Does A Double Standard Exist In Your Relationship?

Double standards exist everywhere.

Double standards exist everywhere.

Big or small, they can threaten the health of a relationship.

Is your relationship jeopardized by double standards? Big or small, they can threaten the health of a relationship. By learning to recognize the signs, the risk can be reduced. Then you can take action to eliminate them.

 If you're not sure what a double standard is, then look it up on Merriam-Webster. It's unfair treatment. And it's everywhere. You might be doing it right now and not know it. Yes, really. Double standards often occur without premeditation or malice. In most cases, the offender is unaware. But it can still be hurtful.

Double standards can be small and unassuming. They're still annoying. Like when he mentions that you've gained weight, but so has he. Or, when he tells you not to cut your hair, but had his head shaved two days earlier. Does it bother you when he raises his brows when you order a cheeseburger, and he just ordered the biggest steak on the menu?

Maybe it bothers you when your spouse doesn't like your new dress . . . and says it while wearing that ugly Hawaiian shirt you hate. Did it bother him when you bought a new car without his permission? You forgot he wanted to wait on that new car purchase; it was just such a good deal.

Do you feel like your opinion doesn't matter? It's possible your partner doesn't realize you feel that way. Once confronted, it might never happen again. Admitting mistakes can start the healing process; sitting down for a frank discussion can be the beginning of that.

Are there other double standards that make you see red? Did he ask you to dump your best male friend at work, but has a female friend of his own? Reassure him it's a platonic relationship, just like his. Once it's out in the open, you can discuss it. By clearing the air, you might prevent a future argument.

Here's a common double standard: Do you ever dis his mom, but get mad when he disses yours? It doesn't work in any relationship. If you value your relationship, bite your tongue. Words can hurt, and can't be taken back.

Obviously, there are bigger double standards that can do serious or permanent damage. They might involve affairs, unfair accusations, lying, and cover-ups. If that's the case, get help. A professional counselor can be neutral and unbiased. They can help you see why it's a double standard, and figure out how to repair it.

Pay attention: double standards are often in the headlines. We can learn from them, and then apply that learning to our lives. The purpose of a mistake is to learn from it. We can all do that.

Do you want more equality in your relationship? Then think about the Golden Rule. You know how it goes ("Do unto others. . ."). Don't you want to be treated with fairness? It's actually a simple theory; treat your partner like you want to be treated. Your relationship will be better. Your trust will be stronger. And those double standards will fade.

Unfortunately, double standards are everywhere. That's unlikely to change. But with a little work, and a willingness to communicate, they can be put to rest in your relationship.

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