Published in Personal Growth - Medium
5 days ago by Nick Wignall
My therapy clients often tell me about how they did something that annoyed or upset their partner or spouse.
But almost in the same breath, they follow that up with a detailed report of how it shouldn’t be that big of a deal because there were three previous occasions in the last month when their partner did the same thing to them.
This kind of relationship score-keeping is unhelpful, for sure. But it suggests a deeper problem in the relationship: you don’t trust each other.
Couples resort to score-keeping because they feel like they need ammunition to defend themselves against future mistakes.
For example: If you know your husband is going to blow up at you the next time you’re late getting ready to go out, and you don’t trust him to handle that in a mature way, you’re going to be ready with a handful of examples of when he was late, therefore making his accusations hypocritical.
But if you’ve gotten to this point — the point of needing to defend yourself by counterattacking — your relationship has much bigger problems than the two of you being late and frustrated.
Keeping score in a relationship means you’ve lost faith in your ability to handle mistakes together in a mature way.
Happy couples, on the other hand, don’t let things get this out of control in the first place. And their secret…
Happy couples are incredibly responsive to reasonable requests from their partners.
They know that, even if the request doesn’t seem all that important or crucial, it’s important to be responsive and follow through on it anyway because it builds trust in the relationship.
When you trust that your partner will respond to your needs and requests, you’re unlikely to resort to more primitive and toxic means of change — like tit-for-tat score-keeping.