Interpersonal Relationships: Friends, Spouses, Family
Intimate Relationships Intimacy, though part of many close relationships, is not synonymous with love or exclusivity. Intimate friends are people who like each other, enjoy each other’s company, go out of their way to help each other, and are concerned for each other’s welfare.
Dependable – one who can be relied upon at all times under all circumstances
Responsive – one whose actions are geared toward the other person’s needs
Effective at conflict resolution – one who can manage conflicts in a collaborative way
Faithful – one who is secure in the belief that the other person is trustworthy and the relationship will endure
Relationships are based on shared activities
Generally have topical conversations
Intimacy is based on physical nearness
Conversations focus on personal and relational topics
Intimacy is based on disclosure sharing information, feelings, secrets and insights
Male Relationships Female Relationships
Types of Marriages
Traditional – share a traditional ideology, maintain some independence, are emotionally expressive, highly interdependent and engage in conflict
Independent – less traditional marriage view, are less interdependent, and maintain separate physical spaces
Separate – engage in less emotional sharing, are highly autonomous and try to avoid conflict
60% of all marriages fit in the three categories, 40% of husbands and wives do not agree on which category their marriage is in
Keys to Long-term Marriage
Treat each other with respect
Spend an appropriate amount of time with each other
Share a plan or life vision
Family “ A group of intimates who generate a sense of home and group identity, complete with strong ties of loyalty and emotion and experience a history and a future.” (Galvin & Brommel, 1996)
Contributes to the self-concept formation of family members
Supplies needed recognition and support
Establishes models of communication behavior
To Improve Family Communication
Open the lines of communication.
Confront the effects of power imbalances.
Recognize and adapt to change.
Respect individual interests.
Manage conflicts equitably.
A spiral of family conflict that escalates into attacks upon family members (Yerby et. al., 1995)
Attacks can take many forms.
Physical abuse most often perpetrated by men, but verbal aggression can be every bit as harmful to a relationship as physical abuse, and both men and women engage in verbal abuse.
Why Do Women Stay in Abusive Relationships?
Men are taught to use power to assert themselves and to compete with others. Women are socialized to defer and preserve relationships. Therefore, a foundation exists for men to abuse women and for women to tolerate it rather than be disloyal.
The Cycle of Abuse Stage 1 Tension Stage 2 Explosion Stage 3 Remorse Stage 4 Honeymoon
Causes of Relational Problems
Women likely to feel jealous when they feel ignored or emotionally separate from partner
Men likely to feel jealous when their partner gives positive attention to another person
To reduce jealousy in a relationship, increase the level of trust that exists between partners
Sex-role stereotyping continues to be a problem in many intimate relationships. Because intimate communication entails shared personal meaning, both men and women need to be able to step outside the traditional stereotypes, acquire each other’s traditional skills, and become well-rounded communicators.
Improving Male-Female Relationships
Acknowledge the effects of conditioning
Examine dependency relationships that result from sex-role stereotypes
Monitor sex-role based tendencies toward communication dominance or passiveness