Drop The Baggage: Why You Shouldn’t Keep Score In A Relationship
Maybe to protect ourselves from being “duped,” or maybe because we’ve been taken advantage of in the past, many of us can get in the habit of keeping score in a relationship. Anytime we’re going to do something nice for our guy we ask ourselves, “Would he do this for me? Has he done this for me? Does he deserve this?” But keeping score in a relationship is the beginning of the end because that’s no longer love; that’s competition. Here’s why it ruins relationships.
People give in different ways
Have you heard of the different languages of love? Some people show love by giving gifts, some say it with their words, some show it with physical affection, others by doing things to help you. It may not be fair to hold it against your man for not giving you enough gifts, or paying you enough compliments when he completely makes up for it in other ways—in his own language of love. Before you start making marks on his chart, ask yourself: does he show love in other ways?
People can only give in certain ways
One of you may have more money, one more time on your hands, one more skills in one area, one more connections. Everyone has his or her own set of resources. You can’t begrudge a man with little money for not treating you to monetary presents. So long as he is still sharing with you the resources he does have—spending time with you, fixing something you don’t know how to fix—he is still giving. And there’s really no keeping score there: how do you measure a monetary gift against time spent helping you? You don’t.
You can’t enjoy what you receive
When your relationship becomes about being completely “even” on what you give, you can no longer enjoy what your partner gives you. Any time he gives you something, you wonder if he’s just doing it because he has to even the score.
He’s always expecting something in return
You also can’t enjoy what you receive because it’s basically the same as receiving a task—now you have to do the same thing for him in return.
You can’t enjoy giving
Any time you give your partner something, you know in the back of his head he’s thinking, “She’s doing this because she has to” or “Great, now I have to do the same thing for her.” Do you see how that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from giving just…goes away when you start keeping score? Poof!
The argument is a black hole
The argument of why or how one person is falling short on the scoreboards is a big black hole. Say you get angry at your boyfriend for not bringing you soup when you’re sick, but he says he was busy with work, but you say you brought him soup when you were busy once, but he says the work he was doing was something he could not get out of that day…do you see where this is going? Nowhere! Essentially, you’re just trying to prove that your partner doesn’t care about you and his excuse is just that—an excuse. Why would you want to prove that?
Remember: what’s good for him is good for you
You shouldn’t even be in the mentality of, “What am I getting from this relationship?” or “What is he getting out of it?” For a relationship to work, you should both be doing things that benefit the relationship as a whole. Simply doing something that makes your partner happy feeds happiness back into the relationship. That in and of itself should be what you’re getting back. You shouldn’t be waiting for your partner to do the exact same act for you.
You’ll always feel like a b-word after
Nobody ever feels as good as they’d like when they “make their point.” For example, when you withhold something from your partner because he wouldn’t or didn’t do the same thing for you, you never end up feeling good about that. That “Ha!” moment never really comes. What comes is seeing someone you love not getting something that would have made them happy. You end up not caring that you proved something. You just end up feeling like a b**ch.
People go through phases
We can’t all be at our best all the time. People go through phases and experiences that drain them. At various times you or your partner may be sick, or have a sick family member, or be particularly taxed at work, or be depressed. There are naturally times when one partner has to give more to keep the relationship afloat.
You’ll compare him to your exes
When you get into the mode of keeping score, you’ll accidentally begin comparing your current partner to your exes. And you’ll compare for stupid reasons. You can’t help it. Once you start keeping score, you start to think, “Well, my last boyfriend bought me a present every week” or “My last boyfriend took time away from his friends every weekend to be with me.” This is when you completely lose sight of what’s important—of the person standing in front of you and his merits as a person. You’re so focused on what he has or hasn’t done for you, or given you, that it no longer is about who he is.
He’ll compare you to his exes
How do you like that? What goes around comes around. If you want to start playing the game of, “I did this for you and you didn’t do it for me in return!” your boyfriend will play back. And then he too will start thinking of exes that did cook for him/buy him gifts/hang out with his mom—whatever it is that you’re not doing.
You’ll feel competitive
You should never have to be proving anything or making any sort of impression in a relationship. It’s supposed to be, if anything, the last complete safe zone in your life where you don’t have to be looking over your shoulder, wondering what your “grade” is. Once you lose that, you’ve lost the sole purpose of being in a relationship. It’s just another competitive realm in your life, like your work or social life.
Does he give you enough?
Take your brain out of the equation. Do you feel, in your heart, that your partner is there for you? That he does think about you in the decisions that he makes, and cares about your wellbeing? Do you feel truly lacking something in your relationship? Or does that kick in only when you let your manipulative brain take over?
Are his intentions in the right place?
Even if he does fail to do certain things, do you really think he takes pleasure in seeing you not have something you want? Do you really think he intentionally fails to satisfy you? If you think that, then you have a bigger problem than just not having a Valentine’s Day gift or a boyfriend that will bring you soup when you’re sick. You have the wrong boyfriend! But if you know that he does everything within his control to be there for you, the details shouldn’t matter.