Wait…what? Did you read that right? I thought I was the guy who was always supposed to be advocating for equality and fairness, particularly between genders and in relationships. Well, I still am, but the reality is that your relationship will never be truly equal. And on top of that – it shouldn’t be anyway.
How could I say such a thing? Because complete equality in a relationship is not the road to happiness, as some may think. We should all be equal in terms of rights and respect given to us, especially when part of a couple. We should all be treated fairly. But if we push the idea of a 50/50 relationship, we perpetuate a selfish mindset already rampant in our society.
Hear me out.
If I do something for a significant other, I should be doing it because I want to. Because seeing her happy makes me happy. Because she asked me to. Because she didn’t ask me to. Or maybe just for no reason at all. And her doing for me should be under the same circumstances.
The circumstance that shouldn’t be present is: I do for you because you do for me. And vice-versa. If we build a relationship on this foundation, we are not forming a connection, we are performing transactions. This, in return for that. One for you, then one for me. As if to keep score, almost.
Many negative things can stem from this, three of them being:
1. A sense of entitlement. I did something big for you, now you should do something big for me.
2. A lack of willingness to do more for your partner. You never repaid me for the last thing I did, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to do something else.
3. A feeling of obligation. Well, now I have to figure out something to do for you because you did something for me.
It does not take a relationship expert to notice the vicious cycle that can be set in motion from this kind of thinking. When we do something for our significant other, it is not something we keep in our back pocket as a ticket to be redeemed at a later date. It should be something that we give for the sake of their happiness, not our own.
Of course, this should go both ways. And I think these are the waters that begin to get muddied, because people think when a relationship goes both ways everything has to be even. The truth is, things are not going to be even. Everyone shows their love in different ways. We all have strengths and weaknesses that balance each other out. Different talents and different ways of contributing.
This is the precise reason why it’s good that we do not have equal “responsibilities.” Part of the greatness of a relationship is having a yin to your yang. A black to your white. A chocolate to your vanilla. Someone whose puzzle pieces fit into yours, not someone whose pieces overlap on top of yours.
Of course, this presents a challenge. If we do not keep score, isn’t it easy to fall into a trap where we give far more than the other person? Perhaps, and sometimes we do not notice until it is too late. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say – and looking back on an ended relationship can be the only light we shine on this issue. But this is the risk of love. This is the risk of putting another person’s interests ahead of our own.
This is why we need to make the best decisions that we can in the present, so when we get to our future we will have no regrets about our past.
You don’t need to keep score to recognize the signs that you are giving too much, you just need to be honest with yourself.
A great relationship is not 50/50, it is 100/100. When both people consistently give their all, neither will be left wanting. Your teammate’s happiness will be your happiness, and when both people feel this way about the other – you cannot lose.
Like a pitcher and a catcher on a baseball team, they need to work together seamlessly in order to perform efficiently. They communicate in their own ways and each have different talents that they leverage to get the job done.
The value they provide is equal, but the ways they do it in are not.
And that’s what makes it beautiful.
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