The best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. Anonymous Relationships
Definition • Long term relationships can be described in one of two ways: • Exchange relationships are governed by the need for equity or an equal ratio of rewards and costs. In these types of relationships, • We like to be repaid immediately for our favours. • We feel exploited when our favours are not returned. • We keep track of who is contributing what to the relationship. • Being able to help the other person has no effect on our mood. • Communal relationships are those in which the people's primary concern is being responsive to the other person's needs. In these types of relationships, • We do not like to be repaid immediately for our favours. • We do not feel exploited when our favours are not repaid. • We do not keep track of who is contributing what to the relationship. • Being able to help the person puts us in a good mood.
Intimacy • Physical intimacy begins with attachment during infancy and is demonstrated by hugs, kisses, and physical closeness. • Intellectual intimacy involves the exchange of important ideas, values and beliefs. • Emotional intimacy involves the exchange of important feelings. • Shared activities can include everything from working side-by-side at a job to meeting regularly for exercise workouts.
Rewards • Some social scientists have argued that all relationships both personal and impersonal are based on a semi-economic model called social exchange theory. • This approach suggests that we often seek out people who can give us rewards either tangible or emotional that are greater than or equal to the costs we encounter in dealing with them. Social exchange theorists define rewards as any outcomes we desire. • A simple formula captures the social exchange theory for why we form and maintain relationships: • Rewards - Costs = Outcome
Equity • Some researchers have criticized social exchange theory for ignoring an essential variable in relationships: the notion of fairness, or equity. • Equity theorists argue that people are not just out to get the most rewards for the least cost; they are also concerned about equity in their relationships, wherein the rewards and costs they experience and the contributions they make to the relationship are roughly equal to the rewards, costs and contributions of the other person.
Process Models • Rules • By rules, they mean shared opinions or beliefs about what should or should not be done. • The two major functions of rules are to regulate behaviour in order to minimize potential sources of conflict, and to check on the exchange of rewards that motivate people to stay in relationships. • Some rules are thought to apply to all or most types of relationships, such as respecting other people's privacy, not discussing what has been said in confidence and being emotionally supportive. • Additional rules apply in particular types of relationships. Such as: spouse, sibling and close friends, doctor, teacher and boss.
Process Models • Filter Theory • According to Kerckhoff and Davis, relationships pass through a series of filters. • Initially, similarity of sociological (or demographic) variables (such as ethnic, racial, religious and social class groups) determines the likelihood of people meeting in the first place. • The next filter involves people's psychological characteristics and, specifically, agreement on basic values. • The third and final filter is complementarity of emotional needs and is the best predictor of a longer term commitment.
Attachment Models • Ainsworth discovered that infants form one of three basic attachments to the caregiver. • The crucial feature determining the quality of attachment is the caregiver’s sensitivity, or the quality of response to the baby’s needs. • The sensitive caregiver sees things from the baby’s perspective, correctly interprets its signals, responds to its needs, and is accepting, cooperative and accessible. • By contrast, the insensitive caregiver interacts almost exclusively in terms of their own wishes, moods and activities.
Stage ModelsKnapp’s Model • One of the best known models of relational stages was developed by Mark Knapp, who broke down the rise and fall of relationships into 10 stages, contained in the broad phases of “coming together” and “coming apart”. • Initiating - Expressing interest in making contact and showing that you are the kind of person worth getting to know. • Experimenting - This stage involves uncertainty reduction, or the process of getting to know others by gaining more information about them. • Intensifying - Interpersonal relationships now begin to emerge. Feelings about the other person are now openly expressed, forms of address become more familiar, commitment is now openly expressed, and the parties begin to see themselves as “we” instead of separate individuals. • Integrating - Identification as a social unit. Social circles merge. Partners develop unique, ritualistic ways of behaving. Obligation to the other person increases. Some personal characteristics are replaced and we become different people.
Stage ModelsKnapp’s Model • Bonding - The parties make symbolic public gestures to show society that their relationship exists (rings, tokens, marriage). • Differentiating - The need to re-establish separate identities begins to emerge. The key to successful differentiation is maintaining a commitment to the relationship while creating the space for autonomy and individuality. • Circumscribing - Communication between the partners decreases in quantity and quality. It involves a certain amount of shrinking of interest and commitment. • Stagnating - No growth occurs. Partners behave toward each other in old, familiar ways without much feeling. • Avoiding - The creation of physical, mental and emotional distance between the partners. • Termination - In romantic relationships the best predictor of whether the parties will become friends is whether they were friends before their emotional involvement.
Stage ModelsStimulus-Value-Role Theory • Murstein sees relationships proceeding from a stimulus stage, in which attraction is based on external attributes (such as physical appearance), to a value stage in which similarity of values and beliefs becomes more important. • Then comes a role stage, which involves a commitment based on successful performance of relationship roles such as husband and wife. • Although all these factors have some influence throughout a relationship, each one assumes its greatest significance during one particular stage
Stage ModelsLevinger's Theory • For Levinger relationships pass through five stages rather than the three proposed by Murstein. • These are: • acquaintance or initial attraction, • building up the relationship, • consolidation or continuation, • deterioration and decline, • ending. • At each stage, there are positive factors that promote the relationship's development and corresponding negative factors that prevent its development or cause its failure
Relationship Breakdowns • Lee's model of relationship dissolution • Lee has proposed that there are five stages in premarital romantic breakups. • First of all, dissatisfaction is discovered. • This dissatisfaction is then exposed. • Some sort of negotiation about the dissatisfaction occurs. • Attempts are made to resolve the problem. • Finally, the relationship is terminated. • In his research, Lee found that exposure and negotiation tended to be experienced as the most intense, dramatic, exhausting and negative aspects of the whole experience. • Lee also found that in those cases where the passage from dissatisfaction to termination was particularly prolonged, people reported feeling more attracted to their ex-partners and experienced the greatest loneliness and fear during the breakup
Relationship Breakdowns • Duck's Model (Phase-Threshold Model) • Duck’s model of relationship dissolution consists of four phases, each of which is initiated when a threshold is broken. • The first, intrapsychic phase, begins when one partner sees him- or herself as being unable to stand the relationship any more. This initiates a focus on the other’s behaviour, and an assessment of how adequate the partner’s role performance is. Also, the individual begins to assess the negative aspects of being in the relationship, considers the costs of withdrawal, and assesses the positive aspects of being in another relationship. Duck uses the term intrapsychic because the processes are occurring only in the individual's mind and have not yet shown themselves in actual behaviour. The next threshold is when the individual considers himself or herself as being justified in withdrawing from the relationship. • This leads to the dyadic phase, and involves the other partner. Here, the dissatisfied individual must decide whether to confront or avoid the partner. When this decision is made, negotiations occur about, for example, whether the relationship can be repaired and the joint costs of withdrawal or reduced intimacy. If the negotiations in this phase are unsuccessful, the next threshold is when the dissatisfied partner decides that he or she means the relationship to end.
Relationship Breakdowns • Duck's Model (Phase-Threshold Model) • This leads to the social phase, so-called because it involves consideration of the social implications of the relationship's dissolution. This state of the relationship is made public at least within the individual's own social network, and publicly negotiable face-saving/blame-placing stories and accounts of the relationship's breakdown may be given. Intervention teams such as family or very close friends may be called in to try to bring a reconciliation. Unless the intervention teams are successful, the next threshold is when the relationship's dissolution becomes inevitable. • This leads to the final grave-dressing phase. In this, the partners attempt to get over the relationship's dissolution and engage in their own post-mortem about why the relationship dissolved, a version of events which is then given to family and friends. Each partner needs to emerge from the relationship with an intact reputation for future “relationship reliability” purposes .