Adjusting to Intimate Relationships Sharing Responsibilities Changing sex roles: • more women work outside the home. • men are expected to provide greater emotional support, help with child-rearing. • Studies report that when women work outside the home, they still do more housework than men. • When men increase the amount of housework they do, marital satisfaction for women improves.
Adjusting to Intimate Relationships cont’d Communication and Conflict Issues that create conflict in intimate relationships: • in-laws • unrealistic expectations • child-rearing • lack of affection • sexuality • power struggles • communication • substance abuse • extramarital affairs • money Communicating at the outset of a problem rather than waiting can often prevent conflict escalation!
Adjusting to Intimate Relationships cont’d Making the Relationship Better • Emotion Focused Therapy: A cognitive therapy that provides a technique for changing basic thought and emotional patterns. • GOAL: to help partners feel emotionally connected. • The success rate is 70 to 75 percent, according to research.
Adjusting to Intimate Relationships cont’d Making the Relationship Better • Mediation:A neutral third party intervenes and assists the couple in managing or resolving their disputes. • GOAL: to help couples find mutually agreeable solutions to their problems. • The success rate is 80 to 90 percent, according to research. Divorce is not the only solution to marital discord!
Adjusting to Intimate Relationships cont’d Sexuality • The longer couples live together, the less frequently they have intercourse. • …but the more important the quality of the sexual relationship becomes! • Most people express their desire for sexual monogamy, but: • 20 to 50% of women and • 30 to 60% of men report having engaged in extramarital sex.
Adjusting to Intimate Relationships cont’d Changes Over Time • Attribution–a search for the cause of our own or another person’s behavior. • Happy couples make relationship-enhancing attributions: • Positive event--“She is so thoughtful!” • Negative event--“She must be under a lot stress.” • Unhappy couples make distress-enhancing attributions: • Positive event--“He must be up to something!” • Negative event--“He always forgets.”
Divorce and Its Consequences Divorce–the legal dissolution of marriage. • The rate among Americans has doubled; one out of two marriages…. The Divorce Experience • … is almost always painful. • Partners breaking up a committed relationship also experience the same pain. • The pain originates from emotional, legal, and social issues. • Most people need 2 or 3 years to recover.
Divorce and Its Consequences cont’d Single-Parent Families • Divorce takes a toll on children. • Age, mental health status, personality, gender, and pre-existing relationships with parents affect a child’s adjustment. • They may become depressed, resentful, or aggressive. • Remarriage of a parent/introduction of a step-parent into a child’s life can also be stressful.
Divorce and Its Consequences cont’d Single-Parent Families • Children of single parents (typically single mothers) often live in poverty. • The children may drop out of school, become pregnant, or turn to illicit substances to help them cope. • Couples need to think carefully about commitment, marriage, and divorce, when children are involved.
Divorce and Its Consequences cont’d Remarriage • Most divorced people remarry; in many instances they marry another divorced person. • Second marriages also tend to end in divorce…. • When two single parents marry each other and combine their families, they create blended families. • Young children adjust better to stepparents than do adolescents.