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avoid keeping score in your relationship - it can hurt the romance

In romantic relationships, it is common for individuals to keep track of contributions and maintain a sense of balance. This practice, known as 'keeping score', can seem harmless, but it can actually be harmful and prevent true closeness between partners. For a relationship to work there should be no absolute winners and losers. Ideally, you should both feel like you've won by having a partner who has your back that will be there to face all of life's challenges together with you.


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Keeping score can stem from an imbalance of power or contribution, unrealistic expectations, or a desire to maintain social status. However, instead of focusing on caring for each other and celebrating each other's achievements, individuals who keep score become preoccupied with their own needs and interests, leading to a breakdown in communication and feelings of resentment.

The negative effects of keeping score in relationships are significant and can ultimately lead to the end of the partnership. In the short-term, keeping score can lead to feelings of frustration, disappointment, and anger. It can also lead to a lack of trust and a sense of competition between partners, making it difficult to build a strong foundation for the relationship.

In the long-term, keeping score can lead to feelings of resentment and a breakdown in communication, ultimately leading to a lack of intimacy and closeness between partners. Therefore, it is important to understand why keeping score hurts relationships and how to avoid this damaging habit in order to build a healthy and happy partnership.

Negative Effects

The practice of keeping score in a relationship has negative effects on relationship health. It can harm the relationship and prevent closeness by creating a sense of competition between partners rather than fostering collaboration. When keeping score, partners may become more focused on their individual contributions rather than working together for the benefit of the relationship. This can lead to resentment and a lack of trust, as each partner may feel that their efforts are not being recognized or valued.

Additionally, keeping score may be a result of an imbalance of contribution or a symptom of the power dynamic in the relationship. One partner may feel that they are doing more than the other and become resentful, leading them to keep track of their contributions and use it as leverage in arguments. This can further damage the relationship and create a cycle of hurt feelings and anger. The impact on trust and communication cannot be understated, as the practice of scorekeeping can lead to misunderstandings and a lack of investment in the relationship's success.

Partners should focus on caring for each other and finding ways to be a better team together, rather than tallying up individual scores or focusing on who won something. Communication is key in any healthy relationship, and keeping score can inhibit honest and open communication. Partners may be more likely to hide their true feelings or be defensive when discussing issues related to their contributions, leading to a breakdown in communication and furthering the divide between them.

Instead of keeping score, partners should work together to establish healthy boundaries and determine a system that works for both of them. This can help to avoid scorekeeping and maintain a healthy, respectful relationship built on trust and communication.

Alternative Mindsets

An approach that focuses on mutual support and cooperation rather than individual achievement can foster stronger and healthier relationships. Mindful approaches that prioritize the well-being of both partners can help avoid scorekeeping and build a deeper connection. By embracing positive reinforcement, partners can celebrate each other's achievements every day and nurture a loving relationship. This can be achieved by recognizing and acknowledging each other's contributions, no matter how small they may seem, and expressing gratitude for them.

Moreover, by adopting an alternative mindset, couples can work together as a team and find ways to better support each other. This can be done by establishing healthy boundaries that respect each other's needs and desires, and by communicating concerns about any perceived imbalances. By doing so, partners can work together to create a more equitable and fulfilling relationship.

In the end, it is important to remember that scorekeeping is an unhelpful and unrealistic habit that can harm relationships. Instead, couples should strive for mutual support and cooperation, and celebrate their achievements together.

Evolutionary Factors

Evolutionary factors may have contributed to the development of scorekeeping behavior in early human societies. Protective instincts and the need to maintain social hierarchy were likely driving forces behind this behavior. In earlier times, survival was a primary stressor, and people sought to maintain their status in their social group. Keeping score may have been a way to ensure fair distribution of resources and prevent exploitation by others.

However, in modern times, the need for scorekeeping has diminished, and it can often harm relationships. Keeping score in a relationship can create an imbalance of power and prevent closeness. It is an unhelpful habit based on unrealistic expectations and can lead to resentment and mistrust.

Instead, couples should focus on caring for each other, communicating concerns about inequality, and working on balance together. By giving up scorekeeping and investing in relationship success, couples can build a healthy and loving bond.

Written by:
Pro-BloggerExpert BloggerThought Leader

With more than 20 years in corporate marketing, including serving as Social Media Director for e-commerce brands such as ProFlowers and Shari's Berries where his focus was on engaging with customers looking to maintain strong relationships, passionate romances, and celebrate special occasions. 

After leaving the corporate world, James launched a series of websites promoting men's lifestyle and travel topics. He knew though that there was something missing ...

As a happily married man who loves to travel with his wife and share incredible experiences with those around them, he realized that there needed to be something else in their portfolio of websites.