Let’s just put it on the table:
Love makes people act crazy.
Under the influence of all of that oxytocin and dopamine, we behave irrationally, doing things that may not be the best for us or our relationship because our drugged-out brains don’t know any better.
A lot of those behaviors, like doodling our lover’s name in our notebooks and daydreaming about our future babies, is no big deal. But some of them can be actively harmful to our relationships and potentially threaten our future as a couple.
One of the worst offenders?
It goes a little like this:
You love your partner and you want them to be happy, so you do nice things for them. You cook them meals, you buy them flowers, you take care of them when they’re sick. But then you’re sick one day and your partner doesn’t even bother making you that chicken soup you like. And you complain about being tired but they don’t offer you a massage like you do for them. And you’re left thinking that you’re a better partner than they are. You put in more effort, you make more sacrifices and you deserve better, don’t you? Because you did five nice things this week and they only did two.
Stop right there.
Because your relationship is not a competition. It’s not about who scores more points for doing nice things. As soon as you start thinking about things that way, you don’t win; everybody loses.
Because scorekeeping distorts reality. The efforts you make will stand out to you, but you’re probably forgetting to think about all the kind things your partner does for you that you don’t even notice, like washing twice as many dishes as you and making you coffee in the morning.
Even worse, instead of being loving and nice out of affection and desire to treat your partner well, you’ll start doing it just to prove your point that you’re the better partner. And you’ll resent your significant other for missing the mark in a game they’re not even aware they’re playing.
Drop the mental scoreboard.
Erase all of those tally marks. Instead, do some communicating. Are there specific needs of yours that your partner isn’t meeting? If so, you’d better tell them about it and give them a fair chance at making you happy instead of just being angry that they haven’t read your mind.
Do you feel burdened with chores and responsibilities in your relationship and household? Talk to your partner about helping you out so that you don’t feel as though you’re unfairly tasked with more work than they are.
Remind yourself why you love your partner.
Because you shouldn’t be in a relationship for the gifts and favors anyway. You should be there because of who your partner is, what they add to your life, and how they make you happy just by being who they are.
So appreciate what you have. Learn to give for the sake of giving. Talk things out when you’re starting to feel a lack of balance in your relationship. That’s what will make things work in the long term. No score necessary.