Why do intimate relationships have to get so competitive? Some of the very things I admired in my ex were the qualities he would not allow me to possess. Humor, intelligence, drive; these were off-limits to me. After years of him belittling my work and accusing me of "competitive spending," I finally figured out I could spend time with people who "outdid" me in kindness, gentleness, generosity and respect. Now I try to identify the ones who make me want to be a better person.