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When Making Sacrifices Is Bad for Your Relationship

When Making Sacrifices Is Bad for Your Relationship

We’ve all been there—usually, we love helping make our partners’ lives easier. We happily take on dog-walking duty when they’re not feeling well, we do the dishes just because, we vacuum around them unwinding on the couch after work. And, sometimes, those same tasks just rub us the wrong way—we roll our eyes while folding their laundry (again), sigh when they call from the office and ask us to start dinner, and grumble to our friends that we don’t feel appreciated.

It can be a fine line between love and annoyance…but where does the line lie? A University of Arizona study aimed to figure that out. They sent daily online surveys to 164 married and unmarried couples for a week, asking them about daily stress, their commitment level to their partner, and the personal sacrifices they made that week. “Commitment level” in this study referred to how unified and satisfied they felt with their partner and the status of the relationship. “Sacrifices” were any small daily practices done to maintain the quality of the relationship, anything from childcare to housework.

The findings of the study were something you perhaps have noticed in your own relationship. Overall, people who made sacrifices for their partner said they felt more committed to the relationship…up to a point. When partners make sacrifices on particular stressful days, they actually felt less committed—the act became not a loving gesture, but just another aggravating task to do that day. Does that mean we can blame our bosses for fights we have with our partners? (Probably not.)

Another interesting finding? Those on the receiving end of their partners’ efforts and sacrifices didn’t report feeling more committed to their selfless partners… possibly, researchers say, because they weren’t even aware that their significant others had done anything special for them. Don’t hold your breath for a thank you card!

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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at dianavilibert.com, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.

108 comments

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7:05PM PDT on May 29, 2013

nice :)

1:28AM PDT on May 23, 2013

interesting

9:19PM PDT on May 22, 2013

tyvm

10:18AM PDT on May 22, 2013

Making concessions is one thing. Sacrificing is another. Nobody should ever sacrifice anything for anyone, even out of love. The end result is always disastrous.

6:10AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Good points!

7:52PM PDT on May 17, 2013

shared...

6:19AM PDT on May 17, 2013

ty

3:04AM PDT on May 17, 2013

I associate with the unhappy side of this article all too well. Doing nice things for your partner is one thing. Having it be expected all the time is a different thing entirely. I'm very happy to have just gotten out of a relationship where I had ended up sacrificing too much.

6:10AM PDT on May 16, 2013

Never sacrifice care and respect

7:32PM PDT on May 12, 2013

Personally and professionally I am not a believer in sacrifices, they imply obligation and martyrdom, neither of which are healthy. Make choices based in your Self honesty and then you are accountable to you. You will not expect someone to be or do something because you have done something. Love is the answer, which comes from honesty and trusting oneself ; )

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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