PQ 10.7 — Are my rules equally binding on everyone they affect, or do they create a double standard?
While everyone is going to have different needs, when creating a relationship agreement, it’s important not to place restrictions on others that you wouldn’t want placed on yourself.
Double standards should be avoided at all costs. Unfair rules can make partners feel like you’re being selfish and breed resentment.
In an earlier piece called “How to Know If You’re Selfish: A Pattern of Not Giving Back,” I wrote:
One self-focused desire does not a selfish person make. Instead, selfishness is a pattern of being concerned with your own needs and wants and unwilling to similarly accommodate the needs and wants of the person you’re with.
And one way in which other people’s needs and wants can be accommodated is via rules.
Whether or not something seems unfair can depend upon what angle you’re looking at things from. Something that seems fair to you can seem utterly miserable from someone else’s perspective.
Perspective-Taking as Self-Check
One handy self-check as I’m working through things with a partner has been to try a bit of perspective-taking.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to evaluate the fairness of rules you might want to implement:
- How would I want my partner to behave if our roles were reversed?
- Am I legislating things that I wouldn’t want legislated if I were in their shoes?
- Or, even more directly, would I want my metamour (i.e., my partner’s other partner) placing this kind of restriction on me?
If the answer to either of the last two questions is no, then it’s wise to reevaluate that rule.
This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.