“Give more than you get.”
It’s such a beautiful philosophy.
It inspires generosity, selflessness, and a sense of abundance.
But there’s one place where giving more than you get can backfire spectacularly:
When you show a man how much you have to give without creating space for him to give to you, you start your relationship off on a rocky footing.
Balance is one of the secrets to a lasting relationship between lovers.
And it may require you to rein in your natural tendency to give more than you get…
So that you can wait to receive instead.
A Healthy Ebb and Flow
Any relationship where the giving is mostly one way gets starved of the energy it needs to thrive.
Healthy relationships feel equal.
Even if one person does more than the other, the relationship will thrive as long as they both feel like it balances out in the end.
Of course there will be periods where one person gives more, and periods where the other person gives more.
What keeps the balance is the faith that you will get back as much as you give.
But what happens when one person gives generously and asks for nothing in return?
Does it make the relationship stronger?
Or does it push the other person away?
When It’s Early Days…
When you are just getting to know a guy, you might think it’s important to show him what a good potential girlfriend you would be…
Never realizing that good men are much more interested in what they can do for you.
Good men want to know as soon as possible whether they can contribute to your life.
Do you have space in your life for someone like them?
Do you need what they can uniquely give?
Are you willing to sit back, relax, and enjoy what they have to offer you?
Or are you too busy trying to prove yourself to them?
Good men—like good women—much prefer to give than receive.
It feels more comfortable. It makes them feel strong and generous.
They don’t want a woman to serve them. They want to serve the woman they love.
One reason that people tend to fall in the trap of giving generously in the early days is because they’re hoping their gifts convince the other person to stay.
They’re not confident that who they are is enough.
If all she offers him is her company, then surely he’s going to get snatched away by some other woman who offers him a lot more!
It feels like a competition. Whoever showers the guy with the most gifts wins.
Guys who are takers will take those gifts without feeling any responsibility to reciprocate.
Taking your gifts won’t make him feel more emotionally connected. The imbalance is clear even to him. He’ll see you as someone who gives to him, rather than someone he gives to.
Good guys, on the other hand, just want your company.
Being with you is enough.
As your relationship progresses, then you can step up what you do for each other.
But in the very beginning, you want to make sure he’s with you because he likes talking to you and spending time with you—not because of what you do for him.
Give More to Get More
When relationships start to stumble, and a woman feels her partner pulling away, many women respond by giving even more.
It’s this idea of “give more to get more.”
She thinks she can convince him to stay by showing him how good the relationship is, how much she’s willing to do for him, and what he’ll miss if he leaves.
But in fact her giving pushes him away even further. It makes things worse.
Giving more can’t save the relationship. The only thing that can save the relationships is him giving more.
And he isn’t going to give anything if she’s giving everything.
Enjoy The Wait
You may think that you can push a relationship forward by doing more and more for him.
But, in fact, you’ll enjoy greater success if you sit back and enjoy the wait.
When you do your part and no more, you create space for him to decide what he’s going to do next.
What does he want to put into this relationship? You’re letting him lead.
That might mean that things take longer than you’d hoped.
But relationships that progress slowly tend to have a better chance at lasting than relationships that start off fast and furious.
Good things come to those who wait. ☺
This article is so refreshing! Been divorced since 2002 and started dating this guy since 2017. We had a good start where he would invite and spend for our dates, even leased a car for me for 4 years! I earn twice as much or more than he does, and eventually told myself that it’s about time I do things for him especially after he changed jobs and he’s earning much less than before. I have been paying for weekend outings, and even out of town weekend get aways including hotels and food. He drives and will pay for the gas most of the time. He has taught me a lot, and has enhanced my life, now that my 2 kids are out on their own. He has been very nice to them, mostly, very accepting of my special needs child. He gets along well with my family and friends. We don’t live together after all these years and he doesn’t want to get married. I’m scared to eventually live with him when I retire. He’s set in his ways and so am I. I do not know how to maneuver through this. Sorry went off course, but hope to get some help. Thank you so much!
Hey, Marilou. It sounds like you both enjoy the relationship as is. Don’t let conventional expectations push you both toward living together if that moves you away from the life you enjoy. Sometimes, “more” is not the answer. Make decisions that move you closer to your goals, not away from them.
And if there is a reason why you need to live together in retirement, approach it like a time-limited experiment. Keep your options open and talk about it together as an experiment that doesn’t need to end the relationship if you decide to end cohabitation.
Always on your side,
As always I love your advice. Thanks to your programs I’ve gradually come to understand that what you say here is so true. For most of my life I’ve done the major share of giving and it absolutely has not worked, not once.
Now I understand why overgiving just pushes good men away but paradoxically keeps the not so fabulous guys right there, taking and taking… until they get bored and pull away anyway, leaving that awful drained empty heartache of having given so much and ending up with so little.
For 6 months I’ve been dating a new guy and it’s great. I’m getting much better at implementing your advice. To my surprise, he loves doing things for me. I’ve been pacing myself to where he’s at, so the giving is mutual. equal and reciprocal. And I’m happy to say the experience is proving to be refreshingly different from all previous relationships.
Yay!!! Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey with us, Kara!