Seesaw marriage, pt1

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What’s wrong with this picture?

The obvious thing is that no one is sitting on the seesaw, and it is “out of balance.”

Do you remember playing on a teeter-totter or seesaw at the school playground? If the other person on the seesaw with you was in a mean-spirited or prankish mood, they’d play the up-and-down game a few times, then when you were up in the air, they’d abruptly hop off the seesaw –without their counterweight keeping you up, their absence caused you to “crash” to the ground.

It usually was more damaging to your pride than any physical injury, right? Other kids probably laughed at your predicament, and you felt stupid.

Well, in an adult relationship such as a romantic one, there are a lot of elements that go into feeling in-balance with your partner as opposed to feeling tricked when you thought you were enjoying a give-and-take, reciprocal “game.”

And when things get really out of balance, you feel resentful. Perhaps you do all the household chores as well as work full-time, and as you mop the kitchen floor you notice that your partner is watching TV, laughing and enjoying the free time. You burn inside over the unfairness of it. This is very typical of a “codependent” relationship between a people-pleaser and someone who wants control or power over their partner.

As a people-pleaser who’s gotten trapped in an un-reciprocal relationship, how can you get things on a more balanced level?

  • Stop doing so much. Cut back on all the little things that you do so automatically, thinking that they are important, and only do what you must to maintain things the way you like them. This means simplifying your life — and it’s high time you did it, right?
  • Instead of holding the resentment, realize that you have allowed this to go on, and so you are partly at fault, even if you had good motives for doing so much. So… even though it’s hard, just let go of the hurt feelings. All they do is make you miserable. They are non-productive. Remember that holding a resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
  • Continuing the example of household chores being out-of-balance, make up a list of the most important tasks needed each week to keep the household running smoothly. Try to keep the list short and easy to understand. When your partner is in a good mood, and not watching their favorite TV show, explain that you want to divide up the chores and would like to go over this list. Be sure to acknowledge on the list any regular tasks your partner does such as getting the car washed or doing outside chores. Keep this fair and reasonable.
  • Understand that when you’ve been doing too much all by yourself for a long time, others in your family are probably going to be confused (and maybe outraged) that you are attempting to change things. After all, to them: it ain’t broke so why fix it!  Yet to you, it definitely IS broken, and needs fixing or the stress of doing it all is going to break YOU!

Learn more about delegating tasks (among other topics) in my book “Forget Your Troubles: Enjoy Your Life Today” — you can get the ebook at my site and start reading it right now. Or buy the paperback and Kindle editions at

Tomorrow, in Seesaw marriage, part 2, I’ll talk about a relationship that is out-of-balance entirely, where it’s all about him or her and the non-reciprocal status has you stressed out and going crazy!

your happiness guru,


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