High-maintenance partners may be exhausting


**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

The other night I met one of my oldest friends for dinner. Before we were seated, she received a text from her boyfriend. She received another one as we were arriving at the table. Her phone chimed again while the waitress was taking our order.

This pattern of texting continued for the entire evening. He didn't want anything in particular; he simply wanted her attention. She said he was like that all the time, and when she doesn't respond right away, he gets upset.

Her entire world has revolved around her boyfriend and his needs for the past three years. Which would be fine, but his neediness is exasperating for her. In her own words, "my next partner will definitely not be high-maintenance."

High-maintenance partners come in all shapes and sizes. And there are a variety of things that can make someone appear high-maintenance. Perhaps they're demanding, temperamental, high-strung, or high functioning.

The bottom line is that what makes them high maintenance is that their needs are always at the forefront of your relationship. And it can feel like a never-ending cycle where you're always trying to please the other person.

But there are ways to survive in this type of relationship without losing yourself or your sanity.

Learn to say no

If your partner constantly demands more of your time and energy, it can be difficult to keep up. But learning to say no is essential. You need to set boundaries and stick to them; otherwise, you risk becoming resentful.

Besides, saying no can be a good thing. Not only will saying no help you set boundaries with your partner, but it will also help you get clear about what you want to say yes to, which can be beneficial in any relationship.

Set boundaries and stick to them

While saying no is one way to create and hold a boundary, it can be tough to stand up to a high-maintenance partner, especially if you're in the habit of going along to get along. Be clear about what you are and aren't comfortable with, and enforce those boundaries firmly.

Your partner will learn to respect your lines and may even back off a bit with time. But if they don't, be prepared to stand your ground. It's important to remember that it's not about them — it's about what you need to maintain your well-being.

Don't take their behavior personally

High maintenance partners are often very demanding and can be a lot to handle. But it's important to remember that their behavior isn't personal — it's just how they are. Don't take their attitude or demands to heart, and remind yourself that it's not about you.

Of course, this is easier said than done because demanding behavior can often feel very personal. But with time and practice, you'll be able to look at your partner's behavior more objectively.

Don't try to change them

One of the biggest mistakes people make when in a relationship with a high-maintenance partner (or any partner) is trying to change them. High maintenance partners are high maintenance for a reason — they likely aren't going to change anytime soon. So don't bother trying to change them. This will only lead to frustration on your part.

Accept your partner for who they are. It's not always a bad thing, and you may even find that you can learn to live with it — if you want to.

Find ways to relax and de-stress

When you're constantly dealing with someone who is high maintenance, it can be hard to find time for yourself. But it's essential! Make sure you schedule some time each week to relax and de-stress, even if it's just an hour or two. Taking some time for yourself will help you recharge.

When your battery is full, you will be more loving, kind, and patient with your partner. And that's what they need from you — patience and understanding. This may feel like a tall order at times, but it's worth the effort if this is someone you love.

Maintaining a relationship with a demanding partner is understandably challenging, but you'll be on your way to surviving — and maybe even thriving with these five tips.

Remember to set boundaries, don't take their behavior personally, and find ways to relax and de-stress. Don't try to change them — that's a battle you're not going to win. Just focus on taking care of yourself and keeping things as calm as possible.

If the relationship becomes too overwhelming, breaking up might be something to consider. After all, there is a fine line between high-maintenance and toxic behavior. If you feel as though you can't handle it anymore, it might be time to walk away.

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Intimacy & Relationship coach, writer, and creator of The Sensuality Project. I specialize in Relationship-ing (it's a verb).

Los Angeles County, CA

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