The Quid Pro Quo of Relationships

There are those of us that believe in the traditional relationship set up. Man and woman together, man works, woman tends the home, man does the manly chores, woman cooks, both raise the child in their own way, the woman giving the caring side, the man the survival side needed to live in this world. All in all a harmonious thing and a relationship model that works.

As time has moved on things are changing, the woman’s role has become, some would say, more masculine, and men, a touch more feminine, where would we be without metro-sexual man and his ‘man bag’, and in some cases, mascara? But with this major fundamental social change some attitudes have stayed the same. Simply put, though the roles have changed the rules haven’t, cue arguments, breakups and unhappiness.


So what’s missing?

The quid pro quo. Defintion: from the Latin meaning “something for something’ it indicates a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services. English speakers often use the term to mean “a favor for a favor” and the phrases with almost identical meaning include: “what for what,” “give and take,” “tit for tat”, “this for that”, and “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours’.

The other day whilst I was sipping my decaf double mocha latte with a cinnamon and nutmeg twist in Starbucks, (Is that a metro man thing or what?). I eavesdropped on the conversation two thirty something women were having at the table next to me. They were discussing relationships and woman A said that she wanted a man that would do ‘manly’ things. She wanted to be cared for and looked after, she wanted roses and walks in the park and all that gushy stuff, (she was clearly a product of Mills and Boon books and old Hollywood films). Her friend, on the other hand, said she wanted a relationship which was equal.

‘In what way?’ enquired Woman A, with a puzzled look on her face.

‘Equal in that we both give and both receive and are both happy and content’, she replied.
You see she had been in too many relationships where she felt she had given more than she had gotten in return and this had left her angry, frustrated and lonely, she felt she had been taken advantage of. Before they left she mentioned that sex had to be used as a bartering tool because it was the only way she got what she wanted!

I had to physically stop myself from prying further into her life. I wanted to know more and thought I needed all the details until it dawned on me that I didn’t need them at all. Common sense tells us that in life, like in physics there is a point of perfect balance called equilibrium. When we find equilibrium in a relationship we end up with a good, solid working partnership on which bigger, better and greater things can be built. When we don’t have it, not surprisingly, the relationship doesn’t work. I used to constantly get angry at an ex girlfriend of mine because I had it she just wanted lots of things from me. That wasn’t the issue though, the true issue was that my needs were not being met.

If they were then what she was asking for wouldn’t have seemed like such a big deal.

I can imagine that Woman A with all her wants was perhaps having difficultly in finding Prince Charming because her demands were not being met by enough going the other way. What was she willing to offer? What did the man get out of the bargain? Did she even care? Woman B seemed to have based a lot on sex, as does often happen. Ladies, this will not always be enough. Please do not make the assumption that as soon as we see some bare flesh and are on a promise, we will be happy as larry, because we won’t be, not all of the time anyway. Maybe her ex man would have preferred to have a meal waiting for him instead, or be picked up from work.

Whatever the reason, there was one, and if she found it there would be balance, and if their was balance she would probably still have been in a relationship.

I have it that relationships can all work better as long as we take the time to truly find out what our partners really want, need and care about. The most important person to each of us is ourselves and when our needs are not being met, there will be desertion, anger and sometimes, downright hatred in the camp.

Things to consider when seeking relationship equilibrium:

  1. What kind of relationship does your partner want, old school or new cool?
  2. Ask yourself, ‘what things does my partner expect?’
  3. Tell your partner what you would like and not like?
  4. Discuss, everything together to find your point of equilibrium
  5. Once found, always double check to make sure it is maintained. As  relationships develop so do needs and wants and it is very easy to lose the point of balance

If you’re in a relationship and having some problems, major or minor, it may well be worth checking where you are on the equilibrium scale.

Join the conversation, leave a comment.


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