How to Not Feel Obligated in a Relationship

Do you feel forced to feel a certain way or do certain things when in a relationship? 

We’ve all heard the saying “Love is all about giving.”  However, do you sometimes feel obligated in your relationship? Are you forced to do certain things to keep your relationship afloat?

Love is still the top reason why Americans enter marriage. This is all well and good, but sometimes love dissipates, and things can turn sour.  Unmarried people find it easier to walk away from a sour relationship, but what if part of you still wants to stay?  If you do choose to stay, it is important that you don’t do so out of a sense of obligation.

Key Points to Consider

Love is a give and take relationship, but the giving should always come naturally for both parties. Once you feel you are doing things because you have to, then it’s time to step back and reflect on your relationship. Here are some key points to consider when you are feeling obligated in your relationship:

1. You Have Your Own Time

Some of the best time you have are those moments that you designate for yourself. Sure, you want to have your partner by your side, but if he or she demands that you are together all the time, then you need to rethink the dynamics of your relationship.

Learn how to create some space and give yourself a breather. You need to have time on your own, spent in ways that feel really great to you, prioritizing your own activities that you can attend to. This will allow you to feel recharged and able to invest more in your partner.

2. Don’t Give Up Your Passions

If the two of you share the same interests, you will likely have fewer problems in this area. However, you should not give up your hobbies (as long as they are healthy) even if your significant other wants you to.  Some people force their partners to give up certain activities that they love to get as much of their time and attention as they can. A healthy relationship should foster growth between the two parties, without having to give up the things they love.  

3. Don’t take on responsibility that isn’t yours to take

Everyone finds themselves struggling from time to time and needing to truly discover what makes them happy and fulfills them. It is very easy in a relationship to let ourselves go and place our happiness on our partner, something they can never fulfill. I you feel your partner is relying a little too heavily on you and you have, up until now, felt obligated to meet those unhealthy expectations, sit your partner down and have a heart to heart. Even if they initially take it personally or react, stay steady, offer solutions and set boundaries. In this way you will stop enabling their unhealthy dependence on you and help them to grow, which is what they need to find their fulfillment.

4. Create a culture of ownership and open communication

Be the first to own up to your mistakes and be quick to say you are truly sorry if you contributed to a situation in a way that merits an apology. By leading by example in owning your stuff you will not only encourage honest and open relationships within the family unit, but it will bring you closer to your partner and establish emotional safety. Encourage them to also own up to things by remaining non-judgmental and patient, asking them about their fears around owning their part in arguments or regular everyday situations. This will go a long way to helping both of you feel free to be who you are and feel supported in the real needs you have.

5. Have your own Friends

As a couple, you will have friends that you both like to be around as a couple and friends that you individually gravitate to. It’s ok to have a shared world and to let your individual worlds support you and give you something outside the partnership, to feed off of and recharge with. Encourage your partner to strengthen their friendships while you keep yours healthy.  It will help both of you feel more energized and happier in the relationship.

6. Be on the same page financially by creating a plan together

Finances can be a point of strife in a relationship when there is no clear plan in place that both partners feel great about. Have a conversation around how you both visualize money, your spending patterns, whether or not you want a household budget. What are your financial goals, preferences, aspirations? How do you deal with debt? Expenses?

Explore both of your philosophies around finances openly and then agree on a plan that works for both of you. You will get your partner on board when they feel they have co-created the plan they are committed to and understand its benefits. This will keep you from feeling obligated to spend on things you haven’t discussed or feeling unseen on things that are important to you financially.

If you or your partner are working on a tight budget, let the other party know. In a healthy relationship, both parties must discuss finances openly and share your plan to move forward financially. You need to be honest with your financial standing.

7. You Cannot Force Love

Last but not least, you cannot force love. If you are having a tumultuous relationship, and you no longer love your partner, you are not obligated to stay. You have to do some real soul searching around what staying or leaving means to you.

The key lies in honesty. Tell your partner the truth. Your partner will appreciate knowing where the relationship stands, even if they feel pain at hearing it. If you keep on forcing things, you will hurt both of you in the end.

Your partner should never make you feel bad for walking away from a relationship that isn’t working for you. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who choose to stay in bad relationships.

Get the Love and Respect You Deserve

Even if you don’t feel obligated in a relationship, love can still confuse you. Don’t fret though! We offer sound guidance through our intimacy, dating, and relationship coaching.

Get in touch with us today and let us help you find the love and respect you truly deserve.


  • Giordana Toccaceli

    International Dating, Relationship and Intimacy Expert

    Giordana Toccaceli is an International Dating, Relationship and Intimacy Expert having worked with thousands of women and men around the world to become their most attractive and magnetic selves and attract incredible partners into their lives in record time. Giordana has worked with a wide range of clients from Top CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, professional athletes, actors, models and every day men and women. She is a regular contributor to Univision TV's morning show "Despierta Austin" and the Founder of Woman's Allure and the Co-Founder of Embody Love Project.