Is keeping score in a relationship healthy?

Keeping score in modern-day relationships is more likely a behavior asserted in an imbalance of contribution or a symptom of the power dynamic. For example, a person in a relationship seeks to prove he/she is “right” and their partner is “wrong.” They keep a count of everything. 

This inevitably leads to feelings of resentment, anxiety, frustration and disappointment. Not the feelings you want if you’re looking for a connected, happy and satisfying relationship. Whether you’ve been together 7 months or 7 years, keeping score and competing often becomes an unwelcome component of many relationships.

Keeping score is an unhelpful habit based on unrealistic expectations that can set you up for decreased intimacy and increased conflict.

Below are the reasons why keeping score should be avoided in any relationship.

Keeping score prevents you from listening

For instance, your partner wants to cuddle up on a sofa to watch your favorite show together, but you’re exhausted and can’t wait to go to bed. Instead of talking about your evening and seeking to understand their perspective, you defensively list all the things you’ve done that day and why you’re so tired. That’s another version of keeping score in a relationship.

When you’re not listening to your partner, you don’t hear the reasoning behind their suggestions—or acknowledge their needs. If your partner feels ignored, the fact that you worked hard all day won’t make them feel better. And neither will your insistence that you’re not ignoring them and their needs.

You might be “ahead” in some relationships but “behind” in others.

No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to balance out all of your relationships.

While you’re upset at someone because you think they don’t contribute, I’m sure there is someone else out there whom you are neglecting just as much. Be grateful for those people.

Whatever extra you might be giving to certain individuals, consider that good karma and a form of paying it forward for all the people who have given you so much.

Keeping score is sweating the small stuff

When you keep score, you spend a lot of time focusing on minor things that don’t really matter.

By thinking about these insignificant details, you distract yourself from all the good things about your relationships.

Instead of thinking about the things you give up, think about the great experiences you’ve had together.

Keeping score is totally self centred

When you keep score, you’re thinking about how he’s wronging you, and not the other way around. No one’s perfect, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ve done plenty of stuff to piss him off or hurt his feelings, too.

We are human, and we all make mistakes

Even your mom has crabbier days, but you probably aren’t bringing up that bitchy comment she made last year every time she tries to pry too far into your business.

Its a buffer for the real issues

Perhaps your feeling of anger towards him for not helping you do the laundry will not be settled till you actually speak and tell him what you want of him rather than thinking that he should know what to do using his on conscience. If you start dealing with your actual thoughts and feelings, you won’t need to keep score.

How hard you may try, things could never be totally even anyway.

You’re different people with different ways of approaching the world, so you’re never going to act or react to things in the same way. Expecting that is not only a waste of time, but a bit narcissistic. Why would you want to be with someone exactly like you?