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The 80/20 Rule in Relationships (15 Ways To Bring New Life to The Connection)

Last updated on September 29, 2022 by Sonya Schwartz

Any relationship involving human interaction can be challenging. Some of you may have heard about the 80/20 rule in relationships, or you may have no idea what it is. For those that are new to this concept, the 80/20 rule, also referred to as the Pareto principle, is an approach stating that in a healthy relationship, you can only get 80% of what you want from your partner and the other 20% needs to come from you. 

Someone’s concept of a perfect relationship is often affected by expectations. If what you expect is greater than your partner's ability to meet it, it makes the relationship unhealthy for both of you. Have you ever considered that expectations may be what’s killing your relationship? 

Let’s be honest. My partner and I aren’t perfect and I’m sure you and your partner aren’t either. As you get to know one another, both of you start expecting things from each other. This can sometimes crush your relationship and create resentment between both of you for not being the perfect partner and not meeting difficult and unrealistic assumptions.

Here are 15 ways the 80/20 rule can benefit you as an individual and change your relationship for the better.

15 Ways To Use The 80/20 Rule in Relationships

1. Maintain individuality.

Oftentimes when we find love it can be easy to lose our sense of identity. Taking a break to give thought to your ideas, your own interests and activities that you enjoy is crucial. Use your 20 percent to focus on yourself and figure out who you are and what you want in your life.

2. Enhance self fulfillment.

By focusing 20 percent of your effort on yourself you find the ability to conquer your own challenges, which can provide more confidence and happiness. You give yourself a chance to take on opportunities that can lead to a fulfilled life and future.

3. Eliminate resentment.

Resentment can be created in the relationship if you are often making sacrifices for your partner. Even though people feel like it's the right thing to do, resentment will likely build as time passes. By having 20 percent of your time to focus on yourself and your own issues, the feeling of resentment can be avoided.

4. Increase emotional intimacy.

increase emotional intimacy

It is difficult to have genuine emotional intimacy when you provide your partner with either everything or nothing at all. Everyone needs a healthy balance where they can feel comfortable sharing things with their partners and not sharing them when you feel like it. With true emotional intimacy a relationship can grow and transform in a positive way.

5. Settle differences more easily.

Arguments where both sides are only focused on what they want and need can be hard to solve. Neither wants to listen to what the other says and neither respects the other side. However, when a couple uses the Pareto principle, they tend to care more about what the other person needs instead of focusing on what they want. They give kindness, respect, and support while working through the issue together as a team

6. Find interdependence for a healthier relationship.

Codependency is unhealthy for any relationship. If someone is too dependent on the other, the relationship often suffers. However, if someone is too independent that they don’t even consider the other person’s needs and wants, you can’t develop a close relationship. Interdependence in a relationship is the balance, so that the couple is as strong together as they are individually.

7. Provide personal space.

Even in the case of a close relationship each person needs his or her personal space. If the relationship is smothering, it could be because the couple does everything together. Consider spending time doing all the things you enjoy separate from your partner. This will create the space and environment in which you can do different things your partner might not enjoy, without feeling like your needs are suffocated.

8. Become more loving.

become more loving

When each person in the relationship is focused only on themselves and their own needs they become greedier, self-absorbed and stingy. Focusing the 80 percent on being kind and loving to each other develops a capacity for care and support toward one another.

9. Helps promote more listening and less assumptions.

The way a person interprets their partner's words may have nothing to do with what was said and everything to do with negative interactions a person had in the past. Emotional baggage can sometimes ruin healthy relationships. Taking your 20 percent to deal with your own significant experiences from the past can lead to seeing the other side better in certain situations.

10. Focus on why you chose each other.

Once a person enters a relationship it's very easy to lose yourself and forget why you entered it in the first place. The most important thing is to focus on your core values and make sure they aren’t getting lost in the relationship. Take this time and space to make sure you’re with the right person. Your 20 percent gives you space to realize why you are with your partner and re-invest your energy into the connection.

11. See the big picture.

see the big picture

When a person is in a relationship it's easy to focus on a small percentage of problems. The Pareto principle helps couples to see the big picture and be honest with themselves about what they really need from their partner.

Let the small stuff go. This doesn’t mean to sweep everything under the rug either. If something is truly a problem, speak up. Talk to your partner and ask them to work on the issue together. Staying silent will just cause more harm.

12. Become grateful for what you have.

Pareto’s principle reminds couples that even though no relationship is perfect it is important to be grateful for what you have together. Everyone is imperfect. Loving someone with their imperfections is key to long-term relationships. When a couple is comfortable and accepts each other, it makes the bond a whole lot more enjoyable.

13. Strengthen trust.

Trust is crucial to every partnership. Once trust is broken, a bond will never be the same again. When couples spend their 20 percent as “me time” where they can each be 100 percent themselves, it only strengthens the connection and brings them together. Each person showing the same enthusiasm for their 20 percent builds a very high level of trust within the connection.

14.  Avoid settling.

Taking the space to feel out your wants and needs in a partnership can prevent you from settling. Ditching a current partner for a new one won’t help you avoid problems. Take your 20 percent and view it as an opportunity to accept and analyze your bond as it is. Taking the space can help you to evaluate whether your problems are more simple or if you’re settling and truly missing something. 

15. Bring the initial spark back.

bring the initial spark back

Everyone wants to be spending as much quality time as possible with their partner, there’s nothing wrong with that. Taking 20 percent of your time for yourself can really bring that joy and initial spark back to your connection like it's brand new. Each person taking the time to have other things that fulfill their lives can increase happiness and positivity within the partnership.

FAQs

What is the 80/20 rule of infidelity?

The 80/20 rule of infidelity revolves around the idea that a person might cheat on a significant other merely because of the 20% of attributes that their partner lacks, and find that 20% in someone else. However, later on they’re likely to realize they were better off with the 80% their partner already provided them with.

How does the 80/20 rule work in relationships?

The 80/20 rule means each person gets 80 percent of their needs met by the relationship and the other 20 percent by themselves. Each person can take 20 percent of their time away from the relationship to explore their individuality and engage in activities that fulfill them.

How can the 80/20 rule help improve the relationship?

The 80/20 rule can help improve your relationship in many ways. Space can enhance your feelings for your partner and bring back that spark that was there when you first got together. The 80/20 rule can also help you manage your expectations of your partner, appreciate your partner more, make it easier to solve disagreements and build a strong foundation for the relationship.

Can you implement the 80/20 rule in a codependent relationship?

Codependent relationships happen when individuals in a relationship overly rely on one another. They can be isolating and toxic. The 80/20 rule can be implemented in a codependent relationship to build the individuals’ self-esteem, create self-fulfillment, give needed time to speak about the relationship with others, and give space to see the big picture.

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In Conclusion

Did you enjoy learning about how the 80/20 rule can help your relationship? When used correctly, the 80/20 rule can change your partnership for the better. It can help everyone to find fulfillment outside the connection, build trust, prevent feelings of resentment, prevent settling, and bring that spark back into the connection. 

Let us know in the comments what you thought about the article and share it with your partner, friends, or family.

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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