Why You Are Stuck in a Cycle of Overfunctioning in Relationships

Why You May Be Stuck in The Paradoxical Overfunctioning Cycle in Relationships

Listen to the audio version of this article 

Are you a high-achieving woman looking for love who is stuck in The Paradoxical Overfunctioning Cycle in Relationships? OMG, you wonder what I’m talking about, huh? Let me explain. 

I see so many women struggling with this. Consider this: 

You yearn to prove yourself worthy of love to people that don’t have capacity to love you in the ways you need, so you wind up overfunctioning to make it happen.


You forget that what you ultimately crave is to love and be loved just because you are you... 

This is The Paradoxical Overfunctioning Cycle in Relationships. It's paradoxical because it works against you.

Signs you may be overfunctioning in relationships

overfunctioning in relationships

There are many aspects of this behavior, but here are some of them that are specific to dating and relationships, especially related to high achieving women.

Let's look at some of the signs.

  • You find yourself attracted to exclusively emotionally distant men who like to keep the relationship stagnant instead of taking the next step with you
  • If you are in a committed relationship, but somehow you never feel that your partner loves you as much as you love him
  • You are puzzled by seeing other even less attractive or accomplished women adored by their partners without much effort while you try so hard without much success
  • You neglect friends and personal interests as soon as you start seeing someone
  • You are repelled by people who are ready to show you affection or attention
  • Fixating on someone even if you don't know them yet

Reasons for overfunctioning in romantic relationships

I want you to know that overfunctioning is not your fault, and it doesn't mean that something is wrong with you because you become an over functioning person in relationships. These behaviors were the best responses that helped you survive a difficult environment in your childhood. It just makes sense that you continue this if you find yourself in a romantic relationship. Romantic relationships are the most triggering life situations that awaken our old wounds and these old survival strategies become even stronger. What are some of the potential scenarios that caused you to overfunction in relationships?

overfunctioning in relationships
  • Your parents come from humble backgrounds, and they had to work hard for everything. Naturally, they will teach you the same values. It's important to realize that there is nothing wrong with hard work, but internalizing it as something that makes you valuable can strip us of our self-esteem. When this happens.
  • You got praises only for something you do, while nobody showed you how to enjoy or figure out what makes you happy. Naturally as a child, you want to make your parents happy. This is why you may develop the inner radar of other people's emotions. You focus on how others feel about you.
  • When you were very young, your parents didn't provide adequate or consistent care. Even the best parents do this sometimes because they are trying to train the child to self-soothe, but little babies don't have developed prefrontal cortex to self-soothe. They don't get it that their mother will arrive in 10 minutes and feed them. Instead, they cry and cry louder and louder. It makes sense that this baby creates a belief that she needs to overfunction and make things happen. If she didn't cry her eyes out, parents would never come. She can rely only on herself. Obviously, a baby can't rely on herself and parents or other adults did come and feed the baby, but the baby developed inner knowing that she needs to push hard for everything in life.
  • You have too many responsibilities that are too big for your age. In some instances you had to take care of your younger siblings and in other instances you had to work hard so your family can survive. You may not know what makes you truly happy, but instead you only crave rest and peace. For people with this kind of experience, it can be hard to receive love, affection, and attention. Other people often feel like they can't give anything to this kind of person because they usually take care of everything.

Consequences in relationships

There are many other ways in which you can adopt overfunctioning as a survival strategy and relationship management in your family of origin. Of course, all this may cause you to wind up in an overfunctioning-underfunctioning relationship dynamic. You choose an underfunctioning partner and the partner chooses you as an overfunctioner. It's all because you two find comfort in a familiar situation, which doesn't prevent you from becoming resentful because you feel that you always need to take responsibility for the relationship to move forward.

What are the most common mistakes in a relationship you make as an overfunctioner?

As someone who is an overfunctioner, you may think that you can find love, which will be better than what you've got in your family of origin. But, your neurological makeup is already wired to overfunction to maintain relationships. So here are some mistakes that most overfunctioning love seekers make.

You allow yourself to attach too quickly

Once you meet a cute breathing human, you become emotionally dependent to him. This situation becomes like a life or death situation, especially when you start feeling like you are on a deserted island with only one man left. Hence, you begin to start to become overly strict to him, even if you are still just dating. It just makes sense that you over function.

You may lack understanding and dating relationship stage

If you are like many other overfunctioning love seekers, you most likely wind up trying to make the relationship work with someone you don’t even know well. Then, when things don’t work out, you wind up staying in the relationship just because your partner gives you small crumbs of what you actually need. Then you wind up  trying to change your partner, hoping he will get how much you love him and, therefore, he’ll love you back. Some women wind up even forcing their partners to go to therapy. 

You don't learn how to understand and communicate your own needs

As already described many overfunctioning love seekers struggle to know their needs. In addition they don't learn to communicate their own needs. Naturally, you develop resentment about not having your needs met in relationships. Your partner will feel this resentment and naturally feel under attack by you. Your partner will naturally underfunction due to giving up on trying to make you happy.

Being stuck in an overfunctioning-underfunctioning relationship will not be satisfactory to either partner.

These are just some examples of mistakes that overfunctioning love seekers make, but what can you do to stop overfunctioning in relationships?

What can you do to stop overfunctioning in relationships

overfunctioning in relationships

Oh, this requires a book, but I don't want to overwhelm you in a simple blog post. I will just give you a few tips that you can already start using in your relationship or when you date.

  • Date more people, so you can slow down the attachment process and allow yourself to figure out who's right for you and who's not right for you
  • Develop a clear guide on what works and what doesn't work for you in relationships. This way, you can keep clear vision of what YOU need, and not how you need to be to hook someone
  • When you feel your partner doesn't meet your expectations ask more questions instead making conclusions based on your trauma beliefs. You may be surprised at what you can learn. Your partner will feel honored that you care about his feelings and he may show you his true thoughts and feelings.

Is relationship coaching right for you? 

I offer online relationship coaching for high achieving women interested in sincere high quality men, men ready to give you their heart. 

Get exclusive access to my best tips about love, dating, and relationships in the free Academy Resource Hub and download The Accidental Singledom Checklist: Are You Standing in Your Own Way?

You will also get two bonus courses:

Challenge Your Accidental Singledom AssumptionsLearn how to change your limiting beliefs and get the love you want

Reach His Heart- Communicate with your partner, so he never has to feel attacked

Read more about dating and relationships 

Professional women’s challenges in relationship
If you are a professional, high achieving woman, you may have your unique set of challenges when it comes to[...]
Six Tips for Attracting Men Who Want Real Love
Six Tips for Attracting Men Who Want Real Love In a world where finding real love can often feel like finding[...]
Navigating the Dating World: Triumphing as a Successful Woman
Navigating the Dating World: Triumphing as a Successful Woman Listen to the audio version of this article  When a woman[...]
Understanding Avoidant Men: Effective Communication for a Stronger Connection
Understanding Avoidant Men: Effective Communication for a Stronger ConnectionListen to the audio version of this article Have you ever pondered on the[...]
Limiting Beliefs About Love: “Relationship Should Occur Naturally” Is the Biggest Lie that Keeps You Single and Powerless
Limiting Beliefs About Love: "Relationship Should Occur Naturally" Is the Biggest Lie that Keeps You Single and Powerless When it[...]
Is Saying It “As Is” Really the Best Way to Communicate Your Needs in Relationships
Is Saying It “As Is” Really the Best Way to Communicate Your Needs in Relationships Communication in relationships is one[...]
Thinking That Men Are Afraid of High Achieving Women May Be What Keeps You Single
Thinking That Men Are Afraid of High Achieving Women May Be What Keeps You Single If you are a high-achieving[...]
Is Playing Hard to Get the Best Way to Attract Relationship-Ready Men
Is Playing Hard to Get the Best Way to Attract Relationship-Ready Men Listen to the audio version of this article [...]
Spread the Word

About the Author

I'm dedicated to guiding women from feeling confused and frustrated to feeling competent and joyful when it comes to matters of love and romance.