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Transactional Relationship: 7 Signs You’re Up For A Prenup

Transactional Relationship: 7 Signs You’re Up For A Prenup

Relationships are a huge part of the human experience. Whether you’re getting more comfortable with your colleagues at work or bonding with your partner at home, relationships are a huge part of you, too – but maybe you haven’t heard of every type of relationship out there. Transactional relationships, anyone?

Now, transactional relationships are more often mentioned in business because the word transaction is more often associated with buying and selling. What do transactions have to do with relationships, you might be wondering? Well, transactional relationships are all about buying and selling.

By definition, transactional relationships are relationships based on need where two partners are more focused on the benefits they get from the relationship rather than the emotional or physical gratification – within a transactional relationship, romantic partners become business partners.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with reaping the benefits that come with a romantic relationship, but we do need to underline that there’s something inherently unhealthy about being in a relationship with someone solely because you can benefit from them – whether financially, socially, or physically.

Needless to say, transactional relationships are based on needs rather than wants. Transactional partners typically stay with each other because they’re able to benefit from each other, not because they’re truly, madly, deeply in love with each other. Transactional relationships are based on self-interest, and that’s all.

Now that you’re aware of transactional relationships, what are you supposed to do about them? When your relationship starts looking a little transactional you might need to have an open and honest conversation with your partner, try to work things through, or let go. Why?

What is a transactional relationship?

Transactional Relationship: 8 Signs You're Up For A Prenup

We’ve already brushed over the definition of a transactional relationship, but we do need to elaborate on what we meant by a “business transaction.” A transactional relationship is a relationship in which one or both partners focus on what’s in it for them.

And, a transactional relationship typically occurs when one or both partners become so absorbed in their own needs and wants that they start treating all their relationships like ATMs – “If I give you this, what will I get in return?”

As a matter of fact, you might be able to recognize the pattern of a transactional relationship by observing your partner’s friendships, as well as family and work relationships – you’d be surprised at how many transactional partners behave the same way in every relationship they’re in.

A transactional relationship involves a quid pro quo approach in which one partner only offers to do something in exchange for what they get from the other. When one partner approaches a relationship that way, they have clearly defined responsibilities and expectations for themselves and the other partner.

Any relationship in your life can be a transactional relationship, although arranged marriages are the most commonly used example when talking about these types of relationships.

What’s the difference between a transactional relationship, a relational relationship, and a transformational relationship?

Transactional Relationship 8 Signs Youre Up For A Prenup 2

When you go down the rabbit hole of exploring different relationship types, chances are you’re going to stumble upon transactional relationships, relational relationships, and transformational relationships – these three types are often compared to prove a point about why transactional relationships are bad.

Any relationship can become transactional in nature, depending on the circumstances. A transactional relationship is almost always focused on short-term, individual gain which is why it’s often characterized by a lot of judging, blaming, and competing against each other.

A relational relationship, on the other hand, is almost always focused on building a long-term bond with your partner. Relational relationships are characterized by acceptance, forgiveness, flexibility, and validation – the goal is to develop a balanced relationship rather than getting back what you’ve put in.

A transformational relationship, though, is focused on mutual respect and love and is characterized by loyalty, trust, and protection. Transformational relationships are meant to transform your life for the better and help you become the best version of yourself – transformational relationships are completely selfless.

7 signs you’re in a transactional relationship

1. Your relationship feels like a business partnership

We forget what relationships should be all about when we focus on taking rather than giving, right? Relationships that are based on business deals and offers don’t feel like real relationships because they’re forced, fabricated, and borderline unnatural.

How can your relationship be a loving union when your significant other gives you as much as you give them? However fair that might be, your relationship isn’t a business partnership – you’re not supposed to keep score in a loving relationship.

Wouldn’t it be better if you saw each other as life partners instead of a business team? It would strengthen your bond and bring back the romance. “Why would I do that for you now, when you never do that for me?” We’re pretty sure that question is the core of a transactional relationship.

2. You focus on what you get, not what you give

Transactional Relationship: 8 Signs You're Up For A Prenup

When you’re in a transactional relationship, you focus on what you get and not on what you give. Most meaningful relationships rely on a bit of give and take from both partners, but transactional relationships rely exclusively on one person benefitting from the other.

We mention beforehand that most transactional partners ask “What’s in it for me?” before offering to lend a hand or a shoulder to cry on. When you or your partner aren’t willing to compromise and make sacrifices for the benefit of the other person, chances are you’re in a transactional relationship.

3. You have high expectations of your relationship

A transactional relationship is a relationship where the primary purpose is to receive the benefits from the efforts you or the other partner put in. Because of that, you and your partner have high expectations of your relationship – but these expectations typically benefit one partner.

An arranged marriage, for example, might come with the expectations of the husband being the “primary breadwinner” and the wife cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. Although the work might not be evenly distributed at all times, both partners have high expectations for each other.

4. Compromise feels like a business deal

When you compromise in a relational relationship or a transformational relationship, you and your partner probably focus on a solution that works for both of you. Sure, you might need to go back and forth before you settle on a single solution, but you do your best to encompass everyone’s needs.

But that’s not the case when you compromise in a transactional relationship. A compromise in a transactional relationship feels like a business deal because it requires negotiations in which you or your partner try to see what you can get from what the other person is offering.

5. You always have an ulterior motive

Transactional Relationship 8 Signs Youre Up For A Prenup 4

In a relational relationship or a transformational relationship, you and your partner work together to achieve something that matters to both of you – a mutual goal. In a transactional relationship, you or your partner have an ulterior motive for everything you do.

Maybe you surprise your partner with a weekend getaway because you need the house for yourself. Maybe you agree to end the fight by saying you’re sorry because you want to stop your partner from complaining and not because you’re actually sorry. You only do things for yourself.

6. You care about yourself more than you care about your partner

When you’re enamored with your partner, you care about them, you cheer on them, and you want them to succeed. Moreover, you see them as a part of your family, as someone you don’t want to spend the rest of your life without.

You don’t look at them as a means to an end, you look at them as someone you truly want in your life. You’re not in a business partnership, you’re in love. When you care about yourself more than you care about your partner, though, you’re likely in a transactional relationship.

7. You lack love for your partner

Transactional Relationship: 8 Signs You're Up For A Prenup

We mentioned beforehand that transformational relationships are about making positive changes. But, transactional relationships are about staying on the same page and focusing on the benefits rather than compromising on something that would work for both partners.

Being a united front isn’t the only advantage of a transformational relationship, though. It got its name because it changes people in a meaningful way. It changes people because it’s powered by love. It shouldn’t only be about needs, and you’ll realize that once you experience something transformational.

You and your partner can be in synergy and it will allow both of you to grow and improve as individuals while being together as romantic partners. Your relationship can make you feel the urge to make positive changes. You can change your own life and the lives of your loved ones.

Mutual respect, adoration, and appreciation are necessary for a genuine connection. After all, isn’t true love when two people are willing to go the extra mile for each other without expecting something in return? Actually, it’s a little ironic – by focusing on your needs, you don’t get what you truly need.

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