Double standards in relationships are one of the most difficult things to deal with in a relationship. If you live with a partner or spouse who has one set of rules for you and another set of rules for themselves, it can be not easy to live in the given situation.
When dealing with double standards in relationships, you are either living under a microscope or the moon. You have to either be completely transparent or completely silent, and it is almost impossible to be both at the same time, and it does not benefit you other than making you more frustrated than it is.
In this article, I will give you a detailed look at relationship double standards and how you can deal with them to improve your relationships.
What are double standards in relationships
What exactly are double standards in relationships?
It is when 2 things are acceptable in one situation but not acceptable in another. It is a situation when one person sets a different set of rules for themselves and another for their partner, expecting them to follow those rules.
Most couples who have been together for long will have a certain degree of double standards. Sometimes, it is subtle, and sometimes, it is a lot more obvious. Couples have double standards because they have different expectations and want to be treated differently by their spouses.
As couples, it is expected that you are both on the same page and understand each other’s expectations and desires. However, sometimes, this does not happen. It happens because one person thinks that they are right, while the other is wrong, leading to conflict and disagreement between the two people.
Different people have different standards in looking at things; other factors such as age difference, sexual behavior, and expectation can also contribute to the equation.
What are some double standards in relationships
We have now better understand that a double standard in a relationship is a behavior expectation for men and women that are not equally applicable to both genders.
Let’s take a look at the list of 15 common double standards that occur in our day-to-day lives.
If one partner is flirting with the opposite sex, it is deemed ok and harmless, but if their partner does the same, it is called infidelity and cheating; it then gives them the right to get jealous and upset.
How to handle: Be very open with who you are speaking to. There needs to be trust so that your partner can be at ease.
Your partner expects you to be transparent in your earnings and spending but keep theirs private and confidential.
How to handle: As couples, it is understandable, but you should also know that not everyone is the same as some people value their privacy more and feel there is no need to do so. You can better explain your intentions and come to a middle ground to become a win-win situation.
When your partner wants physical intimacy, it is expected and should be provided for. However, when you desire sexual activity, it is no longer a must and can depend on your partner’s or husband’s mood.
How to handle: Communicate. It would be best if you did it on the bed and off the bed. It is a must for intimate relationships, especially when it is related to sex. Express your needs and wants clearly, set dates if necessary.
One can have mood swings and throw tantrums, while the other is not expected to do so and should tolerate the behavior.
How to handle: Everyone is different and has their moods. Walk away if they are throwing tantrums. Make sure you tell them that it is unacceptable after they cool off.
When one is upset, they can keep quiet and refuse to talk. If the partner does the same, they will be upset and angry about why they are put through mental torments.
How to handle: Emotion abuse is one of the most damaging things in toxic relationships. It would be best if you talked it out clearly to your partner how it is affecting you.
Making decisions alone
One can make any decisions without consulting but expect the partner to consult them for any form of decision making.
How to handle: Make it clear you are not happy about how you are left out of the decision-making, and trust is affected.
Your opinion is always secondary and not of importance. You will have low self esteem because you feel inferior to your partner. The partner will always take the higher position in the relationship; even if they are not better than you, you will always feel inferior.
How to handle: Express yourself clearly and make it known to your partner you felt undermined.
Demand immediate attention
My time is always more important than yours, and immediate response is always required. Your time and plans should always accommodate mine.
How to handle: Explain that you are doing something, clearly stating that your time is equally valuable and should not be subjected to different standards set by your partner.
Their friends over yours
Your partner’s friend is always more important than yours, any plans involving friends should always have them as the main consideration, your friends are not relevant.
How to handle: My friends had been with me for years as much as yours had been around. Why are they not relevant compared to yours, and in which way are they inferior?
Everything that your partner does is always right; they will never be wrong. Given the same situation when both of you are doing the same thing, yours will be incorrect, but your partner will always be right. Displaying a clear difference in the different standards that you are being judged upon.
How to handle: Learn to ask why your partner is right in the given situation, ask and reason calmly. Make your partner explain and give you a good reason.
The gender pay gap still exists in modern society; while it has been narrowing over the years, there is still a very distinctive difference between the gender roles. It can be observed through the employment statistics of women and men. In a marriage, it is more of an issue when the wife is making more than the husband, resulting in wives having to lower themselves to make their husbands feel better.
How to handle: Ego is the issue here and should be communicated clearly; there are no issues if you truly love each other.
Taking care of the children
Kids are tasks for women only. Men’s given priority is to protect and provide.
How to handle: True, but that does not mean women cannot provide, and it also does not mean men cannot take care of kids. Communicate what is needed and take turns so each can have their own time for self-care.
A big part of this debate is about gender roles. Some people believe in gender equality; others don’t. Some jobs in the house are considered a man’s job, like fixing the furnace, while others are considered a woman’s job, like doing the dishes. If your husband takes care of the house, it means you aren’t doing enough around the house because he is going above and beyond, which should not be the case.
How to handle: We are in a modern era where both men and women share the chores. Set up schedules and timetables, make it clear that both should share the tasks.
Priority in response time
You are expected to respond to messages or calls as swiftly as you can. If you were to call or message your partner, they are always busy, and you should have more patience to wait for them to respond.
How to handle: Response is usually very fast at the beginning during the honeymoon phase; it fades off as time goes by in all healthy relationships. Sit down and communicate what would be the best time to message. If you call during a certain time, then it might be an emergency. Set clear guidelines on the expectations.
Social norms on sexual expectations.
According to the research paper by Dr. Masoumeh Velayati, women are supposed to take a monogamous approach for fear of being labeled otherwise. There are also plenty of gender stereotypes that women have the lesser desire and will only be more experience when they get married.
How to handle: Educate your partner on hormones and libido drops, especially after pregnancy. It helps them better understand why and how they can help you instead of wondering why?
How you can deal with double standards in relationships
Double standards are very common when it comes to relationships. There is nothing wrong with having two standards, and the problem is that we all have them, and they often go unnoticed. If you don’t want to end up in a relationship where you feel like you are being judged, then you need to be aware of what is acceptable to you and what is not.
The first step is to figure out what kind of double standard you’re dealing with, admit that you have them and that they need to be addressed with your partner and even yourself.
Next, find out what they are and how they affect you.
Take a time out
Ask yourself, what’s bothering you?
You’ve been in a relationship with someone for a while. It’s a good one, but you’re noticing that there are times when your partner behaves in ways that you don’t like. You feel your relationship is suffering because of this.
Take time to look deeper into the issues, the causes, and the critical areas that you need to work on.
De-bias and focus on the issue, not the person
Double standards can be very hurtful, and you may feel bias before you even start and try to resolve the differences. When you conflict, you may not have a clear view of what is going on. Your judgment can and may be biased towards your partner, which is not good for a healthy relationship.
Remember, double standards can be intentional and unintentional. You need to first de-bias yourself to be more objective and honest when it comes to resolving conflicts. It can be difficult to hear your partner’s point of view as you may be biased towards your partner’s point of view, but you need to understand what your partner is saying.
When we start thinking about our point of view, we tend to forget about our partners’ points of view, and that’s why we get into conflicts. The problem is that we do not have all the facts. We often fail to look at things from our partner’s perspective, which causes us to make a judgment call which is the main cause for double standards in relationships.
Communicate effectively and express yourself clearly
Many, if not, most of the issues that couples face in double standards can be better managed through effective communication. When one partner expresses concern, it must be acknowledged and listened to.
The listener must respond accordingly with empathy and understanding, ask questions to determine what information is needed to resolve the concern. The conversation should focus on helping the partner understand and accept their concerns.
You should always have the following during communication:
- Eye contact
- Focus and no distractions
- Proper tone of voice
- Listen and understand
- Ask if in doubt
Be careful not to use phrases such as: ‘I don’t get you’ or ‘What’s wrong with you?’
The key here is that you are not here to start a fight; what you want to achieve is to let your partner know we have an issue and need to talk. You need to understand what I am feeling and how we can work this out.
Learn to respect and compromise
It is of importance that you respect your partner’s opinion. While the double standard is not exactly healthy, it also does not mean it is wrong. Many factors can contribute, and you will also have to reflect and check yourself.
In general, you should strive for a balance between the two, respect your partner and yourself. Talk to them with a positive attitude and listen to what they say. It is the best way to maintain healthy communication. You can discuss with each other, and you will be able to understand each other better.
It is best to keep the topics open-ended so that you can share your opinions. Do not use sarcasm or put it down. Avoid criticism and do not blame, be respectful. Do not threaten or intimidate your partner and learn to compromise whenever necessary and possible.
The objective here is to help both understand why and where the double standards are arising from and how you can work to iron it out for a better relationship.
Use reflective listening to understand the issues better
Keep an open mind and use reflective listening to understand better why your partner is acting in the way they are.
I find it especially helpful to remind myself that my partner’s behavior is a result of their past experiences and is not about me.
Take efforts to listen more than you speak; while there may be opinions that you may not agree with, you must avoid hostility and find a way to disagree constructively.
You need to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to understand their point of view as well. You need to be able to see what they are going through. It is important to think about what they are saying instead of making your judgments about it.
Learn to say ‘No.”
You need to understand that you have every right to say “no.” While it is encouraged to listen and look at their perspectives, it may not necessarily be correct or acceptable. There must be a common ground that both of you are working towards the double standards issues you are facing.
There are times when you have to say “no,” and there are other times when you have to say “yes.” You cannot continue to put your energy in situations where you feel you are being taken advantage of. People feel guilty for saying “no.” It can be a difficult situation because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if you do not speak up, it will not help your situation.
Remember, when you do not say “no,” you are saying you accept, which contradicts the part where you are trying to deal with double standards issues.
Think before you speak
Words can be hurtful, especially when there are conflicts in a relationship, a moment of impulse can result in undesired outcomes. There are so many different emotions that are felt when we are upset with someone, and if you are not careful to avoid hurting the other person’s feelings, you can easily make things worse.
It is why it is always important to consider your words carefully before speaking them out loud. You might want to use phrases such as “I feel” or “It makes me sad when…” rather than just saying what you are thinking.
Learn to accept differences. It is important to accept each other for who you are and what you believe in. However, it is also important to understand that there will always be differences between two people.
Final Thoughts on Double standards in relationships
When it comes to relationships, it’s often the case that people have double standards with their spouse, and they don’t even realize it. End up, couples have to deal with a lot of confusion, hurt, and pain. There are two kinds of people out there. The first kind is people who know how to handle these situations, and the second type is people who don’t know how to deal with these situations. So, if you are the latter, I want to help you know how to deal with these kinds of situations and put more effort into improving communication; it can help resolve many situations.