You may have a fight and even make up after the fight, but in the back of your mind, you're marking off numbers on a scorecard your partner has never even seen. When need fights occur, you're adding fouls and other offenses to this scorecard and the fight grows into so much more than it started out as.
You know what I'm talking about. You're having a fight over dinner being late and suddenly the fight's about something that happened last year when he didn't defend you when his mother was overly critical. This is bad for the relationship for many reasons. These are just a few.
Nothing is Ever Solved
Not really solved, anyway. The other person has moved on and forgotten about the old argument. Then suddenly he or she is being held responsible for something they thought had been sorted out and made up for in the past. To them it feels like a sucker punch and that's not a good feeling.
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Fighting is a normal part of relationships. The purpose is to RESOLVE issues. When you pretend all is well for a while and then bring it up at a later date, it leaves the other person feeling doubly hurt and somewhat betrayed.
It Breeds Resentment
Unfortunately, when you're keeping score and resolving nothing, you're rehashing old arguments and emotional injuries just beneath the surface. You're walking around in a state of unresolved hurt and growing resentment all the time. It's not healthy for you and may leave your partner scratching his or her head at times trying to understand why you're so angry all the time.
Compounds the Real Problems in the Relationship
Finally, when you have this running score going on in your head of perceived slights and injuries (some things you've probably never even so much as mentioned to your partner), they're only serving to compound the real problems in the relationship.
This means that when the time comes to begin working on what's broken, you have to sift through all the clutter to get to the heart and soul of the problem in your relationship. Too often, you expend precious time and energy trying to sort through the old issues that you never get to the real problem.
That's when breakups happen. That's when the two of you give up and then, more often than not, live with regrets over what could have been. Is it too late? I don't believe it's ever too late. But, you will ultimately have to eliminate the scorecard and leave it behind you for good if you want to have an honest shot at a second chance.