For two people to have a long, happy, and sustainable relationship, it’s crucial that both partners feel that they are on equal footing.
That doesn’t mean that a relationship should be 50-50 all the time, but it does mean that both people should feel like their needs and wants are being considered and valued equally.
Equality is easy to understand intellectually but can be quite a challenge to put into practice.
Mindfulness, deep listening, and mutual respect are vital to creating equality in your relationship.
Little by little, with consistent efforts and a strong desire to achieve an equal relationship, you and your partner can establish long-term harmony and happiness.
What Does Relationship Equality Mean?
Digging deeper into the meaning of an equal relationship helps you to understand what you’re aiming for with your partner.
When you’re in a balanced relationship, here is what you’ll notice:
- Reciprocation happens easily: If you do something nice for your partner, they will likely reciprocate without you having to ask or nag them. It’s easy and non-straining for your partner to help out without keeping tabs.
- Both people feel they can openly express themselves: You shouldn’t have to censor yourself around your partner. Asking for your share will feel natural when you’re in an equal relationship.
- You’re not keeping tabs: You don’t feel the pressure to keep track of every kindness or service performed because you and your partner are generous with one another and act out of trust.
- The relationship is flexible: If once in a while you need to give or take more than what has been determined “fair,” it’s not a big deal. Balanced couples know that small imbalances work themselves out with time.
What do all of these signs have in common? They demonstrate a healthy level of respect for one another. It takes time to develop respect, but it’s the cornerstone of an equal relationship.
7 Signs of an Unequal Relationship
If you’re wondering what unbalanced relationships look like, here are seven signs to watch out for:
1. Your Partner Always Speaks For You
When you’re out to dinner, do you notice your partner interrupting you to order for you? Or do they tell you what you’re thinking or feeling without bothering to ask?
Bossy behavior can signify that your partner doesn’t think you can express yourself. It can also be a way for them to control the conversation and keep you from asserting yourself.
2. You Always Have To Agree With Your Partner
Do you constantly agree with your partner, even when you don’t actually agree? A constant need to be agreeable can signify that you’re afraid of upsetting them or that you don’t think your opinion matters.
In a healthy relationship, both partners should feel free to express their opinions without fear of judgment or reprisal.
3. You’re Stuck With The Undesirable Jobs
Do you always end up as the one to do the dishes, take out the trash, or handle all of the other less desirable tasks? If so, it may be because your partner isn’t considering the load you’re carrying.
Balance isn’t just about how much you do but the quality of what you do. You should both have some hard tasks and some easy ones for a proper blend of responsibilities.
6. The Kids Are One Parent’s Responsibility
Unbalanced relationships are common when delegating parenting duties. One parent may feel like they have to do it all while the other doesn’t have to lift a finger.
Parental imbalances can be due to cultural expectations, past relationship dynamics, or simply because one parent is more nurturing than the other.
Whatever the reason, both parents must share parenting responsibilities to avoid an unequal dynamic.
7. One Partner Is Feeling Financial Strain
If one partner is carrying the weight of the financial burden, it can put a lot of stress on the relationship. Financial issues can arise when one person has a higher income than the other, or when one person has more debt.
There’s nothing wrong with someone paying more if the relationship is balanced in other areas or funds are ample. But it’s essential to have clear and consistent financial conversations to ensure both people are on the same page.
11 Ways to Establish Equality In Relationships
Why are we in romantic relationships? To grow, to learn, and to have fun! So here are 11 ideas and tools you can use to bring balance and harmony to your relationship.
1. Make Time To Check Your “Gas Tanks”
One of the main reasons that couples can’t carry their weight in a relationship is that they’re simply burnt out. When we don’t talk about our energetic limitations, it’s easy for our partners to become upset with us.
Instead of letting things fester, get in the habit of regularly checking in with each other about your energy levels. Say something like, “My gas tank is 60% full.”
If your two numbers don’t total up to 100%, take the pressure off and seek external help, be it a takeout dinner or a nap. There’s no need to try to get it all done when you know you don’t have enough energy for everything, and it’s OK to ask for help.
2. Check In With Each Other
Just like you need to check in with your partner about your energy levels, you also need to check in with each other about how you’re feeling.
Questions such as “how are you feeling right now” and “how did you feel about what just happened” can help prevent misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
3. Develop A “We’re In This Together” Attitude
One of the quickest ways to develop equality in a relationship is to have the attitude that you’re in this together.
A team-based approach means you’re willing to work together to find solutions that work for both of you.
It also means that you’re willing to put your egos aside and be open to feedback from your partner. After all, you’re both on the same team!
4. Don’t Keep Score
In any relationship, it’s important not to keep a score of who did what and who didn’t do what.
Keeping score is also known as a transactional relationship; these types of relationships are never equal because things can never be perfectly balanced. If you’re always keeping score, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship.
5. Don’t Let Resentment Build Up
It’s important to deal with conflict as it arises instead of letting it silently accumulate. When we become resentful of our partners, we don’t honor fairness nearly as much. Instead, we take more for ourselves as reparations.
Break this habit by regularly expressing yourself and finding solutions that work for both of you.
6. Divide And Conquer
One way to ensure that both partners carry their weight is to divide and conquer. Each partner manages a specific area or task instead of a full workload.
Creating an equal relationship is easier when projects are achievable, non-overwhelming, and enjoyable. Take some time once a week to break things down and ensure they’re evenly divided.
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7. Try Out a Couples’ Therapist
One of the great things about having a therapist is that they help to make sure that each person is being heard. If you struggle to establish equality in your relationship, a therapist can help facilitate conversations and provide tools for change.
A therapist can also help you understand each other’s perspectives and needs, which is vital for any relationship. If you’re feeling stuck, a couples therapist may be just what you need.
8. Identify Your Relationship Goals
If you want to create an equal relationship, it’s important to start by identifying your relationship goals. What do you want to achieve together? What are your individual goals? What kind of relationship do you want to have?
Answering these questions can help you develop a plan for how to move forward. It’s also important to revisit your goals regularly to ensure that you’re still on track. As your life changes, the balance you two need to strike will as well.
9. Build Trust In Your Relationship
Without trust in a relationship, it’s challenging to create equality. Trust is the foundation of any relationship; without it, things can quickly crumble.
Trust building is especially needed if trust has been broken in the past. Betrayal and dishonesty only get worse when unaddressed over time.
If you want to build trust, start by being honest with each other. Be open about your thoughts and feelings and willing to listen to your partner’s perspective.
Make sure you follow through on your promises. When your partner knows that your word is good, it goes a long way in building trust and may encourage your partner to take more initiative in the relationship.
10. Show Gratitude for Your Partner’s Efforts
A little appreciation can go a long way in any relationship. Showing gratitude will not only make your partner feel good, but it will also encourage them to keep up the good work.
You can say, “I really appreciated it when you took the trash out last night. I was feeling swamped by work, and it helped me out.”
Remember, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to show your partner you’re grateful. A simple “thank you” can make all the difference.
And remember to ask your partner to acknowledge your efforts if you feel you’re not appreciated enough. Maybe your partner is really grateful for you, but they’re just assuming you know that.
11. Take Time for Fun and Relaxation
Always working on maintaining a healthy, balanced relationship can get a bit exhausting. So make sure to schedule some time for fun and relaxation too!
Do things that make you both happy and enjoy each other’s company. Playfulness and well-earned breaks will help keep the spark alive in your relationship and remind you why you’re working so hard to maintain equality.
It can feel like magic when two people are in sync in their romantic relationship. Equality is the key to making that happen.
Following the tips in this article, you can bring more equality into your relationship and create a more balanced, healthy partnership.
Try one or two of these options and see how it goes. Pick options that appeal to you and your partner so you can feel motivated to make changes.
Creating equality in your relationship takes time and effort, but it’s definitely worth it!