Why Keeping Score In Relationships Is One Of The Worst Things You Can Do

Most people don’t enter into relationships with the intention of keeping score, but somewhere along the line he’ll do something less than amazing and it’s hard to forget it. Still, filing it away to throw it back in his face later goes into score-keeping territory, and it just isn’t as productive as it might sound. Here are some reasons why you need to learn to let things go (and if you can’t, you need to get out).

  1. It’s just mean. If you’re both trying your best most of the time, that’s actually pretty good. It’s almost like bullying to point out his flaws on the daily, and it’s completely unnecessary.
  2. Keeping score is totally self-centered. When you keep score, you’re thinking about how he’s wronging you, and not the other way around. No one’s perfect, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ve done plenty of stuff to piss him off or hurt his feelings, too.
  3. Giving stops feeling good. Because you want something in return. If you’re doing something nice to make a point or assert yourself, then it’s not selfless, and you don’t get to experience the real happiness of being nice to someone you care about.
  4. Because you’ll never agree on the score. Even if it made sense to knock off points for him forgetting to call you after work, he might think that’s worth 1/4 point, when your mood sees it more like 5. You’ll never be on even ground, and that’s never a good sign.
  5. Things tend to balance out regardless. Maybe he’s terrible at remembering to feeding the dog but he always lets him out early in the morning. There’s usually a natural balance that doesn’t require micromanaging, so don’t disrupt the flow.
  6. Everyone makes mistakes. Even your mom has crabbier days, but you probably aren’t bringing up that bitchy comment she made last year every time she tries to pry too far into your business.
  7. It’s a pessimistic approach. Keeping score is focusing on the negative stuff, which is probably a lot less than the positive stuff, anyway. Otherwise, why would you be in the relationship to begin with?
  8. Even if you’re “ahead” in one relationship, you’ll be “behind” in another. You’re in a relationship of sorts with everyone in your life, so imagine the exhaustion of trying to win at all of them. Not only is it exhausting to think about, it’s impossible and pretty messed up to even want to try.
  9. He can’t win. The act of keeping score is immediately seeing yourself on top and him below, so how can he possibly come up far enough to win you over when you’re just so hard on him?
  10. It’s a buffer for the real issues. Perhaps your feeling of anger towards him for not initiating sex as much as you is actually hurt and confusion you’re trying to protect yourself from. If you start dealing with your actual thoughts and feelings, you won’t need to keep score.
  11. It’s sweating the small stuff. In a year from now, do you really want to be worrying about the same pointless, tiny things in life? I hope not.
  12. Things could never be totally even anyway. You’re different people with different ways of approaching the world, so you’re never going to act or react to things in the same way. Expecting that is not only a waste of time, but a bit narcissistic. Why would you want to be with someone exactly like you?
  13. It’s setting up the relationship to fail. If you’re looking for bad stuff, you’re going to find enough of it, plain and simple.
  14. It’s distracting. Spending time with the person you like should be distraction-free whenever possible, and that means enjoying them for who they are, not trying to change them at every turn.
  15. At its essence, it’s a game. The sports terminology gives that away. Keeping score is for games with opposing teams, not cultivating healthy relationships.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog ThatsRandomKate.blogspot.com