I have typically had a very love/hate relationship with math, but despite this fact, it truly has many uses. Did you know that understanding just one basic principle has the power to re-shape your entire relationship? I call it the "80/20 Rule."
In a strong, healthy partnership, you typically get about 80 percent of your needs met, leaving 20 percent unfulfilled. There are, of course, better days and worse days, so these percentages can certainly fluctuate. However, when we take the law of averages into account, the numbers stay pretty consistent. Some may find this good news as an "80 Percent Relationship" is fairly high. That said, problems tend to creep in when we focus on the "20."
It's no surprise that when we dwell on the negative, we view the world (and consequently, our relationship) negatively. We start seeing problems where there historically were none or turn small issues into deal breakers. This negative filter creates an even bigger issue; we become vulnerable to others that can meet "our 20."
The intoxication of having that rare "20" met is beyond words. We feel elated and almost manic with glee. We may begin to romanticize and fantasize about this almost mythical person and start to (falsely) assume that if they can meet our "20" they will surely give us our "80" as well. Quick math will tell you that this totals "100" and not a person in the world is capable of being the perfect partner.
If you find yourself daydreaming and focusing on your "20" it may be time to talk to your partner. Try the following:
- Self Check — Be sure to check in with yourself to understand what makes the "20" so important to you. The more you understand about your needs, the better you can communicate them to your significant other.
- Be Vigilant — Once you recognize that you are becoming vulnerable to those that can give you your "20," share these thoughts with your partner in a timely manner. The more time that passes, the harder it becomes to resist your "20" when the opportunity presents itself.
- Build Walls — Once you share your struggles with your mate, talk about how to build strong boundaries that will make each of you less likely to pursue your "20" in times of stress. Communication creates the opportunity for problem solving.
Remember that there is nothing wrong with wanting your "100" or being drawn to someone that can meet your "20." Emotions and desires are completely human, but we must understand that leading with them will destroy the beautiful "80" which is your relationship and leave you with the "20" that won't be enough in the long term. Now that's some math worth applying!
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