Is Emotional Labor Upsetting the Balance in Your Relationship?

Is Emotional Labor Upsetting the Balance in Your Relationship?
Modern couple at home. Man and woman concentrated on messaging with smartphones, ignoring each other and spending time on social media.

( – “Emotional labor” is the unnoticed work we do to maintain a relationship. It can be so undervalued that the other person doesn’t even realize that anything is out of balance. If one person is putting in more work to keep the relationship alive than the other, things get thrown off balance. Is the amount of emotional labor you’re putting in upsetting the balance in your relationship? Let’s take a closer look.

Signs You’re Doing Too Much Emotional Labor

It’s easy for one person in a relationship to do most of the emotional labor without even realizing it. Women, especially, tend not to realize they’re carrying the bulk of the load when it comes to emotional labor.

It’s important to recognize the signs, which include:

  • Difficulty Communicating: When it comes time to talk about problems in the relationship, one person may become annoyed, resistant, or avoidant about communicating. The person who’s doing most of the emotional labor may become frustrated and feel like the relationship is one-sided. They might also feel as if they need to walk on eggshells around the other person.
  • Minimizing Feelings: The person who isn’t putting in emotional labor may make the other person feel as if their feelings are unwarranted, exaggerated, or wrong. They may become dismissive of their emotions to avoid communicating about the problems.
  • Excusing the Behavior: We all might make excuses for other people’s behavior from time to time. But if excuses are always being made, especially if it involves not resolving conflicts, it could be because one person isn’t putting any emotional labor into the relationship.
  • Battling Exhaustion: One person may feel as if they’re carrying all of the relationship’s emotional weight, which can lead to exhaustion. They might also find themselves taking on the emotions the other person should be feeling, further leading them to feel more rundown.

It May Lead to Resentment

When one person is carrying the bulk of the emotional weight on their shoulders, resentment may build. Over time, this may cause the emotional laborer to shut down and keep quiet. Unfortunately, it can put a wall between two people.

If there is a shift in balance where one person does more than the other, it’s time to make a change. Once the issue is identified, it’s easier to address and tackle it head-on. This is the time to agree on who will be doing what. The goal is to release resentment and deal with issues openly.

What to Do About It

Once we know that too much emotional labor burdening one person is upsetting the balance in our relationship, it’s important to address it to prevent it from causing long-term damage. There are some things we can do to try to reduce the burden and rebalance the relationship.

Be honest and open about feeling overburdened in the relationship. When others ask if we’re okay because we’re distancing ourselves, we may automatically say “yes.” But if we aren’t willing to confess our true feelings, it leads to communication breakdown, affecting the relationship. We often assume we don’t need to discuss how we feel, but others can’t read our minds. Take time to address problems and work together to come up with a solid resolution.

Remember that both parties need to be on board to make it work. If talking it out doesn’t help, it might be time to pursue therapy. Both parties might choose to seek individual counselors, or they may choose to pursue couple’s therapy. With the help of a mental health professional, they might choose to work it out or find it best to go their separate ways.

Silently feeling overburdened in a relationship is draining mentally and physically. Teamwork actually does make the dream work. Negotiate the right balance with emotional labor and always keep communication at the forefront. In a partnership, we’re never alone.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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