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Does Your Spouse Steal the Limelight?

by Sharon M. Rivkin on Sunday, April 06, 2014 9:17 PM

Yes, it's a big deal! Because this goes deeper than just getting the credit. It’s something that can put a wedge in the relationship that can slowly build resentment and anger. It devalues the person who deserves the credit and elevates the person who’s taking the credit.

So what do you do if this is happening in your relationship?

  1. Acknowledge that it’s not petty to feel this way, even though your partner may lead you to believe otherwise.
  2. Say something to your partner, without blaming, that gets your point across that this is hurtful to you. For example, “Remember when our neighbor was over the other day and you made it sound like you maintained the garden? Maybe you don’t realize it, but that made me feel bad about myself, because we both know that I really tend to the garden. I felt unimportant and insignificant, and I’d like it to be handled differently next time.”
  3. Maybe your partner will get defensive and make you feel like it's not a big deal at all. Respond with, “It is a big deal, and we need to find out a better way to handle this the next time.”
  4. Try to get a commitment or promise from your partner to be aware of this dynamic so it doesn’t keep repeating itself.
  5. Make a plan of how it will be handled the next time should your partner “accidentally” take the credit. For example, ask your partner if you have his permission to interrupt and correct him (lightheartedly) should he take the credit. Or create a signal between the two of you in advance that means it’s happening again, so he has the opportunity to correct himself before you speak up.

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Sharon M. Rivkin

Sharon Rivkin, Therapist, Conflict Resolution and Affairs Expert