Keeping a score of you do and of what your partner is not doing and letting your know, on a regular basis, how he or she isn’t meeting your expectations and how much more you are doing than they are is a huge problem for relationships problems.
What many couples do, without knowing it, every day of their lives together. This habit contributes to resentment, frustration, apathy, and an overall breakdown of an otherwise positive relationship.
For various reasons, it’s tempting to keep track, either silently or even out loud, of all that you’re doing to contribute to the relationship, to make your partner’s life easier, and how much you sacrifice in the name of the relationship. You think of how many times in a row you’ve cleaned the house, or paid the bills, or driven to work, or done the laundry, or bathed the children, or whatever.
Perhaps we do this for fear we won’t be appreciated or maybe it’s because we’re slightly resentful of the role we find ourselves in or perhaps it’s something altogether different. Whatever the reason, it backfires.
When you engage in this extremely common habit, two things are certain. First, your excessive thinking about the perceived inequities in your relationship will frustrate you and stress you out. When you constantly remind yourself of your own hard work, you’ll invariably feel angry at your partner, and in many cases, your loving feelings will diminish. The connection between your thinking and the way you feel is undeniable. As you think about your resentments and fill your mind with your unfair task load, you’ll feel the effects of those burdensome thoughts you’ll feel taken advantage of and burned out.
Second, your partner will feel your resentment and built-up tension— which will give him or her more negativity to latch on to and think about. No one wants to feel as though their partner is put off and angered by the contributions they are making. In fact, the usual response to discovering this is to become defensive about how much he or she is doing in comparison. Both parties dig in and think even more about how much they are doing— score cards are flying! Negative feelings surround your relationship, and both partners think the other is to blame.
When keeping score enters your mind, see if you can drop those thoughts and bring yourself back to a loving feeling. Remind yourself that it’s easier to see your own contribution and to take your partner’s efforts for granted.
For the moment, reverse this thought process. Think not of what your partner isn’t doing, but instead think of what he is doing. You may discover that some portion of your frustration isn’t reality, but simply a mental habit that has crept into your thinking.
Each time you dismiss your “this isn’t fair” thinking, you’ll be contributing to the good will of your relationship. In doing so, you’ll keep your loving feelings alive. Remember, it’s always easier to have heartfelt discussions or discuss difficult issues when your heart is filled with love and patience. If you can nip this tendency in the bud, the mutual love and respect in your relationship will return or get even stronger and keep all relationships problems at bay