Transactional vs Altruistic relationship models

Transactional vs Altruistic relationship models

Polyamorous people tend to think about relationships a lot. I’m no exception, hence the blog. What I want to investigate in this post is the concept of the transactional and altruistic relationship models.

So let’s first define and agree what we mean by the term “transactional relationship” and why it’s an important stage in any relationship.

A transactional relationship is a relationship where all parties are in it for themselves, and where partners do things for each other with the expectation of reciprocation.

Pretty much all relationships without exception start here. People tend to start seeing another person because of what they will get out of it and to be honest doing otherwise would actually be kind of weird and pointless.

Genuine concern for a partner’s well-being and real love (not just lustl, which is underrated too 😉) are feels that generally grow with time as the relationship progresses. Alas many relationships are just doomed to never get past the transactional stage and in fact if we are all truly honest about it I suspect that most, if not the majority, of relationships never do.

I have personally fallen victim to this myself numerous times, I found myself buying gifts or performing tasks and favours based on the expectation I’d get something in return. But there is the potential for so much more, something truly beautiful and that is when a relationship strives to reach a level where we do things for each other just to make the other person happy for purely altruistic reasons.

I truly believe that some relationships have the capability and capacity to transcend selfishness, and reach a higher place where both partners are happy in large part because the other partner is happy, sounds cool right 😊

Now let’s bring this back down to earth and accept that this not just a simple binary choice between adopting a transactional or altruistic relationship model.

Relationships will come in all shapes and forms spanning the whole spectrum. Some relationships will always be entirely transactional, and some are entirely altruistic, but most fall somewhere in between.

Personal I find the altruistic side of the spectrum far more appealing than the transactional one.

What do you think and where do your relationships sit upon this spectrum?

Let me know by leaving a comment 😊

6 thoughts on “Transactional vs Altruistic relationship models

  1. Coming from a monogamous perspective. New to the idea of poly and what it is. Interesting thoughts. Do you think some people are more one way or the other? I have a tendency to want to please, which is a double edge sword in its own way.
    Good post.


    1. Your comment has sparked and interest idea for me.
      To what extent is a person’s pertinacity towards engaging in transactional vs altruistic relationships down to learned behavior in child hold.
      I’d also wager that the “self gene” has a major fact too.


      1. When it comes to marrying multiple people I personally prefer not to. I just find interesting to the people that do. The transactional relationships tend to happen in any type of relationships. It’s pretty you touched on this topic. I understand why people choose to have multiple partners.


      2. Just to be clear polyamory, is not the same as polygamy.
        Polyamory is multiple relationships
        Polygamy is multiple wives/husbands and a crime in many countries


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s