Worried About Giving Too Much In Your Next Relationship? Practice These 9 Skills To Stop Over-Giving

How do you know if you’re giving too much in your relationships? Have you felt like your needs don’t count or matter to others? Do you have a habit of over-giving? Have you felt like you gave everything and still the relationship didn’t work out?

Over-giving can be a detriment to a healthy relationship. You may think you’re being generous or conscientious but when you give so much you feel anger and resentment, you end up alienating yourself from those you love.

When people ask you how you’re feeling, do you give a generic, “I’m fine” even though you’re feeling tired, anxious, or stressed out? Refusing help because you believe you should be able to handle it all yourself isn’t winning you any awards. It’s just burning you out.

You have a strategy of giving too much if you’re constantly trying to earn approval and acceptance, never taking time for yourself, feeling guilty receiving support, and aren’t good at asking for help or making requests.

Relationships don’t have to leave you feeling exhausted and overburdened. Imagine feeling fulfilled with a partner and receiving the love and support you desire. You can break the habit of giving too much with new skills to take care of yourself and by upgrading your strategies for interacting with people you love.

Over-giving is a strategy to earn love that leaves you feeling depleted and unsupported. It can lead to co-dependent relationships and can damage your self-esteem. Recognizing this behavioral pattern is the first step to changing your strategies. The root of this behavior runs deep in your subconscious programming so be kind and compassionate with yourself as you take time to learn a new way of giving and receiving love.

Where Does Giving Too Much Come From?

A habit of over-giving is developed in early childhood and comes from the dynamic in your family of origin. Particular elements during childhood can foster a strategy of giving too much. If you have a parent who is incapacitated in some way, either because of illness, alcoholism, or depression, you can feel compelled to step into the role of physical or emotional caretaker for that parent. You may even be rewarded with attention or affection for putting their needs above your own.

Having a sibling that requires more attention and resources than the rest of the family can also plant the seeds for over-giving. You may have found yourself having to give up what you wanted for the good of the family, or because your sibling’s needs were deemed more important than yours.

Maybe you were forced to become a parental figure for your younger siblings because your parents were working too much, or because you were raised in a single-parent household. It’s common that the older, more capable child is tasked with taking care of younger siblings before being emotionally ready to step into the role of an adult.

Oftentimes being the middle child in an unhealthy environment can cause a child to play the role of peacemaker and sacrifice their needs as an attempt to keep the peace in the family unit.

No matter your past circumstances it’s important to realize that you’re not stuck with the  strategy of giving too much forevermore.

You’re Not Bound To Be An Over-Giver

Just because there were challenges in your childhood that caused you to develop the strategy of giving too much and sacrificing your needs doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to be stuck in this pattern for the rest of your life.

You can learn new strategies for giving and receiving love, develop healthy boundaries, and begin a practice of self-care that busts this strategy and boosts your self-esteem.

Others played a part in developing your habit of over-giving in the first place. Perhaps your siblings chose roles in the family dynamic that fed your strategy — the problem child, the rebel, the overachiever, etc. Long before you knew who you were and how the world works, you chose the strategy of giving too much. Remember, you were too young to know any better.

You just wanted to feel loved and safe, and your personality lent itself to a strategy of self-sacrifice. Open your heart to compassion for that younger version of you who just wanted to feel loved and accepted. Taking responsibility for the fact that you developed the strategy in the first place puts you in the driver’s seat to create change and learn new strategies.

Here’s How To Stop Over-Giving And Create Healthy Relationships

  1. Pay Attention To Your Feelings

If you never spoke up about not feeling acknowledged, or you stuffed feelings of anger toward your significant other for not reciprocating a kind gesture, or you suffered in silence because you didn’t want to make a fuss, it’s time to develop a new practice of identifying your feeling state.

When you’re stuck in a habit of over-giving your focus is on your partner’s feelings, and you may not be able to recognize your escalating negative emotions.

Feelings of anger and resentment are the telltale sign that you’ve gone into sacrifice in a relationship, and if you’re not careful those feelings will spill out onto your partner at the most inopportune times.

It’s through your feeling state that you create emotional connection. If you desire to cherry-pick and only share the feel-good stuff with your partner you may be harboring anger and resentment by not clearing up small issues as they occur.

Being able to share your feelings — all of them, the good, the bad, and the ugly — are part of being in a healthy long-term intimate relationship. Start off by simply identifying and acknowledging your feelings throughout the day, and once in a while sharing them with a close friend or family member.

This practice will pay off in your next relationship when you’re in a new habit of labeling and speaking your feeling state.

  1. Fill Your Own Cup First

The habit of giving too much in your relationships is worsened because you’re typically giving from an empty cup. Imagine that your personal energy is liquid in a cup and every time you give to someone you’re emptying a little of that liquid to help them. If you don’t make sure your cup is full, eventually your cup will run dry. This leads to feelings of exhaustion, frustration, and loneliness.

Fill your cup first before serving anyone else. Discover the activities or practices that fill you up when you’re down. Meditate, take yourself on an inner child date, read a good book, or spend some time on self-care.

In order to be of service to anyone in your life, you must fill your own cup rather than expecting that someone else will do it for you. Then you’re able to be of service without going into sacrifice. Make sure your cup is full and you’ll have plenty of energy to give to those you love.

  1. Don’t Commit In The Moment

People who have a habit of giving too much in their relationships tend to say “Yes” to every request before evaluating whether or not they have the time or energy to take on another task. They end up feeling overburdened and resentful of the person making the request.

If this sounds like you practice saying, “Let me get back to you,” when someone asks for your help. This way you can break the habit of agreeing before you know if you’re capable of helping or not. Buy yourself some time to see if you really have the energy, time, and ability to help without going into sacrifice.

Take a moment when you are alone to consider the request. Imagine yourself saying yes to the request and see how it feels in your body. If you feel any resistance, tiredness, or frustration, then your answer is “No.” If, however, it feels energizing to agree, then you know that you’re available to help and truly be of service.

Remember, by saying “No” to their request you aren’t saying that you don’t love or value them. Instead you’re making sure that you aren’t sacrificing yourself as an attempt to earn their love or approval.

  1. Practice Setting Healthy Boundaries

When you have a habit of giving too much, at some point you get tired and frustrated and wonder when it’s your turn. This can cause you to set really hard boundaries in reaction to feeling overburdened.

Healthy boundaries are created when you understand what’s your responsibility, and what’s not. You’re only responsible for what you think, feel, and do. You aren’t responsible for what other people think, feel, or do. Over-giving can be triggered by the need to help a partner feel better, be happy, or as an attempt to feel loved and safe.

You have no control over how another person thinks, feels, or acts. If your partner is upset or frustrated, it’s not your job to fix it. Keep your side of the street clean, and don’t try to clean your partner’s side of the street (that’s their job).

A healthy long-term relationship lasts because both people take responsibility for their feelings rather than expecting the other person to clean things up for them. This takes practice so be kind and compassionate with yourself as you embark on this learning curve.

  1. Don’t Give To Get

Sometimes the strategy of giving too much has a hidden agenda. Usually, this agenda is hidden from your consciousness (and also from your partner). If you’re giving as an attempt to make you feel loved, safe, in control, useful, or any other reason, then you’re giving to get.

Pay attention to your motivation when you do something nice for someone in your life. Practice now with other people in your life that you’re close with. If your desire to give comes with an expectation from the recipient, you’re giving as a form of manipulation.

Only when you come from love with non-attachment to the response you get are you in alignment for your highest good. Being of service does feel good, and service is its own reward. It isn’t a tool to make you feel better about yourself or to earn love, approval, or acceptance.

To break the habit of giving too much pause before you take an action that has an expectation of receiving something back. Release the desire for any reciprocation and see if you can simply give from a place of love with zero anticipation of getting something back.

  1. Practice Receiving

Most people who are stuck in a habit of over-giving tend to have a problem receiving or asking for help when they need it. Accepting a compliment, assistance, support, love, or affection from others doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you human. You can practice receiving without reciprocating so you can exercise your receiving muscles.

Start saying “Yes!” to all offers of help and support instead of telling people that you got it, and you don’t need help. Just say “Thank you,” when someone gives you a compliment instead of downplaying yourself or reciprocating by offering a compliment back.

The more you practice receiving, the more you step into your feminine energy and give a man the space to step into his masculine energy and provide things for you (even if it’s simply emotional support or opening your water bottle).

Giving is inherently masculine, so when you have a habit of giving too much you’re acting more from your masculine side instead of your feminine side. This could result in relationships with men who are more in their feminine energy and are happy to receive from you without ever giving back.

The key to breaking this cycle is to regularly ask for help when you need it, even if you have the big, difficult things down. You may find it’s nice to allow someone else to cook dinner, do the laundry, or ask what you need and provide it.

  1. Ask For What You Need And Want

Attraction or deep feelings of love don’t come with mind-reading powers. The person you end up in a relationship with has no idea what you need or want. The right partner for you will want to know how to please you and increase your joy; you’ll need to speak up and let them know your preferences and desires.

Your needs will never be met if you’re simply hoping a partner somehow picks up on your subtle signals. Most men won’t pick up on clues, and hoping he can read your mind is a recipe for frustration.

The woman who spells it out for him shows him how he can make her happier, instead of leaving it a mystery. The man who wants to be in a relationship with you will LOVE it when you tell him what you need and want from him. He can either provide those things for you or deselect you – either way, you won’t waste your time with a guy who isn’t an ideal match ever again.

Practice making requests and see how the people who care about you respond. Ask for help when you need it, and you’ll discover that you have people in your life who are there to support you.

  1. You Don’t Have To Earn Love

You don’t have to earn or prove you are worthy of love. You’re inherently worth loving. Giving too much can come from a desire to show how valuable you are as a partner.

You teach people how to treat you and when you over-give to earn love, you teach any potential partner to expect you to go into sacrifice for them.

When you recognize that you are the prize, and you need to do nothing more than be yourself you can release the need to give too much and go into sacrifice.

You came into the world as the human embodiment of the energy of love, just like every other baby. Just because you adopted a strategy of over-giving as a child doesn’t mean you have to continue with this strategy for for the rest of your life.

Even famous poets write about the infinite measure of love, like one of our favorites:

“And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”


  1. Give On Your Own Terms

You can break the habit of giving too much in your relationships and still be a generous person. The key is to start giving on your own terms, not on somebody else’s desires or expectations. You can give in secret without sharing that you were responsible. You can decide you’ll never go into sacrifice to give to someone else.

Giving on your own terms means that you’re giving from an overabundance of love in your heart. You have so much love inside of you that you can’t wait to share it with others. When you give from this place you feel energized and fulfilled.

There is no higher power that will reward you for over-giving and going into sacrifice because that habit doesn’t serve your highest and best self. Start practicing these skills today to break the habit of over-giving.

If you’re tired of feeling powerless when it comes to your love life, let us show you how to tap into the power of your own mind to create the long-lasting love you desire and deserve. Join us for a complimentary Soulmate Strategy Session. We’ll give you a custom plan for creating the love you want.

About the authors

Love Coaches Orna and Matthew Walters

Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.

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