The purpose of all relationships is: you go there to give. Relationships based upon horsetrading are relationships where both people in a relationship are focused on what they are getting instead of what they are giving. Instead of giving from their heart because it is a gift of love, they end up trading themselves or doing things solely based upon what they will get in return. Since their focus is on what they are getting from the other person, they tend to become upset when they perceive they are giving more than they are getting. Everything becomes a negotiation. I will take you to dinner, if you give me sex. I will buy you that necklace you want, if you go with me to the company Christmas party. Over time, relationships based upon horsetrading devolve into cold, emotionless, negotiations to meet each others needs, instead of giving a gift from their hearts unconditionally. When people don’t get what they want, they hold back and stop giving to one another. Horsetrading will destroy intimacy and your relationship.
When I was younger and still suffered from a low self-esteem, I had a lot of friends who were not really my friends because they cared about me, but because of what they got from knowing me. When you go through a difficult time in life, you find out who your real friends are. Real friends stick around because they care about you. People who were your friends because you gave them a job, business, advice, significance, etc. will all disappear as soon as you no longer are of benefit to them.
I had a guy I was once friends with for couple of years. He was one of the most talented salespeople I ever met. His wife was cheating on him so he moved out. My company was growing and I needed good salespeople. Not only did I give him a job, but I let him live with me rent free for a year and a half so he could get back on his feet. Since I signed his paychecks, I knew how much he made. He never once offered to contribute any money towards rent, the housekeeper or any of the bills even though he could easily afford it. After a year and a half of this, I asked him to start paying $500 a month in rent if he wanted to continue living with me. He moved out a few days later. I was definitely getting used and being taking advantage of.
Years later, I realized just how much he was not my friend. The only reason I let him live with me was because I considered him a friend. We were friends for two years before I invited him to come work for me. After all, he was living with me, not my business partners. However, he later revealed that to him he considered living with me to be some kind of company perk that he was somehow entitled to. One time during a heated discussion, he admitted how he looked at me and everyone else in the world. He said, “I only care about how people can be of benefit to me.” He’s tried numerous times since then to say he was just being emotional, but I reminded him that that was the one time that he was truly honest with me about how he really thinks.
In all of his relationships, including his intimate ones, he struggles and women reject him for the same reasons. He’s always focused on what he is getting from the relationships, instead of what he can contribute to them. He will never change. He calls me every few months when his latest girlfriend dumps him for being a jackass. He calls my cell phone because he still knows the number. He tries to butter me up like we’re the best of friends, and in reality what he’s really trying to do, is act like my friend so I will give him free relationship advice and he can get something for nothing. I’ve learned my lesson. I always make him book a phone coaching session if he wants my help. The only time this guy ever calls me, is when he wants something. Every time he thinks he’s being clever and deceiving me with his true intentions. It simply makes me chuckle now. People don’t change, they simply become better versions of themselves. He’s a better deceiver now, but he’s still a deceiver.
Men and women are equally guilty of being horse traders in their relationships. People don’t get what they want. Then they get angry. Then they hold back what they would otherwise give, and the relationship suffers. The more people focus on what they are not getting from the relationship, the more they hold back. The more they hold back, the more the relationship suffers until there is a breakup.
Some people are just not givers. They could be head over heels in love with you, but if they are not a giver and you are, you’re going to have problems. You either accept the fact that they are the way they are, or you find someone who is a giver. Horsetrading is dysfunctional. It does not mean that you cannot ask for what you want. But what it does mean, is that your actions and your giving can not be based upon what you are getting. Your actions and your giving must simply be expressions and gifts of your heart!
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From my heart to yours,
Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
Love was not put in your heart to stay. Love is not love until you give it away.