Competition has always been a part of life, which holds true even in relationships. No matter how genuinely we love and care for our partners, there may be times when it is hard to abandon our tendency to be competitive, if not overly so. This may create undue tension and complications between us and our partners. If you’re having this problem and don’t want it to further escalate, then consider following these 10 simple tips on how to overcome competition in a relationship:
1. Be a team player.
A relationship should be likened to a doubles tennis match, where you and your partner work together to reach milestones and overcome adversaries. Whenever your partner makes a proper save or strikes a point, you celebrate too because that success is yours as well! However, if you’re currently viewing the dynamic as a singles tennis match, then you’ll have a problem. Because in such a scenario, you and your partner are not teammates, but rather are rivals, meant to overpower and defeat each other. So play doubles, and be a team player!
2. Set common goals.
A good incentive to avoid competition is setting common goals. When you and your partner make it your common goal to build that dream house or kill Shao Kahn, then you won’t be transfixed on competitiveness when the other makes an accomplishment. After all, that feat makes the two of you closer to your common objective! This doesn’t mean that you’ll abandon your individual dreams and aspirations of course. Just add in a few common objectives; this will not only help mitigate competition, but it will also strengthen the overall foundation of your relationship.
3. View success as a part of a collective.
When you are in a relationship, it’s good not to confine your perception of success as something entirely individualistic. Rather, start viewing it as a part of a collective. Think of your relationship as an entity that was created by virtue of you and your partner’s love and devotion to each other. Then, collectively pool your individual achievements into that entity in order to further nourish it. Having this kind of mindset will help you see that your partner’s success is not beneficial to her alone or detrimental to you. At the end of the day, that success forms part of a collective that benefits both of you, your relationship, and your future together.
4. Compete with yourself.
A common reason why people get overly competitive, even in otherwise safe havens such as relationships, is that they compete with other people too much. Their perception of value hinges on extrinsic comparisons. This should not be the case, especially with your partner. Hubby Mark or Baby Barbara are not your enemies; you should not compete with them. You should be your own adversary. Compete with yourself, specifically the past versions of yourself. Doing this will not only help you avoid toxic competition with your partner, but it will also help you improve as a person.
5. Breathe and reflect.
Sometimes, even though we already have the right mindset, past habits or just sheer human nature gets the better of us and makes us all too competitive with our partners again. In situations like this, you should force yourself into idle mode for a while. Calm yourself. Breathe in and out. Reflect on why you should not let your competitive nature get the better of you. Kill the threat before it causes any damage.
6. Learn to compromise.
If you find yourself in a relationship where you’re not the only one who is overly competitive but also your partner, then both of you should be prepared to make compromises. Do not be drowned by your individual egos or insecurities, but rather be focused on making healthy compromises that will promote the stability and longevity of your relationship.
Instead of arguing about who knows better, come into an agreement that you’re both equally competent. After all, you entered into a relationship not to rub into your partner’s face that you are the better person, but rather to find someone who you can grow and be a better person with.
7. Be inspired, not jealous.
Another way to overcome competition in a relationship is by doing a form of mental alchemy. Transform your enviousness into inspiration. Instead of being jealous of your honey bear for how she/he was able to get that promotion or speedrun Mario Bros, make that feat of hers/his an inspiration instead. Turn it into a point of reference for what you also want to achieve or even improve upon. Make your partner’s success a driving force for you to pursue success as well. If your partner was able to do it, trust that you can as well. It’s not a race, so there’s nothing to be jealous about.
8. Communicate your overcompetitiveness.
One of the best ways to overcome your competitive nature, especially in your relationship, is to first be open and honest about it. Tell your partner that you’re just naturally a very competitive person. Also, tell her/him the reason why you are so. Is it because of your social situation? Your performance in school? Your upbringing? Tell your partner the problem as well as its cause/s. Doing this will not only help her/him understand you better whenever you manifest your competitive side, but it will also allow her/him to help you address the issue. After all, you and your partner are a team, not rivals.
9. Be patient, and wait for your own time to shine.
One reason why people become competitive with their partners is that they are impatient. They want success, and they want it now! They also do not want their partners to succeed before them. This should not be the case. Whenever your partner accomplishes something, learn to be happy for her/him. Do not secretly sulk in the corner of the room wishing that it was you basking in the glory! Your time will come, and your partner will be there celebrating with you when it does. Be patient.
10. Don’t let success define your value.
There are times when we compete with our partners not because we are jealous of them or because we want to outshine them, but because we think that our value in the relationship is dependent upon our accomplishments. We think that if we don’t perform at least at par with our partners, then they will think lowly of us or think us unworthy of them.
Your value, especially in your partner’s eyes, should not be based on how much money you earn or how smart you are in contrast to them. If your partner truly loves you and if you are indeed in a genuine relationship, then all that matters is that you give what you can as a person wholeheartedly; there is no need to compete just to qualify.
It’s completely normal to be competitive. One way or another, we all aspire to become better individuals. It’s in our nature as humans after all. However, we should learn to tame our competitive nature, especially with respect to our partners, in order to develop a healthier dynamic. If you are one of those overly competitive partners, then the 10 simple tips given above will most definitely help you avoid competition in your relationship.