Getting Over Yourself: How To Stop Being Selfish In A Relationship

It’s difficult to be labeled “selfish” in a relationship. You may not understand why you are being called selfish by someone you love and care about. But suppose your partner is complaining that he or she is not happy with your selfishness. In that case, it’s time to look into yourself and learn how to stop being selfish in a relationship.

The first step is to figure out why you’re so selfish. Childhood trauma, violent relationships, heartbreaks, and other life traumas might push people to adopt selfishness as a coping mechanism. If that’s the case, you’ll need to work on yourself.  Communicating with your partner will also help in this regard. 

There is a wide range of selfish behaviors, and people’s reactions to each of them are different. So, which behavior of yours does your partner find selfish? Let’s find it out. 

5 Ways To Stop Being Selfish In Relationships

Here are 5 simplest advice that will help you become less selfish in your relationships: 

1. Embrace Empathy

Empathy means the ability to feel things from someone else’s perspective without going through the exact situation. An empathetic person connects with someone else’s feelings as if those emotions are their own.

This ability is the fundamental building block of any relationship. Empathy enables you to feel what your partner is feeling. Therefore, you understand them better. If you are struggling with empathy, engage in empathy-building exercises. 

Learning empathy is a lifelong process that starts just after birth. Newborns show signs of distress when they hear other crying babies. 

Suppose you were an empathetic child. But as an adult, you grow less empathetic with age. Then it is likely that you experienced a lot of negativity while growing up. The trauma made you shut yourself off from connecting with the surrounding emotions. 

Do a simple exercise with your partner every day. Ask them, “How are you feeling today?” Then closely observe the emotions that appear on their faces. Take a written note of those emotions and try to feel them in your heart. This way, you also make your relationship stronger and deeper. 

A couple who practices mutual empathy behaves compassionately towards one another. They are also greatly loved in their social groups. Also, they set new couple goals every day and achieve them, too. 

2. Allow The Change For Both Of You

Let’s say you’re under stress to change your selfish behavior in order to save your relationship. You should rethink your priorities in that situation. Because selfishness is a coping mechanism, and you might have adopted it throughout your life to protect yourself from sorrow and suffering.

Therefore, it’s a harmful behavior that disrupts your social and love life. In short, it can make your life painful and unsatisfying.  Moreover, even if your current relationship doesn’t work out, you need to discard this unhealthy pattern of behavior for your benefit. 

You may think being selfish saves you from getting hurt or makes you appear more independent. But ask yourself honestly, does selfish behavior make you invulnerable? 

It doesn’t because your selfish behavior makes you unlovable to the person you love and care about. The gap between wanting someone’s love but not getting it destroys your mental peace and inner harmony. 

You don’t have to appear more invested in self-love. Always remember that selfishness is toxic. Self-love is not. 

Selfishness is a toxic attachment style that people have with themselves as a result of past pain, shame, and hurt. But self-love is all about accepting and loving yourself despite all the flaws. Embrace self-love and work on your relationship to create a better future for both of you. 

3. Open Up To Your Partner

No one likes spending time with someone who always has their nose in the air. It makes the other person feel as if they are unworthy of open and honest communication. However, a detailed explanation of what motivates you to act selfishly can clear any misunderstandings.

When you open up about yourself to your partner, you both feel trusted and intimate. That’s why you should tell them about all the experiences that made you who you are today. 

Be open and honest in your communication. Don’t make anything up to gain extra sympathy. If your partner finds out about this lie, it will shatter their faith in you later on. Take it slow, you don’t have to divulge everything at one time. 

4. Don’t Gaslight

When someone is aware that they are wrong but refuses to accept it, they engage in gaslighting. That’s why they point the finger at the other person’s sanity, Intelligence, or lack of understanding. An example of gaslighting can be, “You are imagining it all. I am not selfish or distant. I can’t cling to you all day, can I? Please act more maturely.” 

But deep down, they know that their partner is right. They are being selfish, cold, and distant. It’s not their partner’s imagination. A loving partner would never gaslight to force their way into a relationship. Gaslighting is manipulative, hurtful, and no one deserves that. 

If you have been using gaslighting as a way to avoid confronting the uglier truths about yourself, then seek immediate professional help. It’s time for you to gain a deeper understanding of your inner psyche.

Also, remember that gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. It’s a well-recognized form of emotional domestic abuse. Therefore, it is punishable by law in many countries like the UK. Almost always, a gaslighter knows what s/he is doing. Inadvertent gaslighting is rare, but happens when a person doesn’t want to accept the truth about themselves. 

In that case, the person in question also gaslights himself or herself. If you are one of them, find ways to recognize the pattern of self-gaslighting and talk to your therapist about it. 

5. Be Consistent

Everyone can be kind once or twice in their lives. But it doesn’t mean that selfish people have abandoned their deeply ingrained selfish habits. It takes a lot of inner work and determination to get rid of all toxic traits.

Being consistent in building better habits can get you the results you want. Give yourself and your partner adequate time to build trust, love, and mutual empathy. Do the work together and be consistent with your efforts. Practice mindfulness together as a daily routine

Meditating together is also an effective way to build strong, long-lasting love. You should regularly follow a 10-20 minute guided meditation to cultivate compassion for one another. Remember that getting the optimum results from mediation needs consistent effort, regular practice, and patience. 

When To See A Couples Therapist

It’s not shameful to see a therapist if things are not going well despite your efforts. Here are some situations where seeking professional help is of immediate and utmost importance- 

  • There has been no effort of communication from either or both partners. 
  • You or your partner don’t find the inspiration to commit anymore. 
  • One of you has engaged in infidelity. 
  • You or your partner are feeling lonely even when you are together. 
  • No sexual intimacy.  
  • Instances of abuse in your relationship. 
  • You or your partner have no say in each other’s decision-making process. 
  • You and your partner are getting more distant day by day. 


Selfishness ruins relationships like a slow poison. It also ruins an individual’s sense of self-worth and well-being. I hope this article was able to give you an idea of how to stop being selfish in a relationship. 

Always seek professional help when it comes to any issues related to mental health. Let love be unconditional! 

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