In my early twenties, I dated a guy named Drake.*

Our relationship started out like most: we were excited to be together and we had mutual respect for each other’s time, interests, and needs. The relationship rolled along smoothly for a few months, and then…it just sort of didn’t.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but there came a point when I realized I had lost any say in how or where the relationship was going. Suddenly, I was prioritizing my life around his — Drake’s friends, hobbies, and preferences took precedence over mine. I chalked it up to me being a “cool” girlfriend. So what if I wanted Thai for dinner? Mexican was fine, too. There’s still rice in there somewhere. Drake wanted to go to another bar? So what if I was tired? That’s what Red Bull is for!

I think we’ve all been there at some point — a part of us realizes oh, shit. The other person has total power. We think the answer lies in being passive and submissive, in going with the flow. We think if we keep our mouths shut and ignore our own needs, the other person will realize he has a gem in his pocket. We think he‘ll hold on for dear life. God forbid we speak up about what we want.

But he doesn’t think: “What a sweet and wonderful docile little girlfriend I have.” He thinks: “She’s a fucking doormat.”

I believed I was being generous, caring, and accommodating. In retrospect, I was being too nice.

And the concept of being “too nice” with regard to dating has faced a lot of controversy over the years. I’m a firm believer in the concept of treating others the way you want to be treated, but if you’re constantly suppressing your own needs, you’re going to leave a mark on your subconscious that says, “I am not worthy of respect.”

Read the full article on Thought Catalog.