Reciprocity: The X-Factor of Relationships

(Image Courtesy of: jetmag.com)

By: Zach Fulwood

Relationships are a funny thing. On one hand, they can bring out the best in you. On the other hand, they can reveal all of your faults. In a lot of way, relationships are pretty much a crap shoot. While you’ll never really know how your next relationship is going to turn out, you can be certain that reciprocity will be a determining factor in the outcome.

On it’s surface, reciprocity sounds like an obvious aspect of a successful relationship. When you do something for someone, you expect them to do the same in return. Giving and taking is an expected characteristic of any and every relationship. While simple in theory, most relationships are hindered and ultimately fail because of the lack of reciprocity that exists.

Adequate reciprocity in a relationship is hard to measure because no two people are exactly alike. Because of this, both partners could have differing views on the importance of what they bring to the table. One of the more common examples of this is partners having friends of the opposite sex while in a relationship. One partner may be under the assumption that as long as their partner knows about it, friends of the opposite sex is fine. The other partner could very well feel that the most respectful thing to do would be to not entertain any friendships with people of the opposite sex while in a relationship.

As you can see, reciprocity is a matter of interpretation and that interpretation is aided by the acceptance of responsibility by both parties for the emotions that have been created within that relationship. This means, taking the time to understand the value system of your partner and what they deem is essential for building and maintaining a healthy relationship. Not doing so would be like buying a dog without ever researching how to properly take care of one and hoping the dog doesn’t run away the moment they realize their with an owner who doesn’t know how to treat them.

Relationships fail all the time. In fact, the majority of your relationships will fail over the course of your life if the goal is to ultimately get married. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll have one relationship that is a success and it will be a success because both you and your partner were genuinely able to exercise reciprocity within your relationship. .

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