There seems to be a persistent belief that relationships are fair. What a set up!
Let's be honest instead of nice and just talk truth. Relationships won't always be fair. I know, I know, Walt Disney would tell us otherwise but Disney, Hollywood and rom com's are not accurate on this topic. Truth is, sometimes you'll be getting more benefits than the other person and other times they'll be getting more. Trouble comes when the expectation of 'fairness' isn't met and couples start tallying up a score-card to reflect who owes who what in the relationship. Psychology coined this fun behavior as, "scorekeeping".
We all have learned to keep score from an early age. Just this morning, my 8 year old casually set 18 quarters on my counter saying, "I don't need these anymore" (which is more gangsta than I care to admit). Come to discover, he's eyeing a new 1100.00 cell phone (in order to locate pokemon) and figured a little 'gift' couldn't hurt his cause. Another term for this concept is 'quid quo pro'. This is just a fancy term for "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine." This mentality can destroy relationships because when expectations aren't met (which happen in every non movie relationship), humans end up focusing more on what they're NOT getting. In other words, their awareness around negative aspects of their partner go up. Way, way up. Simultaneously, their relational satisfaction goes down. Way, way down. Eventually this leads to the thought of, "I can do better than this" and kiss the relationship buh-bye if this thought takes root.
All of this starts with a little scorekeeping.
Gifts come in many forms. They can be physical gifts or behavioral gifts (service). When a gift is given with expectation, it's no longer a gift - it's a business transaction.
That's worth saying again. If a gift is given with strings attached (expectations), it's not a gift, it's a business transaction.
The key to lasting relationships is to figure out how to give to your partner because you love them and want to - not to get something in return. A little awareness in this area can go a long way not only in in creating relational peace; it will do wonders on your personal well-being, too.
Thank you for reading! If you think this information could help others, please share it, like it and comment. I'd love hearing your thoughts on this idea. Lastly, don't forget to subscribe to the Meaning to Live 'Jed Said' channel and visit the website for more therapy goodness.
Till next time - awareness UP.
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