In the past two months I have come to learn quite a lot about intimate relationships from both my teacher, Youngjin Kang, and our book, Intimate Relationships by Rowland S. Miller. There are many important topics to take out of this class, but there are five that I want to focus on. These topics include: attraction, communication, interdependence, and power. I will relate these topics to me and my girlfriend, Abby. We have known each other for just around two years now and have developed a strong relationship ever since we first met.
We have been in a relationship for a little over a year and had nown each other for a year before we officially started dating. I chose me and my girlfriend as the couple to evaluate because I am very interested in our relationship and we have known each other for about two years. Additionally, I want to see how our relationship compares to what is considered healthy in the eyes of Miller. I am very invested in our relationship and want to be able to apply what I have learned in the course to my life.
I believe that this assessment will help me truly understand what I have learned and develop a stronger and more intimate relationship with Abby. Attraction was an important part of what ur relationship is today. Mate selection occurred when we first met. We both played hard to get with other people, but we had instant attraction to each other due to proximity and physical attractiveness. We may have wanted each other initially because of these reasons, but also because we were both looking for someone’s attention that night.
The Sexual strategies theory would suggest that we were attracted at first for the wrong reasons, but that we soon came to find that we were able to develop a long term relationship. This all began with proceptivity when Abby had given me a stare that drew my attention. Her intentions became more prominent when she stared at me as she was asking her friends about who I was. I had actually performed exactly the same action as soon as I saw her. This could be considered behavioral synchrony because we mimicked each other’s actions without realizing it at the time.
Miller says, “Because people like to be liked, pretending to be aloof and only mildly interested in someone is a dumb way to try to attract him or her. Playing hard to get doesn’t work. What does work is being selectively hard to get-that is, being a difficult catch for everyone but the person you’re trying to ttract (Walster et al. , 1973). Those who can afford to say “no” to most people but who are happy to say “yes” to us are the most alluring potential partners of all (Miller, 2015). ” After reading this statement by Miller, I realized that I played hard to get because I was only focused on Abby the whole night.
Miller’s study worked very well for me. Interdependence has always been changing in our relationship. Abby and I have had many rewards and few costs that dictate our relationship. We are very fortunate to be able to please each other often with little interruption from the negatives in our lives. Some rewards we xperience include my puppy, going on dates often, and being able to see each other often now that we are not long distance. The long distance we experienced has been our biggest cost other than school and work stresses. We have benefited from close proximity to each other.
This has kept us very close in the first few months that we knew each other, but we were limited to how often we could see each other once I went out of town for college. The long distance was only for a semester and was caused by Abby transferring to a school in a city two hours away. This made it difficult to carry our relationship and limited our ntimacy, but we were able to see each other on most weekends which made the semester much more bearable. I became used to having space and time away from my girlfriend. This made me less dependent of her when I was with my girlfriend.
On the other hand, Abby developed more interdependence on me because she never knew when she would see me again. There became an unbalance in our desire to see each other because I wanted the time away from her that I was used to and Abby wanted to make up for lost time. Our expectations were clearly different at this point in time and that may have been because I hought I had alternatives at school in comparison to her. This explains why my dependency was low and Abby’s was high at the time. Fortunately, I was and still am very invested in our relationship just as Abby is invested.
Through this summer, our dependence of each other has continued to grow with our close proximity and our commitment is even higher. Satisfaction with each other makes up the difference and I will gladly say that we are very satisfied with our relationship. Furthermore, Abby will quickly tell you that I am bad at communication in general because I am terrible at conveying my plans to her. Iam very uch like my father in this aspect. My mom says that my dad is awful at communicating his plans so I must have learned it from experience.
Miller claims, “.. husbands and wives who do poorly at nonverbal communication tend to be dissatisfied with their marriages. Moreover, when such problems occur, it’s usually the husband’s fault” (Miller, 2015). I can see this being true because of my poor communication however; I do believe that Abby and I are fairly good at nonverbal communication. I don’t see this being an issue towards our growing relationship. Furthermore, my verbal communication is poor, but I always try o find a way to justify my reasoning.
I have justification motives when I am in trouble with my girlfriend. I use this motive because I desire to justify my actions even if I know the actions weren’t correct. Abby commonly calls me out for being terrible at communication so I defend myself by trying to justify my actions in a way that make her feel that I am slightly correct. This could also be considered a self-serving bias because I justify my actions by pinning some blame on someone or something else so that I can escape an argument that I know I will lose.
Disclosure reciprocity has always been good and at this point in ur relationship, we have full disclosure about all of our deep concerns and secrets. We had our first real intimate conversation within two months of knowing each other. It happened very late one night when neither of us could fall asleep and it was about religion. Ever since that conversation, I tend to assimilate myself with Abby’s religious beliefs. Even though I do have similar beliefs to her, I don’t desire to practice my religion.
This makes it easier for me to assimilate with her until she tries to take me to church and then I become a little uncomfortable. She understands this and she is responsive to y concerns in a way that does not guilt me for my decision not to participate. The final topic I examined is power within our relationship. Abby and I exercise both referent and expert power regularly. The issue is that we have power shifts daily because we both want to please each other. Abby will ask me where I want to go to dinner and I won’t want to choose because I want her to have a say in where we eat.
This dilemma bounces back and forth a few times before we come up with a few options that will be well liked by both of us. I tend to make the final decision due to me being annoyed and wanting to eat as soon as possible. This power shift is seen with every decision we make and can lead to one of us guilt-tripping the other into accepting our decision. Our expert powers change often, but only because Abby is pursuing a career in nursing and I am pursuing a career in accounting. When we are questioning anything related to money I will have the power.
On the other hand, if we ever have a discussion about health, then Abby will have power because she has a better understanding than I do. Due to these being common and, sometimes, necessary conversations, we shift power regularly. Abby and I have never experienced violence in our relationship and I believe this is ecause we are able to defuse big conflicts and have never encountered violence between couples in our lives. Strengths and Weaknesses The strengths in our relationship, in reference to the four topics above, are attraction and interdependence.
Attraction is very strong between Abby and I mainly because of proximity, rewards, similarities, and beauty. Now that we are both in the same city, Abby and I are able to be around each other often. We reward each other with date nights doing favor for each other. I believe that our similarities will grow as we are around each other more often. In regards to interdependence, we have ery appropriate expectations and we help each other daily. We expect each other to make time to be around one another. We are very good about this now that we have set schedules which allow us to have date night on Wednesdays.
It is expected that neither one of us misses date night even if we have a lot of homework and studying to do. We check in on each other regularly and help with chores that need to be done. If I have a lot of homework, then Abby is always there to help me take care of my puppy. And if Abby is the person busy, then I help destress her small treats and watching movies with her. Communication and power between Abby and I tend to be the weaknesses in our relationship. Iam bad at communicating my plans to Abby and I am almost always the person to blame for communication issues.
Verbal communication is the biggest problem because I forget to tell her my plans or I tend to be late to the plans that we have made. Nonverbal communication is not an issue for us except for just a few occasions in our entire relationship. Power within our relationship is a weakness because it fluctuates so often that Abby could be the person with the power at some time during a day and then later that evening I could have the power. The reason this changes so much is because of the referent power.
This power changes the most because we try to please each other as much as possible and we are both very laid back. This power is always unbalanced and the true root of the issue is that neither of us really wants to take the power to make decisions. The lack of need for referent power can be caused by worrying that one of us might choose incorrectly and the other will have a fake reaction towards that decision. ? There are many ways to work out these weaknesses. The most important repairs and maintenance to me are forgiveness, accommodation, and positivity.
Abby and I always forgive each other, but it takes a while to get to it. Forgiving quickly is the most important thing to me for maintaining and repairing any issues. I should accommodate Abby more by making a stronger effort to communicate my plans to her. The most interesting way to maintain the relationship, in my opinion, is to be positive and open to anything. I noticed that during the honeymoon phase of our relationship, Abby and I were obviously happiest not because of everything being new, but because of how positive and open we were towards each other.
The best way to do these is by just having fun and taking things lightly. Jokes come easily at that point and the relationship is all around better. In reference to power shifts, I think it is easiest to maintain happiness by talking to each other honestly without trying to avoid making wrong decisions. If we are more opinionated and actually communicate what we want, then Abby and I would have a strong balance of power within our day to day actions.
It is easy to say that Abby and I are in a happy and stable relationship because we have reasonable expectations for each other and we are able to mitigate stress with these expectations. We hope to continue to have a flourishing relationship now and in the future. Abby and I can learn to continue being positive and be quicker to forgive. Communication should be a major key to success in our relationship because we will show full disclosure and be able to accommodate each other once we know the true issues. Abby and I look to continue investing in our relationship and building our relationship each and every day.