The Kind of Partner You Don’t Want

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
– Proverbs 21:9

To put things simply: You don’t want an ENTITLED partner.

An entitled partner will never really be grateful for the things you do for her, yet she’ll be quick to spot what you don’t do. Maybe she’ll tell you, maybe she won’t, but she’ll spot it in her heart. Now someone who is never really grateful and is quick to spot your failures will never appreciate you. To be appreciated and respected is something everyone wants.

An entitled partner will never be able to meet your different needs because the attention will always make its way back to her. Everyone has needs, and the beauty of relationships is that the people in it support each other and serve each other. Entitled people always put their needs, their wants, their situation first. Guess where your needs, wants, and situation end up?

An entitled partner will not grow. Why should he? It’s never his fault. There’s nothing to grow out of.

An entitled partner stores up ammo for the future, and it will come up on the most opportune times. He or she will turn your mistakes into bricks and use it to build a wall. We end up with what we build. If we build walls then don’t be surprised if we find ourselves separated.

When I hear stories of wives pitching in to help their husbands during periods of crisis and digging deep to do what’s necessary without entitlements, I am always moved. I remember, many years ago, reading the story of a husband get removed from his job, and how, instead of worrying or berating him, his wife pulled out savings she had put together on her own and told him, “I’ve been saving this for this time. It’s time for you to write that novel you’ve always wanted.” Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I think it’s really more seeing someone go beyond her role to love. I remember looking at my relationship at the time and thinking, “She would never do that for me.” And I knew it was time to move on.

One of the serious drawbacks of a more empowered people comes when these people don’t understand the concept of social contracts. When people are empowered to think they’re awesome but not taught how to be awesome for others, we end up with entitled people.

We end up with people who abuse freedom, who think they’re entitled to do whatever they want, when they want how they want, why they want, with whom they want.

We end up with a million opinions and too little action.

We end up with churches who think they can bully truth into others instead of reaching out and serving like Christ did.

We end up with rich people who won’t give and poor people who won’t work.

We end up with boys who think they can sleep with anyone.

We end up with girls who think they’re empowered by being bitchy.

We end up with bosses who won’t develop and subordinates who won’t grow.

We end up with parents who don’t lead and kids who don’t follow.

We end up with expectations that no one will ever fulfill.

Yet, when I see a different story, like the lady who saved for her husband’s dream, like the story of old couples who continually serve, like how I see my grandmother be a true companion to my grandfather, stories of people who have surrendered what they could have and maybe even should have, for the sake of someone else, I’m moved.

Men have been obviously entitled for decades but its seen in women too.

One common line I hear many girls say is this, “Where are the good men? Why are there no more great men for me?”

My answer to them is always the same, “They’re staying away from you.”

I don’t say that to be mean but from a very logical thought process. Here it is:

If I was a great guy, I probably became a great guy by developing myself through discipline, hard work, study and learning, surrounding myself with the right people, and applying myself to the difficult challenges of not merely making money but making a difference. Now if I were that kind of guy, I would  not be attracted to someone who has the entitlement to say, “Why are there no good men for me?”

Entitlement ruins many things. Entitlement is simply thinking we deserve something and is most obvious by how we respond when we don’t get it. Many times, when we respond in anger, hurt, or complaining when we don’t get something, we are exhibiting entitlement.

Entitlement always comes up with me. It’s something I always have to fight. It starts with unmet expectations that grow into resentment and bitterness, and it chokes the beauty of things because when we get something we’re not as grateful as we should be because we’re “entitled” to it or we deserve it, and if we don’t get it, we think like we’ve been treated unfairly, because, again, we’re “entitled” to it.

I find that the only way I can defeat entitlement in my own life is to think less about me and more about others. It’s a very simple decision to put other first and to think of the benefit of others first. There’s really no other way. To stop thinking so much about what others bring to me but to be passionate about giving my best to them. It will become incredibly obvious who the people are who offer amazing things and it will be just as obvious when others don’t offer much. 

If you’re not sure whether you’re offering something amazing then the simple answer is you’re not.

It’s not complicated to be amazing for others. The first step is to think of others more than yourself. I find that some of the most selfless people I know are not the most flattering or funnest to be with. They are sometimes wrapped in rough edges and tactless remarks but their actions speak volumes. Many times the most selfish people I know are those who seem friendliest and most sociable – but actually give little thought to how things affect others as long as they get to do what they want.

Again, I see this in myself, so must look out the window again and look out the window more.

Published by

David Bonifacio

David Bonifacio Entrepreneur, social worker, writer, artist, CEO of Bridge, CEO of Elevation Partners, Managing Director of New Leaf Ventures. #db

22 thoughts on “The Kind of Partner You Don’t Want”

  1. You obviously have not been taken advantaged of or hurt in the deepest ways for you to be so selfless. People start feeling empowered or entitled when they know they deserve better, if not the best. Now, if the person you are with does not make you feel that, then you’re with the wrong one. It’s better to be alone for the right reasons, than be with someone for the wrong ones. Don’t ever sell yourself short.

    1. I don’t know why people are so quick to think I’ve never been hurt or have had problems. Everyone has been hurt deeply and taken advantaged of. It’s part of being alive, and it’s more frequent when one chooses to live generously and selflessly. I used to think that living this way would mean others would automatically treat me the same but I was wrong. I don’t remember how many times I’ve been taken advantaged of, on purpose and not. But to use my negative experiences to justify entitlement, especially unrealistic and selfish entitlement in my opinion is counter productive. If my reason for being with someone is because I think I deserve e best, then I would say that’s a wrong reason just as thinking I don’t deserve any better and selling myself short.

      My reason for being in a relationship is to be devoted to the one I’m with, not because I think I’ve finally met someone I deserve, but because I love her.

      All our relationships, even failed ones, teach us something depending on what we’re looking for. I’m not trying to validate my worth by getting someone “I deserve”, but have found someone I respect, share values with, and enjoy being with, because that’s what I’m looking for. That’s good enough for me.

      1. Hi Sir David, I’m struggling on my relationship right now. I don’t know if I could still call it as one for she broke up with me 3 weeks ago….

        This portion of your reply left me eyes-wide-opened to the truest essence of loving: “My reason for being in a relationship is to be devoted to the one I’m with, not because I think I’ve finally met someone I deserve, but because I love her.” I want to say that we have the same views. Even the contentment part in “That’s good enough for me.” I salute you sir.

  2. “Every time we respond in anger, hurt, or complaining when we don’t get something, we are exhibiting entitlement.”

    EVERY TIME.

    I think we should not generalize that EVERY TIME we respond in anger and hurt exhibits entitlement. We are human and it’s natural to get emotional. The frequency of responding in anger and hurt should be taken into consideration.

    1. Someone who truly has zero entitlements or feelings of what’s due him, include treatment due him, will not act like he deserves better. I don’t know anyone like this. We all believe we deserve something and get angry when we don’t get it. That’s entitlement. I have a lot of entitlement which is why I’m very irritable. It’s something I’m working on instead of rationalizing that I’m entitled to those feelings – which fuels more entitlement.

  3. I think I might know where yaps is coming from. The sense of entitlement is usually felt by people who look highly at themselves. High expectations which brings about the sense of entitlement sometimes equates to assurance that they are loved/ love,trust,etc is reciprocated. So it roots down to insecurity. And there is no dealing with insecurity outside the cross. If insecurity is not dealt with (problem is people don’t know they’re insecure or probably deny it) then people think entitlement is not really entitlement because there is a mindset that a partner should do what culture expects him/her to do as a partner.

  4. Thanks, i needed this. At some point in my relationship, i’m thinking, “is he so entitled, or am i?”. My guy is a great guy (with flaws of course), but somewhere through the mangroves, i seem to (unconsciously) choose to look for his faults instead of the good things he does. i am “needy” in many ways and expect a lot from him. Thanks for this entry. i particularly like your listing of “We end up with…” . Indeed, a sense of entitlement makes us stuck and hinders growth. Meanwhile, how does one break away from a sense of entitlement?

  5. I grew up with someone entitled as you described so I know the worst of it. But I had given it some thought over the years and I think *some* entitlement is good. It’s good to think you deserve something then go and work hard to get it. I know I would not have had success in some aspects of my life if I had not been so ‘presumptuous’ so as to assume it is deservedly mine.

    I recognize now though that only a few goals are worth that effort. But back then I believe if I had not decided to go and get ‘what’s mine’, I’d have looked back with regret.

  6. I get the point very well, Mr Bonifacio, and I also understand where the lot of the argument is coming from. For one, I think it’s important for the readers to notice that you provided specific qualities of an entitled person like “never grateful” – the picture becoming even clearer in the succeeding paragraphs. I guess people are just scared of losing their “worth” – running empty as they continue to open up and give. But I’ve found time and again that the best thing to receive from God is when we’ve nothing left. I’m a glass half-empty person, because I like the idea that it was once full. 🙂

    A few years back, as I was reading Proverbs 31 in my devotions I felt God spoke to my heart saying, “Instead of waiting for the right person like everyone else, why don’t you use this season to work at being one?” Now I don’t think I’ve gotten anywhere close to being able to claim that I’m a Proverbs 31 lady but at least I was able to rid my vocabulary of “the right person” (at least as most people would use it). I’m not saying we should settle for whoever life throws our way, but I believe that in any relationship, our responsibility is to BE the right person.

    Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation said it well: “You may be waiting in this season of your life for God to bring the right person. Or you may be wondering if the person you’re dating is the right person. He will do it. He will reveal it. In the meantime, be what you’re looking for.”

  7. Hmm.. Mahirap pag may mga kabataan sa church na feeling entitled na lagi mo silang tutulungan sa pagsali sa mga camp. I mean, pwede naman silang humingi ng tulong. Hindi yung mag-a-assume na karapatan ng church na tulungan sila. Syempre, dapat naman nga tulungan sila, pero sana matuto silang humingi at magsabi.. ganoon lang naman kasimple.. Pero hindi yung feeling entitled sa lahat ng pagkakataon. Madaling unawain pagka estudyante pa eh.. pero pag graduate na.. Ok, mahina ang sweldo. Mahirap sabihin kasi eto: “Uhh, Maji, kung kailangan mo ng tulong pinansyal, magsabi ka lang, ha? Hindi lang kasi ikaw ang nangangailangan ng tulong, at alam mo naman, magsabi ka lang. Atsaka, kung di mo kaya magbayad, magsabi ka lang, okay?” HIndi na kasi nakakatuwa yung magre-reg sa mga seminar, tapos di man lang magbabayad, kahit P100 lang o P50, o magsabi man lang na walang maibayad. Feeling entitled ang dating kasi sa kin. Nagkaroon kami dati ng isang bata ng di pagkakaunawa kasi noong sinisingil ko na siya, siya pa ang arogante at sumama pa pala loob sa kin.. samantala yung bata niyang kapatid naglinis ng bahay ng kachurch namin para makalikom ng pondo para makasali sa camp. Syempre bilang ate niya, ako yung kinailangan magpasensya sa kanya. Nakakapagod din. Ganoon pala when you have to deal with people who feel so entitled.

  8. Hello, David. I’m not particularly religious or spiritual, but I think your article is spot on. I am married to a wonderful man, and while some may think I’m nitpicky (well, I am), my husband is always assured of my appreciation and gratitude. And more importantly, he’s welcome to be as nitpicky as I am. Criticisms (constructive ones) are valuable to relationships as one runs the risk of complacency if they don’t realize that there’s something wrong with them that needs fixing. On the other hand, praises and appreciation are as important, if not more.

    As for entitlement, I always, always tell single friends that they should not desire anyone that they do not deserve. They often misinterpret that as a go-signal to pursue people out of their league. I always have to clarify.

    One shouldn’t be with someone less OR MORE than they deserve. I’m not talking aesthetics here. I’ve seen some pretty physically weird pairings that work beautifully. I believe that in every person’s gut is an acute (for some, very sharp) sense of what kind of person they truly deserve. Most people ignore it and therein starts the unnecessary long journey to finding The One. If you find yourself realizing that who you deserve is someone who doesn’t fit the description of the man or woman of your dreams, it may be time to look within and honestly decide if you should accept your fate or work on becoming a better person to deserve someone also better.

    1. I especially appreciate it when married people give their comments on relationships. My opinions are nothing compared to the experiences of people like you and I like it when real experiences in this area make the point richer and more valuable. Relationships are tricky so taking care to choose well and to take care of your choice as you pointed out is definitely important. Thanks for reading!

  9. Validation is a an indication of entitlement. Great insights David. Keep it up. The world says we deserve something, while at the same time tries to take everything from who we really are. What we get is the result of what we have done not what we deserve. We were born naked. Even if we die with a suit on us, we can bring it with us. That’s a good indication that we don’t deserve anything as oppossed to what the world is selling.

    We learn to be grateful and secure whenwe understand how much of what don’t deserve God provides each day. I hope there’s a cure for entitlement because I badly need one.

    So far, Christ has only been my remedy.

    1. I think validation is important but always expecting it may be a sign of entitlement. Thanks for contributing your thoughts. I agree being grateful of what Christ has done for us is the best cure.

  10. it’s great. my fiancee and i are actually discussing this one. after reading and trying to grasp this one, I saw my flaws that there is an entitlement. is it in nature of a human sir david? or is it due to our environment?

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