Learn the Difference Between Equity and Equality in Your Relationship

Spinning your wheels? This may be why.

Frank Vaughn
3 min readJul 31, 2022


Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

Relationships are hard. Sometimes impossible. I’ve been through a few myself and have always lacked perspective on the root cause of why they went wrong.

Until yesterday.

Nothing happened yesterday that would’ve directly lent insight into my past failures, but my epiphanies rarely come as the result of any single identifiable catalyst anyway.

I was in the shower, rinsing the soap off my bald head, when it hit me.

I’ve been chasing equity over equality my entire adult life.

I don’t know why those two particular words hit me. I know even less about why they are the ones I’ve been trying to put my finger on for years and years without success.

And I have no idea why a random, everyday task finally knocked them loose in my head. I’m using a new soap lately, so maybe that’s why?

So what is the difference between equity and equality?

Equity (noun):

A system of law originating in the English chancery and comprising a settled and formal body of legal and procedural rules and doctrines that supplement, aid, or override common and statute law and are designed to protect rights and enforce duties fixed by substantive law.

Take it from me — if your relationship has become something that requires a system of law…designed to protect rights and enforce duties, it’s probably time to have some tough conversations about the long-term health of the arrangement.

If you or your partner feel your rights are not naturally respected and responsibilities to each other are ignored to the point of having to codify them, something isn’t right.

If your relationship is defined by rights and responsibilities rather than respect and value of each other, you’re in trouble.

If your relationship involves seeking your self-worth in the words and deeds of the other person, you’ll likely always feel undervalued no matter what they say or do.

You may even be tempted to force them to do and say things that aren’t…



Frank Vaughn

Regional Emmy- and AP-award winning journalist and writer. Everyone’s brother.