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Intimate Relationships, 6/e

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1 Intimate Relationships, 6/e
Chapter 10 Stresses and Strains Miller Intimate Relationships, 6/e McGraw-Hill/Irwin Copyright (c) 2012 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Relational Value We want others to value our company and to consider their partnerships with us to be meaningful and important. So, it’s painful to perceive that others’ relational value– the degree to which they consider their relationships with us to be valuable, important, and close – is lower than we would like it to be.

3 Relational Value Various degrees of acceptance and rejection are possible, ranging from: -- maximal inclusion, in which others seek us out because they want to be with us, to: -- ambivalence, in which they don’t care whether we’re around or not, and on to: -- maximal exclusion, in which others banish us and send us away.

4 Relational Value A key stressor in close relationships is the perception that others value their relationships with us less than we want them to. We feel hurt when the relational evaluations we perceive from others are lower than we wish they were.

5 Hurt Feelings The feelings we experience are linked to others’ evaluations of us in a complex way: Outright hostility doesn’t hurt much more than simple ambivalence does. (Once we find that others don’t want us around, it hardly matters whether they dislike us a little or a lot.)

6 Hurt Feelings Perceived relational value – apparent decreases in others’ regard for us – causes hurt feelings that are much like the emotions that accompany physical pain. When their feelings are hurt, people feel wounded and despondent, anxious and angry.

7 Hurt Feelings When relational devaluation occurs, some people experience more hurt than others do: Anxiety over abandonment increases hurt feelings. Avoidance of intimacy decreases hurt feelings. Low self-esteem increases hurt feelings.

8 Ostracism Ostracism, the “silent treatment,” occurs when others intentionally ignore us. Ostracism hurts, and it is often confusing, leaving us wondering why we are being ignored. Sometimes, we become contrite and compliant as we try to get back into others’ good graces…

9 Ostracism …but people often become defensive and antagonistic when they are ostracized. It hurts to be ignored, and people with high self-esteem are relatively unlikely to put up with it. When they encounter a cold shoulder, they are more likely than those with low self-esteem to end the relationship and seek a new partner.

10 Jealousy Jealousy is the unhappy combination of hurt, anger, and fear that occurs when people face the potential loss of a valued relationship to a real or imagined rival. Is jealousy a sign of love… …or a sign of insecurity?

11 Jealousy Two Types of Jealousy
Reactive jealousy occurs in response to an actual threat to a valued relationship. Suspicious jealousy occurs when one’s partner hasn’t misbehaved, and one’s suspicions do not fit the facts at hand.

12 Jealousy Who’s Prone to Jealousy?
Individual differences in susceptibility to jealousy are related to: Dependence on a relationship Feelings of inadequacy in a relationship Attachment styles – preoccupied people are prone to jealousy, whereas dismissing people are not

13 Jealousy Who’s Prone to Jealousy? In addition:
Personality traits – people high in neuroticism are prone to jealousy, whereas agreeable people are not Desire for sexual exclusivity – reduces suspicious jealousy, but increases reactive jealousy if infidelity occurs Traditional gender roles – macho men and feminine women experience more jealousy than androgynous people do

14 Jealousy Who Gets Us Jealous? Not all rivals are created equal.
Rivals who make us look bad… -- by achieving things we wish we had, or -- by being more attractive to our partners …are particularly worrisome.

15 Jealousy What Gets Us Jealous? Consider this compelling question:
Please think of a serious, committed romantic relationship that you have had in the past, that you currently have, or that you would like to have. Imagine that you discover that the person with whom you’ve been seriously involved became interested in someone else. What would distress or upset you more (please pick only one): (a) Imagining your partner forming a deep emotional attachment to that person. (b) Imagining your partner enjoying passionate sexual intercourse with that other person.

16 Jealousy What Gets Us Jealous?
Because they face the problem of paternity uncertainty, men should be especially vigilant toward, and threatened by, sexual infidelity. For women, the greater risk may be that a mate will withdraw his protective resources and transfer them to another mate. Thus, women should be especially threatened by emotional infidelity.

17 Jealousy What Gets Us Jealous?
In fact, when they have to choose, most American men say the sex would upset them more, whereas most American women say the love would be more distressing. Is this sex difference the result of evolutionary pressures?

18 Jealousy What Gets Us Jealous?
Critics have challenged the method and meaning of the studies that ask people to choose the worse infidelity. The most defensible conclusion is that both sexes hate both types of infidelity… …but women perceive a partner’s emotional attachment to a rival to be more worrisome than men do.

19 Jealousy Responses to Jealousy
People may respond to jealousy in either helpful or harmful ways. Attachment styles matter. Those who are comfortable with closeness tend to express their concerns, trying to repair the relationship. Those who are dismissing or fearful tend to avoid the issue and to pretend that they don’t care.

20 Jealousy Responses to Jealousy There’s a sex difference, too.
Women react to a rival’s interference by seeking to improve the relationship… …whereas men strive to protect their egos.

21 Jealousy Coping Constructively with Jealousy
We should do away with the notion that jealousy is a sign of “true love”: Jealousy is not generous and loving. It’s inherently selfish, and it emerges from dependency and fear.

22 Jealousy Coping Constructively with Jealousy
We may also need to reduce the connection between the exclusivity of a relationship and a personal sense of self-worth. We react irrationally when we behave as if our self-worth depends entirely on a particular partnership.

23 Deception and Lying Deception is intentional behavior that creates an impression in the recipient that the deceiver knows is false. We’ll focus here on lying, in which people knowingly make statements that contradict the truth.

24 Deception and Lying Lying in Close and Casual Relationships
Most lies are self-serving, but people also tell many lies that are intended to benefit others. Benevolent lies are especially common in close relationships… …and we tell fewer lies to our intimates than to more casual acquaintances.

25 Deception and Lying Lying in Close and Casual Relationships
However, when we tell lies about serious matters, we tell them more often to our intimate partners than to anyone else. Liars may also experience deceiver’s distrust, coming to perceive the recipients of their lies as less honest and trustworthy than they really are.

26 Deception and Lying Lies and Liars
Some people tell more lies than others do. Sociable and gregarious people tend to tell more lies. People with secure attachment styles tend to tell fewer lies.

27 Deception and Lying Lies and Liars
What goes wrong when lies are detected? A liar’s nonverbal behavior gives him or her away. No single cue always indicates that a person is lying. Instead, discrepancies and mismatches in the components of a liar’s nonverbal behavior arouse suspicion.

28 Deception and Lying So, How Well Can We Detect a Partner’s Deception?
The specific mannerisms that indicate that a person is lying may be quite idiosyncratic. With practice and accurate feedback, we can learn to detect deception in a certain partner, but that success is limited to that particular person.

29 Deception and Lying So, How Well Can We Detect a Partner’s Deception?
But most intimate partners trust each other, and that leads them to exhibit a truth bias in which they assume that their partners are usually telling the truth. As a result, people are sometimes certain that their partners are telling the truth when their partners are actually lying.

30 Deception and Lying So, How Well Can We Detect a Partner’s Deception?
Thus, as relationships become more intimate and trust increases, the partners’ accuracy in detecting deception in each other doesn’t improve. It declines.

31 Betrayal Betrayals are disagreeable, hurtful actions by people we trusted and from whom we reasonably did not expect such misbehavior. Any action that violates the norms of benevolence, trust, loyalty, respect, and trustworthiness that support intimate relationships may be considered somewhat treasonous.

32 Betrayal Betrayals demonstrate that our partners do not value their relationships with us as much as we had believed. --that is, they involve relational devaluation. Thus, our most hurtful betrayals come from those on whom we depend and for whom we care the most.

33 Betrayal Individual Differences in Betrayal
Men and women do not differ in their tendencies to betray others… …but white people betray others more than other folks do. Frequent betrayers tend to be unhappy, maladjusted people who are vengeful, resentful, and suspicious of others.

34 Betrayal The Two Sides to Every Betrayal
Those who betray their intimate partners usually underestimate the harm they do. Betrayers often consider their behavior to be inconsequential and innocuous… …but in almost every case, those who are betrayed think that the betrayal has damaged their relationship.

35 Betrayal Coping with Betrayal
People report less anxiety and better coping when they: (a) acknowledge the betrayal instead of denying that it happened, (b) consider it an opportunity for personal growth, and (c) rely on their friends for support. People do less well when they ignore the event, wallow in bitterness, or resort to drugs and alcohol to blunt the pain.

36 Betrayal Coping with Betrayal
When they are wronged, some people are vengeful. They wish to retaliate. Such people tend to be high in neuroticism, low in agreeableness, and less happy with life than are those who are less vengeful and more prone to forgiveness.

37 Forgiveness Forgiveness occurs when we give up our perceived right to retaliate against, or hold in our debt, someone who has wronged us.

38 Forgiveness Forgiveness occurs more readily when…
(a) the offender apologizes, and (b) the victim is able to empathize with the offender, being able to imagine why the partner behaved as he or she did. Secure and agreeable people are more forgiving than insecure or less agreeable people are.

39 Forgiveness Forgiveness usually improves the relationships in which it occurs. And importantly, people who are able to forgive their intimate partners enjoy more well-being—more self-esteem, less hostility, and more satisfaction with life—than do those from whom forgiveness is less forthcoming.

40 For Your Consideration
When Ann returned from her business trip, she described her weekend as pretty dull and uneventful, so Paul was surprised when he found pictures on her digital camera of a raucous dinner at which she and some guys had obviously been drinking and carrying on. A picture of her sitting at a table beaming with pleasure as two good-looking men hugged her and kissed her cheeks really rattled him. Stung and unhappy, he became sullen and distant. He started giving her a cold shoulder and began to ponder how to “pay her back.” Ann knew that she had been too flirtatious, but she was secretly titillated by one of the guys in the picture who was now ing her with veiled suggestions about their next meeting. In addition, Ann wasn’t sure what Paul knew or suspected, but she was beginning to resent his petulance. What do you think the future holds for Ann and Paul? Why?

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