Is it ok to be Selfish in a Relationship?

Is selfishness a good trait? Here’s a checklist to see if you are selfish or your partner is and what to do about it.

What exactly is being selfish? Often, we have called some of our friends selfish, but when it comes to a relationship we refrain from calling our partner selfish or sometimes fail to see the selfishness because we love them. But selfishness is an extremely common emotion in a relationship and marriage too. At the beginning of a relationship, maybe you didn’t notice it but on hindsight, recall the time when your partner’s behaviour left you fuming.

Start observing – it could be that your partner is selfish and at the same time observe yourself – you could be selfish too!

We are all selfish to a certain extent, but it’s only when it goes out of control that relationships start getting affected. What is being selfish and what is not being selfish?

Pointers at a Selfish behaviour

At times, we are selfish when we use emotional manipulation. Whenever your partner doesn’t do things your way, do you ignore him/her, or give him the silent treatment, or refuse sex? This is emotional manipulation and the extremely selfish way to get what you want. But it’s not that your partner doesn’t realise, he does feel resentment and annoyance for sure, and if you continue the ‘emotional’ manipulation, he will grow to resent you further.

Communication is the key in every relationship. If you are annoyed or don’t like something that he has done, the right way would be to tell him that – politely.

Checklist for selfishness


About your partner: Is your partner asking too much of you? Is he always loading you with tasks or his emotional burdens?

How to tackle it: Tell them that you need to share more responsibility.

Do you feel unappreciated? At the end of the day, does your partner just roll over and go to sleep, without even acknowledging what you have done, or gone out of your way to do for him?

Deal with it: You need to sit down with him/her and tell him. The longer you let the resentment seep into your veins, the harder it will be to recover the unconditional, selfless side of your relationship.

About You:

  • Are you always being authoritative in your relationship?
  • Do you value your partner’s opinion or do you do exactly what you think is right?
  • Do you always put your need before your partner’s needs?
  • Are you always taking decisions for your partner?
  • Are you unhappy when your partner is successful or has just got a promotion?

If you have answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above questions, you are selfish.

Why being selfish is damaging for your relationship

In the case of the first point, if you are authoritative all the time, your partner could feel resentful and this can destroy the relationship over a period of time. What seems like care and concern at the beginning can turn out to be stifling after a few years or even months.

How to deal with it: Have a discussion, do what’s right for both. Don’t impose your views or be forceful.

Second, if the two of you do not have open communication, it’s not a good relationship. If one partner thinks that the other’s opinion is not worth considering, then he/she is being selfish. He is ignoring your wishes and thoughts and that’s not healthy.

How to deal with it: Be compassionate. Ask your partner what he/she wants, likes. All of us love to feel special, sometimes at least if not all the time.

Third, sharing is the key to a good relationship. If your partner is not sharing his thoughts or even putting you before him, he is being selfish. A loving and caring partner puts your needs before his. Observe if this is happening a bit too often, make a note.

How to deal with it: Make it a point to connect, share thoughts and emotions even if for 10 minutes in a day. Drifting apart is easy and once the distance is too far, it’s difficult to re-connect.

Fourth, does your partner trust you to take decisions on your own? Is there a mutual discussion on important points or does he/she decide what has to be done? If a decision is taken with your consent, relax. But if you are left wondering every time what happened – your partner is being extremely selfish.

How to deal with it: Allow your partner to voice his/her opinion and trust that decision. Treat them with respect.

Fifth, if your partner is jealous about your successful career, then he is being selfish. Later on, the jealousy will only grow and tear you apart.

How to deal with it: Concentrate on your growth, your likes and focus. Success comes to those who work hard.

Pros of being selfish – for yourself

It’s fine to be a bit selfish but only in case of relationships that do not bring out the best in you. If you find that your partner is behaving in a selfish manner – don’t settle for it. Don’t settle for relationships that are uncertain or those that do not make you feel good. Use your instinct to deal with unhealthy relationships. Something that doesn’t seem right mostly is not right.

If we try and be ‘selfless’ and this trait continues for too long, we may lose touch with what makes us genuinely happy. We start living for others and partners who are inconsiderate and the pattern continues, making it a habit.

Being selfish can be positive for you. It makes you into a better person, more outspoken and you express your views confidently.

You learn to do things with expecting anything in return. You concentrate on yourself instead of being a doormat all the time.

So, go ahead and be selfish for yourself and your growth, it will only do you a world of good.

Read More: 30 Questions – to know them better

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