May 10, 2015

Givers and Takers: How To Make Sure Your Relationship Lasts

I have worked with countless couples over the past several years on helping them have the most intensely satisfying intimate relationships possible.

And through my time as a relationship coach I have noticed a major trend.

There are two primary types of couples that come to me…

Couples that are struggling to stay happy because the same issues keep popping up between them… and couples that are already doing quite well and just want to check in for a quick relationship tune up.

And underneath each of these two types of clients that I most frequently work with, there’s an important underlying lesson to be learned.

The couples that are struggling generally consist of two ‘takers’ and the couples that are just looking for ways to improve their already high functioning are both ‘givers’.

I will define takers as people who come to the relationship with the overarching mindset of “What’s in this for me?”

Takers want ample emotional support. They want lots of physical affection. They want all of the time, energy, attention, and resources that their partner can give them. But they rarely, if ever, seek out ways to do the same for their significant other. They act primarily from a place of self-interest, and put their partners on a lower rung of priority in their lives.

Givers, on the other hand, are constantly seeking out ways to lighten their partners load. They have the overarching mindset of “What can I do for you?” They give ample physical affection, verbal praise, and emotional support. Givers are like heat seeking missiles for ways to bring value to their partner’s life.

And, in the non-scientific research that I have done with the significant sample size of my client base, I have found that these two types often attract each other. That is to say givers partner up with other givers, and takers pair up with other takers (certainly not 100% of the time, but givers and takers repel each other more often than not).

The former couple becomes an upward spiral of awesomeness as they both are constantly on the look out for ways to help the other one grow into their potential (emotionally, spiritually, in their careers, etc.). The latter couple (the takers) become a downward spiral of fear, anger, frustration, manipulation, stubbornness, and misery. The saddest thing about a relationship agreement between takers is that when each one isn’t getting their primary needs met, they dig in their heels and they both engage in a cruel and often unconscious kind of stalemate where neither one is happy or getting what they want.

Are You A Giver?

Are you kind with your partners? Are you highly considerate? Are you frequently looking for ways to better your significant others life? Then you’re likely a giver.

You’ll have the highest chance of success in your long-term relationship by partnering up with another giver so that you won’t eventually feel drained from investing into a partner who isn’t able to invest back into you.

Are You A Taker?

Will you only engage in relationships with people who aren’t very good at saying “No” to you? Are you highly concerned with fairness in your relationship? Do you frequently have the underlying motive of getting as much from your partner as possible? Then you might be a taker.

The odds are stacked against you. You might want to work on switching from an entitled, taking mindset, to a value-driven, giving mindset (if you want to be in a healthy, high functioning relationship in your lifetime).

How Do You Avoid Partnering Up With A Taker?

The first, and likely most important step, is to recognize if you yourself operate primarily from this mindset. If so, you must begin to shift your attentional spotlight from taking to giving. Act less from a place of self-interest and more often from a place of giving, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

The second step is to ensure that your partner (it’s recommended that you screen for this early on in the dating process) is available to emotionally invest in you, and that it is clear that they are there for you just as much as you are for them. You’re not looking to bust out a score card and make sure that fairness is happening across the board… but you want to ensure that you are seeing investment from them and that the energy isn’t flowing in one direction between the two of you.

In conclusion, in order to avoid partnering up with a taker, be a giver, acknowledge that you want to be partnered with another giver, and then screen your potential romantic interest to ensure that you are aware of who you’re partnering up with.

How Do You Attract A Giver?

By being an authentic giver.

Have solid enough personal boundaries to know when you’re being taken advantage of by a taker, but if you’ve screened your potential romantic partner to know that they are in fact kind, lavish with their praise, and are clearly willing and able to invest in you and your emotional well being, then dive right in… you’ve likely found yourself another giver!

The Best Way To Make Your Relationship Last

By coming to your relationship with the value-adding giver mindset, you are setting your relationship up for success.

One of my longest running clients recently joked that every one of my articles could be renamed “How To Be A Giving, Loving, Intentional Partner” and it would essentially always be accurate.

The secret to a high functioning, thriving relationship isn’t a secret…

Love them. A lot. All the time. Be intentional with your love. Take them out on dates. Tell them how much you love them. Be physically affectionate. Consciously invest in your sex life. Have the difficult conversations. Show vulnerability.

In essence, be a giver. And have the courage and self-respect it takes to hold out until you find someone who can give back to you, as you do for them.

Dedicated to your success,

Jordan

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