Maintenance in Romantic Relationship

Topics: Social exchange theory, Sociology, Exchange Pages: 3 (904 words) Published: December 27, 2012
Describe and evaluate two theories of maintenance of relationships. Thibaut and Kelly proposed the social exchange theory. This claims that social behaviour is due to the result of an exchange process. This is where an individual attempts to maximise their own rewards and minimise their costs. The exchange process alters when an individual receives rewards from others; they feel the urge to return this favour. Rewards are those exchanges that are categorised as being pleasurable and gratifying such as sex, company, and security. In contrast cost are those exchanges that result in a loss or punishment such as physical abuse or opportunity cost. This concludes that reward minus the cost equals the outcome. If rewards outstrip cost, it is seen to be a positive sign in the maintenance of the relationship. However if cost outstrips rewards can be seen to have a damaging effect on the maintenance of a relationship. Thibaut and kellly put forward that we develop a comparison line (CL), a standard against which all our relationships are judged. This provides an answer whether one person offers something better or worse in accordance to our expectations. If our current relationships exceeds our comparison level therefore means it’s worthwhile staying in the relationship. On the otherhand if our current relationships fails to exceed our comparison levels therefore means were dissatisfied with the relationship and may look for alternative partners. Moreover thibaut and Kelly et al also proposed a four stage model providing ways how to maintain a relationships. It is believed that over time, partners are involved in an exchange process to help maintain their relationship. The four stage model includes sampling, bargaining, commitment and institutionalisation. The social exchange theory is supported by rusbult. He found that cost and rewards of a relationship were compared to the cost and rewards of an alternative relationship in order to decide if the current relationship...
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