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Why Relationships aren’t equal partnerships.

My friend and I have this theory that goes something like this: You date/marry someone who is better than you in some way. Not all ways, just some. People don’t marry their equals. There is no equality in relationships.  I’m fairly sure it would be a pretty boring life to marry your exact equal. The whole equal partnership idea is a sham.

Think about it, what qualities do you admire in your mate?  I admire my husbands ability to quietly navigate social situations, his ability to objectively see problems and their solutions, and his warped sense of humor, All of them not things that I possess. OK, my humor IS warped in many ways, but just different ways than Cole.

This coupling with your “better half” (I really hate that term) becomes a wonderful thing of course, a compliment to your skill set or a benchmark to help better yourself.  Except when it doesn’t. These same traits that we are with them for, the ones we admire, the ones we don’t possess or only possess to a lesser degree. These traits are the ones that infuriate us when they fall below the high bar we have set for our mate regardless if we could have reached it or not.

Is it right to hold our mates up to these double standards? Probably not. But how many of us recognize that it’s exactly what we are doing? Guess that equality is a tough one. It’s just a theory, but I think that we’re onto something.

What do you think about that?

4 replies
  1. CTannStarr
    CTannStarr says:

    We never do. People gravitate towards what they crave, including traits in spouses. I have had so many conversations where my friends believe that there is something in that other person has that completes them. I think that is why the Bible describes it as two people becoming one. One always hopes they find the right human puzzle pieces to fit into their lives. 🙂

  2. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Doesn’t the “equal” come from being different? In other words, we look for others who are slightly “better than” us because we want to feel whole. In feeling whole, we complete each other and then become equal. That’s how I always saw it. If I broke it down in terms of “my mate has this trait & I don’t,” then I see how your theory applies, but I prefer to look at the whole picture.

  3. Melissa Pierce
    Melissa Pierce says:

    Both great points, but I guess I’ll never buy the becoming whole by coupling idea. Feeling whole is not so much who you are with but who you are period. If it takes another person to wake you up to that then so be it.

    I don’t think relationship are ever equal. I don’t think that fair and balanced applys to the human condition. I also don’t feel slighted in the least for this realization.

    I do think that in examining the reasons we admire and get upset with people can tell us a ton about what we think of ourselves and how we relate to the world.

    In the course of conversation with my friend, we realized that we hold our spouses to a much higher standard than might be considered fair and balanced. I’m much more interested at learning to humanize my relationship than put the pressures of being equal, whole, and perfect on it.

  4. Jay Edgar
    Jay Edgar says:

    You may be interested in reading one of Harville Hendrick’s books on this subject: Keeping the Love You Find (for singles), or Getting the Love You Want (for couples). He posits that we find in a mate someone who reminds us of our original woundings, to give us an opportunity to heal those woundings. And there’s way more to it than that.

    While I originally rejected his assertion that we needed to be in relationship, I’d say I agree more than I don’t now.

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