The relationship you have with yourself should always be number one. This entails that you should never love your partner more than yourself. Here's why:
Always care about yourself first
Before you can be able to have a truly happy relationship, it will be necessary to talk to yourself in a supportive way, to see your strengths instead of your weaknesses, recognise your positive sides and appreciate yourself in every possible way. You will only be able to enjoy your partner's company if you enjoy your own company as well. Your partner cannot make you a priority, if you don't care about yourself and make yourself a priority.
Loving yourself more does not mean that you don't care about your partner
Would you like to be with someone who loves you more than themselves? Most people will answer this question with a "no". The reason for this is that we all want a partner who has their own life. To have your own life means to know what makes you happy and to not rely on your partner for this happiness. If you love someone else more than you love yourself, you will end up putting that person's needs first. This creates low self-esteem and will lead to a lack of self-love in you. And if you don't love yourself, you have nothing to give in a relationship.
Your partner can't love you if you don't love yourself
Your partner should never be your source of self-esteem. Getting into a relationship with someone who makes you feel loved and appreciated can help at the beginning, but a lack of self-love will make you regret the sacrifices you make in your relationship. In the end, you will feel unappreciated and unsupported, because your partner will mirror your lack of self-appreciation and self-support.
"Shouldn't a relationship be about giving?"
Yes, but you will be a happier person if you love yourself more than your partner. And if you are happy, you automatically give, because you will flow love towards your partner. Self-love makes you a natural 'giver' in a relationship and enables you to love without thinking about it. That is actually the way it should be: You should never try to actively love any other person. Love will automatically flow to everybody around you if you love yourself more than others, it's nothing that has to be 'done', instead, it just happens. You could say that the love for your partner is a by-product of your self-love.
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I'm Natalie Marby, an English speaking therapist in Hamburg, Germany. I am half German and half British and I offer couples therapy in English, especially for expats living in Hamburg. I offer all my counselling sessions also over the phone as well as online. To contact me, you can send me an email or call me: +49040 46090233. (Please don't forget to send me your phone number and the times I can reach you). I look forward to hearing from you!