Reciprocity : What Happens When You Don't Recieve Back, What You Put Into The Relationship?

Above are the song and the lyrics from one on my favorite artists, Lauryn Hill.

The line that sticks out the most for me in this song is, "Tell me who I have to be, to get some reciprocity"

You've probably heard the phrase before, "You get out of it, what you put in." However, for some reason, in relationships, it doesn't always work that way.

In the book, "Eat, Pray, Love", a autobiographical journey of spirituality and life by author Elizabeth Gilbert says,

"If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will protect upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else."
— Elizabeth Gilbert

Receiving back what you put into a relationship is so important.

In relationships, ladies we put out a lot more than what we get back. We are by nature nuturing beings. In relationships with our significant others we look to get back what can be that needed emotional support, monetary support or just supporting our dreams.

Like the quote above says, I will give you basically my everything, my all, until I get exhausted.

Ladies, what happens when you get exhausted? Do you do like the quote above from Elizabeth Gilbert says and become infatuated with someone else who can provide you with that support or reciprocation needed?


Do you just keep loving that person knowing that they'll never be able to provide you with the all that you need?

Thoughts, Opinions, COMMENTS?

As always with the "Tuesday Topic", let's get a discussion going!


  1. When you get exhausted you end up sounding and feeling just like that Lauryn Hill song. I've known that feeling too many times.

    Though I don't like the Elizabeth Gilbert quote, I must admit it rings true for many women. Perhaps that's why I don't like it.

    See when we grow up, we hear these fairy tales where damsels in distress always get swept away by Prince Charming. Then in the real world, Prince Charming is obsolete so we go about settling for his less-than-charming opposite. In turn we end up catering to Mr. Macho-Man-in distress and putting our childhood dream of being swept away to the side. We love them, encourage them, believe in them, fix what they break, mend what they tear, and overcompensate for what they lack. Then we end up depleting ourselves with little or no reciprocity.

    Do you keep loving that person? That I still don't know. However, I do know logically that we shouldn't keep loving someone on the premise that they will one day be able to reciprocate all the things we've given them emotionally, spiritually, and physically without positive proof that they will give us what we need. But with most women, our loving, nurturing hearts tell us to continue to heal the wounded, as we ignore our own wounds.

    My question is do the roles ever become reversed? Are there instances where individuals love women to the ends of the world and back and do all those things Gilbert would do for the lover she speaks of in the quote? How often does Prince Charming rescue the damsel in distress in actuality?


    btw-Sorry for the rant. For some reason I felt totally moved by this post. Maybe I'm in a mood of some sort :/

  2. Miss Dre,

    Thank you so much for comment! Like you were saying the whole damsel in distress thing is fed to us through fairy tales from the time that were little and that's what we go out into the world looking for. Which is often not like a fairy tale at all for long.

    To answer you question I do think that the roles can be reversed. The guy can be the one who loves a woman to the ends of the world and back and do all those things Gilbert would do for the lover she speaks of in the quote. Although hearing from friends these days who are still dating and in relationships it is very rare.

    I kinda felt like the damsel in distress when I re-connected with my now husband and when we were dating. I am confident he would go to the end of the world and back for me and I would most certainly do the same but for him but your right how often does that happen.

  3. thank you for posting this. i think the concept of reciprocity is such a double-edged sword. on the one hand, you want to love someone freely without expecting anything in return. yet still, reciprocity is the key to keeping a relationship together. i agree that many women cater to men more than men cater to women. social constructs and the perpetuation of patriarchy in the household make it worse. i think in order for relationships and gender roles to change, family units will have to change first.

    peace and love <3

  4. Hey Crystal Belle,

    Thanks for the comment and the blog love :)

    Reciprocity is indeed a double edged sword!


  5. ROBERT::: I really love this post because getting over on the one you are with is becoming way to popular. I believe as a man now days tht you must set the example for the woman and show her tht you will cook, clean, work hard to provide and love her as you want her to love you and maybe just maybe you will get it back... But nomatter wht the work was put in and if you don't get it back thts their lost not urs. With or without tht person these things has to be done.. it just nice to see tht their are still woman like ur selves who are still willing, now days to be a partner in a relationship and not one ruling over the other.... "ill always be your partner in crime, but when thing get sticky I'll be the leader you need" That's how I feel. --Great post Nicole

  6. Hey Robert,

    Thanks for the comment and the blog love :)