©Arlene R. Taylor PhD
In a first partnering, the brain often selects for wholeness (e.g., is attracted to a brain with an opposite brain bent). Understanding this can reduce the human tendency to later become disparagingly critical of these differences.
Sometimes the brain is attracted to another brain whose innate brain bent is similar. This may occur in a subsequent partnering, in a same-gender partnering, or when the female in a heterosexual partnering has a brain bent in the right frontal lobe.
If you have a differing brain bent, each partner will bring skills to the relationship that are energy-efficient for one person but energy-intensive for the other, and vice versa.
Recognize that it can require significantly higher amounts of brain energy to complete tasks that use functions outside one's brain bent. It can also be less rewarding, so the brain tends to procrastinate these tasks.
It is important to identify each person’s most energy-intensive tasks and develop options for handling those tasks. Otherwise one partner (typically the individual who is carrying the stereotypical “female” tasks) may consciously or subconsciously be expected to complete tasks that the other person doesn’t like or finds energy intensive. Over time the energy drain can lead to exhaustion and relationship problems.
If partners have a similar brain bent, they may be best friends as well as partners. However, BOTH partners will dislike the same types of tasks (e.g., find them increasingly energy exhausting).
Identify the tasks that tend to require the greatest energy expenditures for both of you (e.g., usually they will derive from the division opposite from your brain bent). Ask, “Does this task have to be done at all?
- If no, stop doing it.
- If yes, can it be hired out or traded with someone else?
- If yes, and it cannot be hired out or traded out, divide these energy-efficient tasks between partners so one doesn’t become disproportionately fatigued and dissatisfied with the relationships. When possible, turn the tasks into a game and do them jointly. It will still require more energy but there may be less frustration and discontent.
Use this information as a starting point for discussion.