You may find yourself in a relationship where either you or your partner feel like you are sacrificing something for each other or for your relationship. But, is sacrificing healthy? Or is it something you should avoid?
Sacrifice in a relationship is perceived as noble act and a show of love. However, sacrificing leaves you unfulfilled and dissatisfied. Also, this unfulfilment will breed resentment and affect your behaviour in a toxic way. This will negatively impact not only you, but your partner and your relationship.
In this article, you will learn the true meaning of sacrifice. Then you may be able to make an educated decision if this is something you want to have as part of your relationship.
What Is Sacrifice?
Let’s have a look at what sacrifices means. Here’s the definition of sacrifices according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary
1: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone
2: an act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god
3: a person or animal that is killed in a sacrifice
What Does It Mean to Sacrifice in a Relationship?
There’s a romanticised idea of sacrifice where loving someone means doing anything for them. And if you are willing to give up something that means a lot to you for the person you love, your love is the greatest. Sacrificing translates as love and care for your partner.
However, it is simply not so. When you sacrifice something for another person, there is a silent expectation that the other person needs to sacrifice something for you in return.
Sometimes, this debt is pay back willingly. But, other times is enforced through blackmailing or manipulative behaviour.
When you sacrifice you willingly giving something up that is important for you. This leads you dissatisfied and unfulfilled. To make sense of why you are doing it, hereby exists the idea that is something that is noble or something you do for love. Without understanding what love really means.
Doing it on the name of the relationship is a very vague idea that doesn’t have any objectivity about it. So, what happens is people use something vague, undefined and incomprehensible. In order to justify something they know and feel is important to them.
How Important is Sacrifice in a Relationship?
Sacrifice inevitably leads to a toxic relationship. At the time, it may sound noble and romantic.
But after a while, it inevitably leads to a desperate behaviour due to the unfulfilled needs and the expectation from your partner to reciprocate this sacrifice.
So, if you want to have a healthy relationship, you need to recognise sacrifice for what it is and understand the dark consequences of it.
Examples of Sacrifices in a Relationship
There are many things you can give up on the name of love. Essentially you can sacrifice your time, energy, money, and/or health.
Why People Sacrifice in a Relationship?
Our parents, and culture has taught us that loving is sacrificing, that if you want your relationship to work, you will have to make some sacrifices. But, is it so?
When we sacrifice in the name of love, we are giving up on something else that is also important for us. This nurtures the idea that we can’t have everything we want in life.
The more important the things you are sacrificing, the more you are going to be expecting to get in return from your partner. If this expectation is not fulfilled by your partner at some other time, you will grow resentment.
Small Sacrifices vs Big Sacrifices in a Relationship
It doesn’t matter how big or small your sacrifices are. The whole idea of sacrifice guarantees leaving you unfulfilled to a greater or lesser degree.
You may think doing small sacrifices in your relationship are ok. But, the more small sacrifices you made, they will add up and sooner or later your relationship will pay the price.
How Does Sacrifice Affect Your Relationship?
When you sacrifice something that is important. You will need to compensate for it in some other way. This is where in a relationship sacrifice by one partner leads to pressuring another partner in doing the same.
Since nobody likes to be pressured. Your partner will start avoiding you indirectly by not spending time with you, or directly by telling you that they are unhappy.
They may also choose to go along and sacrifice something that is important for them. While it may seem like a good idea at the time, now you have both partner who are unfulfilled.
When your needs are not met, you may start behaving in ways that are destructive to your relationship. You may not even be aware of your own behaviour that is driven by an attempt to fulfil your needs.
When your expectations about your partner sacrificing in the same way you do for them and your relationship are not fulfilled, you will:
- Start resenting your partner
- Think that your partner doesn’t love
- Feel that doing things for your partner or your relationship are a burden
- Start accusing your partner for the things they are not doing in the relationship. No matter what your partner does, you may still accuse them of not loving or caring for you.
- Feel like a victim
- Have low self-esteem
- Believe that you are not important
Compromise vs Sacrifice in a Relationship
Compromise is when you meet in the middle, it is a win-win solution where everyone’s needs can be met.
Sacrifice carries an inherent expectation that you will be rewarded/compensated for your sacrifice. In a relationship, you might expect to be compensated by your partner’s sacrifice. But, what if your partner doesn’t want to sacrifice? Does it mean they don’t care about you, nor love you?
When you sacrifice , you give up something important for you, which leaves your needs unmet. This creates a problem because unmet needs still remain. When your needs are not met, you are going to be dissatisfied. Then, you will naturally look for ways to fulfil your needs either consciously or unconsciously.
While compromise is a healthy way to find a solution, sacrifice is destructive and toxic to your relationship.
Signs You Are Sacrificing in Your Relationship
- You are agreeing to do something, but you feel against it
- You go along with what your partner wants to do, even if you disagree that isn’t the best way forward
- You are afraid to voice your opinion
- There’s no room for discussion in the matter, you either don’t voice your opinion, or your partner doesn’t want to hear you
- You feel annoyed and frustrated when you concede to do things for your partner
- You struggle to say no to a request, even if you don’t really feel like doing it
- You feel obliged to do things for your partner
- You feel resentment towards your partner, because you think you have done more for them or the relationship of what they have
- You have given up on your goals and hobbies (for the greatest good of your relationship)
- You stop seeing friends and family to please your partner
- You or your partner believe that if you sacrifice your partner will support you anytime regardless of anything
- You use a sacrifice you made as a way to blackmail or manipulate your partner to get something else you want
- You feel that you are sacrificing more than your partner
When you sacrifice, you are experiencing some of the above. Yet you are going along with something you disagree on, while believing that it is the best thing for your relationship.
How to Deal with Sacrifices in a Relationship
- Understand what is sacrifice and why it is unhealthy
- Agree with your partner to avoid sacrifices
- Agree to express yourselves and hear each others thoughts and feelings regarding the topic
- If you disagree with something, make sure you express your doubts and concerns
- Take the time to hear and understand your partner’s point of view and their preferences
- Look for a solution where you and your partner’s needs are met and neither of you have to sacrifice
Ending a Relationship Because of Sacrifices
When you sacrifice one time, you may believe that you are giving up on something of importance to you in order to keep your relationship healthy. However, with each sacrifice, you are creating an unfulfilled need that leaves you dissatisfied.
In the early stages of your relationship, this dissatisfaction may go unnoticed. As it is too mild and easy to ignore.
But, with time as you feel more dissatisfied, your behaviour can become more desperate and destructive. This in itself will lead to problems. At this point it’s pretty obvious that something is wrong and it becomes a different task to find the reasons for these problems. Instead of enjoying your relationship.
You are now having your unfulfilled needs leading you to behave in a destructive way and turn this relationship into a struggle.
Getting Help Dealing with Sacrifices in a Relationship
Tips to Avoid Sacrificing in Your Relationship
- Recognise your thoughts and feelings about the point in question
- Express your thoughts, doubts and concerns to your partner
- Take time to hear your partner’s thoughts and feelings
- Try to really understand each other’s point of view and why something is important for each of you
- Agree that both of your preferences are equally important
- Find a solution that fulfils yours and your partner’s needs even if it will be at a different time
- Try to be flexible with you preferences, but recognise the boundary when something becomes really important for you
If you don’t know how to deal with this sacrifices and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!
Sacrifice is when you feel or believe against doing something and doing it anyway. Disregarding and suppressing your thoughts and feelings is not the way to have a balanced life and a healthy relationship.
Sacrificing in a relationship is seen as something noble. However, in reality, sacrifice is giving up on something that is important for you regardless your thoughts and feelings against it.
Doing so doesn’t make any sense, so this is where the idea of doing it for something unspecific and ambiguous comes in.
The dark side of sacrificing is that people romanticise it and use it as a sign of affection. They also expect a reward for sacrificing in the form of reciprocal sacrifice from their partner. In other words, expecting their partner to do something that they don’t want to do. Of course this inevitably leads to problems and conflicts.
The question is why would you do something that you don’t believe in?
It could be because:
- You don’t believe of what you feel or think is important
- You don’t know how to express your thoughts and opinions
- You believe that whatever you express is not going to be heard or it’s going to be misunderstood
- Your partner isn’t interested in hearing how you feel and what you think
Any of these can come as a result of personal issues and insecurities, or as a consequence of a toxic relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions
How important is sacrifice in a relationship?
It’s important no to sacrifice whether you are in a relationship or not. The more you know yourself, the more you can recognise the degree of importance you have towards different aspects of your life and relationship.
What should you never sacrifice in a relationship?
Sacrifice leaves you unfulfilled. This can lead you to behave in an unhealthy and destructive way. Which in turn brings a lot of suffering to your life and turns your relationship into a struggle.
What can one sacrifice for love?
One should not sacrifice for anything. If you are facing a challenge, try to find a way where your needs can be met, even if it’s not right away.
Does true love require sacrifice?
An idea that sacrifice leads to love is toxic and destructive. Sacrifice leads to unfulfilled needs and unsatisfied relationships. It also, negatively impacts your life leading to much struggle and misery.
Does love mean sacrifice?
What does it really mean to sacrifice for love? To answer this question, you need to understand what is ‘love’ and ‘sacrifice’. As people give different meanings to the same words, it is important to understand what it means for you and your partner before having a discussion about it.