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The Two Different Types of Energy Exchange in a Relationship

In every relationship, there is an energy exchange that occurs between the people involved. Sometimes the people in the relationship are conscious of this energy exchange and sometimes they aren’t, even though it is nevertheless happening. We can divide these energy exchanges into two different types of energy exchange. And knowing the difference between the two, as well as which kind of energy exchange you want, is a critical part of establishing a feel-good relationship. For this reason, in this article, I’m going to explain what energy exchange is, define the two different types of energy exchange and explain why this understanding is so important when it comes to creating a mutually fulfilling relationship. 

Despite the fact that energy exchange is an element of literally every relationship, people tend to get uncomfortable when we start to talk about the energy exchange element of a relationship. The reason being that energy exchange is a kind of transaction and we are in a time period where transaction in any relationship (other than a work relationship) is seen as bad and wrong. When most people hear about transaction in a relationship, they make the automatic assumption that there is no love, no actual mutual caring and no actual valuing of the other taking place in that relationship. They assume it is a purely self-centered relationship, where one person is simply using the other; or where they are both using each other. 

Energy exchange and love are two totally different aspects of a relationship. To love something is to take it as a part of you. Love naturally gives rise to experiences like compassion, closeness, understanding, empathy, caring and appreciation. When we love something, we cannot hurt it or act against its best interests without hurting ourselves. A person can have a purely transactional relationship. But ideally, a relationship will have both a love element and an energy exchange element. And ideally, both people are consciously aware of what the energy exchange is in their relationship. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Be Consciously Transactional. Why Every Relationship Is Transactional.        

Energy exchange essentially means that each person receives something and each person provides something for the other. What makes an energy exchange a good one, is if each person gets something that is valued. And value, especially with regards to what we value most, is based on what that person needs and wants. A person has to need and want something to truly value it. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Value Realization (A Realization That Can Completely Change Your Self Worth)

The two different types of energy exchange in relationship are:

  1. People give and therefore receive the SAME thing from each other 
  2. People give and therefore receive DIFFERENT things from each other 

This seems straight forward, but so that you can wrap your head around this, I’ll give you some examples of each. Some examples of people giving and receiving the same thing in a relationship are: Both people give each other the same kind of support for their individual goals, such as encouragement, being present for important moments, reassurance and helping them in whatever way they can to reach their individual goals. Or both people provide each other physical affection. Or both people give each other a sense of belonging. Or both people offer each other guidance. Or both people offer emotional regulation to each other when the other is upset. Or both people share the same tasks that need to be done around the house. Etc.         

 Some examples of people giving and receiving different things in a relationship are: One person does one task around the house, and the other person does another. One person provides finances and the other provides nurturing. One person provides stability and the other provides adventure. One person provides a high degree of emotional intimacy and communication, the other provides physical competency and new experiences. One provides purpose and the other provides dedication to their personal successes etc. 

It is important to identify in what ways you want to experience giving and receiving the same things in a relationship and in what ways, you might feel more satisfied by giving and receiving different things in a relationship. Most people are fixated on the kind of energy exchange in a relationship where people give and receive the same things from each other. In fact, many people don’t see that there is any other way to have a relationship. Most people believe that fairness and reciprocation in relationships depends on there being no double standards. Another way of putting this is that most people believe that fairness and reciprocation in relationships is dependent upon giving exactly what you want to receive in a relationship; the energy exchange being the same. But this isn’t true. We are not all the same, we have different needs and each and every one of us has different experiences and strengths and vulnerabilities. And because of this, we offer different resources. This means that in any relationship, a person might be able to offer much more or much less than the other can, of any one resource. This can very easily give rise to the sensation of unfairness in a relationship. On top of this, a lot of people are in positions in their life where they can’t offer the same thing they want or need. It is very important to know (especially in this day and age where society is swinging towards the idea that equality means sameness) that it is ok for an energy exchange to be about totally different things in a relationship, provided that both people agree to that energy exchange and find it mutually nourishing. 

So much of the time when a relationship turns south, or a person decides to end a relationship or change it, it doesn’t mean anything about your inherent value or about whether you are lovable or about whether the other person loves you, cares about you or sees the positive in you. It is simply about a break down that is happening on the level of energy exchange in the relationship. Their needs are simply not being met. 

Identifying what you want and need from a relationship, what you can and can’t offer in a relationship and recognizing these two different types of energy exchange will greatly help you to assess compatibility in any relationship. It will also help you to establish that wonderful feeling of being in a relationship that is truly valuable to you. But a relationship where it is not only you doing the valuing, because you are deeply valued and you feel that you are deeply valued by the other person too.


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