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Relationships and Relations

 

How does social psychology view love and successful relations? This review explores the topic of close relations, including friends and family, and intimate/sexual relations. The different types of relations/unions, such as marriages for heterosexuals and homosexuals, are presented. Love can be blind. All relations are based on interdependence (versus loneliness) or joined focus and activities and on some type of commitment. The family is where relations and attachment patterns start. Romantic relations start like friendships do. In conclusion, the desire for love and happiness in a relation overpasses any former relation pain.

Table of Contents

What is love?
What is the common denominator of all relations?
What is the common denominator of all relations?
How do relations start?
What are the different attachment styles?
What is important about infants and their relations?
What is different in children and adolescent relations?
How is a close relation different from a general relation?
Is communication between genders different?
What is loneliness?
Is romance diverse?
What is romance?
The truth about marriage
Does romance end?

How does social psychology view love and successful relations? This review explores the topic of close relations, including friends and family, and intimate/sexual relations. The different types of relations/unions, such as marriages for heterosexuals and homosexuals, are presented.

What is love?

Love can be blind. A snail could look at a tape dispenser, which is shaped like a snail, and love it, thinking it is a snail! In looking for a mate, often people see only what they want to perceive and also selectively believe. Eventually, people can see and think clearly, but it may be too late. Relationships are complex. People’s first experience with relations is with their family members. During infancy, attachments styles are developed and they can affect relations for the entire life.

What is the common denominator of all relations?

All relations are based on interdependence (versus loneliness) or joined focus and activities and on some type of commitment. Humans have always had a biological and evolutionary need for close relations. Successful bonds with others lead to optimal living.

How do relations start?

Again, the family is where relations and attachment patterns start. Humans come to the world to interact with others. People have different and individual interaction preferences. Babies, for the first year of their lives, pay attention to others’ sounds, facial expressions, and bodily movements, and also express themselves and communicate the same way. These first interactions may be the basis of bonding, emotional response to music and art in general.

What are the different attachment styles?

For an individual, interactions patterns tend to be the same, regardless of what type of relationships they are, such as family, friends and romance. The attachment style or pattern is the degree of security the baby feels in relation with the primary caregiver. This style contributes to the forming of self-esteem or self-worth and interpersonal trust/dependability or reliability. Before even speaking, the baby learns whether he or she is loved, valued, and important and whether he can trust the person he or she is relating with.

A secure attachment style, that is the most effective style, is typical of a person who has high self-esteem and trust and of a person who is able to form committed, long lasting and fulfilling relations, and who is able to overall be successful in life. The opposite attachment style, to the secure one, is the fearful-avoidant style. The preoccupied style is characterized by negative self-image and high interpersonal trust. People with these style cling to others and are likely to be depressed as they feel not good enough or unworthy, and fear and expect rejections. These people crave closeness and tend to always be in relations.

The last style, the dismissing one, is the opposite of the preoccupied style and is typical of people with low interpersonal trust and high self-esteem. These conflicted individuals, although they feel they deserve closeness, they fear it, as they tend to mistrust or expect the worst of others. They tend to reject others to avoid being rejected. Out of all the styles, I had tended to default to this last style, although I has worked hard on changing the pattern, and, for the most part, changed it. This is true for others, as well. Many people keep the same style from infancy throughout the entire life, but many other people, after relationship experiences, do change style.

It is important that the infant interacts with other children and all the other members of the family, including fathers and grandparents. These other interactions are important because they all offer different personality characteristics and, if, for example, the mother’s relation is lacking some reliability, like in my own example, then the other relations can offset and complement and fill the gap. Overall and in general, again, interactions with family are the framework for a child’s future social life. Playing a game is not just playing a game, but is also learning attitudes and strategies, such as how to learn to lose, humor, competition, rules, values, and more.

What is different in children and adolescent relations?

Although teenage years are characterized by rebellion and emotional turmoil, most teenagers and their parents do love each other. This type of successful relation helps the development of empathy. Although I consider myself and I am told to be highly empathetic, especially given her Psychology profession, I cannot say my adolescence was marked by reciprocal love with my parents. There are cultural differences. Mexican American families are more collectivist, family and community oriented, where Anglo-American families are in general more individualistic.

Among elementary school children, only children with no siblings tend to be less liked by classmates and more aggressive or more target or victim of aggression, than children with siblings. This is probably due to the lack of exposure to sibling relations, which are very important for social intelligence. Although most siblings get along, sibling relations, unlike parents’, can have hostility and rivalry. I can relate. Parents tend not to have favoritism towards their kids but they can have it, once the children are grown ups and treat their parents differently than their siblings do. Sibling relations are usually successful if their parents are in a successful marriage and if each sibling has a warm relation with their parents.

School bullies and school problem children usually have had conflicting relations with their siblings and have had a punitive mother. Unfortunately sibling rivalry can last forever, if they are not worked on. Sibling relations, including twins, tend to grow apart in adolescence and young adulthood, but then they come back together. Successful sibling relations can provide mutual support, protection and a safe space to share emotions and thoughts. 20 percent of siblings are not close and 10 percent of this 20 percent are indifferent to one another and the other 10 percent dislike one another. The other type of sibling relations are taking the parent-child role, like in my sister’s case, or casual acquaintances, or close buddies or keeping in touch only out of respect, like in my case, as well.

From early childhood, most people start casual friendships with peers who have common interests. These friendships happen by proximity or because the parents are also friends. If the children friendships share positive experiences, then they tend to last a lifetime. Positive and pleasant friend experiences are characterized by common having fun and negative ones are characterized by some types of aggression. Many childhood friends fade away, especially due to geographical distance, but some become close friendships.

How is a close relation different from a general relation?

What are involved in a close friendship are modesty, self-disclosure, sharing time together, mutual emotional support, generosity, relaxation, and being comfortable. Culture influences friendship. For example, in Japan, a friend gives and take, is easy to get along with, and is considerate. In America, in addition to those same attributes, a friend is also spontaneous and active. Women have more close friends than men. Women value self- disclosure and emotional support in friends, more than men do. Losing a friend due to external circumstances, such as moving geographically, is painful.

Is communication between genders different?

As far as communications, two men often talk about sex and women, being stuck in a relation, alcohol and sports. Women talk about relations with men and relations in general and fashion. In addition to these topics, I talk about business and finances as well with her peers. Can men and women be just friends? Men befriend women with the hope to turn the friendship into a romance, and it does not turn, then men end the friendship. Women start the friendship to feel protected and they end it if they do not feel protected.

What is loneliness?

Loneliness is life without close relations, but some people, who are uninterested in socializing, do not experience it. Some people strive for solitude for positive reasons, such as spirituality. Lonely people feel left out and different from others. Loneliness includes depression, anxiety, pessimism, dissatisfaction, self-blame and introversion. Lonely people are considered maladjusted. Loneliness is associated with sicknesses and short life. Dispositional loneliness is linked to DNA, to either dismissing or fearful-avoidant attachment styles, that causes fear of closeness, and to poor social skills, given by the lack of opportunities and conflicting family relations.

People, who do not have good social skills, are aware of it. Social skills are learnable. Cognitive therapy and/or social skills training are recommended in this case. Cognitive therapy disrupts the pattern of pessimism and encourages new social views and expectations. In social skills training, lonely people are provided with videotape examples of successful social interactions, and, then, prompted to role play and practice in real settings, in a friendly and casual way, by appropriately self-disclosing and showing interest.

Loneliness can be a response to external factors, in the cases of social rejection and social exclusion. Social rejection is an individual rejection based on prejudice, stereotypes and biases. Social exclusion is when a person is rejected by an entire group, based on the same reasons as social rejection is. Social exclusion is a painful experience with many negative consequences, including loneliness. I have experienced social exclusion twice, once based on a group’s racism and once based on another’s group immaturity.

Is romance diverse?

Regardless of sexual orientation or preference, in a romance, people want sexual attraction, similarities of values and attitudes, sharing time, and the belief of sharing a special union. Sexual attraction may or may not lead to sex. In the case of sexual attraction, one of the parties usually believes to be in love and to be headed towards marriage.

What is romance?

Romantic relations start like friendships do. They are based on an affiliation need, mutual liking, proximity, affect arousal, similarities, and reactions to observable characteristics. A distinct aspect of romance is a person’s emotional arousal with the potential for sex and love. People have higher standards for romantic mates than they do for friends. These standards are social status, warmth, physical beauty, playfulness and intelligence.

The workplace is a place where romance can happen. Workmates can go from strangers, to friends, to experiencing sexual attraction, and to acting on not acting on this attraction. Significant others usually know their mate more than friends do. In romance, pairs are looking for unconditional likeness, love, affection, acceptance, approval, and praise and compliments. In romance, there are three overlapping schemas: self, a party’s perception of the other one, and the relation between the self and the partner. Romance is partially built on illusions.

Women fantasize in general, but men fantasize only when they are strongly committed. For both men and women personality and character matter and for both it is important to find an intelligent, faithful, and kind mate. Men look for attractiveness, or youth and beauty, in women, because it symbolizes reproductive fitness. Women instead look for resourceful men, because, to them, resources or power symbolizes protection for children. Romantic love is made out of a combination of cognitions, emotions and behaviors. To find true love, people nowadays use internet based technology, such as internet dating sites, which can be dangerous, if not used correctly, or it can be very successful.

Passionate love is often depicted in epic romantic movies, such as “Gone with the Wind”. Passionate love usually begins fast and it is an all-encompassing emotional surge and fixation about the other person. This emotional response can be unrealistic, even if it is felt like true love, but to outsiders it is infatuation. Unrequited love can happen when one person romantically loves another who does not feel love in return.

Love can be a pleasant fantasy that people share with other, such as Santa Claus. Lust and commitment are based on biology for reproductive purposes. Bonding has been successful for the success of the species. Usually men were out hunting for food for the family and the woman took care of the babies. DNA takes millenniums to change, so people today may be genetically predisposed to continue this evolutionary pattern. Most young adults are and want to be monogamous. Culture can affect lust and commitment with religion, laws, songs and stories. For example, in Saudi Arabia, public affection is prohibited. In some other countries, polygamy is legal.

Companionate love is based on mutual interests, friendship, attraction, respect and concern for the other partner’s wellness. Intimacy, decision/commitment and passion are the components of consummate love can be based on, or any combination of them. As a result of the sexual revolution of the 60s, greater tolerance and permissiveness towards sexual behavior and attitudes is allowed today. Young Americans are in favor of gay marriages, whereas older Americans are against it.

Commitment in a relation is important given that 50% of marriages end up in divorces. Commitment of fear of a breakup is not as healthy and effective as the positive commitment based ob rewards of a long-lasting relation. Spouses are similar in emotional, psychological, physical, cognitive and social traits. Similar people marry and similarities stay the same as years go by. Assumed similarity is the belief some people have to be similar to their partner. Both assumed and actual similarity increase marital satisfaction. Dating couples have higher assumed similarity than married couples. Narcissism, insecure attachment styles, anxiety, pessimism, neuroticism do cause marital problems. The degree of similarities in overall attitudes and preferences predicts the success of a marriage and compatibility.

Usually passionate love decreases over time. Companionate love and overall sharing is important for a lasting marriage. Several marital problems are born from the perceived unfairness of how house chores are divided and over finances. Couples with secure attachment styles deal effectively with these demands. One common problem with relations is that, based on the initial perceived illusion, eventually couples become aware of their partner’s negative qualities, as well. Relation success is the result of a cost and benefit analysis, like in economy. Within the costs, there is communal behavior, which is the cost to one spouse but a benefit to the partner and to the relation overall. Marital success depends on the number of costs and benefits in the marriage.

The truth about marriage

Another problem in marriages is jealousy. Both men and women are threatened by infidelity. Unhappy partners usually engage in infidelity, which leads to divorce. Disagreements and conflicts are inevitable in marriages so it is important to know how to handle them effectively. Negative relation behaviors are changing the subject in conversation, blaming, rejecting, criticizing, and being irresponsible and hostile. Unhappy men in relation are avoidant. Positive relation behaviors are communicating commitment, showing affection, providing companionship and support, maintaining a positive attitude, and showing respect. One easy tool to avoid relation conflicts is to pause before communicating and think of the long-term effects of a communication, which leads to more positive responses. It is important to be able to disagree in a friendly and respectful way, showing empathy and avoiding defensiveness. Whatever is said or done that creates either negative or positive affect is then respectively either bad or good for the relation.

Does romance end?

Ending romance is more difficult than ending a friendship, because of the perceived waste of money, time and energy and because of a collapse of a dream. An active response to relation challenges is taking actions to end it or working on improving it. A passive response is waiting to see if things change. People with secure attachments tend to respond actively to save the relation. It is difficult but possible to turn a relation around. It is possible if the needs of both partners can be satisfied, if both partners are committed to persist, and if alternative lovers are not readily available.

Children are victims of divorce with overall negative effects, which get worse if one of the parents moves far away. Unhappy partners, who stay together, also negatively affect children. It is important for divorced parents to maintain civil and respectful relations for the sake of the children. It is also important to let children know that the divorce is not their fault, because children always think it is their fault. It is advisable to have some family counseling sessions with children to ensure a smoother divorce for the entire family. Despite the pain of a divorce, most divorced people re-marry.

In conclusion, the desire for love and happiness in a relation overpasses any former relation pain. Each stage in life, and especially infancy, is important to establish successful relations. All types of relations are important. Especially healthy romance contributes to people’s longevity and wellness.

Thank you.

Elena Pezzini, M.S., C.P.C.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6212733

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