You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

What is an 80/20 relationship, and does it work?

The Independent logo The Independent 21/03/2017 Sarah Young
Couple hugging on beach © Hero Images/Getty Images Couple hugging on beach

You might have heard of the 80/20 rule. It can be applied to many different aspects of daily life from the food we eat, the money we spend and our exercise regime. But now people are using it to help strengthen their relationships too.

When it comes to your love life, the 80/20 rule centres on the idea that one person cannot meet 100 per cent of your needs all the time.

Each of you is permitted to take a fraction of your time – 20 per cent – away from your partner to take part in more self-fulfilling activities and resume your individuality.

In some cases, partners may choose to take up a new hobby or even go travelling without the pressure of having to check-in with the other.

For long-term relationships, where compromise can sometimes be difficult, the 80/20 rule aims to eliminate any feelings of resentment by offering space and some much-needed time apart.

Of course, every 80/20 relationship will differ, particularly when it comes to the topic of sex.

A ‘20’ period is all about self-reliance which can either mean abstaining from sexual interaction with a partner or choosing to enjoy the company of others.

In this way, it can be perceived as an open relationship but couples must ensure that these flings only take place during their allocated break. 

Taking the phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ quite literally, this concept requires an incredible level of trust. But when it works, it works well, with many couples claiming that is has helped to strengthen their relationship.

But you should bear in mind its most obvious pitfall. What if your partner starts enjoying their 20 per cent time away more than the time they’re spending with you?

More from The Independent

The Independent
The Independent
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon