Why Emotional Support Should Be Equal
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If Your 80/20 Doesn't Average Out To 50/50, Then I Don't Want It

If you don't receive, then you can't give.

If Your 80/20 Doesn't Average Out To 50/50, Then I Don't Want It
Scott Garfield / Sony Pictures

Most of us are probably familiar with the 80/20 rule of emotional availability: the amount of support you and your partner give each other won't always be 50/50.

Sometimes, your partner/friend/person will have days where they have been through the mill, and you have to pick yourself up and give them that 80 percent when they're too exhausted to be there for themselves, let alone you.

This is basically a given. We are all human, and we experience hardships that seem to come out of nowhere.

I have gone through tough times that I could not have gotten through if it weren't for the love and support of those around me.

For a while, I was only able to give 20 percent given my circumstances, but I had amazing people around me who gave 80 percent, and I can't thank them enough.

However, I had to keep in mind that they also needed a strong support system. I couldn't expect them to be my personal therapists, continuously dumping all of my problems on them. They're human beings, too.

When the 80/20 no longer averages out to 50/50, the relationship is no longer equal.

I've seen instances where people take advantage of the amount of emotional support they receive from their partner, and they begin to expect nothing less than that.

What they fail to realize is how draining and exhausting it can be to give so much to someone that you receive little to nothing from in return.

I have been on both ends of this—I have been the "personal therapist" as well as the "patient." Most of the people I used as my personal therapists eventually left me. I used to resent them for this, but now I understand why they did it.

I would've done the same thing.

Think of it like a bank account. Let's suppose you really enjoy painting, and you pay for painting classes. A give-and-take relationship is involved. In order to pay for these classes, money has to be going into your account.

Suppose you suddenly lose your job, but you try to continue painting because you really enjoy it. You are now giving without receiving, and your art class goes from an enjoyable activity to a burden.

Eventually, you'll have nothing left to give, and you have to quit your class unless you start receiving income again.

It's the same with relationships. As much as we love those around us, people get tired eventually.

When people decide to leave after giving their all to someone, it's not out of spite. They're not giving up; they just have nothing left to give.

Don't be discouraged from turning to your loved ones during difficult times, but don't forget to be emotionally available for them, too.

Sometimes you'll have to be the 80 to their 20; other times they'll be the 80 to your 20, but it should always average out to 50/50.

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