Why Fairness Hurts Your Depth of Intimacy 


By Ariel Minter

My whole life, fairness has been something that I have been slightly obsessed with. 

My mom tells a story where we were playing “SORRY!”. I must have been four or five years old. Well, my mom won. I immediately threw myself on the floor crying “You always win mommy! You always win! It’s not fair!” (insert squeals and cries of a 5-year-old). I then proceeded to throw the pieces off the board and march to my room. 

Cute, I know. 

Having a sister just 16-months older than me meant a LOT of sharing. From clothes, to school supplies, hair stuff….you name it, we probably shared it on some level. I was a total prison guard when it came to sharing. If she wouldn’t let me borrow her new hair-tie, I wouldn’t let her borrow any of mine (regardless of new-ness). It was only fair, right? 

Needless to say, I was not the most generous with my sister. What’s funny is, I would have given my brand new Lisa Frank notebook to a friend if she even just said she “liked it”. I suppose, or like to think, this is a sister thing. At least my sister is extremely gracious and loved me despite my obsession with what was fair. 

I will never forget something my 4th grade teacher said, and would repeat to say, throughout the 1999-2000 (ahhh, has it really been 14 years since then?!) school year. Every time one of us would complain about something being unfair she would announce:

“Life isn’t fair. Anyone who tells you anything else is trying to sell you something.” 

This will certainly sound familiar to all those who love the classic movie “The Princess Bride”. 

Long after the 4th grade, this phrase stuck with me. A lot of my thinking is very much geared towards fairness. To this day, if something “unfair” happens to me, I take it very personally. 

This kind of thinking nearly cost me my coupleship. You see, I would be treated “unfairly”, or at the least I perceived it that way, and I would retaliate one way or another to make it “fair”. 

You know that saying, “All’s fair in love and war?”, well, that’s not exactly true. 

Everyone deserves to be treated in a just a fair manner; with respect. But, we are all human, and sometimes we let our pain shine through and we hurt the people we love with that pain. 

So, instead of constantly trying to “be fair”, I started wondering “What is the fair thing to do for our relationship?” And every. single. time. I asked that question, the answer was 180 degrees opposite of the answer of what would be fair for me. 

For a long time, I had the mentality of “I deserve so much more than this” whenever things would get bumpy in any relationship. 

That’s what women tell their girlfriends after a bad fight, parent’s tell their children regularly, and what men tell each other when they lament about how “crazy” their lady friends are. 

If all your consumed with is what is fair, you will never allow yourself to experience true love. So, it’s up to you. 

You can have as much fairness in your life as possible, but life isn’t fair. And if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re probably trying to sell you something.