Why Healthy Relationships Are Not Always 50/50

Do you believe that 50/50 equal relationships are the happiest/healthiest? You may want to think again.

When describing an ideal relationship, one bullet point may be sharing tasks, responsibilities and care for one another equally because it says that each partner is committed the same amount. We all want to believe that our partner will care for us and be committed to the relationship as much as we are. That notion makes us believe that no one is carrying the relationship and that putting in the same amount will lead to success. I have found that dispersing the responsibility for the relationship in a less “50/50 way” opens up couples to care more deeply for one another more organically.

Sometimes your relationship may be 70/30 and that is okay. Finding ways to bring the relationship back into balance occurs while you are caring for one another and bolstering each other up. We all go through struggles in our lives and having a supportive relationship to feel cared for in is key. Rather than pointing out your partner’s lack of presence in the relationship, understand that sometimes you need to give a little bit more while your partner tends to other issues in their lives. Talking openly about these issues and the need for support helps each partner to recognize the imbalance and embrace it as a way of showing love for one another.

By allowing the care in your relationship to ebb and flow each partner is able to experience feeling cared for and also caring for, one another in a way that may not happen if forced to adhere to the 50/50 rule. Using fairness and equality as an appraisal of a good relationship often leaves partners feeling competitive and in a contest, not a marriage. Score-keeping belongs on the field, not in the home. Even when you win, your relationship loses and intimacy dwindles. Having respect for you and your partner’s individual needs can help you want to put more into the relationship and stop comparing your to-do lists.

The next time your relationship is feeling unequal, try looking for ways to support one another and gradually bringing it back toward feeling balanced. Find joy in helping your partner feel joy.

I am a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist practicing in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina. I enjoy working with people on improving their lives, relationships and feeling all around more mentally healthy.

Michelle A Coomes MA, LMFT    704-237-0814



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