Marriage Relationships and Communication Making Relationships Work Being Single The ABC ( DE ) s of Relationships
The ABC(DE)s of Relationships
Intimate relationship: A relationship characterized by sharing of inmost feelings.
Physical Intimacy: Implies a sexual relationship.
Social-exchange theory: A view of the stages of development as reflecting the unfolding of social exchanges, which involve the rewards and costs of maintaining the relationship.
A is for Attraction
Positive factors in attraction include repeated meetings, positive emotions, and personality factors.
Negative factors in attraction include physical distance, negative emotions and low need for affiliation.
Initial impressions of another person are mostly visual and a good mood can heighten feelings of attraction.
B is for Building
Positive factors in building a relationship include matching physical attractiveness, attitudinal similarity, and mutual positive evaluations.
Negative factors include major differences in physical attractiveness, attitudinal dissimilarity, and mutual negative evaluations.
Opening lines are usually preceded by eye contact. Reciprocation of eye contact may mean the other person is interested. When eye contact is reciprocated, choose an opening line. Examples might be:
“ Good morning” or “You’re very attractive” or a simple “hello.”
Taking things further…
Surface contact: According to Levinger, this phase of the relationship finds us seeking common ground and testing mutual attraction.
Small talk: A superficial form of conversation that allows people to seek common ground to determine whether they wish to pursue a relationship.
Self-Disclosure: Opening up is central to building intimate relationships. Just make sure to be a “late discloser” rather than an “early discloser.”
Never reveal your name, home address or phone number with someone you’ve met in cyberspace.
If you wish to meet them in person, do it in a public place.
Let someone else know what you’re doing.
Recognize red flags.
Trust your gut.
Don’t accept their word at face value.
When it doubt, walk on by.
Now that we’ve scared you…have fun!
C is for Continuation
Once a relationship is built, it enters the stage of continuation. The goal of this stage is mutual cyclical growth.
Mutual cyclical growth: A process by which commitment and trust in a relationship develop. According to this view, needing one’s partner encourages individuals to do things that are good for the relationship, which is perceived by the partner and encourages him or her to also develop commitment and trust.
C is for Continuation
Mutual cyclical growth occurs within an environment of trust. Trust usually builds gradually as partners learn whether it is safe to share confidences.
Caring: An emotional bond that allows intimacy to develop.
Mutuality: According to Levinger, a phase of the relationship in which two people think of themselves as “we.”
C is for Continuation
Jealousy: Sexual jealousy is aroused when we suspect that an intimate relationship is threatened by a rival.
Jealousy can lead to loss of feelings of affection, feelings of insecurity and rejection, anxiety and loss of self-esteem.
Research points out gender differences in jealousy (males seem to be most upset by sexual infidelity whereas women are more upset by emotional infidelity).
D is for Deterioration
While deterioration is the fourth stage, it is not inevitable. Positive factors that can prevent deterioration are investing time and effort in the relationship, working at improving the relationship, and being patient.
Negative factors that can lead to deterioration include lack of investment of time and effort in the relationship, deciding to end the relationship, or simply allowing deterioration to continue unchecked.
E is for Ending
Factors that can contribute to avoidance of a relationship ending are finding sources of satisfaction, people who are committed to making the relationship work, or who believe that they will eventually overcome their problems.
According to social-exchange theory, relationships end when negative forces are in sway (when partners find little satisfaction in the affiliation, when barriers to leaving are low and when alternative partners are available.
Even with recent changes in attitudes, marriage still remains our most common lifestyle.
People see marriage as a permanent commitment (86% expect to be married for the rest of their lives).
More than three of four families in the United States are headed by a married couple.
Historical Reasons for Marriage:
Helps people to adjust to personal and social needs.
Regulates and legitimizes sexual relations.
Provides a home and support for the socialization of children.
Provides a means of determining the father of a woman’s child.
Permits the orderly transmission of wealth from one generation to another.
Whom Do We Marry?
We tend to marry people to whom we are attracted. They are usually similar to us in physical attractiveness and hold similar attitudes on major issues.
Most marriages in the United States are based on homogamy ( the principle of like marrying like).
Americans typically marry people who are similar to themselves in race, socioeconomic status, and religion.
An informal (not prenuptial) contract that helps couples clarify and communicate their expectations is often helpful.
Marriage contracts help couples to spell out their marital values and goals. Some important items to cover include whether a wife will take her husband’s surname, whether the coupe will have children, how the breadwinning functions will be divided, how will child-care responsibilities be divided, etc.)
What factors contribute to marital satisfaction?
Communication ability is a prime factor in satisfying relationships. Other factors include spending focused time together, sharing values, flexibility, sharing power, physical intimacy, emotional closeness, empathy and sexual satisfaction.
While it may seem that everyone has an affair, recent studies show that only 25% of husbands and 10% of wives will have an affair (however, it is likely that the incidence of affairs is underreported).
At the same time, 86% of respondents to a New York Times poll were “absolutely certain” that their spouses were faithful.
Why Do People Have Affairs?
For the sake of variety.
To break the routine of a confining marriage.
As a way of expressing hostility.
Curiosity and desire for personal growth.
To boost their self-esteem.
To feel attractive.
Men, Women and Affairs
Men are more likely to seek sex in affairs whereas women are seeking “soul mates.”
Women justify affairs because it was “for love.” Men justify affairs because “it was only sex.”
This demonstrates that men are more likely to separate sex and love whereas women tend to believe that sex and love go together.
At least one woman in eight is subjected to violence at the hands of her partner each year, and about 2,000 women are killed.
In about half of the couples in which domestic violence occurs, both partners are guilty of physical abuse.
Male domestic violence often stems from factors that threaten their traditional dominance in relationships, such as unemployment and substance abuse. Women’s violence often arises from the stress of coping with an abusive partner.
Domestic violence is found at all levels of society, but is reported more commonly among people of lower socioeconomic status.
Scholars argue that society supports domestic violence by appearing to condone it via lighter sentences for husbands who abuse wives versus higher sentences when they abuse strangers.
In 1920, one marriage in seven ended in divorce. In 1960, the number rose to one in four. Today, 40-50% of all first marriages end in divorce.
Relaxed legal restrictions have made divorce easier to obtain. No-fault divorce laws have been enacted in nearly every state.
Why the rise in divorce (what do we think)?
Increased economic independence of women
Higher expectations of marriage
Problems in communication and understanding
Cost of Divorce
Women and children typically experience a large drop in standard of living.
Increased rates of psychological disorders (men and women) and suicide (men).
Negative impact on children.
Generation EX: Children
A child’s world is turned upside down.
Most suffer downward movement in socioeconomic status.
Children of divorced parents are more likely to have behavioral problems, engage in substance abuse, and earn lower grades.
Problems increase during the first year following a divorce and then decrease during the second year.
Dating after Divorce
Give yourself time to heal
Establish good routines and structure for your family.
Children thrive on consistency.
Keep dating and parenting separate.
Children need to know that their time is important.
Avoid sleepovers when children are present.
Only introduce the person to children if you believe the relationship has long term potential.
Don’t have the children refer to the new person as a relative.
Don’t have children call the new person mom or dad.
Singlehood is the nation’s most common lifestyle among people in their early to mid-twenties.
There has been an increase in the number of never-married adults over the past 40 years. In 1950, 20% of women and 26% of men aged fifteen or older had never been married. By 1999, 25% of women and 30% of men aged 15 and older had never been married.
So while most people still get married, but the traditional family unit is becoming less common (traditional family comprises of 24% of family households versus 40% in 1970).
Factors contributing to the increased proportion of single people include:
Postponement of marriage to pursue educational and career goals.
People getting married at later ages.
Less social stigma attached to remaining single.
Challenges of being single:
Stereotypes (if you’re a single male in your late 30s you must be gay, right?).
Employers might view singles with skepticism and not assign them responsibility.
Women who are single and in their mid-twenties might be viewed as having baggage.
Families may see singles as selfish, as failures or as sexually loose.
Cohabitation: An intimate relationship in which people of the opposite sex sharing living quarters (POSSLQ’s) live as though they are married, but without legal sanction.
More than half of all marriages today are preceded by a period of cohabitation.
Cohabitation is more prevalent among less well educated and less affluent people.
The cohabitation rate is twice as high among African American couples as European American couples.
Divorced people are more likely than people who have never been married to cohabitate.
Willingness to cohabitate is related to more liberal attitudes toward sexual behavior, and less traditional views of marriage and gender roles.
Some couples prefer cohabitation because it provides a consistent relationship without the legal constraints or marriage.
Many cohabitors feel less commitment toward their relationships than people do.
Men are more likely to want to avoid the marital commitment.
Emotionally committed couples may choose to cohabitate because of the economic advantages of sharing household expenses.
Part-time/limited cohabitation: Dating couples begin to spend nights together and one of the partners slowly brings more and more belongings to the other partner’s residence. No formal arrangement may have been made to share expenses, etc. This style may end due to an outside event (such as the end of a school year).
Premarital Cohabitation: People who expect to get married decide to live together beforehand. This may serve as a “trial marriage.”
Substitute Marriage: The couple decides to make a long-term commitment to live together without getting married. Many choose this to avoid legal and financial complications.
Cohabitating couples who eventually get married appear to run a similar or perhaps greater risk of divorce than coupe show do not cohabitate before marriage.
Why might this be?
Cohabitors tend to be more committed to personal independence.
They also tend to be less traditional and religious than noncohabitors.
Overall, those who cohabitate before marriage tend to be less committed to the values and interests traditionally associated with the institution of marriage.
Making Relationships Work
Risks That Create Conflict
Meeting on the rebound
Living too close to, or too distant from families of origin.
Differences in race, religion, education or social class.
Dependence upon family for money, shelter or emotional support.
Marriage before six months of knowing each other.
Marital instability in either family of origin.
Insensitivity to sexual needs.
Discomfort with roles of husband or wife.
Conflict Resolution: Disagreement itself is not damaging, how partners handle the disagreement is the key.
Negotiate Differences: Each spouse must be willing to share power.
Contract for exchanging new behaviors: Identify specific behaviors to be changed and offer to modify your own behaviors.
Increase Pleasurable Marital Interactions
Satisfied couples tend to display higher rates of pleasurable behavior toward one another.
Paying attention, listening
Enhance your Communication Skills
Poor affective communication and problem-solving communication are two of the important factors that interfere with marital satisfaction.
Get started by talking about talking. Explain to your partner that it can be difficult to talk about your conflicts. Request permission to raise a topic.
To the Instructor:
These slides are intended to provide you a base upon which to build your presentation for Chapter 12 of Nevid’s Psychology and the Challenges of Life.
For further student and instructor resources including images from the textbook, quizzes, flashcard activities and e-Grade plus, please visit our website: www.wiley.com/college/nevid
Copyright 2009 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY. All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright owner.