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March 30, 2023


Transactional relationships are a form of blackmail! In a love relationship, we do things for each other not in hopes of getting something back but for no other reason than we love that person and enjoy them being happy.

Transactional relationships are red flags that say that the feelings of love are in the process of leaving the building or have left the building.

Transactional relationships are one of the first stages of being “out of love!” A love relationship is based on the concept of giving to each other because you love the other person. Transactional relationships are based on “You do something for me, then I will do something for you.”

“You want to play golf every weekend? Then I want new furniture for the house!” “You do not want to help with the housework. Then you need to pay for a cleaning lady.” “You do not pay attention to me anymore, so I will find it somewhere else.” Do not despair; there are other options. However, it will take both of you.

Being in love is no reason to get married.

Being out of love is no reason to get a divorce.

When loving relationships turn into transactional relationships where both people are unhappy, then you get to live as roommates, or you can get a divorce, or both commit to re-creating a loving relationship. This could start with sharing expectations of what you would like out of your relationship. The question is, are you willing to meet the other person’s wants as long as your wants are getting met?

Will transactional relationships always lead to separation? Many people will stay in a transactional relationship with their boss because it benefits both people. That does not mean that either person is happy with the situation. The same applies to love relationships.

In re-creating a loving relationship this time, set out some concepts for both of you to follow.

  • I do not need my mate; I want my mate. I need air, water, and food! I do not need my mate. I want them. I will not die if they leave me. Emotional pain is not terminal.
  • We both will make many mistakes. However, nothing is a failure if we learn from it and do it differently next time.
  • Never say, “I am sorry,” unless you can tell the other person how you will do it differently next time.
  • To listen to you does not mean I agree. I agree to listen to what you have to say without interrupting, snorting, making a face, or arguing.
  • Acceptance does not mean approval. Acceptance means that I accept you where you are until you can be someplace else. You may love someone. However, that does not necessarily mean I accept them! Love without acceptance is like salt without any taste.
  • Most anger comes from your missed expectations that the other person is not living up to. (Who said people should live up to your expectations?) When someone is not living up to your expectations, it is your responsibility to call for a sit-down meeting and share your expectations.
  • During this time, it is important to make requests of the other person. “Would you be willing to. . . ..” The other person can then respond in one of only three ways: 1) Yes, I will do what you asked. 2) No, I will not live up to this expectation of yours. 3) Yes, I will do what you are requesting under these conditions. . . . .. (Some people do not live up to your expectations because you have never asked.)

Are you tired of having a transactional relationship? What are you willing to risk to get a loving relationship? Yes, I said risk! Are you willing to risk divorce to have a loving relationship? Without risk, there is no gain. Your mate may be completely happy with a transactional relationship! The only way you will ever find out is to ask.

You may start out by saying something like, “I am interested in having a deeper and more loving relationship with you.” Then you can say that you were challenged by an article you saw and then invite her to read this article. And “then, we could go out to a quiet restaurant and discuss what parts of the article we agree with.” If she agrees, you have started the path toward creating the loving relationship you both are missing.

If your mate resists, you should start looking at what kind of relationship you are willing to accept. Remember, the only person you can change is yourself. You are absolutely powerless to change others.

Contact Doc Downing Ph.D. at:

Email: [email protected]


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