Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

How often do we keep score in our relationship?

Do you keep score in your relationship?

Do you keep score in your relationship?

Who does what in your household? And do you keep score? An inflammatory question to begin with this week, but I like to get you thinking and no point beating about the bush. The fourth common relationship lie we will bring out from under the duvet is –

I am owed by my spouse/partner for all I do.”

A nasty one this one, because of how quickly frustration and resentment can accumulate. And depending on your character, this might boil over into expressed anger and full blown shouting matches. Or the passive-aggressive respondents amongst you might seethe inwardly and take the martyrdom route. I confess to both. Again, not pretty, not character building nor relationship strengthening behaviour.

But lets be honest and face what is common in many established relationships, to a greater or lesser extent. We keep score in our heads of all that we do for the other – chores, household and administrative tasks, time. Sometimes we even jokingly (without much laughing) label ourselves as the household PA, cook, social secretary – perhaps us women more than men? This can quickly slip down the dark and murky plughole towards martyrdom:

“Look at all I do for you and what do you do for me in return? You owe me….”

This is linked to our emotional needs because we can very quickly feel taken for granted and ignored. We are not being shown appreciation or respect for our role and therefore a downward spiral ensues. We keep score of what we do, and notice all too quickly what the other is not doing. We choose to focus on the negative of not being appreciated and very quickly slip into blame, resentment and become entrenched in our thinking.

But who ultimately can assess what your actions or those of your spouse are worth?

We usually overestimate what we do and underestimate what our partner does.

We sometimes choose to view our relationship through lenses clouded by our expectations and past hurts.

Unmet needs surface, and we can oh-so-easily keep a record of past wrongs. The impact of this is to almost be blinded to the good in our partner and for the negative to be highlighted in neon flashing colours.

Imagine with me a different scenario that moves away from a need to keep score.

What if we were to start noticing and appreciating what our partner does do, and verbalising it? Especially the mundane, repetitive stuff of life that can quickly suck the joy out of a relationship. Rather than criticising our partner for what they have failed to do, noticing what they have done and affirming and encouraging.

I feel you throwing things at the computer and I realise how trite and simplistic this might sound. And I am just as much in the mire of this one as you might be.

But what is the cost of staying stuck where one or both of you keep score in the relationship? Where ultimately is that going to lead? How much joy and connection does that bring to the relationship?

This week, try a little experiment with me. Pay attention to all the times you are tempted to keep score with your partner – of all that you do, and of what the other fails to do. Dig a little under the surface of why this is so frustrating, and see what needs you might come across. And next week, we will look at a different way forward.

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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