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How To Deal With The 14 Most Common Double Standards In A Relationship

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Life isn’t always fair, but your relationship should be! You and your partner should have equal rights.

If there are double standards in your relationship, you are not being treated the way you should be. Your partner thinks they are permitted to do things you’re not, and that’s not okay.

There are different solutions you can try depending on the specific double standard you’re dealing with, so let’s start with those!

Then we’ll discuss some common double standards that you might be experiencing.

How To Deal With Double Standards In A Relationship

1. Calmly discuss the issue with your partner.

Think about the way you’ll talk to your partner about the double standard in your relationship. It’s important to recall the times that you’ve experienced this unfair treatment before talking to your partner.

When you’re ready, initiate the conversation and stay calm when discussing the matter. You don’t need this to turn into a fight, so don’t have an aggressive approach.

Mentioning how it’s unfair that your partner gets to do the things you don’t can quickly turn into pointing fingers. Try to avoid blaming them. You can let them know about the issue and remain assertive.

Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements to avoid making them feel attacked. For instance, you could say something like:

“I feel it’s not fair that I don’t get to hang out with my friends as much as I’d like to.”


“I do all the work around the house on my own, and it’s making me feel like we are not equals.”

Your goal is not to blame them for the things that they do. You just want to bring the unfairness to their attention.

2. Point out examples of double standards in your relationship.

Your partner is going to try to defend themselves. They might even claim that there are no double standards in your relationship. Therefore, it’s important to have examples ready for the discussion.

Is your partner allowed to flirt with other people while you can’t have friends of the opposite gender?

Does your partner go out with friends every weekend while you aren’t allowed to go out and drink?

Do you do all the house chores while your partner works only when they’re at their job?

Identify the double standard and think of the specific examples you could bring up during the discussion. If they say they haven’t been mistreating you, remind them of specific situations and point out the hypocrisy.

It might be difficult for them to hear it and acknowledge it. However, if they don’t recognize the unfairness, you will not make progress. You can’t skip this step. Just have your examples ready and stick to your decision to get equal rights in the relationship.

3. Agree to have equal rights and make compromises.

Your conversation shouldn’t end until you have agreed to have equal rights, but this won’t be easy. You might be forced to make some compromises.

For instance, maybe instead of allowing you to do something, your partner could stop doing it. Depending on your situation, different compromises can be made to establish expectations of fairness in your relationship.

For example, if your partner works and you don’t, maybe they could be assigned some lighter chores. They should still have chores and contribute in some way.

Find a way to reach an agreement that makes you both feel like you are getting equal treatment. As long as your partner acknowledges the unfair things in your relationship, it won’t be that hard to come up with something that works for both of you.

It might not be exactly what you want, but any progress will be a good sign.

4. Say “no” sometimes.

How can your partner be allowed to do something that you’re not? Can’t you forbid them too?

Why don’t they have to do the things you do? Can’t you stop doing them too?

Things aren’t always that easy, but sometimes you just have to say “no” and stick to your decision. You have to set boundaries and make it clear that you will not tolerate certain things.

How exactly is your partner forbidding you from doing something or making you do something? After all, you can choose whether or not to do something!

Gain back your freedom and speak up about your needs. Sometimes you’ll have to fight with your partner to get what you want, but don’t settle for how things are just because you want to maintain peace. Demand equal rights and refuse to go back to the way things were.

Setting boundaries might require you to get into more fights than you’d like. You’ll have to say “no” to your partner more often, but it’s worth it!

5. Consider whether your partner is selfish.

Sometimes, there isn’t anything you can do to get your partner to treat you equally. Consider whether or not this is because your partner is selfish. In this case, you have to decide whether or not you can accept them the way they are.

If nothing makes any difference and the double standards remain in place in your relationship, you’ll have to consider ending the relationship. Before you do, read on for some fixes to specific double standards you might be dealing with.

14 Common Double Standards In A Relationship And How To Deal With Them

1. Initiating things.

Men are often expected to be the ones to make the first move. This happens even when you’re already in a relationship, not just when you’re dating. They are expected to make the first move when it comes to most things, whether suggesting a restaurant or initiating intimacy.

Sometimes, the woman in the relationship is the one who is expected to initiate things. That’s just as unhealthy.

So encourage your partner to initiate things more often regardless of your gender!

One person shouldn’t be responsible for initiating everything in a relationship. Let your partner know that they should suggest and initiate things when they feel like doing something.

You can’t read their mind or decide things for them, so encourage them to speak up about their needs. Let them know that they are more likely to get what they want if they ask for it!

Be willing to do the things they suggest when they take the initiative, and they’ll be more likely to do it again.

2. Taking care of the household chores.

Household chores can become a considerable burden when only one person is responsible for them. If you and your partner live together, you should divide the chores in a way that makes sense based upon your other commitments.

Maybe you don’t work but your partner does. That doesn’t mean that you should handle everything around the house. Surely they can manage to do things even with their busy schedule.

For instance, while you could be in charge of doing the laundry and the dishes, vacuuming and feeding the pets could be their responsibility. If they have no chores and you do everything around the house, it’s not fair to you. Maybe you also have a job, which just makes it even worse!

Have a serious talk about this and decide which chores your partner will start doing from now on. If you’re living together, it’s not your sole responsibility to take care of the house and all the chores. You are their partner, not their parent, and they shouldn’t expect you to clean up after them.

Chores can even be fun if you do them together, so try doing more things as a couple! You can cook and clean together. No one’s stopping you from playing some music and getting drinks while you work on keeping the house clean!

3. Choice of friends and spending time with them.

Maybe your partner disapproves of your choice of friends or limits your interactions with them. On the other hand, you have no say in who they spend time with and how often. This is definitely a double standard, and it’s not fair to you.

Why doesn’t your partner like your friends? Encourage them to spend more time with your friends and get to know them better. Some might seem loud and rude until you learn more about them. Let your partner know why you like your friends and encourage them to put effort into getting to know them.

If they don’t like how your friends influence you, try to show them that you can spend time with them without getting drunk or making a mess.

Mention their friends that you’re not a big fan of and remind them that you still don’t forbid them from seeing those friends. You should also trust each other enough to have friends of the opposite gender.

4. Going out, drinking, and partying.

Does only one of you have the right to go out, drink, and party with friends? Both of you should have the right to do so if you please, but you might want to make compromises too.

For instance, maybe you don’t feel like going out as often as your partner does. Perhaps they go out every weekend and drink too much, too often. Instead of allowing you to come along with them or do the same without them, they could stop partying so often.

If your partner is somewhat of a party animal, show them other ways they can have a fun time. Wine tasting and playing board games with you and another couple might not be their idea of a party, but they could try it instead of hitting the clubs!

If your partner drinks more often than you’d like them to, maybe they could cut back on alcohol for a while instead of letting you drink just as much. Parties don’t have to involve alcohol either, so you could perhaps host a karaoke night or play charades.

5. Transparency and spending habits when it comes to finances.

Your partner wants you to be transparent about your salary, debts, and spending habits, but they tell you nothing about theirs. Finances are a sensitive issue, but there should be no double standards around money.

If your partner doesn’t want to let you in on their salary and spending habits, you don’t need to tell them about yours. However, if you are in a serious relationship that could lead to a shared wallet, you can’t ignore this subject for long. Maybe you could keep track of your spending habits together and save some money that you will share.

If you’ve only recently started dating, it might be best to save this conversation for when you’re in a relationship long enough to consider living together. Once you get there, you won’t be able to avoid the issue for too long. It would be good to talk to a financial advisor and start being transparent about these things when you’re living together. If you share expenses, you should share other information regarding your finances.

6. Not being in the mood for sex.

Women have every right to refuse sex when they’re not in the mood for it, and this is considered normal, but what about men? Somehow, we tend to assume that men are always in the mood and that it’s even expected of them to be in the mood all the time.

However, a man can be tired from work, have a headache, or simply not be interested in sex at the time. His partner is likely to take this personally. She’ll assume that he isn’t attracted to her or doesn’t love her anymore.

Just imagine if the roles were reversed. It would be silly of a man to think that his girlfriend is not attracted to him anymore just because she’s not in the mood for sex. Why is it so different when it’s the other way around?

Help your partner understand that it’s entirely wrong to assume that men always want sex. You can reject it when you don’t feel like it, and your partner shouldn’t get offended by that. Help them understand that your mood has nothing to do with your feelings for them and how attractive you find them.

7. Jealousy, possessiveness, control, and demands.

Another double standard that many men struggle with is jealous and controlling behavior. Somehow, this behavior is more understandable when it comes from a woman. If she comes across as jealous, it’s just because she doesn’t want to lose her partner and wants what’s best for her, right?

When a man does these things, he will be considered possessive and controlling. Even if things are the other way around in your relationship, there should be no possessive and controlling behavior. Regardless of your gender, your partner should trust you enough not to make jealous scenes.

While it’s okay for them to make certain requests, they shouldn’t control you and dictate how you live your life. Talk to them about it and encourage them to open up about their fears and insecurities causing this behavior.

Are there trust issues in your relationship that you need to address? Maybe your partner is carrying baggage from previous relationships. Still, you shouldn’t pay the price because they couldn’t trust their previous partners.

Don’t avoid the problem and seek the help of a therapist if you can’t find a way to overcome it on your own. If one of you is allowed to flirt with other people, it’s not fair to the person who only has eyes for their partner.

So, if there are double standards regarding what you can and can’t get jealous about, address the issue and start being fair.

8. Making fun of each other and joking.

It feels terrible when your partner humiliates you in front of other people and passes it off as joking. You could even get teased for getting offended, and that’s not okay.

If something is embarrassing to you, your partner shouldn’t expose you like that and make fun of it. If you would do the same thing to them, they would probably get mad at you.

Help them understand that some types of jokes are just hurtful, not funny. You’re not overly sensitive for thinking that. Your partner shouldn’t make you feel embarrassed and expose your insecurities. A joke is supposed to make you laugh, so if it’s making you feel bad about yourself instead, it’s not a joke. It’s an insult.

Keep in mind that your partner most likely didn’t intend to hurt you. They probably just wanted to tease you. Let them know when they cross the line so it doesn’t happen again.

Maybe they don’t tease you in front of others, but they make fun of you and make you feel bad. For instance, if a man would make fun of a woman’s outfit, that would be considered incredibly insensitive. Why would it be any different when a woman makes fun of the guy’s clothes? You shouldn’t be expected to tolerate insensitive jokes because you are a man.

9. Watching movies, deciding what to do, and where to go.

Do you constantly watch the movies your partner likes? Is the remote control frequently in their hands? Do they always decide where you’ll go and what you’ll do?

This isn’t fair; you should have an equal say in these things.

Why would you sit through another chick-flick if your girlfriend never watches sci-fi movies with you? Why would you go to another restaurant your boyfriend picked when you want to go somewhere else?

As a couple, you should make decisions together. If you’re having trouble with such small decisions as which movie to watch, what will happen when you need to make big decisions together.

Start by having an equal say in these small things, even if it seems like they don’t really matter. Don’t wait for your partner to start suggesting your type of movies or your favorite restaurants. Initiate things and invite them to a movie you’d like to watch or to the restaurant you want to try.

Don’t forget that your gender has nothing to do with your right to pick what you’ll do!

10. Reacting to fights and getting hurt.

Reacting to fights by withdrawing and stonewalling can be considered passive-aggressive, or even abusive, behavior. Women get away with this more often, while guys who do it are considered jerks. This is a double standard!

If your partner reacts to fights by stonewalling you, they shouldn’t get upset when you do the same. However, neither of you should respond this way or just walk away in the middle of an argument. Learn to improve the way you fight by using healthy communication skills. You can point out that you’re taking a break from the fight instead of getting silent and distant.

Maybe your partner also expects you to get over being hurt quickly. Maybe when they’re hurt, they take their time and call you insensitive for wanting them to get over it faster. It takes time to heal when you’re hurt, so you should both be able to take some time before going back to the way things were. However, don’t leave each other guessing whether that will ever happen.

With the help of a relationship expert, you could improve the way you fight as well as the way you resolve arguments.

11. Meeting each other’s needs.

Your partner expects you to meet all their needs while not putting much effort into meeting yours. They even get upset when you don’t meet their needs and resent you for it, while they don’t reciprocate your effort.

Talk to your partner about it and show them that you always put their needs first. All you’re asking is that they do the same for you.

Not everything can be perfectly balanced in a relationship. However, you shouldn’t feel like you’re putting way more effort into it than your partner.

Maybe they can’t meet all your needs, but they should at least try to consider them more often and do what they can. Instead, if you keep feeling like you’re giving a lot more than you’re getting in return, it could doom your relationship.

Explain that to your partner and let them know that you need something from them too.

12. Being there for each other.

Just like you should be there for your partner, they should be there for you. If you are their greatest support, but they don’t show up for you when you need them, you’re not in a healthy relationship.

A one-sided relationship can show itself in many ways, one of which is when you’re giving a lot more than you’re getting. If your partner can rely on you, but you can’t rely on them, there’s a severe unbalance in your relationship.

You might even want to reconsider dating someone who isn’t there for you when you need them the most. Sometimes, a person can have a perfectly valid excuse for not showing up, but not every time.

You should be able to rely on your partner. If you can’t, consider getting outside help to pursue the relationship further. A therapist might discover why your partner doesn’t give you as much support as you give them. They can give you ways you could use to try improving your relationship.

However, your partner has to be willing to work on themselves too. If they’re not, you have no other choice but to accept them the way they are or end the relationship.

13. Respecting each other’s privacy.

It’s okay if you and your partner want to share your social media passwords, but do you both want to? If your partner asks for your passwords but talks about privacy when it’s their turn, it’s not fair. Also, if you aren’t allowed to snoop around their phone, they aren’t allowed to snoop around yours.

A relationship can have a privacy agreement, but it’s called an agreement for a reason. You both need to agree on what’s allowed and what’s not. These standards need to apply to both of you.

Privacy doesn’t refer only to your phones and social media accounts, either. It’s also about what you will reveal to others. If your partner wouldn’t like you to share their secrets with others, they shouldn’t share yours!

It would be best to avoid discussing your relationship problems with others before discussing them with each other. Most importantly, you should respect each other’s privacy when talking to others.

14. Taking care of the kids.

If you and your partner have kids, you are both in charge of taking care of them, not just one of you. This can sometimes be difficult, but with proper scheduling, you can set aside the time to take care of the kids.

Sometimes, one of you will be too tired, and that’s okay. But when they’re constantly too tired, remind them that you’re not bursting with energy either.

Your kids should have both of you in their lives. Even with work responsibilities, you could both find enough time for them. When taking care of the kids becomes solely one parent’s responsibility, they will resent the other.

So, react on time and make a plan that will allow you both enough time for all your responsibilities. A therapist can help with this or any other double standard that you’re experiencing in your relationship.

Don’t tolerate unfair treatment. Confront your partner about the issue. Try the ways you read about in this article, but don’t stop there. If you want to save your relationship, work on improving it by reading more, talking more, and getting good advice from people specializing in relationship problems.

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About The Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.