What Is The 80/20 Rule In Relationships: Applications And Benefits

If you want to know what is the 80/20 rule in relationships, you’ll love this article.

When you think of the 80/20 rule, you might imagine someone embarking on a new diet or starting a new exercise routine. However, this principle can also be a valuable tool for enhancing your romantic life, whether you’re in an existing relationship or seeking new connections. If you’re ready to find satisfaction with your partner and move beyond the pursuit of a “perfect” relationship, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll dive into what the 80/20 rule is, how it applies to your love life, and the long-term benefits it can provide.

What Is The 80/20 Rule In Relationships:

What is the 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, in the context of relationships, suggests that you should aim to be 80% satisfied with your partner. The remaining 20% of your satisfaction comes from within—your personal interests, hobbies, and career.

Experts argue that by maintaining realistic expectations, you open yourself up to more fulfilling relationships and steer clear of the futile search for a flawless partner. Additionally, the 80/20 rule encourages you to attend to your own needs, which is crucial as life’s demands—like work and family—often pull you in different directions.

For example, your partner might make you feel loved and secure, yet you turn to friends and family for a sense of community. Here, 80% of your emotional needs are met by your partner, while you satisfy the remaining 20% through other means. When it comes to infidelity, the 80/20 rule posits that people might cheat because they seek the 20% they feel is missing from their current relationship, only to later realize that the 80% they had was more valuable.

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Your Relationship

1. Satisfy 20% of Your Own Needs and Wants

While your partner may be wonderful, they can’t fulfill every emotional need, and that’s perfectly fine. By focusing on meeting some of your needs independently, you can better appreciate the 80% that your partner does provide.

For instance, if you enjoy watching certain genres of movies that your partner doesn’t, treat yourself to a solo movie night once a month. If you’re a foodie and your partner isn’t, explore new restaurants with friends to satisfy your culinary cravings.

2. Spend 20% of Your Time Away from Your Partner

This roughly translates to dedicating one night a week to yourself. Use this time to catch up with friends, indulge in a hobby, or simply enjoy some solitude. This break can make your time together more meaningful and refreshing.

The 80/20 rule helps you maintain your individuality within the relationship. By spending 80% of your time with your partner and 20% apart, you continue to nurture your own interests and friendships. If this is a new approach in your relationship, discuss it with your partner. You might say, “How about we each take Thursday evenings for our own activities? This way, we can pursue our interests while still spending quality time together.”

3. Embrace Your Partner’s Flaws

Loving your partner’s positive traits is easy, but accepting their imperfections is where the 80/20 rule becomes beneficial. If 80% of your relationship is positive, you can overlook the less desirable 20%.

For example, your partner might be incredibly kind and romantic but also occasionally sarcastic. Recognize that their flaws are part of their humanity, and the 80% of qualities you cherish make the 20% of imperfections more bearable.

4. Stop Searching for the “Perfect” Relationship

If you’re single, it’s tempting to seek the perfect partner. However, the 80/20 rule suggests that finding someone who meets around 80% of your needs is sufficient, and you can fulfill the remaining 20% on your own. This perspective broadens your dating horizons and increases your chances of finding a compatible match.

This doesn’t mean you should lower your standards. If someone is fundamentally incompatible with you, the relationship likely won’t work. But if you find yourself nitpicking minor details after a date, remember the 80/20 rule and consider giving the relationship a chance to grow.

Benefits of 80/20 Relationships

1. It Keeps Your Expectations Realistic

The 80/20 rule serves as a reality check against the idealized versions of love we see in romantic comedies and novels. Instead of yearning for a flawless relationship, this principle reminds us that everyone we date is human and inherently flawed. Accepting this helps us appreciate our partners for who they truly are, recognizing that a perfect relationship is an unrealistic expectation and that it’s okay for it to be imperfect.

2. It Allows You and Your Partner to Grow

By dedicating time to meet your own needs independently, you and your partner can engage in personal growth. This might mean discovering new hobbies, pursuing further education, or advancing in your career. As each of you grows individually, you bring fresh perspectives and experiences back into the relationship, which can strengthen your bond and foster a deeper connection over time.

3. It Takes the Pressure off the Relationship

Expecting your partner to meet 90% or more of your needs can create significant pressure and unrealistic expectations within the relationship. The 80/20 rule alleviates this stress by encouraging you to fulfill 20% of your own needs. This approach helps keep the relationship dynamic and flexible rather than rigid and strained, allowing both partners to enjoy their time together without feeling overwhelmed by unmet expectations.

4. It Encourages a Positive Perspective

When your partner’s quirks or shortcomings start to annoy you, the 80/20 rule helps you focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. Instead of fixating on the 20% that’s missing, you can appreciate the 80% that’s fulfilling. For instance, if your partner showers you with love and attention but rarely acknowledges your achievements, you can choose to value the affection and support you do receive rather than dwelling on what’s lacking.

Origins of the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, was conceived in the late 1800s by Italian philosopher and economist Vilfredo Pareto. He observed that 20% of the pea plants in his garden produced 80% of the peas. Extending this observation, he discovered that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population. From these insights, he formulated the 80/20 rule, which posits that 80% of outcomes often result from 20% of efforts.

Application of the 80/20 Rule Across Cultures and Fields

The 80/20 rule has found relevance in various cultural and professional contexts. For example, in Japan, many people practice “hara hachi bu,” eating until they are 80% full to maintain health and fitness. In the business world, professionals use the 80/20 rule to prioritize tasks, focusing 20% of their efforts on the most critical activities that generate 80% of the results. This principle helps in optimizing productivity and achieving significant outcomes with efficient use of time and resources.

Summary of the 80/20 Rule in Relationships

The 80/20 rule, derived from the Pareto Principle, is a concept suggesting that in relationships, you should aim to be 80% satisfied with your partner, while the remaining 20% of your needs should be met independently through your own interests, hobbies, and personal growth. This approach promotes realistic expectations by acknowledging that no relationship is perfect and that every partner has flaws.

Key Benefits:

  1. Realistic Expectations: Helps you stay grounded by understanding that your partner, like everyone, has imperfections, which makes the relationship more authentic and less idealized.
  2. Personal and Mutual Growth: Encourages both partners to spend time apart pursuing personal interests and self-discovery, which can lead to individual growth and a stronger relationship.
  3. Reduced Pressure: By not expecting your partner to fulfill all your needs, the relationship remains dynamic and less strained, fostering a more enjoyable and flexible partnership.
  4. Positive Perspective: Shifts focus from the 20% that’s lacking to the 80% that’s fulfilling, helping you appreciate the positive aspects of your relationship.

The rule was formulated by Vilfredo Pareto in the late 1800s after he observed that 20% of the pea plants in his garden produced 80% of the peas and that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population. This principle, indicating that a majority of effects come from a minority of causes, applies broadly across various contexts, including personal relationships.

In summary, the 80/20 rule in relationships is about appreciating the substantial positive aspects of your partner while accepting and managing the minor deficiencies by fulfilling those needs independently. This balance can lead to a more satisfying and resilient partnership.

Thank you for reading this article about what is the 80/20 rule in relationships and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here