This post was updated on Mar 5, 2023
Every individual needs and deserves to be on an equal footing with their romantic partner. This is when you can truly thrive as a person and feel confident in both yourself and your romantic bond. However, relationships often tip to one side, as this balance is very delicate and people’s past experiences play into their power dynamic with their current partner.
Find out what reciprocity is in love and how you can achieve a more equal balance of power within your relationship. You can also get a step closer to building trust in a relationship by attending an eye-opening couples workshop.
What Is Reciprocity In Love?
Reciprocity can take many shapes and mean slightly different things in different spheres of life. For example, a business and a customer can be in a reciprocal relationship. If the business provides the quality of service the customer needs and the customer in turn pays for this service, reciprocity is established. As long as they keep their side of the bargain, this type of relationship is fulfilling for both parties.
The same principle can be applied to love. Being in a reciprocal romantic relationship means that you and your partner are equally supportive of one another and provide each other with the same level of trust, care, and affection. However, the need to maintain reciprocity can also create unhealthy patterns, such as if you engage in toxic tit-for-tat behavior.
What Is An Example Of Reciprocity In A Relationship?
The most basic example of reciprocity is requited love, when you and your partner feel the same about one another. It’s a two-sided relationship where both of you feel equally appreciated, safe, and understood.
There are other examples, too, such as:
- Your partner will comfort you after a rough day at work and you’ll also empathize with them when their week is going badly.
- You each make attempts to breathe new shared experiences into the relationship.
- You’ll show respect to their family members and friends and you’ll expect them to do the same for you. Even if you don’t feel the same way about friend or family member.
- Partners may split chores in half so one person is responsible for mopping and vacuuming while the other one’s in charge of cleaning the kitchen.
- This “division of labor” can apply to responsibilities other than housework. For example, if one of you is picking up the kids from school, the other one will go grocery shopping and make dinner.
Reciprocity will ideally stem from a place of love and respect instead of being a manipulative strategy used to get what you want. It may mean compromising your comfort from time to time, and if your partner is willing to do the same for you, it is definitely worth it.
Is Reciprocity Important In A Relationship?
To an extent, the balance of reciprocity will depend on your and your partners’ particular personalities. Some people are naturally more nurturing than others. They could be perfectly happy to give more than they receive. It’s equally important to note that “giving” is more than just time and emotion. It is also financial contributions and making good sound decisions.
If you’re overly focused on your partner’s needs to the point of losing yourself, it’s a problem.
A healthy relationship has to provide a comfortable, stimulating environment for you and your partner to thrive, and this typically includes a more-or-less equal balance between the two of you. Every person requires warmth, comfort, and help, so your partner needs to provide these in equal measure.
However, there are also negative instances of reciprocity in a relationship, when you act vengeful toward one another. For example, one of you may feel jealous and cheat on your partner to get back at them. This type of back-and-forth hurtful behavior may lead to a lot of emotional turmoil and the ultimate breakdown of your relationship.
How Do You Know If Your Relationship Is Non-Reciprocal?
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if you’re in a non-reciprocal relationship. Some signs of this may be:
- One of you isn’t as dedicated to the relationship and willing to commit as the other one.
- One partner does all the work around the house or handles all aspects of child rearing completely on their own.
- Only one person is the breadwinner while the other one doesn’t show a willingness to contribute to the family’s budget and over spends.
- Only one of you provides support and nurturing to the other partner. If you’re on the giving end, you may feel underappreciated as well as physically and emotionally drained.
Sometimes, special circumstances can skew the balance of reciprocity in your relationship and that can be healthy, as long as you both honestly are in agreement and acceptance. For example, if one partner becomes seriously ill, the other one will usually bear the brunt of caring for them and single-handedly take care of the responsibilities they previously shared.
How Do You Create A Reciprocal Relationship?
There are several things you can do to make sure your partner feels appreciated
- Check in with them to see how they’re feeling and what they need
- Do little, thoughtful things for your partner as often as you can, such as buying them a small gift, making them a meal, or helping them with chores.
- Let them know how they could meet your needs.
- Keep the lines of communication open and you’ll both have a better understanding of how you can make each other happy.
Where Can I Find A Helpful Couple Relationship Management Workshop?
PIVOT can provide answers to all of your relationship dilemmas, such as how to keep your new relationship strong, finally let go of the painful sense of shame, or overcome the tendency to be complacent in a relationship. Both our healing 5-day retreats at the Glass House and our custom coaching sessions for individuals can uncover your deep-seated fears and needs as well as teach you how to go after them.
Through your journey of discovery and self-growth, you’ll learn how to have more successful relationships and feel fantastic in your own skin. Our relationship advocates are experienced in helping individuals pivot toward self-improvement. Thanks to our holistic approach, you’ll heal your childhood wounds and become a confident, Healthy Adult, capable of building lasting bonds. Get in touch with us to schedule your session!