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Interpersonal Relationship

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Chapter 9 – Interpersonal Relationships

I. Advantages and disadvantages of interpersonal relationships

A. Advantages
1. Lesson loneliness
2. Provide stimulation
3. Enhance self worth and self esteem
4. Maximize pleasure and minimize pain

B. Disadvantages
1. Pressure to be vulnerable
2. Encroach on privacy
3. Increase obligations
4. Limit other relationships
5. Emotionally difficult to dissolve
6. Break your heart

II. Relationship stages

A. Created and constructed by the individuals
B. People see their relationships differently
C. Interdependence is primary quality of an interpersonal relationship

D. Six stage model (applies to all types of relationships)

1. Contact
a. perceptual contact – physical appearance
b. interactional contact (superficial and impersonal)
*Flirting – verbal and nonverbal signals of romantic interest
*Dark side of flirting – becomes harassment or stalking

2. Involvement – mutuality, connection, try to learn more about the other
a. tests – find out how your partner feels about the relationship (start here but go throughout relationship)
b. intensifying -- tokens of affection; increase contact; sexual intimacy; jealousy

3. Intimacy – further commitment; share social networks; quantity and quality of exchanges increase, talk more about the relationship
Two phases of intimacy:
a. interpersonal commitment – private commitments to each other
b. social bonding – public commitment; you become an identifiable pair

4. Deterioration – weakening of bonds
a. intRApersonal dissatisfaction
b. IntERpersonal deterioration – withdraw, distance, conflict

5. Repair – change behaviors or expectations; not always pursued
A. IntRAapersonal – analyze and try to solve yourself; consider changing your behaviors
B. IntERpersonal repair – negotiate changes w/other

*Recognize the problem
*Engage in productive communication and conflict resolution
*Pose possible solutions
*Affirm each other – disclose, talk positively, compliments, nonverbals that say I care cherishing behaviors – small gestures you enjoy receiving from your partner (a wink, a smile, a kiss)
*Integrate solutions into normal behavior -- vs. followed for a very short time and going back to previous behavior.
*Risk – risk giving without certainty of receiving, risk rejection by making the first move, be willing to change, adapt.
OR

6. Dissolution – bonds are broken
a. Dissolution phases
1) interpersonal separation – separate apartments, separate lives
2) social or public separation—divorce, change definition of relationship ex-lovers become friends
3) goodbye stage -- see as yourselves as individuals rather than a pair; exes
b. Strategies for dealing with breakups
*Break the loneliness-depression cycle
*Take time out
*Bolster your self esteem
*Seek support from others
*Avoid repeating negative patterns

III. Relationship movement

• You can exit at any point in the relationship
• You can move to more or less intense stages at any point
• You can maintain one level of intimacy over time
• Healthy movement depends on communication skills

A. Relationship turning points – significant relationship events with important consequences that may turn the relationship’s direction or trajectory (first sexual encounter, meeting parents)
1. Varies culturally
2. Varies with stage you’re at

B. Relationship commitment – degree of commitment to other person and to relationship
1. desire to stay in relationship
2. moral obligation to relationship
3. necessity for relationship

C. Relationship politeness
1. greatest during contact and involvement stages
2. relaxed during intimacy – can be good or bad
3. minimal during deterioration and dissolution
4. high during repair

IV. The dark side of interpersonal relationships

A. Jealousy – reaction to relationship threat
1. Men – jealous of physical intimacy
2. Women – jealous of emotional intimacy
3. Negative responses
*Cry, express hurt
*Threaten violence
*Verbal aggressiveness
*Withdrawal
4. Positive responses – integrative communication
*Honesty
*Self disclosure
*Messages showing effort to work things out

B. Relationship violence
1. Physical
2. Emotional
3. Sexual

Signs of relationship violence
1. belittling, insulting, ignoring
2. controls pieces of your life (dress, friendships, time away)
3. unreasonable jealousy
4. anger at sexual frustration
5. you change your life to prevent additional anger

If your partner is violence
1. you’re not alone
2. you’re not at fault
3. plan for your safety (it never happens only once)
4. know your resources

If you are violent
1. you’re not alone
2. change is possible
3. take responsibility

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