Tell them what hurts you. Ask them to try and adapt to your needs. You also have the right and need to be loved and taken care of.
If they truly want to be with you, it’s their responsibility to improve and unlearn their selfish behavior. Ensure them that you are there for them and will be supporting them along the way, but they must take actions for the sake of the relationship.
The second option is that you walk away from your partner. Unfortunately in a lot of cases it doesn’t have a happy ending.
In spite of being honest with your partner and letting them know that you are getting hurt in the relationship, but they still don’t show signs of change or willingness to adapt.
If it’s too much for you there is nothing left but to leave. I understand how hard it may be to walk away from someone you love, but you need to prioritize your mental health on a long run.
You deserve love, care and happiness.