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Friendships and Love Relationships

Developing Friendships

1.     Americans often use the term friend to refer to many relationships from the most casual acquaintance to the most dear or closest friend.

2.     There are 6 functions identified of friendship.These six functions can be combined to create a definition of friendship as intimate, stimulating companionship that is a source of help, reliable alliance, self-validation, and emotional security.

B.                 Convoy Model of Friendship

1.       The convoy model of friendship and social support, developed by Antonucci in the 1980s, continues to be one of the primary theories pertaining to friendships across adulthood.

2.     Convoys are not fixed, but rather, they evolve with age and life experiences.

II.               Lifestyles

A.                 Single Lifestyles

1.        Research on never-married individuals indicates that this is not a homogeneous group, with some enjoying their lifestyle and others finding it dissatisfying.

2.       Robinson-Rowe (2002) found a group of never-married women who were quite happy with their lifestyle choice.

3.       Regardless of whether individuals feel their single status is due to choice or circumstances, single adults often deal with stereotyping and stigma.

III.            Building Love Relationships

A.                 Lee’s Love Typology

1.       One theory of love styles, developed by Lee in the early 1970s (as cited in Montgomery & Sorell, 1997), focused on several types of love reflecting intentions or motivation:

a)     Eros—an intense emotional and physical attraction

b)     Ludus—a game, just playing around

c)      Storge—a deeply committed friendship

d)       Pragma—a practical choice

e)        Mania—possessiveness

f)        Agape—selflessness, putting the other first

B.                 Triangular Theory of Love

1.          Sternberg’s (1997) triangular theory of love emphasizes intimacy, passion, and decision/commitment as the primary forces in a love relationship (see graphic below).

a)      Intimacy is the emotional part of love that involves feelings of warmth, comfort, closeness, and understanding toward the other person.

b)      Passion is the motivating or driving part of love that is both the longing for and involvement in sexual activity.

c)       The third component, decision/commitment, reflects the cognitive aspects of love.

How We Love *; these are 2 audios (just click on the title and it will take you to the correct website), from the TED radio hour, concerning love: 1) Amy Webb: Can you Use Algorithms to Find Love?; and 2) Helen Fisher: What Happens to our Brain When We’re in Love. Together, they are about 22 minutes. There are also videos, if you prefer, however, not all of you might be able to access them, it depends on your computer, however, the audio is easy access.

         *You will need these audios for this week’s post discussion.

C.                 Attachment Styles

1.           The study of attachment styles adds the dimension of personal history to the study of love relationships.

2.      Adults with a secure attachment style are the most stable in terms of maintaining relationships.

3.         Adults with an anxious-ambivalent attachment style, sometimes labeled preoccupied attachment style, find themselves experiencing competing feelings.

4.      The avoidant attachment style, can take two forms.

a)       Adults with an avoidant-dismissing attachment style also find themselves with competing feelings. They believe they are desirable romantic partners worthy of respect, but are suspicious of lovers, characterizing them as unreliable and uncaring.

b)      Adults with an avoidant-fearful attachment style take the dismissing approach even farther. They have so much anxiety and suspicion that they avoid any type of intimate relationship.

5.       While there are a small percentage of adults with ambivalent or avoidant attachment styles, most couples have at least one securely attached partner.

IV.             Cohabitation

A.                 Heterosexual Cohabiting Couples

1.                  For many years cohabitation, or living together as a romantic couple outside of marriage, has been gaining popularity in Western countries, including the United States where estimates are more than half of all couples cohabit before getting married (Dempsey & deVaus, 2004; Kline et al., 2004).

2.          There are several competing theories as to why the cohabitation effect occurs.

a)           The causal theory suggests that cohabitation changes individuals’ attitudes about marriage and relationships.

b)           It may be that cohabiting causes divorce, but it may also be the case something else causes both cohabiting and divorce, which is the basic premise of the selection theory.

c)        The third theory attempting to explain the cohabitation effect is the measurement theory. This perspective suggests that when studying the duration of a relationship researchers should consider the cohabiting years along with the marriage years (deVaus et al., 2003).

        B.                 Gay Cohabiting Couples

                                    1.         When comparing gay, lesbian, and heterosexual married 
                                                couples, numerous studies have found many more similarities than differences in terms of relationship quality, satisfaction, and duration.couples, numerous studies have found many more similarities than differences in terms of relationship quality, satisfaction, and duration.

V.                Marriage

        A.                 Marital Expectations

1.          An older developmental model of marital relationships, developed by Tamashiro (1978), may offer some insight into such expectations for both married and committed-cohabiting couples.

2.      The four developmental stages for marital relationships are the:

a)           Magical Stage

b)            Idealized Conventional Stage

c)            Individualistic Stage

d)            Affirmational Stage

3.       As Tamashiro pointed out, some couples may expect to stay in the magical stage of marital development, while others may never reach the lofty stage of personal support described in the highest stages of marital development.

        B.                 Happy and Healthy Marriages

1.      Happy and healthy marriages have been associated with many benefits beyond the higher quality of life and general contentment a good relationship brings.

VI.             Endings and New Beginnings

         A.   Characteristics of Couples Who Divorce

1.      The ending of what was intended to be a long-term love relationship can be a life-changing event, bringing with it psychological and physical distress.

2.      Currently it is predicted that nearly half of all first-time marriages will end in divorce.

         B.   Adjusting to Divorce

1.      The most common reason cited for divorce is adultery, which is often viewed by those involved as a side effect rather than the main cause of the marital breakup.  Generally, better adjustments are made by those who divorce at a younger age, have steady employment, and a good income.

2.      As disruptive and painful as divorce can be, research indicates that most people will remarry.

The six functions of friendship can be combined to create a definition of friendship as intimate, stimulating companionship, which is a source of help, reliable alliance, self-validation, and emotional security.  You are explaining these traits to your “friend.” Provide, not only a definition of each trait but how these traits apply to adult friendships.

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