Clearly it takes two to ruin a relationship. If you’re the type of partner who constantly keeps score of what he’s doing and what you’re doing, and stacking up resentments, this is for you.
Say you are arguing. The fight starts out about him forgetting to bring you dinner. Trivial? Yes. Most likely the effect of him being to busy and simply forgetting. You mention that you’re disappointed and things quickly get out of control. Pretty soon you’re mentioning that time last year when he showed up late to your dinner party. Is this time like that one last year? No. Did you resolve that issue at the time? Yes, and he apologized profusely.
In making the case that he’s not thoughtful in the current day by using long buried resentments, you’re throwing fuel on the fire and making it impossible for either of you to safely move on. Your mental scorecard gets another check mark next to “insensitivity”. Next time, the same thing happens. Finally, after the 234th mention of something he did wrong in the past, he screams back at you “I can never do anything right!!!”
Here are 5 reasons why you should stop keeping score right now.
1. No Argument Is Ever Truly Solved
The other person moved on and has long forgotten about the last argument you had. All of the sudden, when you mention it in the current day, they are being held responsible for something that they thought was dead and buried, long apologized for. It feels like crap to have your failures continually rehashed.
When both partners stop arguing to resolve the issue and start being hurtful each other, the train goes off the rails. Continually bringing up old hurts makes the other person feel like the relationship is not safe. Just the environment you’re trying to avoid if you’re interested in maintaining the relationship.
2. Real Problems Become Worse
When you’re keeping track of each slight and injury, including some you have probably failed to mention, it insures that nothing is resolved. When nothing is resolved, this naturally makes it so that the real problems in the present can’t be fixed. The problems crying out for your attention in the present become huge. When you bring up other problems during an argument, it draws attention away from the current issue. Just the opposite of what needs to happen during an argument to reach a resolution.
Don’t make your partner comb through a bunch of problems other than the one at hand each time you fight. If you’re arguing and your partner asks for examples, try and temper them with a short explanation that you know this was already resolved, but here’s why it’s an example. It shows that you aren’t trying to hurt them by sharing the example they requested in the first place. Try to stay in the current moment otherwise.
3. Score Keeping Breeds Deep Resentment
When you are not resolving anything and simply rehashing old arguments, the lack of resolution breeds resentment in the partner who is trying to resolve arguments in good faith. If your partner is left scratching his head each time you fight, wondering why you are still bringing up his failures from 2 years ago, he’s going to feel like you don’t fight fair.
4. Score Keeping Undermines Trust
When you resolve an argument, the other person needs to be able to trust that it won’t be thrown back in their face later. It comes across as a low blow to be reminded of every time they failed you each time they forget to load the dishwasher.
5. Keeping Track of Resentments Makes You Ugly
When you have a long list of things that the other person did wrong right ready to throw at them any time, it keeps you from wholeheartedly enjoying their company. You don’t want to be one of those bitter people who is always angry, right? You know what I’m talking about. Those people who are always ready with a negative comment? Not you, right? Well if you keep track of everything bad that happens, it really burdens you. If you’re feeling resentful about something happening in your relationship, it’s time to resolve it and let it die for good.
If you feel like your partner has become really distant and you aren’t sure why, check out this video right now. I’m not sure how long it’s going to be online so make sure you go here and watch it to the end right now.