Giving and taking is a core part of every relationship. Most commonly, relationship advice says that this is a true statement. However, it’s a difficult question to answer and requires a longer response. People often believe that relationships follow a natural 50/50 split where both people give and receive. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most relationships; instead, one person arbitrarily decides to keep track of how many times they’ve received compared to how many times they’ve given.
This article thoroughly explains why keeping score prevents closeness between partners by exploring the phenomenon further.
What does it mean to keep a score in a relationship?
Keeping track of results in a relationship has been shown to have protective origins based on behavioral science. In order to feel connected to others, people relied on the social bonds they formed. This led them to seek status in their group; how could they achieve this goal better than showing off the value they provided?
What is the significance of maintaining a relationship score in today’s society?
In modern relationships, many people seek to assert power and inequality over their significant other. This is due to the fact that our current stressors aren’t threats to survival anymore. It’s also a sign of an imbalance of contribution between the two people in a relationship. For example, a person in a relationship might seek to show their significant other that they were “right” and their partner was “wrong.”
Scorekeeping imposes irrational and dysfunctional expectations that cause lowered intimacy and increased conflict.
Failing to understand the score is a sure way to fail.
It pits you against one another.
Playing keeping score turns your partnership into a competitive activity. Instead of playing cooperatively with your partner, you’re now playing against each other. Considering that only one of you can win, you’re entrenched in opposing camps. Competition is rubbing off on everything in your life, including your relationships. And how could anyone possibly build a healthy and loving relationship when they’re constantly conscious of their competition?
Look at your relationship differently to change the dynamic. Consider your partner a teammate instead of an opponent. And consider ways to work together that better your relationship. Instead of forcing your partner to wash the dishes, find new ways to help each other recharge. For example, set aside money to buy a dishwasher; after it’s purchased, collect all dishes and load them in the machine at once. This way you can use the time saved from not washing dishes to do something more intimate for your relationship.
The happiness of your lover is equivalent to your own. Right?
Competing with your partner means both of you lose when you continue competing. This can mean that their happiness means your loss, which can be interpreted as them winning. The act of withholding positive news from one’s partner is a negative aspect of any relationship. This leads to anger and estrangement, which don’t foster a positive framework for the two.
John Gottman is an expert on relationships who studied marriages for years. He discovered that many troubled relationships end when one or both partners can’t bond over positive news about the other. Gottman coined the term “disaster couples” for these relationships. He says that people should take note of his research and use it to improve their relationship success. Daily congratulate each other on any accomplishments, no matter how small. This will develop a close relationship full of love. Empathy and understanding can be cultivated through conversation every day.
Listening is impaired when scores are kept
When your partner suggests a shared activity, you often immediately shut them down. For example, they want to snuggle up on the couch to watch a TV show you like together. However, you’re tired and want to go to sleep right away. Listing all the things you’ve done that day in a defensive manner is another way to keep track of your relationship score. Getting defensive about your tired state is another way to measure how successful your relationship is.
Not hearing your partner’s reasons for suggestions or acknowledging their needs makes you unable to understand their needs or desires. Furthermore, not paying attention to your partner when you’re tired won’t alleviate their stress if they believe you ignored them. Refusing to listen to their concerns and needs doesn’t go unnoticed, because actions are louder.
Always listen to your spouse when they ask for something. They may need to state their request again if you misunderstood them the first time. If you decide how you’re going to respond before paying attention to what they’re saying, this can cause you to miss important information. Try listening to your significant other when they offer a suggestion. This can lead to greater understanding and closeness!
It’s impossible to keep track of everything
Too many factors determine a relationship’s outcome that keeping track of scores doesn’t work. For starters, you can’t accurately measure everything that happens in a relationship. By focusing on one partner over the other, you’re not creating a loving connection between the two of you.
As people don’t consider the same things valuable, they come up with different systems for measuring their intelligence. One person’s love language is time together; another considers tangible gifts a sign of affection. When purchasing jewelry for someone’s birthday, consider their relationship with their partner. This act might upset the recipient if they feel ignored by their partner in favor of materialistic gifts.
This game requires careful consideration of one’s score in order to succeed. Therefore, resist playing it! Rather, focus on staying healthy in a relationship.
What if you feel you can’t stop keeping score?
Constantly keeping a tally of scores causes unnecessary anxiety and fear. Alternatively, some people purposely create grudge scores to spite the other person. It’s unhealthy if your relationship is 90% positive and 10% negative all the time. Even if you’re constantly judging your partner’s actions by how much they give back, it might be hard to change your mindset.
Focus on maintaining your relationship’s health and well-being as your goal. Discuss concerns related to inequality with your partner. Be sure to be open and non-defensive from the beginning— with the goal of finding a balance between both parties.
Healthy relationships require practitioners to maintain boundaries between themselves and their significant others. Doing this helps them score higher on their sexual relationship’s importance scale, even if it’s already high.
Adding additional commitment to a relationship, such as getting married or living together, can cause scoring to increase. Before moving in together or getting married, make sure you’re ready for the increased commitment by listening to your feelings and asking yourself what you want. Exploring the reasons for any unease with your significant other is a great way to build closeness and increase communication in a relationship. By discussing concerns and opening up a dialogue, people find common ground that can ease misunderstandings.
In Conclusion is a book by John Berridge. It focuses exclusively on the final thoughts and feelings of the author.
Scorekeeping in a relationship can cause separations that are avoidable. However, it’s important to understand that relinquishing scorekeeping doesn’t mean you should refrain from communication or put up with disrespectful behavior. If you’re feeling like you’re providing more than you’re receiving in your relationship, it’s a sign that things aren’t functional and you should discuss your issues.