Demands in Relationships: How to Balance Priorities

Relationships can be challenging in many ways. A common type of difficulty found in relationships is nurturing a balance between priorities and demands.
Priorities are those aspects of life that are important to you and that you want to invest time doing. Priorities are important in that they help us develop interests, a sense of identity and promote reliability. An example would be when someone prioritizes an exercise workout after work. If you spend too much time on your priorities, though, it could put a strain on your relationships as other people may feel neglected or unimportant.
Demands are things that are important to other people and that they would like to see you spend time on. All relationships have demands. Whether implied or overtly stated, the people who are important to us have expectations of how we invest our time. An example would be a spouse wanting time to talk about their feelings. If we only spend our time catering to the demands of others, most likely will feel increased stress and become resentful.
Therefore it is really important to find a balance between priorities and demands in relationships. With balance, you and the people who are important to you will feel fulfillment in the relationships. One strategy to promote this type of balance is to incorporate mutual validation into your daily communication. For example, if you were asked to cook dinner after a hard day of work, you could say something like ‘I know it’s only fair that I pull my weight in cooking tonight, on my end, I’ve had a really hard day, maybe we could get take out and I will plan to cook this weekend?’ By incorporating this communication strategy, you are nurturing a balance between your priorities and the demands of others.
Improving interpersonal effectiveness is a topic incorporated in the DBT group provided at Specialized Therapy Associates. Should you have any interest in this group, please call 201-488-6678 for details.