Givers and Takers in Relationships

givers and takers in relationships

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

There are givers and takers in relationships. That doesn’t mean that in every relationship, there is one giver and one taker. That might be the case, but a relationship could also have two takers or two givers. Or, more commonly, in every relationship, each person is a percentage of a giver and a percentage of a taker.

I’ve been involved with both givers and takers in relationships.


Let’s begin with the taker. The taker zaps your energy. He makes you feel unloved because he isn’t giving anything to you and all you do is give, give, give. He makes you feel unimportant because he isn’t giving anything to you. He makes you feel bad about yourself because he isn’t giving anything to you.

He makes you feel like you have to keep giving and giving because that’s the way the relationship has always been. And then you look in the mirror and you really feel zapped; drained of everything because you don’t even have anything to give anymore. It’s exhausting.


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Now onto the givers. Oh, the dear, sweet, kind, adorable givers. I love them so much. They are angels. They make you feel like you are on top of the world. They make you feel loved and adored like never before. And they make you want to give back. Big time.


Here is a great example. Several years ago, my boyfriend (big time giver) told me he was unable to come to a wedding with me because of some obligations he had with his son. I was really sad but completely understood. I went to the wedding and right after the cocktail hour, I saw him walking in and looking around for me.

I honestly had never felt so happy to see someone in my life. Not because I didn’t’ want to go to a wedding by myself–I’m sure I would have had a really nice time either way, but rather because I knew how difficult it was for him to get there, and that he came to make me happy. It truly meant the world to me and I will seriously never forget the joy I felt, knowing how important I am to him. I felt like Cinderella. It is an example of true giving behavior.


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It doesn’t even matter what someone gives. It could be a diamond bracelet or an expensive watch, which is really nice, but giving can also be bringing over chicken soup when your spouse is sick or rubbing your spouse’s feet when they are tired or planning a date, or even just texting something to make your spouse feel good.


Many, many people email me to tell me that they are having issues with their sex life: that either they or their spouse or both don’t have sex anymore, and that they are unhappy about it. Well, guess what? What happens in bed (or what doesn’t) is a direct result of everything else that happens outside the bedroom.


What I mean by that is, if you are a giver and you want sex, you will get it. You will get it because your spouse will adore you for being giving. He or she will feel special and loved and respected and appreciated and those feelings will make him or her want to rip your clothes off.



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No one wants to have sex with someone who is mean to them, who ignores them, who they feel doesn’t appreciate or care about them, or who doesn’t go out of his or her way and make an effort to show their love. It’s not sexy. It makes you feel bored and bad about yourself and eventually, you lose interest and you start to resent the person. Not someone you want to get naked with.


Good sex is all about the turn on that stems from everything that happens that has nothing to do with being physical. And, when you have good sex, it connects you in a deeper, more meaningful way. And then, the good sex sustains the giving to each other and the cycle continues. It’s a beautiful thing.


In closing, remember that when it comes to givers and takers in relationships,  it’s pretty easy to be a giver. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and it doesn’t even require a lot of time. Being a giver entails being thoughtful: thinking to yourself, ‘What would make him or her happy? What does he or she need right now? What will help their pain? What will motivate them? What will make him or her feel good about themselves?’ It can be anything—even a handwritten Post-it note.

In closing, remember that being a giver or a taker isn’t all or nothing. All each one of us can do to have a good relationship is to increase our percentage of being a giver and decrease the percentage of being a taker. That’s it. Just take less and give more. Simple! Easy!

If you haven’t read the children’s book, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, it is truly the most basic lesson on giving. To the takers, the giver will eventually stop giving. To the givers, you are angels. Thank you!

Like this post? Check out my article, “Dating Advice: The Hot And Cold Guy”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    5 Responses to “Givers and Takers in Relationships”

    1. Ruth

      I like this but I think you over-simplified the bit about how givers get good sex. Sometimes when you are with a taker, they are oblivious to what you give. It’s the genuine givers who are grateful for what you’ve given them. Takers tend to take it for granted. I was with a taker for more than 10 years. Whatever was given in love was regarded as ‘well you’re my wife, so you should do [insert whatever]’

      • Jackie Pilossoph

        good point! Maybe I should have said givers get good sex if the other person is a giver too.

    2. Jeff Cone

      Your articles are helpful & so inspiring! You clearly understand “IT”, and offer great advice and hope. Keep up the great work. Your helping alot of people.


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