It’s likely you’ve experienced periods in your life where things were a bit messy or less than ideal. Maybe you were low on money, ambition, or went through times of unemployment.
We’ve all experienced those phases. If you went to college, you could probably attest to four years of being a broke college student. Honestly, the time right after college isn’t the easiest either.
In short, we’ve all struggled at some point or another. Nonetheless, you did what you had to do-found a job, started your life, etc. But what happens when you’ve overcome your struggles, but your partner still hasn’t?
No relationship is perfect but some relationships seem to be full of more struggle than love and support. Being in a struggle love situation can manifest itself in several ways such as being the sole breadwinner, doing the majority of the cooking and cleaning, not feeling emotionally supported or simply feeling like you have to fight your partner for affection and kind words, you may be in a “struggle love” relationship.
What Is “Struggle Love”?
The term “struggle love” refers to a one-sided relationship. Most often, when one partner is the one who has his or her life together with a job, apartment, etc. Her partner, on the other hand has not accomplished these milestones and may look to you to “help him out.”
In Some cases, you may pay for all the living expenses. May you’ll go to work each morning while he sleeps in until noon. You may desire marriage after several years in a relationship, but he may not want that kind of commitment he may not want you “give you a title.”
If this sounds or feels familiar please keep reading.
Quite often in black communities it is perceived to be the “job” of the women in the relationship to uplift and hang in there with a partner who is not pulling their weight emotionally or financially. It’s okay to help a person but be mindful of whether your help is becoming enabling.
Struggle love can also look like a great deal of arguing and lack the “give and take” that’s important in healthy, thriving relationships. If you are arguing or feel like you’re begging your partner to perform simple tasks such as holding down a job, helping around the house, and being active with the children if you have any. You’re not being a nag or asking “too much” for expecting these things from your partner.
Are You in a Struggle Love Relationship?
Struggle love is often challenging to spot, and plenty of people ignore it. Plus, if you’re in a struggle love relationship, it’s easy to overlook red flags, too.
Don’t mistake struggle love with someone down on their luck. As stated earlier, we’ve all had periods where our lives are pretty messy. Struggle love is something much more chronic.
You cover all of the bills for your unemployed partner. You contribute significantly to your relationship but barely get anything back. There’s no denying that there’s love in your relationship, but the struggle is incredibly real.
Struggle Love and Mental Wellness
Struggle love becomes particularly toxic when it begins to affect your mental and physical well-being. Are you stressed because you have to foot the bill for two adults? Do you desire more commitment than your partner willing to give? If so, this could leave you feeling lonely and unloved.
These constant stressors and worries can drain your emotional health and self-esteem. You deserve love from someone who can show up and love as maturely as you do. Furthermore, you deserve someone who is going to meet you halfway in the relationship.
No one can continuously do all of the heavy lifting in a relationship. It’s tiring, and it can very quickly become demeaning. If you find yourself in a place where your overall health is suffering because of your relationship, it’s essential to take a step back and evaluate your priorities.
You might be wondering how will I know if my overall health and well-being are suffering due to my relationship. Here are some things to look for:
- You, suffer from headaches, shoulder pain or stomach pains after arguing or talking with your partner, it could be a sign that this relationship is literally making you sick. Talk to your doctor to rule out any physical issues.
- Another sign would be a loss of sleep due to worrying about the status of your relationship.
- You find yourself feeling irritable and annoyed after engaging with your partner.
- You don’t want to have sex, and you’ve even stopped fantasizing about sex.
How to Approach a Struggle Love Situation
If you feel as if you may be in a struggle love relationship, the best thing you can do is seek out professional help. A therapist can help you determine problematic areas of your relationship that you previously had overlooked.
If your partner is unwilling to attend couples therapy with you. It would be beneficial for you to seek out individual therapy to discuss your relationship and to determine how to set better boundaries and help you gain perspective on the situation.
Furthermore, a therapist can help you gain insight and development coping strategies to manage your relationship stress moving forward. Are you going to confront your partner and try to make things work? Or will you walk away from the relationship?
It’s entirely up to you-but a therapist can help you navigate through your conflicting emotions. Whatever you choose to do, you will move forward with a sense of empowerment knowing that you’re more equipped to make healthier choices.
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