Have you been in a relationship with someone who keeps score?

It’s never a reminder of good things you did. Usually, they can toss out that on September 4, 2013, this is where we were, this is what you did, this is how it made them feel, and how they’re tying that past experience into a present situation. 

Talk about frustrating! 

Full disclaimer, I have been one who has kept score like that. I have this ability to pair dates and events together, and it brings everything back. In fact, I can still tell you what happened on September 4, 2013, where I was, what happened, and how I felt. Because of that, I’ve had to work hard to move from keeping score to letting go and focusing on the good. 

I have also been on the receiving end of score keeping. That experience truly showed me what that looked like and helped me make the decision to change that behavior pattern within myself. 

The problem with keeping score is that nothing from the past can be changed. There is no apology that can be given that will change the experience for you. In reality, there probably isn’t anything they can say that will help you move through that experience enough to not bring it up again. The work here isn’t with them, it’s with you. 

How do you stop keeping score? 

You look back at the scorecard and ask what you needed at that moment? What would have been said or could have been done to create a different experience for you, one where you could have moved on? This insight can be incredibly beneficial and help you know how to handle relationship conflict in the future. 

Another way is to look at your motivation for keeping score. This can be a way of deflecting our bad decisions by bringing our partner’s back to light. Maybe it’s to elicit feelings of shame for their past mistakes. This results in destroying trust and vulnerability between couples. It’s very challenging to reconnect when this game is being played.

Regardless of the motivation or what could have been done differently, keeping score doesn’t help your relationship or strengthen your connection. In fact, it tears couples apart. 

What do you do instead? 

Fully work through the challenge when it happens so that you can release the need to hold onto it. If there is something missing for you to have closure, identify what that is and talk through it with your partner. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to want to feel better about it. It’s okay to recognize that something in your heart is telling you they’ll do it again.

You don’t need to keep score in this situation, you need to focus on your deal breakers and set boundaries. 

Another strategy is to keep track of the things your partner does right. Reminisce about the time they did this sweet thing for you or the activity you did together. Bring up the wins on a regular basis. Not only does this build trust between the two of you but also let’s your partner know they’re succeeding. 

Living in fear of what might happen, possibly again, will take all your energy and drive you crazy. Build your relationship on the vision you both hold for your future and let them know when they’re headed in the right direction. 

Do the same for yourself. Instead of focusing on all your mistakes, give yourself credit for all you’re doing right. Building yourself up will not only result in personal confidence but will simultaneously strengthen your relationship. 

While this topic may be challenging, the important ingredient is to be honest with yourself.

This isn’t about sweeping things under the rug or pretending to be okay. It’s about truly acknowledging whether or not it is something you can get past, determining your motivation for keeping score, being okay with not being okay, and having a conversation from a place of clarity. 

Obviously some situations are more traumatic and need professional help to work through. If you feel that would be beneficial for you, I recommend you reach out to a local counselor or check out https://www.betterhelp.com/ to help you as you work through what’s coming up for you. 

If you feel you could use support with mindset work and behavior patterns around keeping score, I’m here to help with coaching. Checkout the menus on my website to view current ways to work with me.

Until next time,

Tonya Marie

P.S. Grab the free journal prompts that accompany this “Rekindling the Flame: 30 Days to a Stronger Relationship” blog series at the link below.