Marriage is arguably the highest form of commitment between partners.

For better or worse, for richer or poor, til death do us part is ingrained in many people’s psyche pertaining to marriage vows. The idea of marriage is typically seen through rose-colored glasses: romanticism, traveling, laughter, and endless happiness. Ensuring a successful marriage, however, takes healthy communication, honesty, vulnerability, and compromising; to name a few.  Sometimes, a partner goes to great lengths to sustain their union and ends up self-sacrificing their needs and prioritizing the needs of their partner. In marriage and in any given relationship, compromises and negotiations are made but self-sacrificing goes a bit further. Continuous self-sacrificing without pouring back into oneself becomes detrimental to the overall emotional and mental well-being of a person.

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Partners end up self-sacrificing in their marriages in many different ways and for a variety of different reasons. 

Couples may get used to doing things together that they neglect what they enjoyed doing individually prior to marriage. Individuals who enjoyed things like playing rugby or going for jogs may opt to do things that their partner prefers. Guilt can play a role in self-sacrificing. A partner may feel in order to make amends, they will do whatever it is the partner requests of them. Doing whatever it takes to make it work, comes at a cost to the one who is giving; they deprive themselves of their wants, needs, and things that bring them joy. Self-sacrificing also can look like abandoning friends and social groups. Repeatedly and consistently dismissing your needs for the interest of your partner is self-sacrifice in the highest degree.

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The Consistent Nature of Self-Sacrificing in a Relationship Comes at a Cost

Old habits die hard; the more you do it, the more it becomes second nature. The partner who prioritizes their needs may become used to the self-sacrificing partner’s actions and behaviors. The self-sacrificing partner may over time, develop resentment, envy, and shame. They may resent their partner for not noticing how much they sacrifice and place their needs secondary. Partners who self-sacrifice may end up more withdrawn and not be as happy and present with others. The self-sacrificing partner may end up questioning their self-worth and instead divert their attention and focus on ways to please their partner to enhance external validation. The impact of self-sacrificing can be so severe that the partner loses their identity; they become a different person, unaware of who they were before they began self-sacrificing. In addition, self-sacrificing may also mean giving up your dream job/career and livelihood.

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Although the impact of self-sacrificing is insurmountable, there are ways that people can combat them and work through the behaviors.

For one, it is important to communicate and have honest/healthy conversations with your partner about wants/needs and weigh the pros/cons of each situation that involves decision-making. There’s a fine line between compromising and self-sacrificing. Compromising is healthier in that it recognizes that while one person may consider the needs/wants of the other, an agreement is made where at some point, the other’s person’s wants/needs will be met. The person on the receiving end of compromising will provide their partner with acknowledgment and reassurance that they are a team and that their wants/needs matter as well. The person who accepts the compromise may negotiate and communicate their wants/needs for future reference and set expectations around subsequent decisions and choices that are made jointly.

Another way to alleviate self-sacrifice is enforcing boundaries even within a marriage. Boundary setting can look like allotting alone time to do the things you enjoy: reading, bike riding, jogging, painting etc. It can also mean going on annual trips with friends that sustain a level of social interaction. Boundary setting comes with honest and transparent communication with partner. It is important to recognize that marriage doesn’t equate to sacrificing your life, personal space, friends, family, career/etc.; you can sustain a livelihood and be in a happy-committed relationship without negating things that are important to you outside of your marriage.

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Try Individual Relationship Therapy With Someone Who Can Help With Building Self-Esteem in Brooklyn, NY!

It’s time to start being good to and for you. Consider investing in online therapy in New York now. Our self-esteem therapists are here to support and guide you on this journey. We are happy to offer both in-person and online services. When you are ready to start with SG Wellness, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact SG Counseling
  2. Talk with a skilled black therapist!
  3. Begin building your confidence and self-esteem. 

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Finding support for your mental health matters. Our therapists in NY are here for you and your needs. At our therapy practice, we have therapists who identify as black therapists, Latinx therapists, Dominican, & BIPOC. It’s our mission to offer multicultural counseling that serves you and your needs. We offer therapy for people of color, therapy for Latinx individuals, indigenous populations, and middle eastern clients, as well as therapy for men and women. If you’re looking for a safe space we are here for you.

Additionally, if you’re looking for another kind of support other than therapy for self-esteem we offer other services. Other services we offer include anxiety treatment and therapy for perfectionismdepression treatment, individual therapy, therapy for young and emerging adults, and individual relationship therapy. All of our services are offered via online therapy in New York. Areas we serve include Bedstuy, The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn, NY. When you’re ready, let’s work together.