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Relationships: Be careful of the double standards and the doublespeaker...
Published on January 3, 2017Email To Friend    Print Version

By Dr Edrica D. Richardson

Relationship double standards are sneaky and can slip into a relationship without you even noticing. We have used socially constructed 'gender roles' as a way to justify who does what; but have you ever asked yourself if they are fair?

Dr Edrica D. Richardson is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in multiple states in the US; and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Her clinical specialties include relationship issues, stress management, family conflict, and life coaching, to name a few. She works with adolescents, couples, and families in The Bahamas and the US. Visit her website at
Ask yourself: If you don't want to do it (changing diapers, tires, etc.), why would your partner want to? If you can do it (remain friends with their exes, cheat, etc.), so can your partner?

Reading this you’re probably thinking, “Why would anyone be with someone who thinks like that?” Well, the truth is lots of couples have double standards. Whether explicit or not, somehow these ridiculous rules burrow their way into your relationship and slowly start to chip away at what you thought was a strong foundation. What I’ve come to learn is that relationships grow if both individuals evenly tend them. If a relationship was an equation, both individuals have to be the same number. Make sure the standards in your relationship work for both people, leaving your love tanks filled not imbalanced!

There are lots reasons why this can happen. First, perhaps your other half feels like you’re not true equals. Mutual respect in a relationship means neither one of you is “better”; therefore, you don’t need separate standards. It’s a problem when most of the double standards favour the same partner. Any double standard is trouble when, according to unbiased and well informed experts, the underprivileged partner is undeserving of his or her lower status. The problem is that partners given a second-class status before long come to believe they deserve it.

Marriage is set up to be a partnership, not a dependency. Both the civil and religious vows required are quite mutual, creating a partnership of peers. When that partnership degenerates, when one partner becomes very insecure about losing the other, when both are convinced that one could do much better than the other on the open marriage market, love starts to spoil and smell bad. One partner becoming insecure is a problem the marriage partnership is designed to correct, not exploit.

Do you want more equality in your relationship? Then think about the Golden Rule. You know how it goes ("Do unto others…"). Don't you want to be treated with fairness? It's actually a simple theory; treat your partner like you want to be treated. Your relationship will be better. Your trust will be stronger. And those double standards will fade.

Eliminating the Double Standard

1. Early Talks about Relationships: Begin early talking about ideas and standards you have developed about relationships. You should pursue relationships that increase your sense of self-worth and reinforce your morals and values. If at any time you feel pressured by a partner, you should refrain from the relationship.

2. Gender Education: It is important that you explore and question specific gender education in terms of understanding relationships. Males and females have distinct needs in regards to relationships and it is important to discuss these needs and feelings along gender lines.

Be careful of being a relationship with a DoubleSpeaker?

Double speakers are people who say one thing then behave another way. Most times these individuals think they are gaining because they have the ability to distract with words or give you minimal effort. Remember a person’s actions are always are better indicator of how they feel than words are -- don't settle for minimal either – so pay attention. Pay attention: double standards are often in the headlines. We can learn from them, and then apply that learning to our lives. The purpose of a mistake is to learn from it. We can all do that.

An honest person is not afraid to tell the truth even if it hurts... because their intention is always to protect the other person, a sign of true love!
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