kissing couple. 2 set of feet. Both individuals in jeans & boots. one on their tip toes as though they are reaching up

As I sit & think about relationships I am reminded of the famous line in the book “Eat Prey Love” where Elizabeth Gilbert is talking to her friend “Debra the physiotherapist” Wherever Debra travelled there was always one question people asked. It was never about the chaos around them but

How do I find love?

Will I be enough?

So why do we doubt ourselves & compare ourselves to others?

Why do we find it difficult to voice what we need & shout it from the roof tops?

How do we go about finding what we really want & never allowing ourselves to settle for anything less?

How do we build solid meaningful relationships?

When analysing relationships we can see they are made up of all different forms, emotional, casual, sexual but all are based on the interactions we have through the different levels of connections, shared experiences & information. Building trust & identifying when & how we do this along with having similarities or shared goals & values is key however what happens if we don’t have the confidence or don’t believe we can voice a different opinion?

Relationships can be based on what an individual has to gain but can also be based on what they have to sacrifice. This fascinates me as there is a balance between a healthy approach and perhaps how a dysfunctional upbringing can lead to unhealthy relationships for example narcissism or codependency.


So do any of us have a clear vision of what we want from a relationship & are we capable of creating healthy goals, boundaries & joint plans?

The Social Exchange Theory, which was formulated in the late 1950’s, & is based around four stages and the assumption that we indulge in relationships with the perspective of getting the best deal for ourselves. It presumes that we enter & exit relationships voluntarily.

It talks about principles of satiation for example when we are feeling insecure we may be drawn to individuals who provide this reassurance.

Stage One – Sampling – Is the exploration of the costs and rewards of associating with others (either by engaging into a relationship or observing others.

For example this applies to teenagers as they enter a period of high school activity.

Stage Two – Bargaining – this takes place at the beginning of a relationship and involves giving and receiving reward to see if this relationship will be profitable

Stage Three– Commitment – This is when the exchange of rewards and acceptance stabilizers and greater focus is put on the relationship itself


Stage Four – Institutionalisation- Settling down with established norms and mutual expectations

It is proposed that individuals expect a proportional relationship to exist between received rewards and the amount it costs them. When this is not met we become angry because we feel cheated. Relationships breakdown because of this imbalance & lack of communication

So how do we learn to negotiate & allow bargaining to take place?

  1. Reflect on what type of relationship you want & why
  2. What things need to change in your life in order for you to achieve this?
  3. What steps do you need to take in order for this to happen?
  4. Be prepared to negotiate without capitulating which will allow bargaining (stage 2) to take place

These questions may be straightforward, challenging or impossible to answer however once you identify & unlock what you want, need & desire they become easier to answer.

The next step is voicing these so identify if there is anything that stops you speaking out?

Perhaps keep a journal to identify any residence you may have in speaking out.

If you would like to talk through a specific issue or would like more information about how Life Coaching can help why not give me a call for your FREE 30 minute consultation – contact

Jo Rayner Coaching- Mobile  07754 397 859 Office 01953 602358