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Reciprocity.


waveseer

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It's been difficult for me to see where I wasn't being shown reciprocity in my past relationships because I'm naturally not a "score keeper". Instead I would give and give until somewhere down the line, months or years later I would wake up and notice I was with a taker. Not being one to volunteer for ill treatment as soon as I became aware I would take measures to balance the relationship. This never worked because by then the other person was too convinced I liked the imbalance, after all I'd stayed in the relationship for all this time by then so why would they believe otherwise?

 

Through the people here at ENA I have been reminded what real love is all about and how effortless reciprocity becomes when a person finds it.

 

Thank you ENA for clearing this up. I now believe I know the key to avoiding unhealthy, imbalanced, and "just not a very good deal for me" relationships. I have confidence that I can recognize the real thing.

 

 

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This is interesting subject matter for me. During my longest relationship, we had a definite balance. Neither partner overdid it, and both of us treated each other about equally well. This was acknowledged during the relationship and also even years after it ended.

 

In my relationship after that one, however, I had a partner that would go through fits of deep depression. She would get out of sorts, and her favorite line was "I'm in survival mode here". For that reason, I was often going out of my way to do something thoughtful and special for her, even if she wasn't doing it as often for me. After all, she was "in survival mode". After we broke up, she told me that I tried to please her. I found this pretty interesting, but heh, she was right!

 

I was trying to make her happier then her depression would allow, and it just didn't/doesn't work. Sometimes, when a partner is either sad, or miserable, or depressed, or whatever it is that they are, it's really the time to focus even more on yourself, on lending them space, and on not reaching out more just because they might be pulling back somehow. This partner later conceded that she knew I wasn't a pleaser, and that she knew why I did what I did. Still it sucked.

 

The girlfriend after her was short lived as well... only 5 months. For this one, I had learned my lessons... but too well? This woman was going so out of her way for me, and I was barely lifting a finger for her. Gifts, dinners, invites, calls, on and on.... I knew I was the one-up here, and that she was doing everything she could to put her best foot forward at all time and make me happy. And the result? I couldn't respect her!!!! Although I wish this wasn't true, that's what happened. If I ignored her? She showered me with attention. If I was a jerk? Gifts. If I was selfish? Here comes another massage.

 

Suddenly, I was getting a whole new perspective on what it's like to be dancing a different rhythm then your partner, and I didn't like it one bit. I wanted someone who would either ignore me or else call me on my * * * * when I was acting like a dip. It wasn't happening, and now I understood just how comfortable it felt to be with someone who, at least for now, was trying to make things better by pretending that there was no problem and then trying to please.

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jettison, you make an interesting point. With a compatible person it works, there's respect that goes both ways, and it feels comfortable. With an incompatible person no amount of over or under giving can possibly fix the dynamic.

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What are some examples of the overgiving and undergiving talked about here?

 

Jettison talked a bit about overgiving as it pertains to trying to make the other person happier than they are capable of being at the time, or having someone do that to you. He described gifts, personal attention, extra consideration, etc...

 

Undergiving happens when your heart really isn't in the relationship and you are letting the other person keep it afloat. Maybe you are still cordial and enjoy their company but you aren't reciprocating the same level of caring that you are receiving.

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That makes me wonder if I am undergiving without being aware of it! Hmm what would be a good surprise for today I wonder.

 

If your relationship is physical then being overtly affectionate with no ulterior motive is a great gift for most men.

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  • 2 weeks later...

nice thread...really important issue i think.

 

jettison...i especially like your perspective on the matter...very personal...but very applicable to many relationships.

 

have any of you ever talked to a partner about this? or do you believe that it's just inherent behavior...not something that can be easily changed or modified? i know for me...i've been in relationships where we were both under/overgiving simultaneously. both ideas together...at the same time.

difficult to understand how these things can't always be resolved.

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