"I gave him everything and he still didn't love me," is a
story I've heard over and over again from women. I know
exactly what they mean. I've certainly felt that way
"I would give her anything she wants, but it just doesn't
seem to do any good. She takes my presents, thanks me,
tells me I'm a nice guy, but she doesn't love me." It's a
story I've heard over and over again from men. He gives,
gives, gives. She takes, takes, takes. And the other guy
gets the girl.
At first, doing too much seems natural and even somewhat
pleasurable. After all, when you're in love aren't you
supposed to do lots for your loved one, and enjoy it?
Aren't you supposed to give your all?
No. Not until your relationship reaches a certain point.
Before that point, you will suffocate love just as it's
starting to bloom, instead of allowing it to blossom
Giving too much too soon is by far the biggest relationship
mistake made by both men and women. I will explain why it
suffocates love, how love blossoms naturally, how to know
when you're giving too much and what to do about it, and
when it's OK to give your all. But first, let's start with
the different ways of over-giving:
Over-giving -- Let Me Count The
- Too Much Love and Romance Too Soon
- By the second date you both say, "I love you." By the
third date you're talking every night for hours. By the
second week you're writing love notes to each other on a
daily basis. So where do you go from there? Only down.
Beth and Tony fell in love instantly. They were inseparable
after one date. He bought flowers; she cooked dinners every
night. He read love poems out loud to her. She always put
love notes in his jacket pocket when he went to work.
Then one time he forgot the flowers. Beth was crushed.
Then she forgot the note. Tony felt unloved. Resentment
intruded into perfect love, and their relationship never
- Too Much Commitment Too Soon
- Volunteered, one-sided commitment signals desperation in
a relationship. Men will do this, but more often, it's a
woman who will take this step out of some mixed-up fear of
losing a man if she doesn't, even though he's made no
commitment whatsoever. She's ready to forsake all others
without even being asked, just to prove her love, hoping
this gesture will somehow bond him to her. It doesn't.
- Gifts Too Soon
- When you bring the element of money into a relationship,
you put pressure on someone. If you're a man, she may
misread your intentions and think you see the relationship
as transactional, gifts for sex. Or, rather than being
bothered by the gifts, she may come to expect an ongoing
flow of them from you and be very disappointed if they're
One man told me, "The minute a woman starts giving me
valuable things, I feel pressured. She looks like a needy
woman who's trying to buy love. When a woman gives me
something expensive, it makes me feel as if an alien element
has come into the relationship -- the element of dollar
value as opposed to love and caring. I also feel forced to
keep up in some way."
Also, no man wants to live the rest of his life with a
spendthrift. Giving him an expensive gift (even for his
birthday or Christmas) will just make him worry about how
you'll spend money if the two of you get married.
- Too Much Information Too Soon
- One way both men and women often give too much is by
telling too much about themselves right away. Who wants to
know how your mother or father mistreated you on the first
date? (Or on the third or fourth date, for that matter)
How Over-giving Suffocates Love
It's like over-watering a plant. You're not sure how much
to water it, and your instincts tell you to nurture it, so
you over-water it and kill it. Here's how over-giving can
kill a budding relationship:
He or she will take you for granted and expect you to
continue to do more and more for him.
- You'll come across as needy and desperate.
- You probably won't get enough back, so you'll feel
- You'll be ignoring your own life to help the object
of your affection with theirs.
In the extreme (see my "Did For
Love" case), doing too much can change who you are until
the person he or she was attracted to in the first place is
The worst part about giving too much is that the other
person probably won't just drop you. At least then you'd be
free to start over. Instead, they will keep you on a string
and not take you seriously, and you find yourself in "crazy
Self-test: Are You Doing Too Much For
- How do you know when you're giving too much too
- You call them more than they call you.
You make all the plans, pay most of the time, or buy
all the presents.
You are always doing something for them, and you feel
cheated and angry because the giving is not
You sense they're beginning to take you for granted.
You feel desperate for their love and are worried about
- Over-giving has already gotten to the "crazy love"
- Your only happiness seems to be making them
You pour yourself into helping them succeed, even to
the point of ignoring your own life.
They're beginning to pull away, and you keep doing more
and more to get them to stay.
Your friends say you've changed and they never see you
First Aid For Overgivers
If you've reached the "crazy love" stage, the relationship
is probably beyond saving. See the
"Letting Go" Section of the Library. If you haven't
gone that far, your relationship may be repairable.
If you've just slipped and said, "I love you" too soon, or
you're a guy who's given a gift too soon, or a woman who's
blurted out, "When are you going to call again?" by mistake,
the relationship can be re-balanced with a little mid-course
Again, think of the over-watered plant. All you can do is
hold off on watering and hope. If you've started to smother
the relationship, all you can do is step back and let it
Don't call. If you can, take a trip and send him or her
just ONE postcard. If you can't leave, just throw yourself
into your work for a couple of weeks. It won't hurt.
Give the relationship some space, allow some time to go by,
and -- above all -- act happy. (See the bottom of "When
He/She's Left You -- Coping" in the "Letting Go" Section of
the Library for the secret of acting happy when you're
actually miserable from missing your lover.) And be sure to
read "How Much To Give and When."
Related Keywords: Giving Too Much, Love Strategies, Over-Romanticizing, Commitment, Love Addiction
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