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How to Stop Scorekeeping in Relationships

| Jenni Brown |

Table of Contents: 

What is Scorekeeping in Relationships? 

Understanding the Negative Impacts of Scorekeeping in Relationships 

How to Break Free from Scorekeeping in Relationships 

Brown Dutton & Crider Can Provide the Family Law Guidance You Need   


Relationships are intricate webs of emotions, compromises, and shared experiences. However, one of the most toxic behaviors that can slowly erode the foundation of any relationship is scorekeeping. While this behavior may seem harmless at first, its impact can trickle into all facets of a marriage, often leading to the heartbreaking decision of divorce.  

At Brown Dutton & Crider, we understand the significance of addressing these relational concerns to maintain healthier marriages. In this blog, we will explore scorekeeping, its detrimental impact on relationships, and how to foster a healthier and more fulfilling marriage without the burden of constantly keeping score. 

What is Scorekeeping in Relationships? 

Scorekeeping often manifests as a mental tally of contributions, sacrifices, or compromises made within a relationship. It’s like an invisible scoreboard where partners keep track of who did the dishes last, who took care of the kids more, or who made the last big financial decision. According to Symmetry Counseling, this behavior develops from an instinct for self-protection. While it is natural to want balance in a relationship, over time, this mindset can lead to resentment, creating an emotional distance between partners. 

In marriages, this behavior can be even more damaging. Scorekeeping undermines the fundamental principles of love, turning your marriage into more of a transactional arrangement. 

See more examples of how one might keep score in a relationship below ⬇️ 


Scorekeeping is destroying relationships. Stop doing this! #marriage #divorce #itsnotagame #scorekeeping #lawyertips

♬ original sound – Jenni Brown I Family Law Tips

Understanding the Negative Impacts of Scorekeeping in Relationships 

When scorekeeping becomes a predominant feature in a relationship, it can lead to deeper issues, gradually wearing down your marriage. The imbalance created by scorekeeping often results in: 

Resentment – Constantly feeling undervalued or in constant competition with your partner can start to build resentment. 

Strained communication – According to Psychology Today, destructive communication is quicksand. The more you let scorekeeping affect your communication, the further you sink into the habit. Scorekeeping creates an environment where communication often becomes transactional, rather than being about a genuine connection. 

Emotional disconnection – The focus in your marriage can shift from mutual love to more of a business transaction, leading to emotional detachment. 

Lack of appreciation – Constantly keeping score overshadows any appreciation for your partner’s efforts, leading to feeling unacknowledged and often unwanted. 

How to Break Free from Scorekeeping in Relationships 

Breaking free from the cycle of scorekeeping is essential to nurture a healthy, thriving marriage. Here are some strategies to consider: 

Have open dialog – Open, honest, and non-judgmental communication is key. Express feelings without blaming your partner and discuss how scorekeeping behavior is affecting your relationship. 

Practice gratitude – Instead of tallying contributions, focus on gratitude. Appreciate and acknowledge each other’s efforts, no matter how small. 

Create team mentality – Remind yourself that you and your partner are on the same team, working towards common goals and dreams. Teammates don’t keep score, they support one another. 

Seek professional help – Sometimes couples need outside guidance from therapists or counselors to navigate through these issues effectively. 

Brown Dutton & Crider Can Provide the Family Law Guidance You Need 

At Brown Dutton & Crider, we recognize the crucial role that a healthy relationship plays in preventing the process of divorce. By breaking free from the destructive habit of scorekeeping, couples can foster a more nurturing and supportive environment. However, if you decide that divorce is what is best for you and your situation, we are here to support you. 

The divorce process can be confusing and difficult to navigate alone. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to guide you through the process, protect your rights, and reach the best possible solution for your family’s unique situation.  

If you have questions about your situation or are interested in scheduling a consultation, contact the attorneys at Brown Dutton & Crider today. Call (678) 730-2578 or get in touch with us here.