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Chapter Eight. Love and Communication in Intimate Relationships. Love. Exists in all cultures Exists in all ethnic groups Exists in all orientations Dual nature: Feeling Activity. Communication. Connects sexuality and intimacy Sexual communication is tied to sexual satisfaction

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chapter eight

Chapter Eight

Love and Communication in Intimate Relationships

  • Exists in all cultures
  • Exists in all ethnic groups
  • Exists in all orientations
  • Dual nature:
    • Feeling
    • Activity
  • Connects sexuality and intimacy
  • Sexual communication is tied to sexual satisfaction
  • Sexual communication is unique
friendship and love
Friendship and Love
  • Friendship is a strong foundation for strong love relationships
  • Difference between friends and lovers
  • Marriage
love and sexuality
Love and Sexuality
  • Sexuality and love are intimately related in our culture
  • Our language connects love and sex
  • Sexual satisfaction is tied to relationship satisfaction
  • Level of intimacy and relationship duration are correlated with the decision to engage in sexual activity
  • Cultural environment and physical environment
sex outside of committed relationships
Sex Outside of Committed Relationships
  • Young adult sex outside of marriage is now the norm
  • Values in America have shifted due to:
    • Contraception and abortion
    • Redefined gender roles
    • Alterations in demographics
men women sex and love
Men, Women, Sex, and Love
  • Men separate sex and love more than women
  • Women value sex in the context of a relationship
  • Lesbians share sex less than heterosexual couples or gay men
love without sex
Love Without Sex
  • Celibacy or asexuality
  • A purposeful choice rather than a sexual problem
  • 4% men and 14% women
  • Emphasis on friendship and other relationship qualities
styles of love lee
Styles of Love: Lee
  • Eros: love of beauty
  • Mania: obsessive love
  • Ludus: playful love
  • Storge: companionate love
  • Agape: altruistic love
  • Pragma: practical love
the triangular theory of love
Theory developed by Robert Sternberg

Emphasizes the dynamic quality of love relationships


Passion Commitment

The Triangular Theory of Love
the components of love ten signs of intimacy
The Components of Love: Ten Signs of Intimacy
  • Wanting to promote your partner’s welfare
  • Feeling happiness with your partner
  • Holding your partner in high regard
  • Being able to count on your partner in time of need
  • Being able to understand each other
the components of love cont
The Components of Love (cont.)
  • Sharing yourself and your possessions with your partner
  • Receiving emotional support from your partner
  • Giving emotional support to your partner
  • Being able to communicate with your partner about intimate things
  • Valuing partner’s presence in your life
kinds of love sternberg

Intimacy only


Passion only

Romantic Love

Intimacy and passion

Companionate Love

Intimacy and commitment

Fatuous Love

Passion and commitment

Consummate love

Intimacy, passion, and commitment

Empty love

Commitment only


Absence of all three

Kinds of Love: Sternberg
infant caregiver attachment

Bond depends on attachment object’s responsiveness

Infant happier in attachment object presence

Shares discoveries with attachment object. Coos, talks baby talk

Feeling of oneness with attachment object

Romantic love

Feelings are related to lover’s interest

Happier when lover is present

Shares experiences with lover

Lovers coo, talk baby talk

Feeling of oneness with lover

Infant-Caregiver Attachment
components of attachment
Components of Attachment
  • Attachment style endures across ones life
  • Depends upon security and safety
  • Open acceptance and honesty
types of attachment
Types of Attachment
  • Secure attachments
    • Find it relatively easy to get close to other people
  • Anxious/ambivalent attachment
    • Believe that other people didn’t get as close as they themselves wanted
  • Avoidant attachments
    • Feel discomfort being close to other people
unrequited love
Unrequited Love
  • Love is not returned
  • Causes distress to all involved
  • Perspectives differ between the people who offer love and those who do not reciprocate
  • Jealousy does not prove the existence of love
  • Jealousy is painful
  • Jealousy can destroy or cement a relationship
  • Jealously is linked to violence
  • Aversive response to a real or imagined involvement with a third person
  • Absence may indicate relationship problems
  • Occurs where there are commitments in a relationship
  • Men and women differ in reported attempts to make their partner jealous
managing jealousy
Managing Jealousy
  • Dealing with irrational suspicions can be difficult
  • Can work on underlying causes of our insecurity
  • If jealousy is well-founded, relationship may need to be modified or ended
  • Jealousy can be the catalyst for change
extramarital sex
Extramarital Sex
  • Exists in dating, cohabiting, and marital relationships
  • Extramarital sex in exclusive marriages is related to three factors:
    • Stronger sexual interests
    • More permissive sexual values
    • Greater sexual opportunities
    • Weaker marital relationships
making love last from passion to intimacy
Making Love Last: From Passion to Intimacy
  • Intimate love: Each person knows they can count on the other
  • Commitment: Based on conscious choices rather than transitory feelings
  • Caring: Involves making another person’s needs as important as your own
  • Self-disclosure: Revealing ourselves—our hopes, our fears, our thoughts to deepen understanding and intimacy
the nature of communication
The Nature of Communication
  • Involves conveying symbols, words, gestures, movements
  • Goal of establishing human contact, exchanging information, and reinforcing or changing attitudes and behaviors
contexts of communication
Contexts of Communication
  • Cultural context
    • the language, values, beliefs, and customs in which communication takes place
  • Social context
    • the roles we play in society
  • Psychological context
    • how people communicate based on their personalities
nonverbal communication
Nonverbal Communication
  • The ability to correctly interpret nonverbal communication is important
    • Most of our “feeling” communication is nonverbal
  • 3 important factors:
    • Proximity: nearness in physical space
    • Eye contact: a symbol of interest
    • Touching: signals intimacy, closeness
sexual communication
Sexual Communication
  • Interpersonal sexual scripts provide “instructions” on how to behave sexually
    • In beginning relationships
      • Halo effect
      • Interest and opening lines
      • In some cases: establishing sexual orientation
      • First move and beyond
      • Directing sexual activity
sexual communication cont
Sexual Communication (Cont.)
  • In established relationships
    • initiating sexual activity
      • For heterosexuals: men typically initiate more often
      • In same-sex relationships: typically the more emotionally expressive partner initiates
gender differences in partner communication
Gender Differences in Partner Communication
  • Women send clearer messages to their partners than do men
  • Men more than women tend to send negative messages or withdraw
  • Women tend to set the emotional tone of an argument
  • Women tend to use more qualifiers in their style of speaking
developing communication skills
Developing Communication Skills
  • Talking about sex
  • Keys to good communication
  • Self disclosure
  • Trust
  • Feedback
conflict and intimacy
Conflict and Intimacy
  • Conflict is natural in intimate relationships
  • A lack of arguing can signal trouble in a relationship
  • Conflict isn’t dangerous; it’s the manner in which it is handled that can hurt or help
conflicts about sex
Conflicts about Sex
  • Can result from a disagreement about sex
  • Can be used as a “scapegoat” for nonsexual problems
  • Can be a cover-up for deeper feelings such as inadequacy
conflict resolution
Conflict Resolution
  • The way couples deal with conflict reflects and contributes to their happiness
  • Negotiating conflicts
  • Bargaining
  • Coexistence