Dating and Relationship Advice

Emotional labor isn't talked about enough in relationships. In case you're not familiar with the term, it includes all of the emotional demands of a relationship, such as managing your partner’s emotions and overall well-being. It can mean helping your significant other overcome a bad mood, remembering special occasions like family birthdays and anniversaries, walking on eggshells when your partner is upset, and listening to your partner vent.

All of these invisible tasks can take a toll on your mental and emotional health, as well as your relationship. However, there are ways to balance the emotional labor in your relationship in order to avoid resentment.

Understand Your Dynamic

Every couple has a unique dynamic. Some couples don’t have an equal balance of emotional labor, and that’s ok. The trick is to find a balance that works for you. Some partners need less emotional labor from their SO, while others need their emotions attended to more. It really depends on the person and the relationship.

If you find yourself resenting your partner because you are carrying the bulk of the invisible mental and emotional tasks in the relationship, then it’s time to sit down and figure out a proper balance that will keep you both satisfied.

Openly Communicate

Once you figure out whether or not your task-plates are balanced to your relationship’s needs, it’s time to sit down and communicate. Chatting with your loved one about how you view the emotional labor in your relationship will only strengthen your bond. Make sure not to phrase anything in an accusatory way when bringing up your "full plate" of emotional labor. This will only result in your partner becoming defensive and eventually closing themselves off to the conversation.

Make A List

A great way to take notice of the emotional labor duties in your relationship is to make a list with your partner. You each should take a few minutes to silently write down what you do, as well as what you think the other person does in the relationship.

After you finish your lists, share them with each other and vulnerably talk about how you feel about each task, if you think it’s balanced to your unique dynamic, and if there is anything you want to work on changing.

Provide Positive Feedback

The last step to avoiding resentment by examining emotional labor is to work together. As a couple, you should work as a team to make the positive changes needed to grow your relationship.

Encouragement and goal-setting can go a long way when you’re looking to create big changes in the way you coexist with one another. Get ready to celebrate the little milestones and cheer each other on throughout the journey.