Have that sense of working too hard to make somebody else happy? Is that somebody your partner, girlfriend, or wife? It’s tough to decide on when you are at the point of working just a little too hard or two much to meet her expectations of you, as a boyfriend or husband.
Sure, there is work to any relationship. Ideally, you are able to meet as many of her needs as you can, and there will be some needs you simply cannot meet. But, are you feeling judged and criticized for underperforming? Does she complain that “you don’t love me?” or continue to remind you what you’re not doing for her? Do you numb out, or avoid hearing what she’s saying? Am I making any sense at all?
Deep listening is so important, as is a willingness to change and start to both understand and meet the needs that she is asking of you. It’s hard to listen when you feel defensive, and that happens when you feel criticised, belittled or generally upset. The difficulty lies in listening, because it’s probably true that you’re angry, disconnected, and otherwise unwilling or able to meet her needs and give her what she is looking for from you. The distance gets wider, and she may not realize that her words are pushing you further away from her, which is creating more of the original problem. The issues are snowballing.
So, good communication, listening attentively and deeply, and becoming crystal clear about what both people’s needs and feelings are (and how they can be met – e.g. through a hug, kind words, etc.) are critical elements of success in bridging the gap between the two of you. Ironically, its the verbal assaults, criticizing and name calling that creates more of the same problem.