Maintaining Romantic Relationships
When two people choose to forge an interpersonal involvement through communication and believe the bond to be romantic, they have chosen to be in a romantic relationship with one another. In the beginning, being in a romantic relationship seems effortless, magical, and exhilarating. This is before conflict arises and negative emotions cause things to get real and bring the relationship down from cloud nine. While enjoying the initial stages of the relationship is important, it is also imperative that the two individuals are simultaneously building a foundation of appreciation, respect, forgiveness, and trust. Without this effort, once the “honeymoon stage” is over, the relationship will most likely crumble and leave both partakers hurt and confused (McCornack 326). With this said, a romantic relationship is one of the most rewarding, complex, and significant entities in a person’s life, and though it seems as if maintaining one should come easily, at times it can be one of the most difficult challenges. However, if effective communication is executed and both partners share the desire to be together, the challenges of misunderstanding one another and accepting shortcomings can be surmounted and a successful romantic relationship can be achieved.
Because there are two people deeply invested emotionally, mentally, and possibly physically in a romantic relationship, the stakes are higher than those in a friendship. The chance of actions and words exchanged causing destruction to a point of no retribution is greater than in a platonic relationship, where forgiveness is more easily granted. In an intimate relationship, both people must meet each other halfway. The inherit nature of the human race is to focus primarily on personal needs, but in a committed romantic relationship it is important that the needs of the other partner are also taken into consideration, which may require compromise on how communication and expression of feelings are exchanged. Typically men are less sensitive than women, causing many unnecessary disagreements between the two. Men need to realize that at times the criticism or suggestions they believe will be helpful actually sound mean and hurtful to women, and women should realize that usually men do not have negative intentions with their blunt words but instead do not know any other way to communicate as they were created to interact that way. A helpful tactic in preserving an intimate relationship is for the couple to be able “to create and maintain ‘positive illusions’ about each other, that is to be less negative and more kind in their evaluation and feedback of their partners, [which] can help to enhance relationship satisfaction” (“How to Build & Maintain Happy Intimate Relationships”). This applies to both sides of the relationship. For example, the man can be gentler in his communication and the woman less harassing in hers, resulting in both of them being happier with the way they are treated, bringing them closer together. “Partners are happier and more committed when positive interactions between partners outweigh negative ones by a ratio of at least 5:1” (“How to Build & Maintain Happy Intimate Relationships”). The risks are greater in a romantic relationship than in a platonic one, but so are the rewards, causing the necessary determination and effort worth the gamble. As life progresses, changes are inevitable, and relationships are affected by the continuing evolution of a person’s life. An individual’s wants and needs change as a relationship develops, and this change should be embraced as an opportunity for the relationship to grow and reach a deeper level instead of resisted and ignored. By periodically setting aside time to check in with one another on these changes, the couple can assure that they are aware of the other’s changing expectations and goals, therefore enhancing the intensity of their connection (“Building a Healthy...
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McCornack, Steven. Reflect and Relate, an Introduction to Interpersonal Communication. 2nd. Boston: Bedford/st Martins, 2009. 326. Print.
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