The Curse Of The Competitive Couples...We've recently witnessed the fierce competition between athletes at Wimbledon. An arena that’s appropriate for competition as your competitor is your adversary.
But competitiveness turns up in the most inappropriate places too - relationships. From the outside you'd assume Alison, 35 and Philip, 36 have it at all. On appearances happy and despite the credit crunch both of their careers in TV production seem on upward trajectories.
Surely at home they applaud each other's efforts, both putting in long hours at their respective companies. Perish the thought! Alison confided that she feels compelled to play a game of one-up-manship with him. "When he received promotion last year part of me envied his new job title and pay package and I congratulated him through gritted teeth. What's wrong with me?" she practically wailed, “I do love him!”
Details then unfolded of their tit-for-tat style of couples’ competition. You know the sort of unseemly squabbles: "I’ve worked longer then you today and you haven't got the dinner on!" With a retaliatory riposte of, "But last weekend I was at it non-stop when you had time with your friends and I thought for once I could take easy." And so on.
Intra-couple competition is hugely destructive to relationship satisfaction. However the levels of stress whipped up in our daily lifestyles mean it's not so surprising. When we can’t even pause for breath it's hard be considerate of our partner’s situation or thankful for the good things that befall them.
Recognise yourself? Then mentally rewind to a time you didn’t feel like adversaries, were happy your partner did well and appreciated you both work hard. Make it habitual to remember this good feeling. Resist believing their success is a poor judgement on your efforts when it's good for you both. Get practical about chores, dividing in a relevant way so you don't snap over who's done more. Hold that tongue before jumping in to criticise because secretly you’ve harboured competitive feelings.
A similar article was published in The Times