Throw it out, but don’t set it on fire.

You do this, I’ll do that.

You cut my hair last night, so I’ll wax the Jeep tomorrow.

Tit for tat. This for that. Wheeling and dealing. Quid pro quo, if you want to get all Latin about it.

Keeping score’s exhausting and annoying–especially with the person we’d rather be canoodling with. We’ve got a zillion things to do, not to mention Game of Thrones and sleeping, and adding more recordkeeping around which person in the couple last peeled potatoes or gassed up the car or tipped the doorman generates a ton of unnecessary paperwork and mental anguish.

Plus, the last thing anybody wants to hear when they need a hand is “sorry, I washed the llama yesterday, so I won’t polish the grandfather clock unless you shop for onion bagels first.” [Adjust that scenario for your own life and you’ll see what I mean.]

Fortunately, the research backs up this claim. The very act of keeping score implies that you don’t trust your partner, which of course they feel–and can kick off a downward spiral. Plus it makes us feel like a victim, which can spark some serious backlash.

Stop keeping score and just give. Wax the Jeep. Tip the doorman. Wash the llama. Create a culture of giving and your partner will almost always join in.

Now there are cases where people don’t realize their partner has done a ton of work behind the scenes. Or they don’t appreciate it/take it for granted. It’s absolutely fine to nudge your partner for appreciation for your hard work. And that’s a good conversation to have, so long as it’s done thoughtfully. Sometimes we need serious reform and rebalancing and maybe even upheaval.

Also, cutting deals with your partner is encouraged. Ask for what you want in interesting ways. Work out creative arrangements, try things, get weird. They get a weekend with the boys, you get the Tesla Model 3. You get a new puppy, they get sushi twice a month. Whatever works.

But do you really want to keep your whole life keeping score on who does what when and then nagging about it (or hiding from the nags)?

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