RELATIONAL DEVELOPMENT - Wake Forest University

RELATIONAL DEVELOPMENT - Wake Forest University

NATURAL HISTORY OF RELATIONSHIPS Communication as a developmental continuum Stage 1: INITIAL ATTRACTION STEP 1: Becoming aware of the other

Is X attractive? Attend to the novel/unusual See physical attributes Drawn to the non-threatening See behavior next Draw Inferences about person

STEP 2: Deciding to Talk Will they find me attractive STEP 3: Exit or continue Search for similarities STEP 4: Make Behavior pleasing to partner Buoy up the others Self-esteem compliment them, attend to them

Render them favors showing your desirability or power Agree with others Ascribe positive characteristics to self either directly or indirectly But, might have to live up to false information later Stage 2: GROWTH STAGE STEP 1: Commitment to future interaction Increase proximity =s increased commitment/talk/

positive feelings STEP 2: A Reciprocity norm Tit for Tat initially Time for repayment increases over time STEP 3: Turning points Greater interaction =s escalators Decreased interaction =s de-escalators Accept or reject escalation

Acceptance of escalator has two consequences Differentiation - other social group begin to see you as a couple External result Identification - you identify yourself as a couple - internal result Stage 3: MAINTAINING A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP

STEP 1: Constraining relational tensions Competing demands and simultaneous competing tensions affect communication patterns OPENNESS VS PROTECTION Want to protect our own and their vulnerability,

yet want self disclosure that sustains relationship Tensions HONEST VS VALIDATION To be honest or to support the other person AUTONOMY VS INTERDEPENDENCE

The need to be together & need to be apart PUBLIC VS PRIVATE FACE OF A RELATIONSHIP Pressures to maintain dichotomies of expectations Predictability vs. Novelty We want to be able to predict out partners ways, yet also want new experiences.

Passion vs. Stability Seek passion in a relationship, but stability keeps it from burning out as well STEP 2: Rejuvenating a relationship Being too certain, non-spontaneous, feel need to spice it up Rejuvenation strategies Threats: get excited or get a divorce Use outside events to pep it up

Stage 4: RELATIONAL DECAY STEP 1: Intrapsychic stage Person grapples privately with dissatisfaction Reach threshold , I cant stand this anymore

Breakup starts with negative, evaluative focus on partner Based on Steve Ducks work STEP 2: Dyadic Phase Begin to talk only when relationship is in trouble-communication phase Talk assess joint costs of

withdrawal and decreased intimacy--negotiate dissolution Protracted when negotiation done via avoidance STEP 3: Social Phase Public presentation of dissolution to friends/social groups Tell your story/Gossip in Social networks Not gossip about relational distress, outside your group; about kin to nonkin; not become too moral/slanderous; be selective

Men offer Sociological reason - Her friends drive me nuts Women offer Interpersonal reasons - He was oblivious to anything I did STEP 4: Grave Dressing Phase Retrospection about final Attributions - market your account Go back to one another and endlessly go over it

Narratives important: to develop understanding rehearse with persons also dissolving to re-establish own identification e.g., I married the wrong person

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