Emotional Wellbeing


Mandy Kloppers

How to deal with double standards

I guess we can all be guilty from time to time of having double standards.Most of the time, we don’t realise we are doing it and there is no major harm done. There are some people however, who make a habit of engaging in double standards. They have one set of rules for themselves and another set for everyone else. They judge themselves very differently to the way they judge others.

The types of people who tend to have double standards are often selfish and very judgemental of others. They are egocentric and self absorbed. Their world revolves around them and they have little interest in other people’s lives. These types of people also often have low self esteem and regularly need external validation. They aren’t good at self soothing or comforting themselves. Instead they manipulate and try to control others in order to feel safe in their world.

I have been in quite a few relationships with men who have had double standards. For example – it would be okay with them to flirt with women but if I flirted, well, that was just unacceptable. They would have selfish pursuits and want to do things without me but would expect me to be there for them when they were at a loose end. They would feel threatened if I was off doing things that made them feel left out. These are examples of double standards.

If you have good communication between you and your partner and they are able to accept responsibility for their behaviour, you have a better chance of resolving double standards. If however don’t have empathy and struggle to see your point or view (which is often the case woth people who display double standards) you will have an extra challenge on your hands.

When you deal with double standards, you need to clearly point out the unfairness that exists. Ask how it seems equal ir just that there are different rules for you and for them. Of course, it isn’t fair and if not resolved, double standards can destroy an otherwise happy relationship. Once resentment starts to creep in and communication dips, the ‘end of the road’ begins.

How to deal with double standards

Speak to your partner in a calm manner and let them know how their behaviour makes you FEEL.

Don’t use language such as “you always….” or “you never….” This can come across as aggressive and will mean they are less likely to hear you.

A good example of communication: I feel upset when you judge me differently to the way you judge yourself and I would like you to be more tolerant and have empathy for my feelings.

Try to keep the lines of communication open and be assertive. Don’t be passive and let it go – you teach others how to treat you and if you stay silent they will continue with their double standards.

If there are clear double standards, make sure not to give in to unreasonable demands. Gently point out examples of their behaviour that contradicts/shows up double standards to help them be aware of their hypocrisy.


A behavioural pattern of double standards often hints at a deeper issue such as selfishness or a lack of empathy. If, despite your efforts to be treated equally, the double standards continue, it may be time to re-assess. You have two options. Accept them as they are and try to deal with it whilst accepting this is probably how they will be going forward and they are unlikely to change, or leave and find someone who is able to treat you fairly.

Mandy X