A New Twist on the 80/20 Rule for Relationships and Dating

A New Twist on the 80/20 Rule for Relationships and Dating

Knowing this rule will help you navigate the ups and downs of relationships with everyone, not just someone you are dating.

For anyone new to the “80/20 rule for relationships,” it’s the theory that says, in a fairly healthy relationship, you only get 80 percent of what you want. Maybe your partner isn’t a triathlete or great at sharing his feelings, but it’s OK, because the 80 percent you do get is really good. The other part of the equation says that it’s the endless search for that missing 20 percent you’d hoped for in your mate that leads people to cheat.

Why do people feel like the 80 percent isn’t enough for them and they want the other 20 percent. The reason is that they don’t feel fulfilled and good enough in the relationship and think it’s their partner that is the problem. As it turns out, it is our own internal battles that are showing up on the scene, it has nothing to do with our partner. Although many of us would debate that fact, (I was one of those people when I first got divorced, I was sure all my problems were my ex-husband’s fault), but time and experience has shown me that was not the case.

This is where I turn the 80/20 rule for relationships on it’s head and add my own twist.

Eighty percent of the issues we have with others are our own internal battles. Twenty percent are relationship issues. Hereʼs the catch on the 80/20 rule when working on relationships; to get to that crucial twenty percent you have to work through your own baggage. Otherwise you will spend all your time bogged down in the 80 percent never getting to the 20 percent that is vital to creating a meaningful relationship.

“The quality of our life is the quality of our relationships” – Anthony Robbins

This is good news because it means we can actually do something about the quality of our relationships.

So what can we do to create new relationships and improve our existing ones? Once we begin to become aware of our own needs and wants, then we know whatʼs important to us and whatʼs not. We wonʼt waste are time with people who arenʼt a good fit for us and we can work on maintaining good relationships with the people who share our core values.

Remember 80% of our difficulty with other people come from our own experiences which we have learned as children from our society and family. Then we incorporate these experiences as fact and then think it is true about everyone else.The good thing about these patterns of thought is that they are learned from childhood experiences and since they are learned they can be changed.

Man is not disturbed by events, but by the view he takes of the event! – Epictetus

For example, the men and women who you are meeting may in fact behave in ways that you find offensive. However your relationship to them when they behave offensively is not determined by their behavior, it is determined only by how you choose to relate to that behavior.

Their actions are theirs, you cannot own them, you cannot be them, you can only process them in your mind. How you choose to interpret people makes a huge difference in your relationship and how that relationship will unfold. So you have to go inside to realize that your interpretations are from the past, not from the current reality.

So during a date, if something doesnʼt go as planned or the way you thought it would or should go, you can chalk it up to experience and get clear that these behaviors are something that you donʼt want in a relationship or …take it personally and never want to date again. This may seem extreme…but havenʼt we all felt that way!

We have to take a look at our assumptions, expectations and stories about the situation and ask ourself the question of where is this coming from.

Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship to get something. Theyʼre trying to find someone whoʼs going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last past the first date is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give and explore and not a place that you take.

It is very helpful before going into a relationship to already like yourself and see yourself as complete, otherwise you may go chasing new relationships to get that kick of feeling good over and over again. This is part of understanding that how we see anything in life is first through our own filters and then we project those ideas on to everyone we meet.

So the next time you are in a relationship situation, (dating or friendship) and you find yourself having judgments about what is happening, first ask yourself what is going on within yourself and just observe it. Then you will be able to handle anything your date is doing with more ease and maybe with a sense of excitement and humor.

Remember you have the power to work on the 80 percent while 20 percent is going to be a joint effort. To build a relationship that lasts work through your 80 percent to get to that final 20 percent together.

If you find yourself getting stuck a Relationship Coach can help you figure out the difference between your own needs vs. what you need / want from a relationship. Wishing you joy and fun in your relationships.


Sue De Santo, LCSW is a Relationship Coach, (www.SueDeSanto). Do you want to change your relationship story? Call for a free consultation.

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A Relationship Coach in Southern California,
Sue De Santo works with men and women who are struggling to find that
long-lasting, fulfilling relationship.

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