It’s natural to compare and contrast. Our brains are designed to do just that and we’ve been trained since Kindergarten the value in comparing and contrasting. It’s a wonderful cognitive skill and serves us in many ways. The one area of our lives where it does not serve us as well is in our relationships. We can create unnecessary pain for our mates and ourselves when we start to compare. And if you don’t think you do this, consider the following thoughts. You probably have one of them or a version of one all your own.
• I’ve gotten up twice to check on the baby, it’s now your turn.
• You’ve picked out the movie last time, this time it’s my turn.
• I do all the work around the house and you just sit there doing nothing.
• When I cook, I want you to do the dishes; when you cook, I want you to do the dishes (sometimes you simply want the scorecard to end up in your favor)
• If you do the laundry, you just might get lucky later.
• How come you get ______ and I don’t?
• I’m tired of giving more than I receive.
Okay, enough examples. You get what I mean. Most of you at one time or another will keep track of who is doing what, who is doing more, and who is getting more of what they want. You negotiate these issues and when the balance gets out of whack, you feel slighted and annoyed. This is when the silent treatment begins, one of you goes on strike, or a direct confrontation turns into a power struggle of who’s version of reality is right. Sound familiar? Guess what? You are in a transactional relationship. Most people are. And while transactional relationships are common and natural, they are also limiting.
The good news? There is another way. Instead of focusing on who is doing, getting, or wanting more, try focusing on the needs of the relationship and your big picture goals. In other words, if you both are committed to taking care of the relationship’s needs and the end results, you will become more effective teammates (or partners) rather than competitors. You will be more efficient in getting the job done and more committed to making sure everyone’s needs get met. You’ll focus less on the scorecard and more on tapping into each other’s strengths. You’ll worry less about who is doing more and more on who needs more help in the moment. You’ll back each other up rather than tear each other down. You will be on your way to having a transformational relationship.
Transformational relationships are at the heart of phase four in The Pathway to Love program. To learn more about how to create transformational relationships, visit www.julieorlov.com. There you’ll find the tools and information to begin your journey today. For a private consultation, contact me via email or call at 310-379-5855 or 1-888-99PATHS.
Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery
Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com