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One way your SO shows s/he truly cares for you

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JanieJack
JanieJack Posts: 3,831 Member
Article from my friend's website. He is writing about men, but I'm sure this is true of women too.

Sabrina, 30, in Rhode Island:

Hi Victor, You often mention that a guy needs to “extend himself to you” to show he cares. Can you explain in greater detail what this means and maybe provide examples? Thanks!

VictorM:

You need to learn to recognize when anyone (boyfriend, friend, parents, coworkers… really, anyone) does something because it pleases them versus them doing something that requires work (meaning, something they would normally not care to do) but they’re doing it because they know it pleases you or is good for you.

Talking about romance, when a guy takes you out to dinner, buys you something, comes to spend the night, has sex with you, is all over you physically, says he can’t be without you, etc… none of these are acts of love because he’s doing them because it pleases him. He does it for selfish reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, there is value in knowing that a guy wants to share an activity he likes with you, but that action just means he likes your company or is needy, it doesn’t show that he cares for you.

Extending himself for you means willing to do something he’d generally rather not do but is willing to do it because he knows it’ll make you happy. For example, let’s say his favorite football team is playing at the same time the ballet recital you’ve been working on for the last six months, and he knows you’d like him to attend. Giving up going to the game to attend a ballet show, even though he hates ballet, just because he knows he’d make you happy, that is an example of extending himself for you.

Are all acts of extending himself for you an act of love? No.

Some people are people-pleasers and will do things they’re rather not due just because they don’t have the courage to say “no.” In that case, they’re doing it not for you, but because it appeases their own weakness, and that is a selfish act, not extending himself for you.

You also have to recognize when a guy extends himself for you in the hopes of getting something in return. That is, “I did this for you, what are you going to do for me now?” That is also an act of selfishness.

If he’s doing it because you gave him an ultimatum (“if you don’t come to my recital don’t bother seeing me again”) or you engage in emotional manipulation (“if you don’t come to my recital it means you don’t love me”) and he does it, that is also not extending himself for you.

In a mature, healthy relationship, you’d compete to please the other. In my example above, you’d say you have this recital but you know his team his playing so you’d understand if he can’t come (this would be you extending yourself for him) and he says he appreciates that but chooses to come to your ballet recital (that’s him extending himself for you). And by the way, neither party ever throws these actions into the other’s face; that is, they do these things of their own free will and expecting nothing in return.

Easy? No! But amazingly rewarding when you find a partner that behaves this way.

Replies

  • Prahasaurus
    Prahasaurus Posts: 1,381 Member
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    Talking about romance, when a guy takes you out to dinner, buys you something, comes to spend the night, has sex with you, is all over you physically, says he can’t be without you, etc… none of these are acts of love because he’s doing them because it pleases him. He does it for selfish reasons.

    Ha, good one! When I take someone out to dinner, or have sex, it's for "selfish reasons." Apparently dating is such a zero sum game! Either I win or I lose, nothing in between! And true love is masochism: doing things that make me sad.

    On a side note, I really need to find a way to get paid for dishing out dating advice.

    --P
  • flimflamfloz
    flimflamfloz Posts: 1,980 Member
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    I will make sure in the future I date the most horrible women so that I know I am definitely not enjoying (selfishly) spending time with them, and so that I feel I am truly doing this not for me but for them!

    How about everyone enjoys the other's company?
  • jesusHchris
    jesusHchris Posts: 1,405 Member
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    I'm sort of of the opinion that every single act is a selfish act. Any decision we make is ultimately meeting our own needs.

    People who feel the need to act in a way that benefits other people or the world in general, however, are a-okay in my book.

    I don't see why an act of love can't appear to be something that is mutually beneficial.
  • JanieJack
    JanieJack Posts: 3,831 Member
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    Talking about romance, when a guy takes you out to dinner, buys you something, comes to spend the night, has sex with you, is all over you physically, says he can’t be without you, etc… none of these are acts of love because he’s doing them because it pleases him. He does it for selfish reasons.

    Ha, good one! When I take someone out to dinner, or have sex, it's for "selfish reasons." Apparently dating is such a zero sum game! Either I win or I lose, nothing in between! And true love is masochism: doing things that make me sad.

    On a side note, I really need to find a way to get paid for dishing out dating advice.

    --P

    What he's saying is, the romantic things that women often think are just because they, the individual woman, are super special are often things that the well-mannered man does with any nice, pleasant date regardless of his feelings for her. A common theme throughout his posts is to stop just looking at whether he holds the door or invites you to his apartment because those things, in and of themselves, don't mean he wants a relationship with you.

    I think it's the same with anyone, and I don't take offense to that. When I go out on a date, I try to make sure the guy has a great time whether or not I want to see him again. After all, he's spending time and money that could be spent elsewhere.

    Victor doesn't get paid (and no ads on his site either to generate revenue) but yes, I know you were joking but you give great advice on this site and it would be cool if you got paid for it.
  • Tube_socks
    Tube_socks Posts: 808 Member
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    I know when I'm invested in someone, I do things for them because I want to see them happy. I want to please them. It just comes naturally.
    When I was younger, it was more for me. Either I'd give for approval or to get something in return.
  • Hauntinglyfit
    Hauntinglyfit Posts: 5,537 Member
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    I don't know what people complicate things this much, and read into every single detail wondering if someone's nice gesture is somehow still "selfish".
    That's why relationships fail. Because we're all crazy.

    "Ohh he bought me stuff, and spends time with me. Selfish *kitten*!"
  • AnnaPixie
    AnnaPixie Posts: 7,439 Member
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    I don't know what people complicate things this much, and read into every single detail wondering if someone's nice gesture is somehow still "selfish".
    That's why relationships fail. Because we're all crazy.

    "Ohh he bought me stuff, and spends time with me. Selfish *kitten*!"

    Agreed! :flowerforyou:
  • MissingMinnesota
    MissingMinnesota Posts: 7,486 Member
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    Well I guess I am slefish because I prefer giving then receiving at Christmas. It makes me feel good to see smiles on others faces but I am only doing that for myself I guess and not for them at all.

    Aren't the best relationships built on mutual happiness along with some compromise?
  • pa_jorg
    pa_jorg Posts: 4,404 Member
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    This whole thread makes me sad. I get the general idea behind the initial response, which makes sense. However, it boils down to saying that you can never trust anyone, including your SO, because unless they are martyring themselves for you, then what they are doing/saying might also be making them happy (gasp!). I guess I'd rather be naive to that kind of cynicism and look for someone who feels the same way I do.
  • Sweetestthing87
    Sweetestthing87 Posts: 276 Member
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    I don't know what people complicate things this much, and read into every single detail wondering if someone's nice gesture is somehow still "selfish".
    That's why relationships fail. Because we're all crazy.

    "Ohh he bought me stuff, and spends time with me. Selfish *kitten*!"

    My thoughts exactly. LOL

    It really shouldn't be this complicated.
  • christine24t
    christine24t Posts: 6,063 Member
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    I can see both ways.

    In the case of ballet vs football game...one is easily "DVR-able" "read an article online about it" "listen to a recap every hour on the hour on Sportscenter for three days." Ballet is not "DVR-able." Recaps WON'T be on TV. If I liked ballet and the guy I was dating chose to take me to a ballet recital over watching the (horrible) Vikings, that would be nice.

    But at the same time, I don't really believe in sacrificing your interests for someone else's interests - yeah it's nice if YOU want to go to a ballet concert, but don't humor me and go with me if you have no desire to go and are just going to be miserable. I'd rather go by myself and enjoy it than wonder if you're miserable the whole time.

    However...if it has to do personally with you, I think it's different. I don't like ballet but I have gone to ballet recitals that involved a friend of mine performing...but if she just invited me to go for no reason (and she wasn't in it), I would've turned it down.

    Basically I'd rather find a mutually satisfying actively we both can enjoy together - not a one-sided activity that only one of us truly enjoys. There are plenty of opportunities for that. You CAN have separate interests from your partner. It's okay! It's okay to go by yourself to a concert, or a movie, or whatnot. You can always call a friend and see if they want to go too.
  • dbrightwell1270
    dbrightwell1270 Posts: 1,732 Member
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    I think part of the problem with this look to see if they are extending themselves to you is that you probably aren't even going to know he/she is doing it if it is truly them being selfless. How may times have you been tired and stressed from work and wanted nothing more than to just go home and be alone but you did something else for a SO or a friend or a child or a parent? Obviously, it happens but you don't go home because the other person who means something to you had something important going on and it would mean a lot to them that you were there.

    Unless you piss and moan about the huge sacrifice you made, how would they even know you made a sacrifice?
  • JanieJack
    JanieJack Posts: 3,831 Member
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    Good point Dave. In the short term we really don't know what kinds of sacrifices and machinations someone has to go through to accommodate us.

    Just like a date has no idea of how many crazy hoops I have to jump through to go out (child care when the sitter canx last minute, work schedule etc). He thinks it’s as easy as “show up”
  • Roadie2000
    Roadie2000 Posts: 1,801 Member
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    Don’t get me wrong, there is value in knowing that a guy wants to share an activity he likes with you, but that action just means he likes your company or is needy, it doesn’t show that he cares for you.
    I think this is undervalued. At least for me, since I'm an introvert and enjoy my alone time it should say a lot when I am willing to spend a lot of time with someone else. Most people don't really get that though. And I think that liking someone's company (usually) does relate to caring about someone.
  • JanieJack
    JanieJack Posts: 3,831 Member
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    I know you were joking but you give great advice on this site and it would be cool if you got paid for it.

    P, if THIS guy gets paid to help guys get dates, I can only imagine YOU'D become a millionaire!!
  • raige123
    raige123 Posts: 352
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    Well I guess I am slefish because I prefer giving then receiving at Christmas. It makes me feel good to see smiles on others faces but I am only doing that for myself I guess and not for them at all.

    Aren't the best relationships built on mutual happiness along with some compromise?

    I'm part of the selfish club too I guess because what you said you said above is me too. Geez. Can't win for nothing.