5 Characteristics of Escalating Relationships: - Interaction increases - Partners gain knowledge of one another - Partners become more skilled at predicting each other’s behavior - Partners increase their investments - Warmth, liking, loving, a sense of caring, commitment, and trust increase Relationship escalation moves partners from social relationships to personal involvements. Communication is the primary instrument used for relational initiation and escalation.
Some Disadvantages of ER’s: Note: Not all people want to escalate relationships. Reasons: - Personal exposure - Fear of abandonment - Fear of angry attacks - Loss of control over the situation - Fear your own destructive impulses
Interpersonal Attraction: the Catalyst of Escalation Interpersonal attraction – the various forces that draw people together; involves emotional responses, beliefs, & evaluations; Interpersonal attraction is a learned response. Dimensions of Interpersonal Attraction: - Physical Beauty – defined by cultural standards - communication & beauty - couples matched in beauty
Dimensions of Interpersonal Attraction Continued… -Supportiveness -Cognitive Class: Attitude Similarity – aka homogamy; “birds of a feather flock together” “Opposites attract” is true when discussing interpersonal needs. -Sociability: Communication Behaviors – these are the specific interaction behaviors tied to interpersonal attraction: -Sensitivity – conveying a feeling of trust -Confidence – expressing oneself well verbally -Talkativeness -Flirtatiousness (immediacy)
Increasing Intimacy/Behaviors That Communicate Liking and Intimacy - Involvement and immediacy – signaling interest in a particular interaction & psychological closeness. - Affection, attraction, liking & love – people in love spend more time gazing into each other’s eyes (mutual gaze) and at close range. Arousal is also indicated by pupil dilation. Relational Development Processes Developing Relationships On-Line – Most relationships initiated on-line are friendships, although about 10% are romantic.
Relationship Readiness/Prerequisites – openness & psychological readiness Reasons for forming relationships: -Similarity thesis – “We are alike in many ways.” -Need fulfillment thesis – “We need things from each other.” -Social Exchange Theory & Social Penetration Theory – “This relationship is a good arrangement for us.”– how individuals reveal information about themselves according to the dimensions of breadth (number of topics) and depth (how personal). Rewards are compared against Costs: if C > R = the relationship is not pursued -Investment thesis – “I just care deeply about the other.” -Proximity thesis – “The relationship just happened.”
Stages of Relational Escalation/ Coming Together (movement throughout these can be: forward or backward, fast or slow, sequential or not sequential.) Initiating – coming into contact with someone; “Hi…I’m a Libra.” This is the most difficult stage. Purpose – inaugurate; to begin; to initiate communication. Communication – conversational openers, unpredictable, awkward.
Stages of Coming Together Continued… Experimenting – auditioning for the future: “Do you ski?” “I’m a waitress.” Most relationships do not get beyond this stage. Purpose – discover the unknown, find commonalities, audition for future, reduce uncertainty, maintain sense of community. Communication – small talk More precise information about the partner’s personality and worldview become important as the relationship progresses.
Stages of Coming Together Continued… Intensifying – explore more intimate aspects of other; “I want to date you.” Purpose – growth of the relationship, risk-taking, develop uniqueness in the relationship Communication – self-disclosure, private verbal/nonverbal messages. Integrating – merger into a singular identity; “We’re a couple!” Principle peak of the relationship. Euphoric stage. This stage does not last without conscientious action by both parties. Relationship maintenance becomes essential. Purpose – commitment; interpersonal synchrony Communication – commitment and intimacy talk
Stages of Coming Together Continued… Bonding – “Let’s get married.” A form of public bonding takes place (engagement.) Developing skills and communication strategies to maintain their relationship in a healthy way is key. Purpose – formal, public contract, seals future Communication – commitment and intimacy talk
Research on Relationship Escalation -Relationships are not usually linear -Relationships grow in intimacy to a point, then subside as the relationship becomes stable -Intimate communication is highest in the six to nine week range -Intimate messages tend to subside toward the end of the escalation process -Seriously dating and marriage bound participants touch each other more than married people -Couple become less satisfied with their relationship during their first year of marriage -Relational escalation is marked by ebbs and flows
Turning Points - Any event or occurrence that is associated with change in a relationship. -Events such as: whether to commit, a death in the family or making up after a separation can significantly affect the escalation of the relationship. - Most turning points help couples escalate toward commitment.
Love Liking – affection and respect Love – attachment, caring and intimacy Gender differences & Love: Women vs. Men Types of Love: Aesthetic love – love of beauty; passionate Companion love Obsessive love – addictive, jealous Realistic love – logical Playful love – love is a game Altruistic love – unselfish