What Is “Overcompensating” In A Relationship? (Explained)

Relationships are full of natural highs and lows, and each plays a very important role in the connection the two of you will build.

However, there are times when one person in the relationship overcompensates for the other, leading to an unhealthy love-life balance. Not only does this set a precedent for moving forward with this person, but it also can become a huge drain on you and your life.

So, how do you know if you are the one who is overcompensating in a relationship?

Here’s How You Know You are Overcompensating:

To overcompensate emotionally means that one person in the relationship is taking on all of the feelings for the other. Having one person take ownership of the other’s feelings and behaviors creates a toxic dynamic. Overcompensating means an excessive reaction to overwhelming feelings like guilt.

What is Overcompensating?

 Overcompensating is when one person in the relationship takes on much more than 50% of being a respectful partner.

There are many different ways to compensate for your other half in a relationship. While a financial split is common in a relationship, we talk about overcompensating and the emotional side.

Frequently overcompensating is done by using the opposite feelings to cover up the actual problem. For example, if one person feels jealous and self-conscious in their relationship, they may overcompensate by overly expressing positive emotions like love and affection.

This is done to protect their feelings because once they face the real problem, they would have to deal with it. Another way that people overcompensate in a relationship is to take over the emotions of both people involved.

For example, if one person in the relationship isn’t really feeling it or is as involved as they should be, the other person will make up for it by doing more than keeping the other person happy.

Overcompensating is a major sign that something might not be right in your relationship, so keep reading if you are looking for ways to break the cycle!

3 Ways You Might Be Overcompensating:

One person in the relationship might be overcompensating without even knowing it.

How do you know if you’re the one who is working harder to keep the peace in your love life?

There are several signs and flags to look for when understanding how your behavior may be leaning towards overcompensating. So, before you spiral, it is important to know whether or not this applies to you.

Here are some ways to know if you are the one overcompensating in a relationship:

1. Putting Other’s Needs Before Your Own

The number one sign that you may be overcompensating in your relationship is if you find that you are putting others before yourself.

There are a few simple rules when we think about our specific needs in a relationship. It is important to feel loved, safe and heard.

Trust and communication are two very essential needs to keep a relationship healthy. If you feel like these basic needs are not met, you may be overcompensating!

Do you find that you are the one who needs to keep the conversation going? Do you often answer questions for your partner or even assume their answers?

It could even be something as simple as making sure that the other person in your relationship is fed and happy before even checking in on yourself.

If you are making sure all of your partner’s needs are met to your detriment, it is time to think about breaking free from overcompensating to make yourself truly happy.

2. Being Codependent

Codependency is probably one of the most common signs that someone is overcompensating in the relationship.

Codependent people align everything with their partner in the relationship. From their emotions to their actions, it is almost like you ask for permission to feel how you feel and do the things you do.

This is not how independent adults should feel in their relationships. It is unhealthy because it opens the door for you not to have your own identity.

If your partner is mad, you feel mad. If your partner doesn’t want to go out and do things, you stay at home too.

While it may feel like you are playing the role of a supportive girlfriend, you are just feeding into an unhealthy routine that is very difficult to break.

3. Giving In

The last major sign that you are overcompensating in a relationship is if you find that you are giving in way too easily.

This is especially true when it comes to settling an argument. People who overcompensate tend to be the first to apologize, even if they are not at fault.

It is easier for these people to let the fight go instead of getting into where the problem is. This also keeps you from being able to process and heal the right way.

Arguments are so normal and are a great way to get everything off your chest. They are also based on hurt, and that hurt can only heal when it is talked about and resolved.

If you give in before you have had the chance to talk about what has bothered you, you are not healing that wound.

Instead, it will only grow and can even grow into content, a real relationship killer.

How to Prevent Overcompensating:

If you want to give your relationship the best chance of being successful and long-lasting, you need to avoid falling into traps where you find yourself overcompensating.

A big part of preventing overcompensating is paying attention to your behaviors.

Be honest with your partner and, more importantly, honest with yourself. This means that you need to be clear about your intentions and expectations in a relationship.

Overcompensating can sneak up on you. It may even start small with little sacrifices you make that don’t seem all that important.

It makes you feel better when you keep your partner happy, even by giving things up. Over time, this can become a habit, and the small things you were alright with become everything you must sacrifice.

It doesn’t hurt to temp-check your relationship now and again. Check-in with your partner to ensure you are both in and on the same page.

Having difficult conversations with your life-mate is a great way for you to know exactly where the other one stands.

Why is My Partner Overcompensating?

If you find that your partner is taking on more than they should in the relationship, perhaps they are overcompensating.

So, what can you do when you find that your partner is the one overcompensating?

The first way to help your partner is to have a difficult conversation. Let them know about how their overcompensating negatively affects you.

They might not even know that they are affecting you because they may think that they are being helpful and strong. However, the overwhelming feeling of protecting and caring for their partner becomes overcompensating.

So, to help your partner feel secure, let them know that you feel secure. That way, they can worry less about your needs and focus on their own.

While communication is key, actions are equally as important. Take some pressure off of your partner and start by leading.

This doesn’t mean that you need to take control but instead, start guiding them towards an equal decision-making process. For example, if you are going out for a date, decide where to go and what to do.

While it may feel a little forced and weird at first, making a habit of deciding things together will make both of you more secure in making bigger life decisions in the long run.

How Do I Talk to My Partner About Overcompensating?

When opening the conversation about overcompensating with your partner, you first need to be as straightforward as possible.

The conversation is going to be awkward. There is simply no way around it. Don’t make it worse by not being clear about your intentions.

Understand that you have the same goal: to succeed in a relationship together. After all, you wouldn’t be together if you didn’t want to be – so open with that!

Next, you need to empathize with what they may be feeling. Understand that overcompensating has little to do with control and more to do with insecurities.

The more secure both of you feel in the relationship, the less likely one will be to take ownership of all the emotions and actions.

The most important thing about opening a conversation with your partner about something that you want to change is that you have to be able to hear them.

While there are many reasons they may be overcompensating, don’t assume anything, and certainly don’t assume intentions. Let them guide the conversation with their own emotion.

You may find that their overcompensating has nothing to even do with you. As their partner, it is your job to support their emotions and validate the way they are feeling.

Don’t negate or get defensive. Try to listen, instead!

This will give you better insight into how they feel, but it will also show your partner that you can hear them, strengthening their trust in you.

At the end of the conversation, you should better understand each other. Even if you have been together for years, there is always learning to be done.

Wrapping It Up!

While overcompensating can lead to trouble in a relationship if it isn’t dealt with, there is one positive to keep in mind.

For one person to be overcompensating, there has to be some level of care there. No one would put the time and energy into taking ownership of another’s feelings and actions if they didn’t care about another person.

That means that there is already a strong foundation there. Having a steady foundation allows the two of you to continue building up and working on the things that will bring you closer together.

I’m a big believer in keeping things equal in a relationship. However, that doesn’t mean that when one person needs help, the other can’t step up.

Healthy communication is the best way to keep your relationship equal and respectful in the long run.

Reference Links:

Are you overcompensating by giving too much? | Medium.com


How to Help a Partner With Low Self-Esteem: 6 Therapist-Approved Tips

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