Forming Relationships in Young and Middle Adulthood

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Forming Relationships in Young and
Middle Adulthood
Chapter 11
Friendship
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


Based in feeling, reciprocity, choice
Less emotionally, intense than romantic
Help self-esteem, self-awareness, self-respect
Facilitate socialization in adulthood
Adult Friends
 Stages (ABCDE)
 Acquaintanceship
 Buildup
 Continuation
 Deterioration
 Ending
 A-B depends on similarity, communication, importance of relationship
 E depends on availability of alternatives
Adult Friends
 More friends in young adulthood than at any other time
 Critical during adulthood as life satisfaction linked w/
quality of friends
 Help manage stress
 Linked w/ longevity
Adult Friends
 3 broad themes underlay adult friends
 Affective component
 Self-disclosure, intimacy, affection, support, trust, loyalty, commitment
 Communal nature
 Participate in supportive activities
 Sociability
 Friends are source of fun, recreation
Siblings As Friends
 Important relationship for most
 Peaks during adolescence & late life
 At all times women place more importance
Gender Differences: Friends
 Women
 Friendships based on intimacy, emotional sharing, disclosure of
personal matters
 More relationships than men
 Men
 Friendships based on shared activities or interests (e.g, sports)
& competition
 Less intimacy & disclosure
Love
 Sternberg
 Passion
 Intimacy
 Commitment
 In a lasting love relationship
 Passion high early I & C low (but I rising fast)
 Passion fades, I stabilizes & C rises
Falling In Love
 Assortative Mating
 Similarity predictions attraction
 Only to a point
 Only for key, important dimensions
• Religion, sex, politics, physical appearance
Falling In Love
 Compatibility leads to application of 3 filters (Murstein)
 Stimulus
 Appearance, social class, manners match?
 Values
 Values match?
 Role
 Ideas about relationship, communication style gender roles match
 All YES = couple formation
Abusive Relationships
 Continuum of aggression
 Verbal - physical - severe - murder
 Less severe common
 25%-40% of relationships display less severe physical abuse (punching,
slapping) occasionally
 Severe less common
 Usually long pattern of abuse of male partner
Abusive Relationships
 Cause of abuse depends on type of abuse
 Verbal: need to control, jealousy, misuse of power (all also impact
more severe forms of abuse)
 Physical: abused as child, alcohol, positive attitudes towards
violence, aggressive temperament (all also impact more severe forms of
abuse)
 Severe/murder: personality disorder, emotional instability, poor
self-esteem
Abusive Relationships
 Cause also depends on gender
 Need for control, power, jealousy M > W
 Culture key as well
 Cultures valuing female honor, passivity, nurturing, loyal
supporters of higher-status males more accepting of abuse
Lifestyle
 Singlehood
 ~80% men 20-24 single
 ~70% women 20-24 single
 Some career focused early in adulthood
 More difficult for single women than men
 Social pressure stronger on women to marry
 Men marry later
 2x as many African Americans single in young adulthood
Singlehood
 Never married women in 30s
 Acute distress & wish to be married OR
 Emotionally volatile OR
 Happy single
 When does one decide to be single?
 Gradual process for most
Singlehood
 Advantages & disadvantages
 Greater freedom
 More lonely
 Men: higher mortality, alcoholism, suicide rates
 Women: more vulnerable to violent crime & extra duties at work
Cohabitation
 Dramatic increase in past 30 years
 Most are 25-44 (v. > 45 in 1970s)
 3 primary reasons for cohabitation
 Limited: convenience ($, sexual access, no commitment)
 Premarital: trial marriage
 Substitute marriage: long-term commitment w/o marriage
Cohabitation
 Cultural differences abound
 Sweden: 99% of couples live together before marriage & 25%
unmarried
 China: cohabitation rare
 Impacts on marital success
 Reduces marital satisfaction
 Increases risk of divorce
Gay & Lesbian Couples
 In most ways they are similar to heterosexual couples
 Some differences do emerge
 Less likely to argue about
 Values, social-political issues
 More likely to argue about
 Trust, former lovers
Gay & Lesbian Couples
 Gender differences more key
 Men: separate sex & love, have more short term relationships
 Women: connect sex w/ love, have fewer, longer lasting
relationships
 Gay couples report less family support
 Legal system fails to recognize rights of gay partners
Marriage
 Median age increased in past 30 years
 Younger you marry higher risk of divorce
 < 20 3x higher rate than 20s & 6x higher rate than 30s
 Factors predicting marital success
 Identity
 Homogamy (similarity)
 Perceived equality (fair exchange)
Marital Happiness
 Peaks & valleys
 Generally happiest early & late
 Drops during children
 Rises after children leave home
 Best if dependence is equal for both partners
Keeping a Marriage Happy?
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
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


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Make time
Express love
Be there in times of need
Constructive communication
Show interest
Confide
Forgive, understand
Family Life Cycle
 Having children bring benefits & problems
 Personal satisfaction/needs, etc
 Financial, personal sacrifices
 Decision to have kids impacted by Fs
Having Children?
 Feminine intrapsychic determinants
 Relationship w/ parents, flexibility, feminine identification
 Marriage determinants
 Stability, support satisfaction, stress management
Having Children?
 Career determinants
 Responsibility, satisfaction, change possible
 Lifestyle determinants
 $, child-free relationship, comparison group
Parental Role
 Currently couples have fewer kids later
 Older mothers more affectionate, sensitive
 Older fathers more invested, spends more time w/ child
 Being a parent very stressful
 New responsibilities
 Changes relationship (ALL about child)
 Worse for mother (especially is she works)
 Men spend ~44% of the time raising kids v. moms
Single Parents
 Mostly women due to
 Divorce
 Keeping child out of wedlock
 Ethnic differences: 70% AA births out of wedlock
 Impacts on parents
 Emotional difficulty
 Financial problems (worse for single mothers)
 Dating difficult (lonely)
Alternative Parenting
 Gay couples raising children
 No negative impacts
 Some potential positives
Divorce
 Divorce rate - 50% in US
 Highest in Russia, lowest in Netherlands
 Increased in developed countries recently
 Changes in social norms, laws
 Reasons cited by men & women for D
 Unhappy, infidelity, sexual problems
 Men: alcohol abuse by self, women’s lib
 Women: alcohol abuse by spouse, physical abuse
Divorce
 Factors impacting divorce
 Macro reasons
 Social-cultural changes/values, gender roles
 Demographics reasons
 Age at marriage, parental divorce, cohabitation
 Interpersonal reasons
 Infidelity, violence, $, children, growing apart
Divorce
 Impacts of divorce on couple
 Emotional problems (lasting)
 Depressed, rejected, angry, disappointed, unhappy
 Divorce hangover
 Unable to let go and move on as single person
 Preoccupation predictor of poor adjustment
• Men: accept blame, move out, social life changed
• Women: fewer remarriage, friends prospects, $ troubles
Divorce
 Relationship w/ children
 70% mothers regain custody after divorce
 Fathers become negligent rapidly
 Problems extend to divorce w/ adult children
 Emotional difficulties & poor father relationship
Remarriage
 Very common (W < M)
 Average wait is 4 years
 Increased change of divorce (even more w./. stepchildren)
 Women benefit more than men
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