Equality and Reciprocity in Romantic Relationships

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Dr. Aaron Ben Zeév, Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today how equality and reciprocity (or lack thereof) can play a significant role in romantic relationships.  

The article starts off by discussing that equality plays an important role in friendship.  Two people can actually be from different socioeconomic backgrounds and yet still become friends.  For the friendship to occur, there must be something that creates equality between those two people.

In romantic relationships,there must also be a feeling of equality between the two partners. This doesn’t mean both must make the same amount of money or be from similar social backgrounds. However, if one person doesn’t feel equal in the relationship, envy can develop.  This may cause the person who feels envious and unequal in the relationship to become involved in an affair.

The author notes that the feeling of equality between two partners creates reciprocity.  Without this:

  1. There becomes a skewed investment in the union between the partners.
  2. Different levels of romantic feelings, with one person feeling more love than the other.

Zeév writes that it is impossible for a romantic relationship to last if there isn’t an equal reciprocity of feelings by each partner towards the other. This doesn’t mean that if your partner sends you 10 love notes you must respond in kind with an equal number. He writes that this is considered to be “mechanistic reciprocity” and that it isn’t effective for a long-term relationship.

Dr. Gary Chapman theorizes that everyone expresses love differently and in different ways in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts . One partner may be better with talking about their love, while the other partner isn’t a talker. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t express their feelings in other ways, such as doing something thoughtful (like bringing home flowers). The point is to express those feelings! Not doing so creates an imbalance in the relationship.  

Want to know more about Dr. Zeév’s thoughts on equality and reciprocity in romantic relationships?

Read the full article here:  “Is the Love You Take Always Equal to the Love You Make?

 

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