Self-concept and Self Esteem
* To have successful relationships, we must first accept and feel good about ourselves. * A positive self-concept and a healthy level or self-esteem help us love and respect others. * As adults, we probably have a sense that we’re basically lovable, worthwhile people and that we can trust others is, as babies and children, we felt loved, valued and respected; if adults responded to our needs in a reasonably appropriate way; and if they gave us the freedom to explore and develop a sense of being separate individuals. * According to psychologist Erik Erikson, it continues to develop as we encounter and resolve various crises at each stage of life. * Gender role – the activities, abilities, and characteristics our culture deems appropriate for us based on whether we’re male or female. * Our adult styles of loving may be based on the styles of attachment we established in infancy with our mother, father or other primary caregiver. People who are secure in their intimate relationships probably had a secure, trusting, mutual satisfying attachment to their mother, father or other parenting figure. * People’s earliest experiences and relationships were less than ideal, however, they can still establish satisfying relationships in adulthood. People can be resilient and flexible. They have the capacity to change their ideas, beliefs and behavior patterns. They can learn ways to raise their self-esteem; they can become more trusting, accepting, and appreciative of others.
* Friendships give people the opportunity to share themselves and discover others. * The friendships we form in childhood are important in our development; through them we learn about tolerance, sharing and trust. * Companionship – Friends are relaxed and happy in each other’s company. They typically have common values and interests and make plans to spend time together. * Respect – Friends have a basic respect for each other’s humanity and individuality. Good friends respect each other’s feelings and opinions and work to resolve their differences without demeaning or insulting each other. There are also honest with each other. * Acceptance – Friends feel free to be themselves and express their feelings without fear of ridicule or criticism.
* Help – Sharing time, energy and even material goods is important to friendship. Friends know they can rely on each other in times of need. * Trust – Friends are secure in the knowledge that they will not intentionally hurt each other. * Loyalty – Friends can count on each other. They stand up for each other in both word and deed. * Mutuality – Friends retain their individual identities, but close friendships are characterized by a sense of mutuality – “what affects you affects me.” Friends share the ups and downs in each other’s lives. * Reciprocity – Friendships are reciprocal. There is give-and-take between friends and the feeling that both share joys and burdens more or less equally over time. * Friendships are usually considered both stabler and longer lasting than intimate partnership. Friends are often more accepting and less critical than lovers, probably because their expectations are different. Love, Sex and Intimacy
* Love encompasses opposites: affection and anger, excitement and boredom, stability and change, bonds and freedom. * Love does not give us perfect happiness, but it does give our lives meaning. * Love reflects the positive factors that draw people together and sustain them in relationship. * Sex brings excitement and passion to the relationship.
* It intensifies the relationship and adds fascination and pleasure. * The determination to continue, reflects the stable factors that help maintain the relationship. Sternberg’s Love Triangle
* He sees love as being composed of intimacy, passion and commitment. * Intimacy refers to the feelings of warmth and closeness we have with someone we love. * Passion refers to romance, attraction and sexuality.
* Commitment refers to both the short-term decision that you love someone and the long-term commitment to be in the relationship. * Men and women tend to have different views of the relationship between love (or intimacy) and sex (or passion). Men can separate love from sex rather easily. Women generally view sex from the point of view of a relationship.
The Pleasure and Pain of Love
* Intense love has confused and tormented lovers though-out history * Passionate love
Recognize the human emotions
* Two components:
* Physiological arousal
* Emotional explanation for the arousal
The Transformation of Love
* All relationships change over time.
* At first, high levels of passion and increased intimacy
* Reduction of romance and or passion leads to the transformation of deep love. Challenges in Relationship
* Honesty and Openness
* It’s usually best to be yourself from the start of a relationship to give both you and your potential partner a chance to find out if you are comfortable with each other’s belief, interest, and lifestyles. * Unequal or Premature Commitment
* Sometimes one person in an intimate relationship becomes more serious about the relationship than the other partner. In this situation, it can be very difficult to maintain a friendship without hurting the other person. * Unrealistic Expectations
* Common expectations that can hurt a relationship include expecting your partner to change; assuming that your partner has all the same opinions, priorities, interests, and goals on you; and believing that a relationship will fulfill all your personal, financial, intellectual and social needs. * Competitiveness
* If one partner always feels the strong need to compete and win, it can detract from the sense of connectedness, interdependence, equality, and mutuality between partners. The same can be said for a perfectionistic need to be right in every sentence – to “win” every argument. * If competitiveness is a problem for you, ask yourself if you need to win is more important that your partner’s feelings or the future of your relationship. * Balancing Time Spent Together and Apart
* Any romantic relationship involves giving up some degree of autonomy in order to develop an identity as couple. * Remember that every individual is unique and has different needs for distance and closeness in a relationship. * Jealousy
* Some people think that the existence of jealousy proves the existence of love, but jealousy is actually a more accurate yardstick for measuring insecurity or possessiveness. * When jealousy occurs in a relationship, it’s important for the partners to communicate clearly with each other about their feelings.
* A true intimate relationship is characterized by a conscious sense of connectedness to another person. Successful relationships result in a heightened sense of self-worth for both partners. You need to be able to communicate your needs and wants clearly, listen to your partner, negotiate and compromise.
* The key to develop and maintain any type of intimate relationship is good communication. * Even when we’re silent, we’re communicating. We send messages when we look at someone or look away, lean forward or sit back, smile or frown. Especially important forms of verbal communication are touch, eye contact and proximity. * The ability to interpret nonverbal messages correctly is important to the success of relationship.
* Self-disclosure – involves revealing personal information that we ordinarily wouldn’t reveal because of the risk involved. * Listening – good listening skills require that we spend more time and energy trying to fully understand another person’s “story” and less time judging, evaluating, blaming , advising, analyzing, or trying to control. Attentive listening encourages friends or partners to share more and, in turn, to be attentive listeners. * Feedback – giving positive feedback means acknowledging that the friend’s or partner’s feelings are valid – no matter how upsetting or troubling – and offering self-disclosure in response.
Gender and Communication
* Men tend to use conversation in a competitive way, perhaps hoping to establish dominance in relationships. * Women tend to use conversation in a more affiliative way, perhaps hoping to establish friendship. * Men tend to talk more – though without disclosing more – and listen less. Women tend to use good listening skills such as eye contact, frequent nodding, focused attention, and asking relevant questions.
Conflict and Conflict Resolution
* Clarify the issue – Take responsibility for thinking through your feelings and discovering what’s really bothering you. Agree that one partner will speak first and have the chance to speak fully while the other listens. Then reverse the role. Agree to talk only about the topic at hand and not get distracted by other issues. * Find out what each person wants – ask your partner to express his or her desires. Don’t assume what your partner wants to speak for him or her. * Identify various alternatives for getting each person what he or she wants – practice brainstorming to generate a variety of options. * Decide how to negotiate – work out some agreements or plans for change. * Solidify the agreements – go over the plan verbally and write it down, if necessary; to ensure that you both understand and agree to it. * Review and renegotiate – decide on a time frame for trying out the new plan, and set a time to discuss how it’s working. Make adjustment as needed.