Is A 50/50 Relationship Even Possible? Probably Not — Here’s Why

This is the question that we all secretly wonder about when we’re in relationships. Where does the power dynamic come in and who is in charge? Well, this is largely determined by who is presumed to have control, which in turn, is determined by who has the least to lose. By these calculations, the person who is least invested has all the power. This means that it puts a greater awareness on wondering who loves the other most. By this questionable logic, some people think that it’s a weakness to love the other person more. It’s not, but it raises the question of whether 50/50 relationships are possible or even desirable.

  1. No emotion is permanent. Our feelings are not something that we can measure objectively or with numbers. All we can really do is compare them in retrospect, or record them in our teenage diaries to read back in horror when we move out. This means that it’s impossible to have a perfectly 50/50 relationship. That doesn’t mean that no relationship is equal. We all have different roles and functions in the relationship. That’s why we pursue partners who can support us. We should spend less time trying to calculate, analyze, and compare our love for each other, and just accept that it’s wonderful to have so much love to start with.
  2. Each person is different. Not only is each emotion different, but so is each person. And we’re all complex beings with different needs and responsibilities and stresses at work. It means that the way we feel about other people is constantly changing – and so it should. It would be strange if it didn’t, because love is meant to be flexible and responsive. They aren’t things that we can win or lose, but just be open and vulnerable with our feelings. Let go of that need to control. You will find you care much less about the details.
  3. Context is key. Not only are we all different and not only do we live complex lives, but so does everyone else. Heck, every five minutes I change my mind, forget what I had for lunch, or pick a fight with my sister that I don’t mean. You see what I mean. We’re fickle, us humans. All this to say, we can’t be so hard on ourselves. On top of that, we need to listen to what our heart is telling us so that we can learn more about what we need going forward.
  4. Different love languages balance out affection. The beauty of different levels of attraction means that you feel great when you feel great. You only know that because you experience lows sometimes. It’s a fact of life that everyone goes through. It means you can cherish the moments when you feel really strong love, and you can value those special memories. Also, if your love language is physical affection while someone else’s is words of affirmation, you get to learn more ways of loving people. Different standards of what it means to love someone – not better or worse – just different.
  5. Love comes in waves. I’ve touched on how the details of everyday life can change how much love you have for other people, but also there are broader patterns. Love is not absolute and we cannot take it for granted. What would be the point if we did?
  6. Equal partners can’t be calculated. We can’t judge ourselves by nonexistent metrics and feel good. That’s not healthy. What does it say about us if we feel impressed for loving someone else less?
  7. We are allowed to get annoyed. Here’s another fact, not all relationships are 50/50 because the math doesn’t mean that we have to be perfectly 100% in love all the time. We can take breaks, have pauses, or take a minute to ourselves. That’s natural and normal. Just because you’re in love, doesn’t mean you have to give yourself over to someone else entirely. You are allowed to remain yours, too. Remember that. You’re allowed to feel frustration or annoyance if your partner annoys you. It’s okay – you’d be miserable if you had to be happy all the time. People need to deserve our love, we don’t owe them anything.
  8. Things change. We all grow, even in a relationship – we should be individuals. Have our own identity. We don’t even need to grow in the same proportion, or at the same rate as one another. Real love is freedom, not a calculation.

You are doing so much better than you think you are. Stop wondering what other people are thinking about you and your relationship. Just make sure you’re comfortable first.

Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.