Am I putting up with too much in my relationship? I’m sure you have asked yourself this question at least once. And it’s a very disempowering question to ask yourself because the answer is usually “Hmm yeah maybe but also I don’t know but yeah no sometimes.”
Today, I want to share with you my 3-Step Solution to Stop Putting Up With Too Much. It’s very simple and it’ll help you take that ever-growing burden off your shoulders. Ready? Let’s go.
1. What are you PUTTING UP WITH?
The first thing I want to explore with you is what it means to put up with something. Because we don’t say that about things that we don’t see as problems. We don’t “put up with” things that are really good or positive. That’s the first clue. We have identified a problem in the relationship or maybe more so in our partner and what they think, how they feel, or what they do.
Our partner’s behavior is not objectively a problem though. Objectively speaking, it’s neutral until we decide what to think about it. And in this scenario, we have decided that it is, in fact, a problem.
So putting up with things in the relationship means that we have identified a problem, but then what? If we take action toward solving the problem so that it’s no longer a problem, are we putting up with it? Not really, right? Because then there’s nothing to put up with.
Now, when your partner or their behavior is the problem, it’s quite challenging for you to solve those problems without their participation. And quite often your partner is not going to agree that it’s a problem, to begin with, meaning there’s nothing for them to solve.
But that’s the second clue right there. We have identified a problem and we have on some level accepted that it won’t be solved. That’s pretty close to the definition of putting up with something in a relationship.
I think this is bad or wrong, but it will not change = I’m “putting up with it.”
2. Is this a dealbreaker?
The next puzzle piece of putting up with something is what you are doing after you’ve identified the problem and accepted that it won’t change. You stay in the relationship. Because if there’s a problem and it won’t change and you choose to leave, you’re literally not putting up with it.
What I want you to pay attention to when you decide if this problem is a dealbreaker or not is to look at the situation the way it is now. Not how you think it might develop in the future or what might happen down the road.
We don’t know what’s going to happen. Of course, you’re allowed to end a relationship because of what you think might happen in the future. No one can stop you. But just be mindful when you think about this question and make sure you pay attention to if you’re deciding based on the present moment or a potential, made-up future scenario. Both are valid, just don’t get them mixed up.
So, so far we’ve got: This thing is bad or wrong, it will not change, but I will not leave because of it. You might think that we have arrived at the full definition of putting up with something now, but I believe there’s a final piece to this puzzle that is everything. The final piece that gives birth to the question “Am I putting up with too much in my relationship?”.
Any guesses about what it might be?
3. Are you holding on to the problem?
Let’s take a look at the question again… Am I putting up with too much? That suggests to me that these things that you are putting up with in your relationship are stacking up. They’re getting bigger and bigger, heavier and heavier, and eventually, you will have had enough because it’s just too much to handle.
This tells me that the final puzzle piece in the definition of putting up with things is that after you’ve defined a problem, accepted that it’s not going to change and you have made the decision to stay instead of leave, you choose to hold on to your definition that it is a problem, to begin with.
When we do this, when we define a problem, accept that it won’t change, decide to stay, and hold on to the problem being a problem, it causes unnecessary suffering and will build up over time.
Eventually, you will have caused yourself so much suffering by holding on to your definitions of problems in the relationship without actually doing anything about them that not only will your relationship with your partner turn sour, your relationship with yourself will as well.
Holding on to a problem that isn’t in your control to change yet isn’t something you’re willing to end the relationship over, is literally just torturing yourself.
This is why it’s so important to understand that what you define as a problem is your choice. A choice you’re always free to make no matter what. And you’re always free to leave the relationship for any reason you choose. And on top of that, you can always request things from your partner and ask them to stop or start doing things and they can agree if they want. But this also means that if you identify a problem, decide to “put up with it”, but hold on to it being a problem, you’re literally just punching yourself in the face.
So instead of putting up with things, identify the problem, ask yourself if you’re willing to live with it or not (is it a dealbreaker?), and if you’re going to stay, consider letting go of your belief that it is a problem, to begin with. Because there is literally no upside of holding on to problems that cannot or will not be solved.