An equal relationship means both people do their part. It means you both exert effort. It means you both pull your own weight.
However, it does not mean that you count out exactly how many dishes you have washed during the week versus how many dishes they have washed. It does not mean you keep a running tally of who paid for dinner last time and who spent more money on holiday presents.
If you pay close attention to the small little contributions each of you are making, you are going to drive yourself (and them) absolutely insane.
Relationships are not a 50-50 arrangement every single day. There are going to be some days when you come down with the flu and are bedridden, so your partner gets stuck doing the laundry and cooking dinner. There are going to be other days when your person works overtime, leaving you to take care of the dirty work.
You cannot always split your chores directly down the middle. You have to be flexible. You have to be willing to compromise.
When there are days when they are stressed or tired or depressed, then you might want to do a little bit more than usual so they can unwind. And they will return the favor by doing more than you when you go through a rough time.
If you love your person, then you won’t mind sacrificing an extra ten minutes of your time to pick up the slack when they are struggling. And they should feel the exact same way about you.
That is what a relationship is about. Give and take.
Of course, you should not let your person take advantage of you. You should not be doing 99 percent of the work on a daily basis while they lounge on the couch doing nothing. You should not be the only person putting effort into making the relationship last. That is unfair. That is a toxic environment.
As long as your person is giving pretty much the same amount you are giving them, then you are on the right track. You are building toward a successful future.
Even though it can be tempting to compare exactly what each of you are bringing to the table, you should not be keeping score. You should not make constant comparisons about who is bringing home the bigger paycheck and who is mopping the most floors.
As long as, overall, it feels like both of you are working hard to take care of the other, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Different people contribute different things at different points in time.
When you are in a relationship, you have to remember you are not alone. You are not supposed to be fighting against your person. You are not in competition with them. You are on the same side. You are teammates. You are supposed to be working in unison. You are supposed to be acting as a unit.
You will accomplish far more together than you ever could apart — but sometimes one of you is going to do slightly more work than the other.