Monday, March 19, 2012

When Giving Is Enough, Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

I am a giving person.  Almost always have been.  When I'm in a relationship, I give up all my personal information, and as long as they are listening, the person I am in this relationship with, knows me and knows me well.  My likes, my dislikes, are all laid out for the other person to see.  At times, it has made it easy for the other person to take advantage of me.  Because I am giving 100%, they can get away with giving very little, and yet the relationship can stay afloat for a decent amount of time, because I am so into giving that I don't necessarily notice what I am not receiving.  Relationships are supposed to be give and receive.  I say give and receive not give and take, because "taking" to me implies that the person does not want to give this to you, and instead you are removing it from their possession.  I prefer to say give and receive because it has a better connotation.  But when does giving become too much?  Why is that we can give our all and it is still not enough?  Why do people continue to give when the relationship is not balanced and obviously not working?  I feel like it has to do with a sense of security.  People who are "givers" can sometimes give their all without asking for much because they feel insecure and want some sort of validation from the other person that they are worthy.  So, a person could give up their life, their friends, their likes, for another person, in hopes that the person will give them the tiniest smile, or compliment to validate their worth.  It kind of goes without saying that this isn't the healthiest relationship, yet, people emulate this behavior every single day.  I read an article recently that said that the best givers are the ones with high self esteem.  They have no problem giving because they are aware of their self worth and know they have a lot to offer.  I like to think that in my current relationship, I am this type of giver.  The article stated that to become one of these people you needed to know when to say no, know when you're taking on too much and stop, do little things that make you smile, and not stress yourself out over things beyond your control.  I think that I am mostly good with those sorts of things and know I have a lot to offer to my  significant other, and that is why I give.  I am lucky enough to receive pretty equally in this relationship.

My real question is, when it comes to the future, how much giving and receiving is appropriate?  Some people are willing to drop all of their plans and go to the same college as their significant other, move across the state or even country for that person, quit their job and relocate, drop their lease and move in, sacrifice their own wants and needs for the other person.  Sometimes this behavior astounds me.  First off, I understand that sometimes people have to make tough decisions like this.  But I think that the smartest thing to do when faced with these kinds of decisions is for both parties to sit down and debate their possibilities and decide on the one that benefits both parties the most.  Often it seems that one person will do all of the sacrificing, give up their dreams, begin to resent the other person, and it can do real damage to the relationship.

When is giving too much?  I don't think that anyone should completely give up on their dreams.  I believe there are certain dealbreakers that everyone has, and no matter how much you love someone, if they don't respect your dreams, the relationship is doomed to fail.  So, as I am faced with this impending move, I begin to question myself.  Is my significant other thinking of me when making these decisions.  For the past nine months, I have known that eventually he would be promoted and with that promotion he would be relocating.  When I was approached with this notion, I replied that I would not relocate across the country, unless there was a ring on my finger.  It seemed irrational for me to move away from my friends, my family, and my comfort zone to be with a boy if he wasn't ready to make a lasting commitment to me.  Now the talk of relocating has become more local, and I gave up the idea of being engaged beforehand.  We have discussed our price range, and decided to get an apartment with two bedrooms even though we'd obviously be staying in the same bedroom, so that if something would happen and we broke up, one of us could move into the other bedroom until better arrangements could be made.  I believe that moving in with him, away from our friends, is a commitment enough.  But when it comes to the location, this is something of importance to me.  I am not in the position to move anywhere and have jobs readily available to me.  There was the option of moving to Southern New York, that I was quite excited about because of the available publishing companies and editorial jobs available.  But New York is not a definite yet, and I find myself wondering if my significant other considers what difficulties I will face moving somewhere else to find a job.  I have a job ready for me regardless of where we move, but it is not something that I want to do forever.  It is more of a safety net, until I find something better and more appropriate.  So am I giving too much?  Should I move wherever he desires and figure out the rest when I get there?  Or will I become that person that resents him for giving up my own dreams?  Ever since he got this job, I have been patiently waiting for his promotion, putting off decisions of getting a different job, or moving somewhere else, knowing that when he gets promoted all will be decided.  But am I being too giving, putting aside what I might want or dream of, for him?  I don't think so.  But every once in awhile I begin to wonder if he even accounts for me in his future plans.  Does he think about our future?  Does he even see me in his?  We have talked about marriage before, but it stopped because he was saying that if I kept talking about it I would take all of the surprise out of it.  I push him to figure things out with his boss so we can begin to make plans, but he's just as lost as I am about when things are going to happen exactly and where we're going.  I know I'm going with him, he knows I'm going with him, and I believe that's what he wants because we both know we're going to spend the rest of our lives together, but I wonder if because I'm so available, and willing to do whatever, if he doesn't consider my thoughts or feelings or future when he thinks of his own.  And it makes me wonder if I'm giving too much.  But he is quite the silent type when it comes to his feelings, so perhaps he has considered all of these things and hasn't mentioned it to me.  I am unsure.

I'm just lost at the moment.  On one side I think this move could be the best step that I've ever taken, moving forward with him and starting our life together without the distractions of this crazy college town.  On the other hand, there is so much unknown that I worry about failing.  Not being able to get a good job, not liking where we go, not being able to make new friends, and when it becomes just me and him, not being able to make him happy.  Either way, I cannot predict the future.  But I just hope that whatever comes my way, I can make the best of it.

I will never stop giving.  I just hope it's enough.

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