Transactional relationship: Everything you need to know

What’s a transactional relationship?

Are you in such a relationship?

What are the pros and cons of a transactional relationship?

This article will tell you everything you need to know about a transactional relationship.

So, what is a transactional relationship?

Let’s get started.

Transactional relationships are relationships between two people where one party provides a service and the other party gives something in return.

I know what you’re thinking – did I stumble onto a business blog?

No, you didn’t!

If the idea of a transactional relationship doesn’t sound very romantic, that’s because it’s not.

And yet, many people find themselves in that kind of relationship.

They go into the relationship because they’re looking out for their interests. They want something, and they offer something in return.

You see, a transactional relationship resembles a business partnership because it’s based on need and what one partner can get from the other.

It’s not based on giving for the sake of giving without expecting anything in return.

The two people aren’t together because they love being around each other but because they stand to benefit from the relationship.

In fact, a good example of a transactional marriage is an arranged marriage. Arranged marriages have been around for thousands of years and are still very common in many parts of Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

A modern-day example is Donald and Melania Trump’s marriage. He had wealth and power and she had beauty.

Now, let’s look at the characteristics of a transactional relationship.

1) There is more getting than giving

People in a transactional relationship are more focused on getting than giving.

On the one hand:

In a normal loving non-transactional relationship, you would gladly give something to your partner, just to make them happy, without wanting anything in return.

True love is about giving without expecting anything in return.

On the other hand:

In a transactional relationship, it doesn’t even occur to you to do something without a quid pro quo.

You don’t do something nice just for the sake of being nice.

Everything is calculated, and if you give something or do something, it’s because you’re expecting something in return: money, raising the children, status, caring for extended family, a new car. Everything is woven together.

When both parties commit to a transactional relationship of their own free will, they know what is expected of them.

2) Increased focus on benefits

Now, when you’re in a transactional relationship, you focus on the benefits of the relationship and not on the emotional reaction.

And since transactional relationships are like a business deal, there is an increased focus on who brings what into it.

If one person goes out to make money, they expect the other to keep the house spic and span.

And the outcome?

If one of the partners doesn’t manage to uphold their end of the bargain, there can be a lot of resentment.

3) There are expectations from both sides

In a transactional relationship, there are expectations from both sides.

If you’re in a transactional relationship, you’re expecting to get something from your partner and you are willing to give something in return. It’s just like a business relationship.

Here are some examples of what people are looking to gain in a transactional relationship:

  • Money
  • Status
  • Power
  • Legitimacy
  • Legal status

People get into transactional relationships because they’re looking for something more out of life and they think that’s the way to go.

So, what does it take to build a life filled with exciting opportunities and passion-fueled adventures?

Most of us hope for a life like that, but we feel stuck, unable to achieve the goals we wishfully set at the start of each year.

I felt the same way until I took part in Life Journal. Created by teacher and life coach Jeanette Brown, this was the ultimate wake-up call I needed to stop dreaming and start taking action.

Click here to find out more about Life Journal.

So what makes Jeneatte’s guidance more effective than other self-development programs?

It’s simple:

Jeanette’s created a unique way of putting YOU in control of your life.

She’s not interested in telling you how to live your life. Instead, she’ll give you lifelong tools that’ll help you achieve all your goals, keeping the focus on what you’re passionate about.

And that’s what makes Life Journal so powerful.

If you’re ready to start living the life you’ve always dreamt of, you need to check out Jeanette’s advice. Who knows, today could be the first day of your new life.

Here’s the link once again.

4) The relationship is less emotional

When you’re in a normal “loving” relationship, you enjoy being around your partner.

You enjoy their company, they make you happy, they’re funny and they make your life more interesting.

There’s an exchange of affection.

That’s exactly what happens in a transactional relationship. But instead of being related to affection, it’s related to benefits. You’re not talking about love but business transactions.

5) Prenuptial agreements are common

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In a transactional relationship, people often consider prenuptial agreements.

Let’s dig a little deeper:

A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract to protect the rights of each partner in the case of a breakup.

The idea is that if you don’t want to lose power, money, or something else during a separation, it’s good to have an agreement in place in case things don’t work out.

You see, in a relationship based on love, people don’t really care about getting a prenup because they’re in love and think they will be together.

But people go into a transactional relationship with a cold head.

As I said before, it’s a business deal and sometimes business deals don’t work out so you need to protect your assets.

What are the pros of transactional relationships?

They are legally secure

So one of the pros of a transactional relationship is the fact that it’s legally secure.

Let me explain:

This is true in large part because of the above-mentioned prenuptial agreements.

What’s more, people in a transactional relationship keep their eyes on the prize and are less likely to get distracted by emotions.

Without unnecessary emotions and distractions, people manage to stay focused on the purpose of their relationship.

In short: Deciding whose fault the divorce is and splitting the assets is easier and often less messy in a transactional marriage.

Both parties are the givers

Here’s an interesting fact:

In a transactional relationship, both partners are the givers and the takers.

It’s very important to find a good balance.

So in a transactional relationship, just like in a business one, the partners ensure that there is no imbalance in their equation.

They make sure that they both profit equally from the arrangement.

There’s more equality

Here’s the truth:

Because both partners are looking out for themselves, there’s a much lower chance of somebody getting used.

What’s more, both parties know their worth and will not allow themselves to be exploited.

They will happily negotiate a middle ground that will suit both sides.

There’s no blame because a transactional relationship comes with pre-determined expectations and both parties know what is expected of them.

Because a transactional relationship is essentially a selfish one and the partners look out for themselves, it has more equality than one based on love.

What are the cons?

The parties involved might end up competing

The parties involved might end up competing and looking for ways to hurt each other.

Let me explain:

Since the business and personal aspects of their relationship are different, it is more likely that partners will end up competing. Even if both parties are on the same end, they will have priorities that aren’t in alignment.

For example, you might put all your financial efforts into a home with your husband but he might be putting his whole focus on a business deal with a friend.

In this case, one partner’s goal is in direct conflict with another partner’s goal.

It can become stagnant or boring in the long run

In a relationship based on love, there will always be something new that you can talk about and something fun that comes up which makes it fun to be together at the moment.

This will never happen in a transactional marriage since the focus is on one singular thing: money!

You’ll have to look outside the relationship to find fulfillment.

The relationship feels like work

Even though the relationship is based on a mutual decision, it can still feel like a lot of work if you’re not liking it.

You see, when something is purely motivated by financial gain, it can be seen as a simple transaction and this can completely take the romance out of the relationship.

In a transactional relationship, it isn’t about love and commitment, and in most cases, there are no feelings between the parties involved.

It’s just a job, and it can be a challenge to be in a relationship that doesn’t offer more.

All in all:

Sometimes you might not like the arrangement. It’s either deal with it or get out.

In this case, it’s also difficult to communicate emotively or romantically because you’re too busy looking after your own needs.

Lack of flexibility is a problem

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When you’re in a relationship based on financial gain, you’re likely to want things done a certain way over and over again.

Now, in a couple that works together to earn money, there is a high level of flexibility.

This allows them to reach new goals and grow together as people.

But when someone is in a purely transactional relationship though, there is no flexibility.

They have to be ready to work the same hours and have similar schedules. If one person has a hangover from drinking on the weekend, it’s hard for the other person to get up for work because she has no flexibility for compromise in their relationship.

You might not be willing to change how you live your life just because your partner wants to do something differently. This can also lead to an unhealthy dependency that isn’t beneficial to either party.

The bottom line is that a transactional marriage is very rigid and expects the couple to make uncomfortable but predictable decisions based on one set of rules.

There is no room for creativity or spontaneity when someone else’s future depends on your decision-making.

It’s not the best example to set for your children

Children should grow up in safe and loving environments.

The parents in a transactional marriage often can’t stand one another, let alone love each other. This is setting a bad example for your children.

When parents constantly fight and are unhappy, they send a mixed message to the children.

This is likely to cause them to make poor decisions with their own relationships as they grow older.

These types of examples and relationships can be carried into adulthood, destroying the chances of a happy and healthy relationship.

In short:

When you’re in a transactional marriage, your children may feel very lost. They aren’t sure of how to act or what they should be doing.

How can you make a transactional relationship work?

1) Lower your expectations

One way to make a transactional relationship work is to lower your expectations.

This allows you to be less disappointed when the relationship doesn’t live up to your expectations.

Going into a transactional relationship, you already know what you want, you have your goals set.

To make the relationship work, it’s best to be clear about what is most important and to have fewer expectations, that way there won’t be too disappointed every time something doesn’t go the way you want it to.

So, if you lower or manage your expectations, if you go into the relationship with one realistic goal, this can make the relationship work better than others.

Anything else that you might get out of it is a bonus.

2) Stop keeping score

It can be easy to see what’s wrong with a relationship that you’re in and to feel disappointed.

It’s also easy to make a list of the things that you think are wrong and focus on those instead of the other things that are right.

Beating yourself up after your partner has made a mistake can lead to your own unhappiness.

Now, when you’re in a transactional relationship, you have high expectations of your partner, and you expect them to deliver. You follow them closely and start to keep score of what they did wrong.

This keeps you from seeing them as an individual, who is unique and different from you.

It doesn’t really help the situation at all.

Instead of recognizing their individual differences, all you see is their imperfections which will probably lead to more arguments, and this doesn’t really get anything solved at all.

What can you do?

Instead, try to work on what each person can do positively for each other, this will basically bring about change without identifying only with the negative aspects of your partner’s personality or behaviors.

In other words – even though this is a transactional relationship, you need to learn to cut each other some slack from time to time.

3) Be careful with financial matters

Money can be the source of many arguments in both transactional and non-transactional relationships.

That’s why it’s a good idea to discuss mutual finances beforehand, to be clear about what is expected from each party in order to avoid any serious disputes down the line.

The truth is that making money is an important part of a relationship.

You’re always going to have bills, and you’ll need to make some money in order to live.

In a transactional relationship, this role might fall on one or both of the partners.

This is why it’s important to clarify what is expected from each partner before you get into the relationship.

In a nutshell:

Since your relationship is similar to a business one, treat money matters the way you would in a business relationship.

Why should you want more out of life than a transactional relationship?

Think about it.

Your relationship is all about what you can get out of your partner.

It’s about transactions, not about love.

But there’s more to life than money and status and whatever it is that you’re getting out of your transactional relationship.

  • There’s love.
  • There’s companionship.
  • There’s an adventure.
  • There’s building a relationship based on trust, mutual respect, and shared values.
  • There’s building a life together, starting a family.
  • There’s being happy.

Even though a transactional relationship might work for some people, I think that transactions are best left in the business world and that relationships need to be about love above all else.

What if you could change your relationship?

The truth is, most of us never realize how much power and potential lies within us.

We become bogged down by continuous conditioning from society, the media, our education system, and more.

The result?

The reality we create becomes detached from the reality that lives within our consciousness.

I learned this (and much more) from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandé. In this excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can lift the mental chains and get back to the core of your being.

A word of caution – Rudá isn’t your typical shaman.

He doesn’t paint a pretty picture or sprout toxic positivity like so many other gurus do.

Instead, he’s going to force you to look inwards and confront the demons within. It’s a powerful approach, but one that works.

So if you’re ready to take this first step and align your dreams with your reality, there’s no better place to start than with Rudá’s unique technique

Here’s a link to the free video again.

How to change your transactional relationship into a transformational relationship

Transformational relationships are the key to a successful life.

They’re relationships that allow you to grow and change as you learn and experience new things.

Transformational relationships are about giving and caring, they are about putting the other person’s needs before our own.

Get rid of any expectations in the relationship

If you want to improve your relationship and get more out of life, then you have to start by getting rid of any expectations.

When you expect things to happen, you become frustrated and angry when they don’t happen.

The truth is that expectations kill any chance for romance and spontaneity.

Get to know your partner for who they are.

Tell them you want a different kind of relationship.

Be ready to give without expecting anything in return.

Stop keeping score

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When you keep score, you’re not giving your relationship a chance to grow.

If you keep holding on to your partner’s past mistakes, you’re not giving them a chance to show you how they’ve grown.

By keeping score, you’re keeping love out. Love isn’t about keeping score. It isn’t about placing blame and saying who did and didn’t do what.

You see, a transformational relationship is about love. It’s about doing something for the other person for no other reason than to make them happy.

Instead of focusing on your own needs, focus on your partner.

Who emptied the dishwasher the last time?

Does it really matter? If you’re free and your partner has a lot on their plate, empty the dishwasher and help them out.

Be yourself

When you try to be someone else, you fail. When you try to be someone else, your relationship doesn’t work.

Now, if you want a relationship that works, you have to be yourself. You have to be the person that your partner is attracted to and who will become attracted to them.

It’s hard for us when we’re in a relationship because we want our partners to love all of us and accept all of us.

But if our partners don’t see the real us, then we can’t really accept them as they are.

When you were in a transactional relationship, you probably hid who you were from your partner.

Opening up to the people we love can be a challenge but it’s definitely worth it.

By showing each other your true selves, you’re opening the door to a whole new world. You’ll discover all the things that you may have in common and you’ll discover new ways to show each other love.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

So, take your first step and start loving your partner for who they are.

Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings

When you pay attention to your partner’s feelings, you’re committing to them.

When you’re sensitive to your partner’s feelings, it means that you care about what they think and how they feel.

To sum up:

By being sensitive to your partner’s feelings you’ll be able to show them that you really care.

You’ll be able to show them that they can trust and rely on you.

They’ll know they have someone to turn to when things get tough, and that’s what it’s all about.

Be open to taking risks

Finally, when you’re in a transformational relationship, you have to be willing to take risks.

When you don’t take risks, you can’t grow and learn.

If you’re not willing to let yourself be vulnerable, then you’ll never let your partner get close to the real you.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

But when it comes to relationships, you might be surprised to hear that there’s one very important connection you’ve probably been overlooking:

The relationship you have with yourself.

I learnt about this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. In his incredible, free video on cultivating healthy relationships, he gives you the tools to plant yourself at the center of your world.

And once you start doing that, there’s no telling how much happiness and fulfillment you can find within yourself and with your relationships.

So what makes Rudá’s advice so life-changing?

Well, he uses techniques derived from ancient shamanic teachings, but he puts his own modern-day twist on them. He may be a shaman, but he’s experienced the same problems in love as you and I have.

And using this combination, he’s identified the areas where most of us go wrong in our relationships.

So if you’re tired of your relationships never working out, of feeling undervalued, unappreciated, or unloved, this free video will give you some amazing techniques to change your love life around.

Make the change today and cultivate the love and respect you know you deserve.

Click here to watch the free video.

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Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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