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Relational Dialectics
Relational Dialectics
Relational Dialectics
Relational Dialectics
Relational Dialectics
Relational Dialectics
Relational Dialectics
Relational Dialectics
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Relational Dialectics

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Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Published in: Technology, Health & Medicine
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  • 1. RELATIONAL DIALECTICS Of Baxter and Montgomery
  • 2. Basic Approach
    • Intimate relationships organized around the dynamic interplay of opposing tendencies
    • Interpersonal relationships are indeterminate processes of ongoing flux
    • Relational dialectics highlights the tensions in close personal ties
  • 3. Contradictions
    • Contradiction is the dynamic interplay between unified oppositions
    • Tensions between intimacy and independence
    • Bonding occurs through interdependence and dependence, yet people need personal space
    • There is no ultimate resolution
    • Dialectical tension provides opportunity for dialogue
  • 4. Dialectic internal to the relationship
    • Closeness , certainty , openness need to be balanced against autonomy , novelty , privacy
    • Tension between connectedness (closeness) and separateness (autonomy) is common to all relationships; if one axis wins, the relationship loses
  • 5. Dialectic between couple and community
    • Powerful dialectics include
      • Inclusion and Seclusion (social stimulation and support vs. privacy)
      • Conventionality and Uniqueness (reproduction of relational patterns vs. needs of intimacy)
      • Revelation and Concealment
  • 6. Dealing with Contradictions (1-4)
    • Denial (responding to one pole of dialectic) - not satisfying
    • Disorientation (helplessness) – dysfunctional
    • Spiraling alteration between two poles
    • most common response
    • Segmentation (compartmentalization) of activities between poles
  • 7. Dealing with Contradictions (5-8)
    • Balance (compromise strategy, but mutes the full force of the two poles); assumes that when one party wins, the other loses
    • Integration (partners respond simultaneously to opposing forces without dilution or delusion)
    • Recalibration (temporarily reframing so that tugs and pulls no longer seem oppositional)
    • Reaffirmation (acknowledgment that dialectical tensions are ongoing)
  • 8. Critique
    • Not a theory but a meta-theoretical perspective: is this a falsifiable theory?
    • Potentially contradicts other theories which stress such notions as shared meaning, warm communication, increasing certainty
    • Relationships perceived as very messy: each relational force is in opposition to every other pole: separateness is in opposition to connectedness, openness, certainty
    • Too heavy on anecdotal support
    • Requires that we listen to many voices
    • Needs to deal with gender issues and expectations about gender behavior

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