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Dialectical tensions in romantic relationships were explored by close or intimate the relationship is, the more interpersonal we can consider the . scholarly consideration of nonwestern dating relationships. (Stafford .. rare in arranged marriages, this does not mean there is no love (Doherty et al. In many relationships, it becomes easy to point the finger and label someone On the other hand, external dialectics are the ongoing tensions dialectics theory to explore how breakups occur in many romantic, heterosexual relationships. However, the two still end up dating and eventually breaking up. b. romantic c. positivity . When his girlfriend asks if he really loves her, Ramon gives her a vague, .. Dialectical tensions are rare in most intimate relationships.
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Obviously, this stage is almost exclusively applicable to romantic couples. In some ways, the bonding ritual is arbitrary, in that it can occur at any stage in a relationship. However, bonding warrants its own stage because the symbolic act of bonding can have very real effects on how two people communicate about and perceive their relationship. For example, the formality of the bond may lead the couple and those in their social network to more diligently maintain the relationship if conflict or stress threatens it.
The bonding stage eventually leads to the terminating stage for many relationships, as about 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Differentiating is the reverse of integrating, as we and our reverts back to I and my.
People may try to reboundary some of their life prior to the integrating of the current relationship, including other relationships or possessions. Circumscribing To circumscribe means to draw a line around something or put a boundary around it. Oxford English Dictionary Online, accessed September 13,http: So in the circumscribing stage Relational interaction stage where communication decreases and certain areas or subjects become restricted as individuals verbally close themselves off from each other.
Passive-aggressive behavior and the demand-withdrawal conflict pattern, which we discussed in Chapter 6 "Interpersonal Communication Processes"may occur more frequently in this stage.
Once the increase in boundaries and decrease in communication becomes a pattern, the relationship further deteriorates toward stagnation. Stagnating During the stagnating stage Relational interaction stage where the relationship may come to a standstill, as individuals wait for the relationship to end.
Outward communication may be avoided, but internal communication may be frequent. Avoiding Moving to the avoiding stage Relational interaction stage where people signal that they want to close down the lines of communication. In a parent-child relationship, where the child is still dependent on the parent, or in a roommate situation, where a lease agreement prevents leaving, people may engage in cognitive dissociation, which means they mentally shut down and ignore the other person even though they are still physically copresent.
Terminating The terminating stage Relational interaction stage where a relationship ends. Termination can result from outside circumstances such as geographic separation or internal factors such as changing values or personalities that lead to a weakening of the bond. Termination exchanges involve some typical communicative elements and may begin with a summary message that recaps the relationship and provides a reason for the termination e.
The Modern Breakup — Apollon Digital Journal
The summary message may be followed by a distance message that further communicates the relational drift that has occurred e. You can use this time to explore your options and figure out if you want to go to college too or not. Finally, there is often a message regarding the possibility for future communication in the relationship e.
Pearson,46— These ten stages of relational development provide insight into the complicated processes that affect relational formation and deterioration. We also make decisions about our relationships by weighing costs and rewards. Social Exchange Theory Social exchange theory Theory that states we weigh the costs and rewards in our relationships. Vangelisti and Daniel Perlman Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,38— Rewards are outcomes that we get from a relationship that benefit us in some way, while costs range from granting favors to providing emotional support.
When we do not receive the outcomes or rewards that we think we deserve, then we may negatively evaluate the relationship, or at least a given exchange or moment in the relationship, and view ourselves as being underbenefited.
In an equitable relationship, costs and rewards are balanced, which usually leads to a positive evaluation of the relationship and satisfaction. Commitment and interdependence are important interpersonal and psychological dimensions of a relationship that relate to social exchange theory.
Cambridge University Press, We can be cautioned, though, to not view social exchange theory as a tit-for-tat accounting of costs and rewards. We also have communal relationships, in which members engage in a relationship for mutual benefit and do not expect returns on investments such as favors or good deeds. As the dynamics in a relationship change, we may engage communally without even being aware of it, just by simply enjoying the relationship.
It has been suggested that we become more aware of the costs and rewards balance when a relationship is going through conflict. Overall, relationships are more likely to succeed when there is satisfaction and commitment, meaning that we are pleased in a relationship intrinsically or by the rewards we receive.
Key Takeaways Relationships can be easily distinguished into personal or social and voluntary or involuntary. Personal relationships are close, intimate, and interdependent, meeting many of our interpersonal needs. Social relationships meet some interpersonal needs but lack the closeness of personal relationships.
There are stages of relational interaction in which relationships come together initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating, and bonding and come apart differentiating, circumscribing, stagnating, avoiding, and terminating.
The weighing of costs and rewards in a relationship affects commitment and overall relational satisfaction. Exercises Review the types of relationships in Figure 7. Name at least one person from your relationships that fits into each quadrant.
How does your communication differ between each of these people? Pick a relationship important to you and determine what stage of relational interaction you are currently in with that person.
What communicative signals support your determination? What other stages from the ten listed have you experienced with this person? How do you weigh the costs and rewards in your relationships? What are some rewards you are currently receiving from your closest relationships? What are some costs?
Discuss how friendships change across the life span, from adolescence to later life. Explain how culture and gender influence friendships. Friendships, like other relationship forms, can be divided into categories. What about work friends, school friends, and friends of the family? In this section, we will learn about the various ways we classify friends, the life cycle of friendships, and how gender affects friendships.
Defining and Classifying Friends Friendships Voluntary interpersonal relationships between two people who are usually equals and who mutually influence one another. Aldine De Gruyter,11— Friendships are distinct from romantic relationships, family relationships, and acquaintances and are often described as more vulnerable relationships than others due to their voluntary nature, the availability of other friends, and the fact that they lack the social and institutional support of other relationships.
The lack of official support for friendships is not universal, though. In rural parts of Thailand, for example, special friendships are recognized by a ceremony in which both parties swear devotion and loyalty to each other. Rosemary Bleiszner and Rebecca G. Sage,2. Even though we do not have a formal ritual to recognize friendship in the United States, in general, research shows that people have three main expectations for close friendships.
A friend is someone you can talk to, someone you can depend on for help and emotional support, and someone you can participate in activities and have fun with.
Aldine De Gruyter, Although friendships vary across the life span, three types of friendships are common in adulthood: Reciprocal friendships Solid interpersonal relationships between people who are equals with a shared sense of loyalty and commitment. These friendships are likely to develop over time and can withstand external changes such as geographic separation or fluctuations in other commitments such as work and childcare.
Reciprocal friendships are what most people would consider the ideal for best friends. Associative friendships Mutually pleasurable relationships between acquaintances or associates that, although positive, lack the commitment of reciprocal friendships.
These friendships are likely to be maintained out of convenience or to meet instrumental goals. Friendships that are maintained because they are convenient and meet an instrumental need, like having a workout partner, are likely to terminate if they become inconvenient or the need changes.
Receptive friendships Friendships that include a status differential that makes the relationship asymmetrical. Unlike the other friendship types that are between peers, this relationship is more like that of a supervisor-subordinate or clergy-parishioner.
In some cases, like a mentoring relationship, both parties can benefit from the relationship. In other cases, the relationship could quickly sour if the person with more authority begins to abuse it.
Friends with benefits Relationships that have the closeness of a friendship and the sexual activity of a romantic partnership without the expectations of romantic commitment or labels.
FWB relationships have the closeness of a friendship and the sexual activity of a romantic partnership without the expectations of romantic commitment or labels. VanderDrift, and Janice R. FWB relationships are hybrids that combine characteristics of romantic and friend pairings, which produces some unique dynamics.
So why might people choose to have or avoid FWB relationships? Various research studies have shown that half of the college students who participated have engaged in heterosexual FWB relationships. Bisson and Timothy R.
Many who engage in FWB relationships have particular views on love and sex—namely, that sex can occur independently of love. Conversely, those who report no FWB relationships often cite religious, moral, or personal reasons for not doing so. Some who have reported FWB relationships note that they value the sexual activity with their friend, and many feel that it actually brings the relationship closer.
Despite valuing the sexual activity, they also report fears that it will lead to hurt feelings or the dissolution of a friendship. We must also consider gender differences and communication challenges in FWB relationships.
Gender biases must be considered when discussing heterosexual FWB relationships, given that women in most societies are judged more harshly than men for engaging in casual sex. So what communicative patterns are unique to the FWB relationship? Those who engage in FWB relationships have some unique communication challenges. For example, they may have difficulty with labels as they figure out whether they are friends, close friends, a little more than friends, and so on.
Research participants currently involved in such a relationship reported that they have more commitment to the friendship than the sexual relationship. But does that mean they would give up the sexual aspect of the relationship to save the friendship?
Most participants reported that they would like the relationship to stay the same, followed closely by the hope that it would turn into a full romantic relationship. Just from this study, we can see that there is often a tension between action and labels. In addition, those in a FWB relationship often have to engage in privacy management as they decide who to tell and who not to tell about their relationship, given that some mutual friends are likely to find out and some may be critical of the relationship.
Last, they may have to establish ground rules or guidelines for the relationship. Since many FWB relationships are not exclusive, meaning partners are open to having sex with other people, ground rules or guidelines may include discussions of safer-sex practices, disclosure of sexual partners, or periodic testing for sexually transmitted infections.
Friendships have various turning points that affect their trajectory. Friendships are also diverse, in that not all friendships develop the same level of closeness, and the level of closeness can fluctuate over the course of a friendship. The formation process of friendship development involves two people moving from strangers toward acquaintances and potentially friends.
Sage, Several factors influence the formation of friendships, including environmental, situational, individual, and interactional factors. Clyde Hendrick and Susan S. Hendrick Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage,71— Environmental factors lead us to have more day-to-day contact with some people over others.
For example, residential proximity and sharing a workplace are catalysts for friendship formation. Thinking back to your childhood, you may have had early friendships with people on your block because they were close by and you could spend time together easily without needing transportation.
A similar situation may have occurred later if you moved away from home for college and lived in a residence hall. Many new college students form bonds with people in their residence halls that last through college and beyond. We also find friends through the social networks of existing friends and family. Although these people may not live close to us, they are brought into proximity through people we know, which facilitates our ability to spend time with them.
Encountering someone due to environmental factors may lead to a friendship if the situational factors are favorable. The main situational factor that may facilitate or impede friendship formation is availability. In order for a friendship to take off, both parties need resources such as time and energy to put into it.
The number of friends we have at any given point is a situational factor that also affects whether or not we are actually looking to add new friends. I have experienced this fluctuation. I was also preparing to move within the year to pursue my doctorate.
Although I was half-joking, this example illustrates the importance of environmental and situational factors. Instead, I focused on the friendships I already had and attended to my other personal obligations.
Environmental and situational factors that relate to friendship formation point to the fact that convenience plays a large role in determining whether a relationship will progress or not. While contact and availability may initiate communication with a potential friend, individual and interactional factors are also important.
We are more likely to develop friendships with individuals we deem physically attractive, socially competent, and responsive to our needs. Specifically, we are more attracted to people we deem similar to or slightly above us in terms of attractiveness and competence. Although physical attractiveness is more important in romantic relationships, research shows that we evaluate attractive people more positively, which may influence our willingness to invest more in a friendship.
Friendships also tend to form between people with similar demographic characteristics such as race, gender, age, and class, and similar personal characteristics like interests and values. Being socially competent and responsive in terms of empathy, emotion management, conflict management, and self-disclosure also contribute to the likelihood of friendship development.
If a friendship is established in the formation phase, then the new friends will need to maintain their relationship. The maintenance phase includes the most variation in terms of the processes that take place, the commitment to maintenance from each party, and the length of time of the phase. In short, some friendships require more maintenance in terms of shared time together and emotional support than other friendships that can be maintained with only occasional contact.
Maintenance is important, because friendships provide important opportunities for social support that take the place of or supplement family and romantic relationships. Sometimes, we may feel more comfortable being open with a friend about something than we would with a family member or romantic partner. Most people expect that friends will be there for them when needed, which is the basis of friendship maintenance.
As with other relationships, tasks that help maintain friendships range from being there in a crisis to seemingly mundane day-to-day activities and interactions. Failure to perform or respond to friendship-maintenance tasks can lead to the deterioration and eventual dissolution of friendships. Causes of dissolution may be voluntary termination due to conflictinvoluntary death of friendship partnerexternal increased family or work commitmentsor internal decreased liking due to perceived lack of support.
Betrayal of trust can stem from failure to secure private information by telling a secret or disclosing personal information without permission. While these three internal factors may initiate conflict in a friendship, discovery of unfavorable personal traits can also lead to problems. As was mentioned earlier, we are more likely to befriend someone whose personal qualities we find attractive. However, we may not get to experience the person in a variety of contexts and circumstances before we invest in the friendship.
We may later find out that our easygoing friend becomes really possessive once we start a romantic relationship and spend less time with him. These individual factors become interactional when our newly realized dissimilarity affects our communication. It is logical that as our liking decreases, as a result of personal reassessment of the friendship, we will engage in less friendship-maintenance tasks such as self-disclosure and supportive communication.
In fact, research shows that the main termination strategy employed to end a friendship is avoidance. The main change in environmental factors that can lead to friendship dissolution is a loss of proximity, which may entail a large or small geographic move or school or job change. The two main situational changes that affect friendships are schedule changes and changes in romantic relationships.
Additionally, becoming invested in a romantic relationship may take away from time previously allocated to friends. For environmental and situational changes, the friendship itself is not the cause of the dissolution. Friendships across the Life Span As we transition between life stages such as adolescence, young adulthood, emerging adulthood, middle age, and later life, our friendships change in many ways.
Aldine De Gruyter, Our relationships begin to deepen in adolescence as we negotiate the confusion of puberty. Then, in early adulthood, many people get to explore their identities and diversify their friendship circle. Later, our lives stabilize and we begin to rely more on friendships with a romantic partner and continue to nurture the friendships that have lasted. Adolescence Adolescence begins with the onset of puberty and lasts through the teen years. We typically make our first voluntary close social relationships during adolescence as cognitive and emotional skills develop.
These early friendships allow us to test our interpersonal skills, which affects the relationships we will have later in life.
For example, emotional processing, empathy, self-disclosure, and conflict become features of adolescent friendships in new ways and must be managed. Andrew Collins and Stephanie D. Adolescents begin to see friends rather than parents as providers of social support, as friends help negotiate the various emotional problems often experienced for the first time.
Friendships in adolescence become important as we begin to create an identity that is separate from our family. For example, as adolescents progress through puberty and forward on their identity search, they may experience some jealousy and possessiveness in their friendships as they attempt to balance the tensions between their dependence on and independence from friends. Additionally, as adolescents articulate their identities, they look for acceptance and validation of self in their friends, especially given the increase in self-consciousness experienced by most adolescents.
Aldine De Gruyter,59— Those who do not form satisfying relationships during this time may miss out on opportunities for developing communication competence, leading to lower performance at work or school and higher rates of depression. The transition to college marks a move from adolescence to early adulthood and opens new opportunities for friendship and challenges in dealing with the separation from hometown friends.
Where Thomson and Scott bask in the closeness to reality that Days of Summer portrays other critics address at what the film says about relationships today.
Chicago Tribune writer Jason Travis compares Days of Summer to other cinematic examples of women with the upper hand in a relationship. Travis outlines how sometimes in relationships women are the ones who have established control not the men, as is often perceived. With Annie Hall, he states that the lead female role does have instant attraction to the male lead but outgrows him and walks away. Describing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Travis states that the female lead wipes her memories of the male lead because she is over him; the male lead tries to do the same but cannot really let her go.
All three of these brief synopses say the same thing, that the woman is the one who ends the relationship and thus leaves the poor sap of a man to feel all alone and miserable for some duration of the movie. For instance, it appears as though all three male leads experience a relationship that not only tests what they know about themselves, but also makes them reflect on why that relationship was important to them and what they needed to learn from that experience.
The three movies also portray couples that are dysfunctional at best, yet the movies still manage to show how worthwhile that relationship can be to both people involved. Other critics have also referenced Annie Hall in their reviews of Days of Summer. The dissolution of a relationship serves as a connection between the three movies and adds to their overall effectiveness in portraying true-to-life break-ups, and the most recent of the three, Days of Summerallows one to see how breakups occur in a modern day setting.
While Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is more recent than Annie Hall, it does not deal with the same maintenance issues as Days of Summer but instead portrays the rebuilding of relationships.
With that in mind, it is necessary to explore breakups in order to gain an understanding of why they occur. Breakups Breakups are a central part of relationships and it is important to understand how they occur to know how they are a part of relational dialectics. Breakups, like most things are multifaceted: It is crucial to understand the the determinants and effects of breakups in order to comprehend relationships.
To start off, attraction serves as a part of what brings people together in a relationship and is also believed to be an initiator of a breakup. This idea is explored by Diane H. Felmleewho believes that what attracts us to someone also serves to drive us away from them. These are considered fatal attractions. There is a link between theses seemingly disparate processes of romantic attraction and disenchantment.
Like a moth to a flame, people can be drawn to the very aspects of another person that they eventually find troublesome. Some of the examples she provides include a woman who is attracted to a man who is laid back but is then seen as being constantly late.
To support her thesis Felmlee surveyed dating persons and found that 44 percent of those individuals experienced fatal attractions. She also found that one-third of her respondents saw similarities between characteristics that someone is attracted to and rejected by Felmlee D. While fatal attractions may serve as a determinate of a breakup it is not the only factor. Diane Felmlee, Susan Sprecher and Edward Bassin performed a study to explore other determinants of breakups in relationships and found that several variables serve as predictors for the rate at which a relationship is terminated.
In addition, each of these variables suggests that they stemmed from theories in social exchange, similarity and social networking to help contribute to an explanation behind breakups Felmlee et al,p.
In addition to the determinants of a breakup, it is also important to explore some of the effects of a breakup. One effect in particular is the result of having stronger maintenance strategies within a new relationship than one did in the previous relationship. Colleen Hlywa and Katheryn Maguire performed an investigation that helps to provide why instances like this occur. While understanding the end of a relationship is important, one needs a further understanding of how relationships work and what is being said about relationships.
To comprehend this, the lens of relational dialectics theory should be applied. In chronological order, Baxter moves through her life experiences that played into her development of RDT, such as her experiences in graduate school where her desire to study opposition was first planted by studying the opposite of relationship formation: First-generation relational dialectics positioned the concept of contradiction at the centerpiece of the theory with other dialogic elements occupying a more muted background.
While the history and development of the theory are important, it is also important to look at how this theory has been used in previous studies. By looking through the lens of relational dialectics theory one can get a better understanding of breakups and how they occur. The key thought behind how breakups occur is that there is a need for autonomy and connection within relationships to the point where autonomy and connection are viewed as unified oppositions.3 Confident Female Mindsets That Drive Guys Wild... (Matthew Hussey, Get The Guy)
Sahlstein and Dun accomplish this by setting out to answer two questions. First, how do couples talk about their management of autonomy-connection prior to breakup? While the study does have something to say about relationships and break-ups, it also provides another definition in explaining relational dialectics theory: According to this approach, various contradictions are at play in relational life.
This contradiction is central during relational termination, as this process is inherently a change from a particular kind of connection to autonomy. The results of this study yielded that eight couples of the original ninety students said that issues with the management of autonomy-connection was part of the termination of their relationship.
The non-antagonistic struggles are when partners have problems managing dialectics. In contrast, the antagonistic struggles are based on contradiction, in which each person is aligned with a different pole of contradiction.
Understanding this idea is key in analyzing Days of Summer with relational dialects theory, as it dissects all of the tensions displayed within the movie.
Thus far Days of Summer, breakups, and relational dialectics theory have been reviewed, leaving one main question which remainss to be answered: More importantly, by looking through the lens of RDT, what can be said about modern breakups and how does this challenge the antagonistic view of romantic breakups?
This study explores the natural tensions of a contemporary relationship while at the same time examining determinates and effects of a breakup. By observing Days of Summer through the lens of relational dialectics theory these tensions, determinates, and effects of a breakup become more clear. As the movie progresses through the story of Tom and Summer, both parties appear to be happy within their relationship. As a result, at the beginning of the movie Summer appears to be a kind of villain or antagonist for breaking up with Tom.
But, as the movie progresses and nears the end, Tom is beginning to move on with his life and is advised by his younger sister to play through his memories again and pay attention to all the bad parts of his relationship with Summer that he had been ignoring for the majority of the movie.
Once Tom is able to realize this, he is able to completely move on with his life and realize that there is always another day and another person to meet and fall in love with.
Dialectical tensions are rare in most intimate relationships dating
These internal dialectics include connectedness-separation, certainty-uncertainty and openness-closedness. In the film, as soon as Tom tries to define his relationship with Summer and put a label on it everything about their relationship starts to progress more towards the disintegration of the relationship. In other words, when Tom tries to get closer to Summer, because he is convinced that he is in love with her, he makes her question if she is really in love with him.
Summer then begins to worry that if something does not happen to change their relationship, she is just going to be miserable and end up hurting Tom. His journey, however, does show the re-establishment of his autonomy, as he begins to live again without worrying about Summer. It is this progression shows how beneficial it was for him to be in a relationship with Summer. The problems associated with connectedness-separation is not uncommon.
The results did show that couples labeled connectedness and autonomy as a factor in explaining why they broke up. The antagonistic form of contradiction can be seen as reason to explain how the notion of a villain occurs and seeing as each person is aligned with a different pole of contradiction it is highly possible that people will disagree at some point.
However, seeing as the antagonism is coming from both sides of the relationship, one person cannot be held entirely responsible for the dissolution of the relationship. Instead, it is due to both parties lack of communication and inability to balance their relational dialectic tensions that brought about a break up. Tom and Summer experience problems once Tom seeks to define their relationship and have a bit of certainty, an example of certainty-uncertainty.
Summer is conflicted with the uncertainty as to whether or not she feels the same as Tom feels about her. Part of what adds to this tension is that before Tom and Summer started dating, it was made apparent that Summer does not believe in love but Tom does. To further support this point, when Tom and Summer have a chance last meeting Summer finally tells Tom the primary reason that lead to their break up: It surprised me too.
I just woke up one day and I knew.
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What I was never sure of with you. Webb It is clear that uncertainty played a part in their break up. Summer, someone who did not believe in love, was uncertain about how she truly felt about Tom. Even though she knew she was happy, she could not work through the tension and the relationship suffered. Tom, on the other hand believed in love and was certain that he loved Summer. He also struggled with trying to establish certainty in the relationship because he wanted to know that when he woke up in the morning that Summer was still going to feel the same way about him as she did the night before.
As a result of this, Tom has difficulty understanding what Summer was experiencing internally.