Humans, being animals, are competitive by nature. There's evidence to suggest that once we behaved as packs of wolves do, fighting amongst ourselves until an alpha emerged and established some semblance of order. The strongest led. The weakest fell in line or died.

Today, we tend to focus our competitive nature in much less violent ways. We play sports, or bet on games, or buy stuff, or constantly train in our field. But make no mistake. We are very competitive. And by society's current rule, a little competition is healthy, provided it doesn't get out of hand and become an obsession or end in violence.

Except in relationships. The wrong kind of competition can be a relationship killer.

I'm talking strictly competing over the dynamics of the relationship, now, not the extracurricular activities. Of course people in relationships should compete against each other in games, sports, and other “healthy” activities. It's all in good fun!

It's when they start to keep track of all the things they do more or better than their partner does – or the “bad” things their partner does more or worse than them – that they go wrong.

Oh, stop denying it. I've heard you doing it. It's hard not to eavesdrop when you're yelling on the sidewalk.

“I do dishes more than you.”

“I've cooked the last three nights.”

“My paycheck's bigger than yours.”

“I take the kids to the park every day. When's the last time you did something with them?”

“I'm a nurse and you fix cars.”

“I got you a pair of Tims, a gold chain, three jerseys signed by the players, some cologne and a car. You got me a pair of earrings. What am I supposed to take away from that?”

I know. I know. It feels like you just give, give, give and all they do is take, take, take. You can't remember the last time an argument started because of something you did, and just the other day, they were so rude for no reason. And...

And you need to pull up, folks.

Constantly comparing yourself with your partner tells them you have no respect for who they are. It can make them feel like, in your eyes, you're better than them. Surely, that's not the message you mean to send.

Besides that, in most cases, you're not so much better, are you? You've got your own flaws, vices, downfalls. Even if you're the most responsible, fit, successful person in the history of the existence of man, there's something about you that others would find reprehensible.

And anyway, so what if you are smarter than your partner? Maybe you do bring in more money. Perhaps you've been much more productive around the house, and successful in your career. Does that make you love them any less? Are they any less of a person than you are? Does it make you want to be with them less?

If it's really all that bad, and you really don't respect them, then walk. It's that simple. There's nothing holding you there, and you'll both be better for it. But if it's not...

If it's not, then just stop it. Because you're slowly sabotaging your relationship from the inside, and it's not doing anyone any good.

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