Possessing the capacity to recognize and understand what your partner wants, and then to selflessly give it to them is a sign of a healthy relationship. However, for some couples, one person in the relationship can unconsciously take on the role as the pleaser. When one partner orients so externally towards pleasing the other that they lose track of their own needs, it ultimately leads to a sense of resentment.
More often than not, the pleaser was most likely parented in a family where they felt they had to do something to be deserving of love. The development of pleasing as a pattern usually traces back to childhood where a person had to please their parents for fear of an angry or threatening response. As a result, they developed a way of protecting themselves that was to become hyper externally focused around the other person’s needs, and to keep them happy. They have low tolerance for another person being upset, because the upset meant they may end up in a place that threatens their sense of safety, security and wellbeing
Pleasing in relationships leads to loss of intimacy.
The problem is, when we’re adults in intimate partnerships, chronic pleasing can lead to a host of problems. When one person is fused with pleasing the other, they become hyper focused on doing whatever it takes to keep the other person happy. At the beginning of a relationship the person on the receiving end will feel incredibly grateful and in being so, promote the act of pleasing. This creates a strong bond between the couple as they embrace a feeling of thoughtfulness and gratitude.
However, as the relationship matures, the tendency to please will lead to a loss of intimacy. The degree of closeness begins to disappear, and the pleaser may develop some resentment from repeatedly doing everything for the other person and not meeting their own needs. There can be a deeply rooted anxiety that no matter how much they give, it will never be enough. By continuing to place their partners’ happiness first, the pleaser risks losing access to a deeper truth. The emotional and intellectual connection fades when the person on the receiving end begins to question if they truly know their partner.
And a loss of your authentic self.
If this continues as the relationship develops then the person doing the pleasing is at risk of losing their sense of dignity. They’ll begin to feel dissatisfied with the relationship and the loss of intimacy. The relationship itself becomes compromised as they are now failing to operate as two true adults. You have a pleaser and a pleasee. They will never get their needs met, feel increasingly resentful and be always oriented towards the other person, just like when they were a kid. The part that yearns for equal partnership will never be satisfied or addressed, and nothing will ever develop.
What’s the solution?
Uncovering your why.
The solution to this is to try and turn your attention inwards to uncover where this pleasing mentality came from.
- How did I become trained in feeling the need to please to be worthy of love?
- How do I develop a relationship with the part of me that believes that let them know they don’t need to do that anymore?
From here you can ask and be transparent with your partner as to what you need from them to feel supported and loved. This may be as simple as asking for your partner to bring you your morning cup of coffee, or to ask your partner to make their own cup of coffee because you don’t like coffee. It may mean asking them to take care of the kids for an entire weekend so you can go and have some time with your friends.
These kinds of actions will potentially upset the status quo in your relationship, and your partner may be caught off guard, so it’s important to explain where you are coming from in asking for what you need or want.
This is a very difficult thing for somebody who’s been conditioned this way and will require support from their other half. When someone believes if they stop trying to please the other, the other will leave, this is a deeply embedded part of the psyche that’s hard to argue with. Ymay even require a therapist, coach or a reliable friend to confide in and uncover where these habits developed. It’s a vulnerable thing to shift the system of saying yes to everything to developing personal boundaries. For a relationship to succeed, both must have the ability to clearly state what they need and what they want and also be able to not get that periodically. If you want help with this, reach out and book a free call here.