When your partner is demanding
When your partner is demanding it can feel emotionally draining. You will need to learn the difference between what is acceptable for them to ask you for and what is being too demanding.
If your partner insists that you change your job or your religion, this is too demanding. Nobody has the right to tell the other what work to do or what to believe.
Similarly, your partner should not be demanding that you stop seeing your family or friends. You have the right to see who you want to. The exception to this is if there is a genuine cause for concern about the possibility of infidelity.
If your partner gets a job in a different location, they cannot demand that you move there with them. You need to discuss the best option for you as a couple and come to a decision together.
Any demand that affects who you are as a person or your general lifestyle is not their decision, but yours. They may choose to leave you if you don’t change and that is fine, but you get to choose who you are.
When your partner asks for help
When your partner asks you to help with a task, you do have the choice whether to say or no. Or if you would like to help them but don’t have much time to spare, you could help for a while and then go and do what you need to do. You can negotiate this with your partner. In other words, find a compromise that works for both of you.
Maybe they think it would genuinely help lighten their load, but it is not your obligation to help them. Don’t feel guilty if you are unable to help. Just make sure that you communicate with your partner in a gentle way. Avoid criticism, judgement or a whining tone of voice! If they make a fuss, try to stay calm and repeat your position.
If you do decide to help, don’t do it in order to get something back. That attitude would only be unhelpful and damaging to your marriage.
When your partner seems demanding but isn’t
When your partner asks you to help with a task they have to do, they might not just want your help. It may seem demanding at first, but there may be something behind their request that should not be ignored.Sometimes people present a situation stating one reason, but they really have a different motive.
This may actually be what we call a “Bid” for connection. Consider that it might be a wish to spend time with you, rather than just a demand and an inconvenience on your time.
One of the best ways to build connection with your partner is to do challenging tasks together.
It might be that your partner feels so overwhelmed that it would be a comfort to have you there.
Perhaps your partner wants you to understand their work so that you are on the same wavelength.
Try taking it as a good thing that he/she has asked you for help. It is a perfect opportunity for you to spend time together and improve your relationship.
If your partner keeps demanding your help
If your partner keeps asking for your help again and again, you will need to set some boundaries on your time. An example of this is “From 9.00-5.30 I need to work, but let’s get together this evening.”
Setting boundaries is not mean or rude, it is a clear way to communicate your needs and rights.
When your partner is demanding in any way that feels too much, make sure you calmly state your boundaries as to what you find acceptable.
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