Imagine a romantic relationship as a car where you and your partner travel by. You need to keep it running in good condition for the relationship to stand.
So, you find a partner and get in that new van you just bought together. The tank is full and you start driving. Things run smoothly as you take turns both in refueling and driving. As your traveling continues and the relationship grows, you get to know each other better and start helping each other out; one takes the wheel more, other refuels few times in a row or handles service arrangements. That is fine and benign, partners in life ought to help each other unconditionally yet in the long run this practice reveals a thin line between conditional & unconditional contribution. Once the line is blurred you find yourself counting refills, drive turns and service costs in frustration. It’s then you need to reassess the situation and redistribute responsibilities before the blurring line disappears completely. Sometimes you even need to repurpose the whole bigger picture for the relationship to balance out and the line to appear again.
The most common mistake couples make is spending too much time in the blur area which translates in day-to-day situational frustration that results in harbouring negative energy for each other. Then a random and usually insignificant event triggers a car crash where you exit the vehicle and try to fix it in order to continue your traveling. When the relationship reaches that point more contribution from both parties is needed at an already difficult time which complicates things even more. Few couples manage to fix the van and continue traveling and even fewer manage to continue with the same spirit they had before the crash.
Avoid crashing the car, acknowledge the situation and act before it escalates.
Image by Charleston-based wedding photography