Look, we all crave love, feeling appreciated, and having our partner be there for us, right? But here's the thing: when those normal expectations turn into demanding entitlement and unrealistic demands, well, that's a recipe for relationship disaster 💥

Think of entitlement like a sneaky acid that slowly corrodes the essential pillars of love, respect, and teamwork that make relationships work. So, before your romance hits the rocks, let's take a look at the toxic entitlement styles and nip them in the bud...

Overview of the Research on Relationship Entitlement Styles

The study investigated how the three types of relational entitlement - excessive, restrictive, and assertive—affect daily couple satisfaction. It looked at how entitlement interacts with key relationship variables like self-disclosure, perceived partner disclosure, and perceived partner responsiveness.

Using daily diary data from 99 couples over 7 days, the researchers found:

  • Excessive entitlement at the personal level lowered couple satisfaction for both partners.
  • For men, higher self-disclosure and perceived partner responsiveness boosted couple satisfaction.
  • For women, only perceived partner responsiveness increased satisfaction.

The study also found some interesting interactions:

  • For men, the negative effects of excessive and restrictive entitlement were buffered by higher self-disclosure and partner responsiveness respectively.
  • For women, the downsides of restrictive entitlement were offset by higher self-disclosure, while assertive entitlement coupled with perceived partner disclosure led to more satisfaction.

Overall, the findings shed light on how an entitled mindset, especially excessive or restrictive types, can undermine relationship quality day-to-day. However, self-disclosure, being responsive to your partner, and assertive entitlement can counteract these corrosive effects to some degree.

The study has implications for couples therapy in addressing entitlement issues and fostering beneficial dynamics like openness and consideration for each other's needs.

What are the 3 Relationship Entitlement Styles?

1. Excessive Entitlement

Okay, let's discuss the partner who seems to think the world revolves around their wants and needs. With excessive entitlement, their expectations and demands can feel totally over-the-top and inconsiderate of you.

For example, can you imagine them throwing a huge fit if you can't drop all your plans last minute to cater to their spontaneous request? Or they expecting lavish gifts and treatment from you, but never reciprocating the same consideration? How about them getting upset anytime you spend time with friends instead of giving them your undivided attention?

An excessive sense of entitlement means your partner's needs come first, always. There's little room for compromise or considering your perspective. Their demands take priority, whether they're reasonable for you or not.

It's an imbalanced dynamic where one person's desires take precedence over the other's. There's a lack of mutual care and weighing both partner's needs equally. The entitled mindset makes it very one-sided and difficult to address issues as a team.

2. Restrictive Entitlement  

On the flip side, we have the partner who struggles with restrictive entitlement. This is someone who has a really hard time sticking up for themselves or voicing their needs and preferences. They tend to just go with the flow, even if it means compromising their own wants.

It can look like them agreeing to your date night ideas all the time, even if the activity you picked isn't really their cup of tea. Or putting up with treatment from you that could be considered inconsiderate or even hurtful, because deep down they don't feel worthy of having their needs respected.

A partner with restrictive entitlement may avoid disagreements or speaking up at all costs. Confrontation or asking for what they want can feel intensely uncomfortable. So they adopt a people-pleasing mode where your happiness and desires take priority over their own.

While excessive entitlement puts your partner's needs first, restrictive entitlement has the opposite issue - they subjugate their own needs and desires beneath yours. It creates an unbalanced dynamic where one person's voice and preferences get minimized.

3. Assertive Entitlement

Assertive entitlement is the sweet spot we're aiming for in a healthy relationship dynamic. A partner with this mindset knows how to confidently advocate for their needs and preferences, while still remaining considerate of yours too. It's all about finding that balanced middle ground.

For example, they might express wanting to prioritize regular date nights since quality time is important to them. But they're also understanding if you occasionally need your own guys' or girls' night out. Give and take, you know?

Or when it comes to divvying up chores, they're happy to take on the cooking if you handle the laundry that week. It's a fair compromise where you're both putting in the effort.

At the core, a partner with assertive entitlement expects basic reciprocal standards like honesty, faithfulness, and respect. But the key difference is they're willing to have that open, respectful dialogue about wants and boundaries instead of making selfish demands.

The distinctions here are pretty clear: Excessive entitlement is completely self-centered and disregards your needs. Restrictive entitlement is being a total doormat. But assertive strikes that confident balance of standing up for oneself while still remaining considerate of the other person.

It creates a two-way street built on mutual understanding, communication, and collaboration as opposed to an imbalanced power dynamic. And that's the quintessential goal for any healthy, lasting partnership.

Potential Causes of Different Relationship Entitlement Styles

Excessive entitlement can often be traced back to childhood experiences of being overly spoiled, indulged, or catered to by parents or caregivers. This gets reinforced if the person also has narcissistic or selfish personality traits that make them incapable of considering others' needs. Sometimes excessive entitlement arises from insecurity - the person overcompensates by making excessive demands on their partner in an attempt to feel more valued or validated. Having a parent who modeled an excessive entitlement mindset can also increase the likelihood of developing this unhealthy style.

On the other hand, restrictive entitlement usually stems from an opposite childhood experience of emotional deprivation or neglect. The person may have low self-esteem or deep-rooted feelings of unworthiness that prevent them from asserting their needs and rights within the relationship. Fear of rejection or abandonment if they speak up about their desires can reinforce restrictive entitlement. People-pleasing tendencies or having caregivers who routinely denied the person's emotional needs can shape this unassertive approach.

In contrast, assertive entitlement is more likely to develop from a securely attached, well-adjusted upbringing with appropriate boundaries and mutual consideration modeled. These individuals feel innately worthy of having their needs met through respectful communication. They possess the self-esteem and self-assurance to advocate for their desires while still empathizing with their partner's perspective. Assertive entitlement represents a balanced, healthy way of relating reinforced by positive role models.

What is a Healthy Entitlement in a Relationship?

A healthy sense of entitlement in a relationship is having reasonable expectations that your basic needs and rights will be considered and respected by your partner. It means believing you deserve to be treated with kindness, loyalty, and care - but not making inflexible demands or attempting to control your partner's autonomy.

Examples of healthy entitlement:

1. Expecting fidelity

Look, at the end of the day, you deserve a partner who's fully devoted to you and only you, not stepping outside the boundaries you've agreed upon. Fidelity is the bare minimum expectation in a committed relationship.

2. Insisting on respect

Demanding some basic human decency up in here! You have every right to be treated with kindness, and patience and like an actual person - not somebody's punching bag for insults or abuse of any kind. Mutual respect means respect for your feelings, your boundaries, your entire divine self.

3. Having a voice

Don't ever let someone shut you up or shut you down. You're entitled to freely speaking your mind, expressing your true emotions, offering up your unique perspective on thangs. An authentic relationship means you both get to show up as you really are.

4. Pursuing your interests

You shouldn't have to completely sacrifice your hobbies, friendships, and individuality upon partnering up. You're still a whole individual with your own life, hobbies, friend circle and identity outside the relationship. If your partner tries to smother all that, saying "oh hell nah" is a perfectly reasonable response.

5. Expecting effort

Why should you be the only one bending over backwards to make the relationship thrive? Nope, you deserve a partner who matches your energy - making time for quality together-times, pulling their weight with chores and responsibilities, and actually putting in work when issues pop up instead of dipping out. Effort is equally shared in a healthy partnership.

The key difference between healthy and unhealthy entitlement is flexibility versus control. Reasonable entitlement means having needs and asserting them - but being open to compromise and your partner's boundaries too. Unreasonable entitlement is making rigid rules your partner must obey, acting like a parent rather than an equal.

In a healthy union, both people show up as whole individuals choosing to be together, not CEO and servant. Each partner is simply "entitled" to having their basic emotional and practical needs accommodated as best as possible. This is reciprocal - it goes both ways through mutual understanding.

Counselors suggest taking care not to make your list of romantic entitlements excessive or one-sided. Be equally aware of what you owe, not just what you think you're owed. When both people hold this mindset of reasonable give-and-take, it creates an environment of shared care and trust to flourish.

Tips to Get Rid of Toxic Entitlement in Relationships

For those struggling with excessive entitlement, it's important to practice gratitude instead of focusing on what you feel owed. Regularly appreciate the things your partner does for you. Additionally, increase your self-awareness about when your expectations become unreasonable or inconsiderate of your partner's needs and limitations. Learn to make requests instead of demands, and be willing to compromise. Consider your partner's perspective before making asks of them.

If you tend towards restrictive entitlement, the key is building self-worth independent of your partner's acceptance. Don't silence your own desires to avoid potential conflicts. Give yourself permission to have needs and wants, and voice them consistently through respectful communication. Set boundaries about how you want to be treated - you deserve to have your needs considered too.

In general, work on increasing self-esteem through positive self-talk, accomplishing personal goals, and self-care. Open and honest communication about mutual expectations and needs is crucial. Be willing to compromise when those needs conflict. For engrained entitled mindsets, consider couples counseling to help reframe perspectives. The ultimate goal is fostering a balanced, assertive entitlement dynamic where both partners feel able to advocate for their needs while still being considerate of the other.

Excessive entitlement stems from a skewed perspective of brushing off your partner's needs. Restrictive entitlement comes from the opposite - prioritizing your partner's needs over your own. Breaking these mindsets requires adjusting the way you view inherent self-worth and mutual consideration in your relationship.

The key is developing a balanced, reciprocal mindset where you advocate for your needs while still being considerate of your partner's needs and limitations too. Excessive and restrictive entitlement both require adjusting skewed perspectives.

At the end of the day, the only person you're entitled to in a relationship is yourself. Having a partner is a privilege, not a right!

Releasing entitled mindsets and treating your significant other as an equal, flawed human who has the same needs as you do is crucial. Toxic entitlement and relationships simply can't coexist. Make the choice to replace demands with gratitude and expectations with empathy. That's how any couple can create a romance that feels like an endless wellspring, not an arid desert of selfishness.

About the Author

Sheravi Mae Galang

Sheravi Mae Galang is a Content Coordinator for the Couply app. Couply was created to help couples improve their relationships. Couply has over 300,000 words of relationship quizzes, questions, couples games, and date ideas and helps over 400,000 people. You can connect with her through email here.