Disney & High School Musical have pretty much screwed us in terms of relationship expectations. I mean if you don’t meet your soulmate being forced to sing on a New Year’s Eve cruise with your family, where will you? In an age of split-second swiping decisions and terrible Tinder dates – you’d think that when you find a real relationship, the hard part is over. As your self-proclaimed fairy-god girlfriend it’s my job to give it to you straight. Relationships are hard and take effort to make them work. One of the biggest misconceptions is that 50/50 is the way to go and I’m here to tell you why that won’t work.
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It’s unreasonable to expect that 100% of the time you will be able and willing to do half of everything in your relationship and expect your partner to pick up the other half. For example, if the “rule” in the household is that the husband cooks in the kitchen and the wife cleans up the kitchen – that would be an example of a 50/50 partnership. It’s certainly fair and should be easy enough to keep up with.
But life isn’t like that.
A healthy relationship shouldn’t be a one-way street. When two people care about each other, they are not burdened by being aware of carrying their own equal amount of weight. They understand things will not always be perfectly balanced. In a true partnership you would work together as a team, picking up the slack for the other when things just aren’t falling into place. (To be clear, by no means am I advocating for you to do all the housework and your man to sits on the couch and plays video games. –more on that later-) I suggest a 60/60 rule. This doesn’t necessarily mean the contributions are perfectly equal; it just means each person is giving it his or her part, plus that extra 10 percent.
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A healthy relationship is a support system. For a support system to be a true symbiotic system, it needs to be a two-way street, hence the 60/60 rule. Both partners should establish themselves as supportive figures in each other’s lives.
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Consider your relationship an investment, but not a business. Conducting a relationship as a business deal will be detrimental to your relationship in the long run. When you see your partnership as a quid pro quo, you are more conditional with your actions. Work to cultivate a more generous culture of giving in your relationship. That can be through loving verbally, gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, or just being thoughtful and intentional with the time you give to your partner.
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When your relationship is your top priority, you need to treat it as a separate entity. The relationship needs full effort and attention in order to thrive. Instead of being on opposite sides, you are now on one team that is working together towards the needs of the relationship. The problem with 50/50 is that that if you define your relationship in terms of fairness and equality then your partnership soon turns into a contest with scorekeeping as a priority.
Even if you win, you lose. You lose intimacy in your relationship, you lose the ability to surprise and delight the one you love, and overall you lose the atmosphere of respect. Instead, you should do your best to understand and support your partner’s dreams. In fact, dream with your partner.