When to ‘Act Your Wage’ in a Relationship

Couple Back to Back - Thinking Woman - Sad Man

Have you heard of “acting your wage” when it comes to a career? No? Well, crawl out from under your rock and check out the exact definition.

Act Your Wage is based on the contention that an employee is not adequately compensated for their job.

In other words, inflation surpasses wage growth. Acting Your Wage implies that you only do the work for which you are paid and nothing more. So, if you make minimum wage, your job effort should be the bare minimum.

‘Act your wage’ is a manner in which you set limits to care for yourself physically, mentally, and financially. Additionally, it indicates that you will not exert yourself beyond your pay scale. This mentality is prevalent among blue-collar workers because they often receive little pay for hard labor.

So, should you ever ‘act your wage’ regarding relationships? In other words, should you put in the minimum effort because you feel you’re not receiving proper compensation, which in this case, is love, affection, and time?

Do You Give Too Much in Your Relationship?

Are you not getting “properly compensated” for the work you put into your relationship, and you’re tired of it? Putting in more effort than your partner is common. Giving your all to someone can be a good thing. However, you run into issues when those efforts aren’t reciprocated, and it feels like you’re in a one-sided relationship.

Feeling like you give more than you receive from your partner is a frustrating situation that wears on the relationship.

One reason it’s common is that people in a relationship have different needs. We want the same thing in return when we give to our partners. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Our needs aren’t necessarily their needs. I’ve witnessed many friends attempt to change their partners by giving and giving until they have nothing left. That rarely works.

So, how can you tell if you are giving more than receiving? Unfortunately, it can be difficult to detect. Often, people need a little more TLC than at other times. For example, if your partner is grieving the loss of someone, yes, they need more attention. However, barring extraordinary circumstances, you may give too much if you constantly feel neglected.

7 Times to ‘Act Your Wage’ in the Relationship

You don’t want to be the one making all of the efforts in your relationship. Doing so causes hurt and resentment. Besides, if you put in 100%, shouldn’t your partner? When should you pull back and start ‘acting your wage’?

If you’re not going to be adequately compensated with your partner’s time and affection, then you should make the bare minimum effort and reevaluate your relationship.

1). They Emotionally Drain You

When you continuously give, your body can feel it. You’ll feel exhausted and lack the energy to do anything. Your mental wherewithal is shot, and you have no more to give. “You are with an emotional vampire if you find yourself physically drained.” Image consultant, psychologist, and dating expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes explains. “Emotionally sensitive people and empaths often do not pick up on these cues right away.” When you regularly feel this way, watch out for yourself and pull back a little.

2). They Become Defensive

Your partner is quick when pointing out your flaws and what you’re doing wrong. But they become defensive when you turn the tables and attempt to critique them. Of course, nobody’s perfect, not you or them. But it’s a red flag when they don’t want to hear about their flaws.

When you attempt to voice your concerns regarding how they treat you, they don’t want to hear it. This is the first clue that they’re going to continue mistreating you. In this case, what should you do?

Start by calmly explaining how it makes you feel. In the heat of an argument is not the best time to tell your partner they treat you like s***. Instead, inform them you’d like to discuss something with them and when would be the best time.

You want to avoid bringing up a heavy topic like this when they’re rushing out the door, so be sure you have enough time to discuss the issue thoroughly.

Couple Arguing in the Kitchen

Additionally, when talking about how you feel, take ownership. Use words like “I feel” and “I am.” If they start becoming defensive, gently point it out so they understand what you’re referring to when you say, “I feel like you always get defensive when I try to talk to you.” It isn’t about a confrontation; it’s about getting your feelings out so you can have a better relationship.

3). They Expect You to Fit Their Schedule

Your partner only wants to see you when it’s convenient for them. They don’t feel like you are important enough in their life to make time for you. They would rather have you visit or call when their schedule is clear.

Yes, people are busy, but sometimes you have to compromise in a relationship. For example, your partner has been busy all week, but now they have some free time, so they call to meet up. However, now is not a good time for you. Instead of understanding, they may get upset and try to make you feel guilty for not being available when they are.

4). The Blame Game

Blame is a big issue that has caused relationships to crumble into dust. The first step to creating a solution is to be accountable for your actions. If your partner plays the blame game, they pass the issue back to you and say, “Now solve it!”

When your partner blames you for everything wrong in the relationship, you must speak up and share your perspective. Ask that they listen to your point of view first before passing judgment. So often, people pass the blame and make you the emotional dumping ground because they don’t want the burden of being at fault.

What to Do When Your Partner Blames You for Everything

Sometimes, one person in a relationship blames the other rather than take accountability for their actions. They’ll say, “If you didn’t say that, then I wouldn’t have done this.” Essentially, they’re wiping their hands from the situation and placing the blame back onto you. That’s not OK. When your partner constantly makes you the scapegoat for everything, use these 4 steps.

1. Figure Out Why They Always Blame You

Reasons include:

  • Narcissistic behavior
  • They’re emotionally abusive
  • They have low self-esteem and are scared to admit being wrong
  • They want to deflect their behavior
2. Consider Your Role

Let’s be honest. Did you have a hand in any wrongdoing? Could you have done anything differently? You know how your partner reacts; sometimes, when we get angry, we push their buttons on purpose. It isn’t about putting the blame back on you. It’s questioning whether there was a better alternative to the original issue.

3. Rebuild Your Self-Esteem

You’ve been blamed for so long; maybe everything is your fault. Blaming yourself puts you in a vulnerable place by making you the victim. It can also leave you feeling powerless. Instead, build up your self-esteem by recognizing not everything is your fault.

4. Rebuild Your Relationship

If walking out that door isn’t an option, the next best thing is to rebuild your relationship. For example, focus on the positives of your relationship. Continue to be open and honest. Can you be more supportive? Do you have suggestions for them to be supportive? Counseling is also an option.

5). You Become Their Cleaner

Not only are you putting in all the emotional effort, but you are also putting in all the work at home. You do all the cleaning at home because it’s what your partner expects. An emotionally immature partner wants you to do everything for them, including the cooking and the cleaning. Then, they take issue when you ask them to do the simplest things around the house. They may do it, but it’s done grudgingly. They may even attempt to make you feel guilty for even asking.

6). They Don’t Make an Effort to Fit Into Your Life

Maybe it’s spending time with your friends or bonding with your parents. On the other hand, it could be just showing up for Happy Hour with your co-workers. In either case, you wish your partner would step up.

  • If every time you ask them to a work function and they have “a thing” to attend that same evening, they’re not serious about fitting into your life. They have no desire to put any energy into the relationship.
  • If they have a little time at the end of the week, they’ll call you. A relationship should move forward, not regress or remain stagnant.

Sure, we all get a little comfortable sometimes, but if your partner never makes an effort, it may be time to step back and ‘act your wage.’

You shouldn’t be the initiator of every activity you do. Some guys use the reason they don’t plan because they’re awful at it. They use that excuse because they’re not interested or just lazy. Either way, it’s a load of crap.

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Relationship

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been dating for two years or two months. Healthy, satisfying relationships take work. While it was easy to make an effort when you first met, it’s a little more complicated now. The spark is missing, and you’re not as excited about each other as you once were.

Every couple is different, but one thing remains the same; you need to make an effort every once in a while. If you want to see the improvement, you’ve got to put the work in. But don’t worry, this work isn’t like standing on your feet all day at a nine-to-five. This work is fun. So, here are 5 things you can do right now to get that spark back.

Set up a Monthly Date Night

You are both busy, so setting up a time to chill is vital. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Make some time to strengthen your connection by going to dinner or watching a movie snuggled under the covers at home.


A simple conversation about a movie you recently saw is a way to make an un-forced connection. And you’re finding out new things about them. You’re not discussing your relationship or anything else heavy. Instead, you’re having a fun, light-hearted conversation.


We can get so wrapped up in our lives we forget to check in on the well-being of our partner. Over dinner, ask him how he’s doing and really listen to them. Find out how that meeting he had last week went. Often, we can’t tell when we become disconnected from the relationship. A simple check-in helps us to refocus.

Say “Thank You.”

It may not seem like a lot, but it is. Sometimes, we get so busy we don’t have the time to give a simple thank you to show appreciation for her washing your car or for him preparing a delicious dinner for you.

Don’t Forget the Small Things

Sometimes it’s the minor things that make all the difference. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but your partner remembers the tiny things you do for them. For instance, he said he was hungry at work, so you hopped in the car and brought him lunch from his favorite deli.

7). They Don’t Place You in Their Life

Forget first. You’re simply trying to be in the top ten. If your partner isn’t making an effort in the relationship, they may not be interested in making you an integral part of their life. For instance, you have been together for a year, but they have never introduced you to their family and friends.

Reasons Why Your Partner Doesn’t Introduce You to Family and Friends

Let’s face it, you’ve been dating for a while and are ready to meet his family. But for some reason, he hasn’t mentioned it. What’s that all about? Here are a few reasons he could be hesitant to make formal introductions.

  • His family lives too far away
  • He doesn’t realize how much you want to meet them
  • He’s just not that into you
  • He’s embarrassed by his family
  • He doesn’t like/or isn’t very close to his family
  • He’s dating someone else who has already met his family and friends

You may go through one (or more) of these situations in your relationship. If pulling back emotionally and “acting your wage” hasn’t helped, you might need to reconsider whether your partner is the one.

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