Relationship Dialetics

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December 1, 2010
SPCH 1300, Section 8
Interpersonal Case Study

Love is not always about you feelings. Sometimes real love is about what you do no matter how you feel. Webster defines a relationship as, “an emotional or other connection between people.” My definition of a relationship is an agreement of sacrifice, trust, and friendship between two people. Relational Dialectics Theory explains the tensions in the personal relationship I have with my boyfriend, Claude Jackson. In this paper I will discuss the theory of Relational Dialectics, Case Analysis, Recommendations, and Reflection. Theory

“Relational dialectics is the competing psychological tensions in a relationship,” (Verderber, Verderber, and Sellnow 2010, p.86). The theory of relational dialectics explains how different aspects of a relationship to attract opposites to complement one another. According to the theory, people involved in relationships experience internal, conflicting attractions causing relationships to be in a constant state of instability, known as dialectical tension. The pressures of these tensions occur in a wavelike fashion over time. Relational Dialectics introduces the concept that the closer individuals become to one another, the more conflict will arise to pull them apart.

Relational dialectics theory includes four aspects of relationships which are: novelty vs. predictability, openness vs. closedness, autonomy vs. connection, and management techniques. “Novelty is defined as the originality, freshness, and uniqueness in your own or partner’s behavior or in the relationship,” (Verderber, Verderber, and Sellnow 2010, p.87). “Predictability is the consistency, reliability, and dependability,” (Verderber, Verderber, and Sellnow 2010, p.87). In my relationship with Claude, we both display these aspects- predictability more than novelty. Most of the time I get angered because he is so set in his ways which is routine living where I am more into new and different things. Sometimes I feel bored with our relationship because he is so predictable, besides holidays, at times I feel the want to be surprised with flowers or maybe a visit. I believe this is what balances us much like an equilibrium so that we will not drive one another away.

The second aspect of this theory is openness vs. closedness, known to me as the tug-a-war game. “Openness is defined as the desire to share intimate ideas and feelings with your partner,” (Verderber, Verderber, and Sellnow 2010, p. 87). “Closedness is the desire to maintain privacy,” (Verderber, Verderber, and Sellnow 2010, p. 87). Openness is a huge conflict within our relationship because he is a person that often holds everything in and believes every aspect of a relationship should be private. We both display disclosure but he only displays disclosure when he is in an explosive state. He often displays closedness as a way of coping with different problems we may be having in our relationship. I display closedness mainly to get his attention, and it often happens when I am extremely angry about a situation.

The third aspect is known as autonomy vs. connection. “Autonomy is defined as the desire to do things independent of your partner,” (Verderber, Verderber, and Sellnow 2010, p. 86). “Connection is the desire to link your actions and decisions with your partners,” (Verderber, Verderber, and Sellnow 2010, p. 86). Claude displays autonomy in most cases especially since he has been in college. He never calls and clears any activities with me now he just goes to the party and has more female friends and that discomforts me. I feel that he should clear things with me at times for satisfaction, as well as trust and assurance. I feel a need to connect mostly because it builds a stronger bridge of communication and a clear understanding of what I expect within our relationship. The satisfaction of connection eliminates underlined problems that we have in our relationship....
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