Close relationships are considered those that
are important, interdependent, & long-lasting.
They can arouse intense feelings, + and -.
Has the Internet enhanced or detracted from
In general, the more time spent online
detracts from the actual personal relationship.
But in online relationships, because physical
attractiveness is not the first order of the day,
people tend to get to the issues of values sooner.
Self-disclosure may come easier due to
anonymity, but also can be falsified easier.
What contributes to developing a relationship?
1) Proximity- geographic spatial closeness
2) Familiarity-mere exposure effect
indicates we feel more positively
towards people we see more often
3) Physical attractiveness-what is
considered important to men/women
Key elements of attractiveness:
1) Facial features
In men: strong jaw/ broad forehead
In women: baby-faced features with
mature features like high cheekbones,
narrow cheeks, wide smile
2) Physique
IN men: broad shoulders, slim waists,
small butt, tall
In women: hourglass figure, medium
breasts, thinness (but this is cultural,
African American men prefer rounder
Attractiveness seems to be more
important for women in forming
relationships than for men. Men
emphasize material resources.
The matching hypothesis states that
people of similar levels of attractiveness
gravitate toward each other. (It’s also
suggested that the matching happens due
to SES and other cultural forces, that we
all try to pursue more attractive people.)
Resource exchange- males trade
occupational status for physical
attractiveness in females. This is evident
in descriptors used in classified ads.
Parental investment theory- mating
patterns depend on what each sex has to
invest- time, energy, survival risk- to
produce viable offspring. The ones who
invest the least will compete the most
for the opportunity to mate with the ones
who make the most investment. The
gender that has the larger investment
will be more discriminating in selection
of a partner. (women in our culture)
This selectivity for most women
includes finding a partner who brings
material resources in to care for
Factors in developing a relationship:
1) Reciprocal liking- we like those
who show they like us.(Playing hard
to get only works if there is already
an established attractiveness)
2) Similarity- we like people who
seem more like us in significant
ways: demographics, attractiveness,
intelligence, attitudes, personality,
especially emotional needs.
3) Desirable personality
characteristics- especially
important when forming a long-term
Relationship maintenance- all the activities
used to sustain the quality of a relationship.
Phoning, eating together, travel, interactions
with friends/ family, emotional support.
Minding is what it takes to keep a relationship
alive and healthy- self-disclosure, positive
attributions about the other, active listening,
understanding the other’s attitudes, needs. Low
minding is shown by lack of interest in partner’s
activities or self-disclosures, negative
attributions, focus on partner’s faults, pessimism
about the future of the relationship.
Social exchange theory- says that interpersonal
relationships are governed by perceptions of
rewards vs. costs of the relationship. We keep a
ledger of what we’re getting and what we’re
giving. We try to maximize our rewards in life
and minimize their costs.
Rewards- emotional support, status, sex
Costs- time, energy, obligations, conflicts,
trading off activities with others
When the balance tips in a negative direction,
we start thinking about termination. We compare
relationship outcomes to our expectations. The
comparison level is an acceptable balance or
rewards/ costs. It may be influenced by past
relationship experiences, other’s relationships,
fantasy relationships. Satisfaction with a
relationship is higher when rewards are high and
costs are low.
We also estimate comparison level for
alternatives available. (Which is why people
stay in unsatisfying marriage until a better
alternative comes along.) Interpersonal
Investments are all the things we have given to
the person/relationship that they can never back.
Sometimes people hunker down and invest even
more in an unsatisfying relationship, others get
out when they see there’s no future.
Friendship- what makes for a good friend?
Loyalty is number one. Other aspects are
warmth/ affection, supportiveness, honesty,
humor and letting a friend be him/herself.
Conditional acceptance is too much like
parents treat children in a misguided effort to
motivate them to change.
Women’s friendships are more emotionally
based (talk based on people, problems, feelings)
Men’s are activity based (talk is about the
activity, sports, work, not personal concerns).
Women’s relationships are generally considered
more intimate, but in other countries where men
aren’t socialized to see other men as
competitors, they share warmer rel. w/ men.
Romantic love- we believe many myths in our
fantasies about love:
1) When you fall in love, you’ll know it.
2) When love strikes, you have no
control over it. (Love is a spell.)
3) True love lasts forever. (Reinforced by
the fact that when people fall out of
love, they reinterpret the relationship as
never being love in the first place.)
4) Love can conquer all problems.
(which leads people to overlook obvious
problems and commit anyway).
Sexual orientation-one’s preference for sexual
or intimate relationships with individuals of the
same, other or both genders. Dynamics of both
types are similar.
Gender differences in love: Who are the more
romantic, men or women?
Men! They hold more romantic beliefs, fall
in love more easily than women, women fall out
of love more easily than men. Women are more
likely to say they would marry someone they
didn’t love! Women suffer less emotionally
when relationships break up than men do.
Women do experience more physical
symptoms of being “in love”, and they display
more obvious tender emotions than men.
Sternberg’s triangular theory of love: all
love experiences are made up of 3
1) Intimacy- warmth, closeness,
sharing feelings, support.
2) Passion- intense feelings including
sexual feelings
3) Commitment- decision to maintain
a relationship in spite of the costs.
Various combinations of these 3 result in 8 love
types. With all 3 present, it’s consummate love.
Another theory of love suggests that adult love
is a reflection of infant attachment (revealed by
fascination with the other, distress at separation,
efforts to stay close.) Ainsworth defined basic
attachment styles- typical ways of interacting
in close relationships. The template for this is
formed in infancy with the primary caregiver.
1) Secure-welcomes contact, feels safe.
2) Anxious-ambivalent- insecure and
resistant of contact.
3) Avoidant- child avoids/ ignores other.
These styles are promoted by the type of
parenting offered. But in adult relationships:
1) Secure adults- 55%, trust others, easy
to get close to, comfortable with
2) Anxious adults- 20%, obsessive in
relationships, need more closeness than
partners, extreme jealousy, major fears
of abandonment.
3) Avoidant- 25%, fear intimacy,
uncomfortable in close relationships,
resist trusting others, have the poorest
success in relationships.
Bartholomew described attachment based on our
perceptions of ourselves (self-worth) and our
perceptions of others’ trustworthiness. These
styles particularly relate to conflict-management
styles. Secure people have more successful
resolution techniques. They also have greater job
satisfaction, gender roles and religious beliefs.
Attachment styles tend to be stable over time but
are subject to change in the face of negative or
healing, positive events/relationships.
Why does the passion fade over time?
Fantasy, novelty, and arousal all decline
with time. Reality undermines idealizations.
Satisfying relationships evolve as the passion
So why do relationships fail?
1) Premature commitment
2) Ineffective communication/ conflict
management skills
3) Become bored with relationship
4) Availability of a more attractive
How can you protect your relationship?
1) Take time to get to know the other
person before making a commitment.
2) Emphasize the positive qualities in your
partner (don’t attribute errors to personal
3) Find ways to bring novelty to the
relationship- especially doing physically
challenging, exciting activities.
4) Learn effective conflict management
styles- not everything is a big deal,
when you fight, no kitchen-sinking.
Negotiate differing needs, don’t dismiss
them as unimportant.
Loneliness is not synonymous with being
alone. It is defined by having fewer
interpersonal relationships than desired. The
loneliest group is adolescents/ young adults.
Singles are more lonely than marrieds, women
more than men. It may be due to early
experiences of rejection, often due to poor social
skills. Cultural changes have isolated people
more in recent days.