Balancing Give-and-Take Without Keeping Score

It’s really hard to keep track of giving and taking in a relationship without keeping score or a tally chart of how many times you or your partner have done things for each other.

And sure, you can do that, but it can be detrimental to a relationship, no matter how strong the love between you two is.

Here are some simple ways to determine whether or not there’s a good balance of give and take in your relationship.

1. You don’t take each other for granted.

It’s very easy to fall into this spectrum, especially when you’re in a long-term relationship, because you figure, “Hey, my partner knows that I love him/her, so why do I need to always remind them or show them that?”

But relationships cannot thrive when couples fall into this area. In this territory comes laziness, bitterness, lukewarmness, and gets at a standstill. If you and your partner don’t take each other for granted, that shows that there is a good amount of effort from both sides, and it’s done out of willingness, not of obligation.

My boyfriend and I are in our fourth year of doing long-distance, and we’ve had times where it seemed like we were being too comfortable with each other. But we addressed it and then took steps to prevent another downfall.

2. You take turns paying for meals or activities.

Finances are usually how most people track the whole give-and-take ordeal, and although it’s not the be all end all of how healthy your relationship is, it’s still a good benchmark to evaluate where it stands.

My boyfriend and I don’t have a list of who paid for what, but we determine what either of us will pay for. For example, when the bill comes for dinner, we’ll make a decision about who will pay for the meal, and whoever doesn’t, will pay for the next meal or the next activity.

Not paying for everything can indicate how willing your partner is to invest and treat you to something as simple as a meal.

3. Neither of you feel that giving is an obligation.

It’s tiring to always be giving and not having the opportunity to take from your partner. It can drain you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

In a relationship where there is a good balance of give and take, no one sees giving to the other as an obligation. Instead, it’s done out of joy, willingness, and love. It’s not seen as a sacrifice but a way to contribute to helping the relationship thrive.

If you’re in a relationship where giving to the other is a selfless act or something where you think is a huge loss or a blow, that can be an indicator that there isn’t a good balance of give and take in the relationship.

There are so many people who stay in relationships that are mediocre or good enough, but you shouldn’t be aiming for that. You and your partner should aim to pursue a relationship and be in one that is thriving.

Take the time to address this imbalance with your partner, and collaborate with them to come up with ways to get out of this rut.

But if there is no willingness to change or admit to fault, it may be time for both of you to reflect and think about whether this is the right relationship for you.

Image: Bigstock

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