If you were to describe a human relationship simply as one person plus another, you would receive little argument from anyone. It’s the way people think.
The way people ordinarily look at relationships can be described mathematically as 1 + 1. A relationship is one person added to or joined to another. The form and depth of the relationship is determined by the form and depth of the joining, but it is still 1 + 1.
What most fail to see is that the 1 + 1 way of looking at a relationship inevitably leads to credit and blame in relationships. When a relationship is going well, you tend to see that as 1 + 1, as both 1’s adding to the relationship, to the credit of both.
When a relationship is not going well, it must be that one of the 1’s is making it not work. Mathematically, it’s 1 – 1. One of the 1’s is subtracting from the relationship and must be to blame for the relationship not working.
When you take a moment to look, and you realize that no relationship escapes disappointments, upsets and frustrations, you’ll also realize that no relationship can avoid blaming and fault-finding. It’s built in. It comes with the territory. One 1 will be blamed for what’s not working. It is inevitable. Blaming is inescapable in people’s common, automatic, 1 + 1 way of thinking of relationship.
Taking credit and placing blame is universal in relationships. It is not personal to you. Nothing is uniquely “wrong” with any of your relationships. Every relationship is subject to blaming and to the defensiveness and counter-blaming that comes with it.
Is it possible to come up with another way of viewing relationship in addition to 1 + 1? Good question!