Can you be selfish in a relationship?

I have recently come across a very interesting blog by Seth Adam Smith titled “Marriage isn’t for you” which raised a highly debated point.  Seth stated that “you don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy”.

After thinking about it for a while and debating it with some of my friends, I have decided that I am in total agreement with Seth, as this is how I would treat any serious relationship with a person I love.  The concept of love goes against the natural human desire of seeing what is in it for you, as it is a concept of giving (of time, affection, consideration and appreciation) to another human being.

The theory goes further to suggest that loving someone for them (rather than just caring for your own needs) achieves 2 things: it makes your partner happy, as you are doing all you can to please them, and it makes them want to reciprocate, which would in turn make you happy. The natural extension of that thinking is that each partner in a loving relationship should want to make the other partner happy and should want to do all that is in their power to achieve it.

One of the arguments against this particular theory, which I have come across, is that “if you are unhappy in a relationship, you shouldn’t be in it and you should go and look somewhere else”.  The whole principle of this statement seems flawed, as if your partner is only looking out for their own interests, then how could they possibly make you happy or expect that you would be able to be happy in a relationship with them? In the words of Oscar Wilde: “selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”  Whereas, the concept of love has been described as: “you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

Good relationships are all about achieving that golden mix of giving and receiving between the partners. If you are in a relationship and you have no desire to do anything for your partner, only wanting to do what suits you, and somehow expecting that your partner should be happy with this scenario, you may be kidding yourself to think that your relationship will last. By being selfish, you are not in any way catering for your partner’s needs (as the only needs in your consideration are your own) and thus you doom your relationship for failure sooner or later.

After careful consideration, I have concluded (for myself) that adopting a selfish attitude is mutually exclusive with the concept of love and being able to sustain a long-lasting relationship with another person.  Your partner can only be happy in a relationship with you if you actually take positive steps in trying to make them happy, especially if they uphold their end of the bargain. 





About Jane Garber-Rosenzweig

I am a mother, a senior franchising and commercial lawyer, a writer and a social media enthusiast. I live a very busy lifestyle but believe that you need to take time to ‘stop and smell the roses’. I also believe in taking educated risks and celebrating all achievements in life, regardless of how big or small they are. I am a lateral thinker and an optimist. My goal in life is to ensure the saying “we make our own destiny” becomes a reality.
This entry was posted in Friendship, General Reflections, Life Quotes, Relationships, Women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Can you be selfish in a relationship?

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