Stop keeping score in relationships for lasting happiness. Learn how to nurture emotional wellbeing and foster a strong, loving connection with your partner

This Is The ONE Time I Don't Believe in Keeping Score in Relationships

Oct 25, 2023

When it comes to competition, I've always been the person who's got to win. I get into it (sometimes too into it) and you bet I'm always . 

Competition is a driving source for me that allows me to be passionate about the things I enjoy. Even if I lose, I've gained momentum and energy to try again next time. By being competitive, I have the ability to strengthen my emotional wellbeing while building momentum

Keeping score can be helpful to your motivation, but when is it not alright? It's not ok to keep score in your relationship. This is especially true when it comes to your significant other. 

Sometimes I find myself keeping score in relationship when it comes to my wife, like with who cooks the most or who the kids like more, but then I catch myself. I'm having an “I am the champion” mindset, when it should be, like Queen said: “We Are The Champions.” 

In those moments, I am being pulled in by competition when it shouldn't be part of a relationship at all. The only thing that keeping score can do in a relationship is hurt it. You start by comparing how much money you make, to adding up every little thing against your partner. 

By doing that, you are critically damaging the relationship as well as your emotional wellbeing. Odds are, you probably care a lot about your partner, so this is the opposite of what you want to do. 

Your mindset has transformed from being about the relationship to only yourself. By keeping score in relationship, you are letting your need to “win” outrun the fact that your partner is supposed to be on your side. I'm not fighting against my wife, we're in this thing TOGETHER. 

If you just spend your time tallying up the score against your significant other, things will only continue to roll downhill. That's why my wife and I have AGREEMENTS with each other. By doing this, we communicate our issues and concerns in an open and honest way in order to avoid the competitive mentality and ensure our emotional wellbeing. 

So, How Do You Use Agreements To Boost Your Emotional Wellbeing? 

I know it's hard to take the competition out of things sometimes, but to have a successful and happy relationship, it has to be done. There are three steps to stop keeping score and amplify your (and your SO'S) emotional well-being:

  • The first step is to know that arguments are normal. It's ok to argue sometimes, but make sure that when you do, you choose what you say carefully. It's important to keep hateful language away to show your partner you aren't trying to make things a competition. Take a breather, and then speak. 

  • No complaining just ‘cause. It's totally fine to air your grievances to your partner, but ONLY if you are attempting to find a solution first. This helps us, and our kids, learn to be growth-owners that build up positive momentum rather than gaining negativity!

  • Break down walls and build up bridges. Start by replacing “you” when bringing up something your partner may not want to hear and instead say “I feel like…” By doing this, you'll boost your emotional wellbeing by letting your SO know that you're hurting, but they won't feel blamed.

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When you're competing with someone, you tally up a score. A relationship isn't about that, and we need to make sure we aren't tallying up scores at the end of the day. To have a successful marriage, agreements should always be a number one priority. 

Reasons Why Keeping Score in Relationships Might Not be a Good Idea

In the world of sports and competition, keeping score is a natural and even necessary aspect of determining a winner. However, when it comes to relationships, especially romantic ones, adopting this mindset can lead to detrimental outcomes.

Let's delve deeper into why keeping score in relationships might not be a good idea and how to foster a healthier dynamic:

1. Misplaced Priorities

Relationships thrive on mutual understanding, empathy, and emotional support. When you start keeping score, the focus shifts from nurturing the bond to assessing who's doing more or less. Instead of being partners and best friends, you inadvertently turn into competitors, which can erode the foundation of your connection.

2. Unequal Contributions

It's important to remember that equal time doesn't always translate to equal effort or impact. Each person has their strengths, weaknesses, and circumstances. Quantifying contributions solely in terms of time spent on tasks can lead to unfair comparisons and resentment.

3. Undermining Emotional Wellbeing

Constantly comparing what you've done against what your partner has done can create an unhealthy atmosphere of competition. This not only undermines your emotional wellbeing but also hampers the emotional security that a relationship should provide. Not being emotionally connected is one of the major barriers to effective decision making.

4. Overlooking the Wonderful Things

By focusing on what's lacking or imbalanced, you might unintentionally overlook the wonderful things your partner brings to the relationship. Their emotional support, shared laughter, and the memories you create together are priceless, and these intangibles cannot be scored.

5. Weekly Arguments vs. Rock Star Sex

The time and energy you spend on tallying up scores could be better invested in nurturing the emotional and physical intimacy of the relationship. Rock star sex, relaxing together, and engaging in shared activities can help strengthen the bond far more than weekly arguments over who did the dishes last.

Happy Partner Equals a Happy Marriage!

Strategies to Stop Keeping Score in Relationship and Foster Emotional Wellbeing

Here are the strategies to Stop Keeping Score:

  1. Open Communication: Create a free communication toolkit with your partner. Make a pact to share your feelings, concerns, and needs openly without fear of judgment or blame. Developing self-reliance in handling challenges together strengthens the relationship. It also helps in reinventing yourself in the relationship.

  2. Embrace Individuality: Understand that you and your partner are unique individuals with different strengths and preferences. Rather than competing, celebrate each other's accomplishments and support personal growth.

  3. Gratitude Practice: Regularly remind yourself of the positive aspects your partner brings to the relationship. One should start living in gratitude for the love, companionship, and shared experiences you both enjoy.

  4. Shared Wins: Shift your mindset from 'I' to 'we.' When your partner shares good news or accomplishes something, celebrate it as a shared victory. Your partner's success contributes to the happiness of both of you.

  5. Plan for Taking Scorekeeping Out: Develop a foolproof plan for taking scorekeeping out of your relationship. This could involve setting a weekly date night where you both share the highlights of your week, emphasizing the positive aspects instead of comparing tasks completed.

An Extra Tip To Bolster Your Emotional Wellbeing

Find some time to meet with your partner this week to sit down and talk. During this time, write down three things you think could help take your relationship to the next level.

Compare your lists and figure out which one you want to put in action TOGETHER. You can even use tech like our weekly habit tracker app to gamify this process with weekly reminders telling you to keep it up!

Remember not to only think about yourself! A relationship is all about thinking about the ways in which you BOTH can win instead of fighting against each other in this crazy game called life. 

You can keep thinking of new ways to bolster your relationship and emotional wellbeing as time goes on, and soon you'll be on your way to replacing failed habits with successful ones! 

In Conclusion

A thriving relationship is built on trust, understanding, and support, not on scorekeeping. Remember that the time and effort invested in nurturing your emotional bond far outweigh the tallying of tasks.

By letting go of the competitive mentality, you and your partner can truly be allies, making the journey of life a shared adventure filled with love, growth, and happiness.

So, put away the scoreboard and focus on what truly matters – fostering a deep and meaningful connection.

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Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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