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Intimate Relationships and Communication

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1 Intimate Relationships and Communication
Chapter 4

2 Developing Intimate Relationships
Successful Relationships require: Positive Self-concept and Self-esteem developed in infancy and childhood gender roles attachment adult styles of loving less than ideal childhood can still have a successful relationship Self-concept and self-esteem – A positive self-concept and a healthy level of self-esteem help us love and respect others. Personal identity, gender roles, and styles of attachment are all rooted in childhood experiences. In Erikson’s model of personality development, fundamental tasks of early childhood include the development of trust during infancy and autonomy in toddlerhood. We also learn our gender role (a culturally expected pattern of behavior and attitudes determined by whether a person is male or female) and attachment (the emotional tie between an infant and his or her caregiver or between two people in an intimate relationship) during childhood. Friendship – Friendships are the first relationships we form outside the family. Friendships we form as children are important and help provide us with a foundation to develop relationships for the rest of our lives. We learn about such things as sharing, tolerance and trust as children. Slide two provides characteristics of friendships. Love, sex, and intimacy – Love is one of the most basic and profound emotions and actions known to humans. Love does not necessarily give us happiness all the times, but it does give us meaning to our lives. Although intimacy does not have to include love or sex, at times the three are linked in adult relationships. Love includes trust, caring, respect, and loyalty or commitment. With commitment come responsibility, reliability, and faithfulness. Sex brings excitement, fascination, and passion to a relationship. Sternberg’s elements of love are discussed on the third slide. Research indicates that men and women have different views of the relationships between love (or intimacy) and sex (or passion). The emotion of love can cause both pleasure and pain. Love can be transformed and is a process. The key to a successful relationship is in transforming passion into an intimate love, based on closeness, caring and the promise of a shared future. Challenges in relationships – Obstacles or problems often occur in relationships. All relationships have “tests” because individuals bring differences to a relationship that cause stress. Some of these are discussed on slide four and include issues of self-disclosure, commitment, expectations, competitiveness, relationship time management, and jealousy. Successful relationships - Successful relationships are dependent upon individuals who have strong communication skills including conflict resolution skills and are always able to ask for and support one another. Ending a relationship – This is usually difficult and painful. Several guidelines include: giving the relationship a fair chance; being fair and honest; being tactful and compassionate; giving yourself time to resolve anger and pain, if you’ve been rejected; and recognizing the value of the experience.

3 Developing Intimate Relationships
Successful Relationships require: Friendships based on companionship, respect, acceptance, help, trust, loyalty and reciprocity may be longer lasting and more stable Friendships help to bind society together. Friendships provide us with emotional support and can buffer us from stress. Friendships include most or all of the following characteristics: Companionship – Being relaxed and happy with each others company. They usually have common values and interests and plan time to spend together. Respect – They show respect for one another by being honest. They respect each other as people and are sensitive to each others feelings and opinions and work to resolve differences without humiliating or insulting each other. Acceptance – They are free to be themselves and express their feelings without fear of ridicule or criticism. Help – Friends know they can rely on each other in times of need. They can ask each other for help. Trust – They feel secure and safe in confiding in one another. Loyalty – They are dependable. They stand up for each other in word and deed. Mutuality – Although individuals, friends share each other’s “ups and downs.” They understand “what affects you, affects me.” Reciprocity – Friends give-and-take.

4 Love, Sex, and Commitment
One of the most basic and profound human emotions. These 3 are linked ideals in intimate relationship. Characteristics of love, sex and commitment.

5 Sternberg’s Classifications of Love
Based on degrees of intimacy, passion and commitment: Liking Infatuation Romantic Fatuous Empty Companionate Consummate Robert Sternberg views love as a triangle composed of intimacy, passion, and commitment. Intimacy refers to the feelings of warmth and closeness we have with someone we love. Passion is the romance, attraction, and sexuality. Commitment refers to both the short-term decision that you love someone and the long-term commitment to be in a relationship. Sternberg suggests that these three elements can be enlarged, diminished, or combined in different ways. Each combination gives a different kind of love. These are described below: Liking (intimacy only) – Love between friends. Infatuation (passion only) – A high degree of physical and emotional arousal characterized by “love at first sight.” Romantic (intimacy and passion) – Love in which commitment may develop over time. Fatuous (passion and commitment) – Deceptive love, the “whirlwind affair.” A poor foundation for an enduring relationship. Empty (commitment only) – Dutiful love. Also a poor foundation for an enduring relationship. Companionate (intimacy and commitment) – Essentially a committed friendship. Often begins as romantic love and transforms into companionate love. Consummate (all three elements) – The love that dreams are made of and difficult to sustain.


7 The Pleasure and Pain of Love
Recognize the human emotions Two components: Physiological arousal Emotional explanation

8 The Transformation of Love
All relationships change over time. High levels of passion. Growth of intimacy. Reduction of romance and or passion to the transformation of deep love.

9 Stresses on a Intimate Partnership
Unequal or Premature commitment Unrealistic Expectations Competitiveness Balance of Time together and apart Jealousy Honesty and openness – Getting close to another person by sharing thoughts and feelings is emotionally risky, but necessary for a relationship to grow. Self-disclose at a slow, but steady rate. Intimate familiarity with your partner’s life is important to the success of a long-term relationship. Unequal or premature commitment – Most problems with the perception of unequal or premature commitments can be addressed with honesty and sensitive communication. Unrealistic expectations – Each partner brings hopes, and expectations to a relationship, some of which may be unrealistic, unfair, and ultimately damaging. Some common expectations that can hurt a relationship include: expecting your partner to change to meet all your expectations (accept your differences); assuming that your partner has all the same opinions, priorities, interests, and goals as you (agreement on key issues is important, but differences can enhance a relationship); and believing that a relationship will fulfill all your personal, financial, intellectual, and social needs (having a degree of autonomy and self-sufficiency is healthy to a relationship). Competitiveness – Competitiveness can aid in the bonding process as long as it is based on fun. However, it can also detract from the sense of connectedness, interdependence, equality, and mutuality between partners. It is important to accept that your partner may hold different views on issues than you do, and that those views may be just as valid and important to your partner as your views are to you. Balancing time spent together and apart – If time apart is interpreted as rejection or lack of commitment, it can damage a relationship. Differences in expectations about time spent together can mirror differences in ideas about emotional closeness. Any romantic relationship involves giving up some autonomy in order to develop an identity as a couple. Jealousy – Jealousy is the angry, painful response to a partner’s real, imagined, or likely involvement with a third person. Jealousy is an indication of insecurity or possessiveness not love. Jealousy is a factor in precipitating violence in dating relationships and spousal abuse. People with a healthy level of self-esteem are less likely to feel jealous.

10 Successful Relationships
Realistic expectations Mutual trust Open communication Effective ways to resolve conflict Agreement on religious/ethical values Equal roles Balance of individual and joint interests The following relationship characteristics appear to be the best predictors of a happy marriage: Realistic expectations – Couples understand the expectations of their relationship. Acceptance of the other’s personality – Partners like (and love) and feel good about each other. Good communication skills – These couples communicate well based on respect and love. Effective ways of resolving conflict - They possess successful conflict management and resolution skills. Agreement on religious/ethical values – Their attitudes, values, and beliefs are similar. Egalitarian role relationships – They share roles and responsibilities within the marriage Balance of interests and activities – These partners can balance individual and family leisure time pursuits.

11 Ending a Relationship Reasons why? Guidelines of a breakup Fair chance
Be fair Be tactful Time for resolving your anger and pain The value of the experience

12 Communication Nonverbal Ability to interpret nonverbal messages
Self-disclosure Listening Feedback is a constructive response Gender differences in communication The key to developing and maintaining any type of intimate relationship is good communication. Nonverbal communication – Approximately 65% of face-to-face communication is non-verbal. Especially important forms of nonverbal communication are touch, eye contact, and proximity. Body language and verbal messages need to agree, otherwise we send mixed messages. The ability to interpret nonverbal messages correctly is necessary for the success of a relationship. Communication skills – Three keys to good communication in relationships are self-disclosure, listening, and feedback. These skills are discussed on the next slide. Gender and communication – Some challenges in relationships are related to common gender differences in communication. Many authorities suggest that men and women approach conversation and communication differently. Men tend to use conversation in a competitive way, to possibly establish dominance. Women generally use conversation in a more affiliative way in hope of establishing friendships. Men tend to talk more-though without disclosing more and listen less. Women tend to use more good listening skills, like eye contact, frequent nodding, focused attention, and asking relevant questions. Conflict and conflict resolution – Conflict is a natural part of an intimate relationship. Conflict resolution and strategies for negotiating with your partner are described on slide number seven.

13 Conflict and Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution skills are vital for maintaining intimate relationships. Clarify the issue. Find out what each person wants. Identify various alternatives. Decide how to negotiate. Solidify the agreements. Review and negotiate.

14 Pairing and Singlehood
Choosing a Partner. Attraction. Similarities. Communication. Acceptance. Even though most people marry, everyone spends time as a single person, and nearly all, make an effort, consciously or unconsciously, to find a partner. Choosing a partner – Most men and women select partners in a fairly predictable process. People usually choose partners like themselves. If partners are extremely different, acceptance and good communication skills are necessary to maintain the relationship. Dating – Every culture has rituals for pairing and finding mates. Most individuals find partners through traditional dating (by personal choice or with help) or getting together in groups (a more casual form of dating). Living together – Cohabitation (living together) is a rapidly growing social pattern in the U.S. By the age of 30, nearly half of all men and women will have cohabitated. Religion is the only factor that separates those who live together from those who do not. For some, living together has certain advantages over marriage, such as greater autonomy and getting to know each other intimately without being married. It also has liabilities, such as legal protection and there is not universal societal acceptance. There is little evidence that living together before marriage leads to happier or longer-lasting marriages. In fact, some research indicates less marital satisfaction for couples who cohabitated before marriage. Gay and lesbian partnerships – Gay and lesbian partnerships are similar to heterosexual relationships, with some differences. Partners often don’t conform to traditional gender roles, and they experience hostility or ambivalence rather than approval toward their partnerships from society. Singlehood – Being single doesn’t mean not having close relationships. Several factors contribute to the growing number of singles in America. They include the changing view of singlehood, extended education and career endeavors, living with parents longer, cohabitation, and higher divorce rates. Other factors determine the satisfaction of being single, such as, how the person became single, strength of social relationships, standard of living, and how they feel about being alone.

15 Dating Different cultures have different rituals for finding a mate.
American Culture. Getting to know each other. Traditional male-female dating pattern. Dating of young people.

16 Cohabitation Factors of acceptance Rarely continues indefinitely
Advantages Liabilities

17 Partnership Gay and Lesbian Sexual orientation
Homosexual relationships in relation to heterosexual relationships Traditional gender roles Societal attitudes

18 Singlehood Diverse group Factors that contribute to a growing number
Advantages Disadvantages Enjoyment depends upon:


20 Marriage Benefits of Marriage Issues of marriage Role of Commitment
About 95% of all Americans marry at some point in their lives. Marriage remains popular because it fulfills several basic needs. Benefits of marriage – The primary benefits of marriage are those of many intimate relationships: affection (love), personal affirmation, companionship, sexual fulfillment, and emotional growth. Successful marriages also provide the optimal environment for raising children. Issues in marriage – Couples need to have strong and successful relationships before getting married because relationship problems are magnified not resolved by marriage. Love isn’t enough to ensure a successful marriage. Slide ten provides the best predictors for a happy marriage. Partners have to be realistic, provide emotional support for each other, possess or develop strong communication skills, and share values, interests, and responsibilities. The role of commitment – Commitment is based on conscious choice rather than on feelings, which by their very nature, are transitory. Commitment is a promise of a shared future. It helps maintain a relationship over time and through difficult changes. Separation and divorce – People marrying today have a 50-55% chance of divorcing. The high divorce rate reflects our extremely high expectations for emotional fulfillment and satisfaction in marriage. When problems can’t be worked out, people often separate and divorce. Divorce is traumatic for all participants involved, especially children. Except for death of a spouse or family member, divorce is the greatest stress-producing event in life. Some of the negative effects of divorce may be balanced in time, by positive ones. About 75% of all people who divorce, remarry and usually within five years.

21 Divorce High rates.. Why? Process of Divorce.
Physical separation. Emotional separation. Greatest stress producing event next to the death of a spouse. Recovery from divorce. Remarriage.

22 Family Life Becoming a Parent Family life cycle
Preparation for parenthood Own stability and readiness to be a parent Physical health Teenage parenting Over the age of 35 Nutritional habits Genetics Financial Considered educational and career plans Emotionally ready Social support Attitudes and aptitudes American families are very different today that they were just several decades ago. About half are based on a first marriage; almost one third are headed by a single parent; and the remainder are remarriages or some other arrangement. Becoming a parent – Few new parents have any preparation for the job of parenting. The birth of the first child is one of the most stressful transitions for any couple. Many times marital satisfaction lowers after the birth of a first child, but it isn’t always. Characteristics of couples who have high marital satisfaction after the birth of their first child include: having a strong relationship before the baby was born; planning and wanting the child very much; and communicating well about their feelings and expectations. Parenting and the family life cycle – Parenting is a source of unmatched work, responsibility and love. At each stage of the family life cycle, relationships change and with change comes new challenges. Parenting on any given situation depends on a variety of factors, such as values, beliefs, experience, and both the parent’s and child’s personalities. Again, marital satisfaction may lower during the child-rearing years (school years) and become higher later. Single parents – About 28% of all children under 18 live with only one parent. In some single-parent families, the traditional family life cycle is reversed and the baby comes before the marriage. Problems for single parents include economic difficulties, conflicting demands, and time pressures. At the present time, there is conflicting evidence about the effect on children of growing up in a single parent family. Stepfamilies – About 3 out of 4 divorced women and about 4 out of 5 divorce men will remarry. Almost half of all marriages in the U.S. are remarriages for the husband, wife, or both. Stepfamilies (or blended families) are formed when single or divorce people remarry and create new family units. Stepfamilies are significantly different from primary families and should not be expected to duplicate the emotions and relations of a primary family. However, stepfamilies can gradually gain more of a sense of being a family as they build a history of shared experiences. Successful families- The next slide provides information on characteristics of successful families. These qualities include commitment to the family, appreciation of family members, communication, time spent together, spiritual wellness, and effective methods of dealing with stress.

23 Preconception Care Preexisting medical condition
Current use of medications and drugs Use of tobacco and/or alcohol Past problems with pregnancy Disease risks and immunization history Dietary habits Family history of genetic diseases or multiple births

24 Birth of First Child Stressful transition
Return to traditional gender roles Each stage of the Family Life Cycle New parents: worry about choices and mistakes no set rules most important is to promote satisfaction for all family members.

25 Birth of First Child Later stages: balance between giving freedom and setting limits Marital satisfaction tends to decline when children are in school

26 Building Blocks of Parenting
Modeling Trust Respect Love and Discipline Honesty Positive Statements Time, Attention, Concern

27 Single-parent Families
Differences to a traditional family life cycle. Difficulties experienced as a single parent. Single Fatherhood. Children from single-parent families.


29 Stepfamilies or Blended Families
3 out of 4 women and 4 out of 5 men will remarry. Should not be expected to duplicate the emotions and relationships of an intact family. Healthy stepfamilies are less cohesive and more adaptable than healthy intact families. Allow for more individual differences. More of a history they have the more of a family unit is built.

30 Qualities of Successful Families
Commitment Appreciation Communication Time together Spiritual wellness Coping with stress and crisis A strong family is not a family without problems, it is a family that copes successfully with stress and crisis. Although there is a great deal of variation in American families, researchers have proposed that six major qualities, characteristics, or themes appear in strong families. These include: Commitment to one another – The family is very important to its members. Sexual fidelity between partners is also included in commitment. Appreciation for one another – Family members care about one another and express their appreciation. The home is a positive place for family members. Communication – Family members spend time listening to one another and enjoying one another’s company. They talk about disagreements and attempt to solve problems. Time spent together – Family members do things together, often simple activities that don’t cost money. Spiritual wellness – The family promotes sharing, love, and compassion for other human beings. Successful strategies for coping with stress, crisis, and conflict – When faced with illness, death, marital conflict, or other crises, family members pull together, seek help, and use other coping strategies to meet the challenge. Families, and intimate relationships of all kinds, are essential to our overall wellness.


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