Chapter 7 – KIN 140
Communicating: A Key to Establishing Relationships
Communicating How You Feel
Improving Communication Skills
Because people have such different ways of communicating, there is no recipe for how to
communicate effectively in a given situation. At times, silence may be the best approach.
Learning Appropriate Self-Disclosure
Sharing personal information with others is called self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is not
storytelling or sharing secrets; rather, it is revealing how you are reacting to the present
situation and giving information about the past relevant to the other person’s understanding of
your current reactions.
Becoming a Better Listener
Listening is a vital part of interpersonal communication.
Characteristics of Intimate Relationships
There are many definitions of intimate relationships. One classic definition is “close
relationships with another person in which you offer, and are offered, validation,
understanding, and a sense of being valued intellectually, emotionally, and physically.”
Emotional availability, the ability to give to and receive from others emotionally without fear of
being hurt or rejected is another characteristic of intimate relationships.
Forming Intimate Relationships
Families: The Ties That Bind
All families should care for, protect, love, and socialize with one another. Family is any
combination of two or more persons bound together over time by ties of mutual consent, birth
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or adoption/placement and who, together, assume responsibilities for variant combinations of
the following: physical maintenance and care of family members; addition of new members; ..
Today’s Family Unit
Two people in a friendship share the following:
- Enjoyment, Acceptance, Trust, Respect, Mutual assistance, confiding, understanding,
Significant Others, Partners, Couples
Two people in a relationship share the following:
- Fascination, exclusiveness, sexual desire, giving the utmost, and being a
This thing called Love
Many social scientists maintain that love may be of two kinds: companionate and passionate.
Companionate love is a secure, trusting attachment, similar to what we often feel for family
members or close friends. Passionate love involves a state of high arousal filled with the ecstasy
of being loved or the agony of being rejected. In the “triangular theory of love,” love is clarified
by isolating three key ingredients:
- Intimacy – the emotional component, which involves feelings of closeness
- Passion – the motivational component, which reflects romantic, sexual attraction
- Decision/commitment – the cognitive component, which includes the decisions you
make about being in love and the degree of commitment to your partner.
Why the differences?
This male/female disparity in the ability to express emotions is the single greatest difference
between the sexes and the greatest threat to intimacy in many relationships.
Picking Partners: Similarities and Differences between Genders
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One factor in choosing a partner is proximity, or being in the same place at the same time. The
more you see that person in your social gatherings, hometown, or work, the more likely an
attraction will occur.
Another factor is you pick a partner on the basis of similarities (attitudes, values, intellect,
Another factor in selecting a partner is the physical attraction.
Barriers to Intimacy
Obstacles to intimacy include lack of personal identity, emotional immaturity, and a poorly
developed sense of responsibility, and a poorly developed sense of responsibility.
A dysfunctional family is one in which the interaction between family members inhibits
psychological growth rather than encouraging self-love, emotional expression, and individual
Jealousy in Relationships
Jealousy is an aversive reaction evoked by a real or imagined relationship involving your
partner and another person. The roots of jealous feelings and behaviours may run deep and
- Overdependence on the relationship
- High value on sexual exclusivity
- Severity of the threat
- Low self-esteem
- Fear of losing control
Commitment in a relationship refers to an intent to act over time in a way that perpetuates the
well-being of the other person, you, and the relationship.
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For many people, marriage is the ultimate expression of an intimate relationship. Most people
believe that marriage involves monogamy, or exclusive sexual involvement with one partner.
The lifetime pattern for many Canadians appears to be serial monogamy, which means that a
person has a monogamous sexual relationship with one partner for the duration of a
relationship before moving on to another monogamous relationship. Some people prefer to
have an open relationship, or open marriage, in which the partners agree that each person may
be sexually involved outside their relationship.
Cohabitation is defined as two unmarried people with an intimate connection who live
together in the same household. In most provinces, cohabitation that lasts more than six
months is viewed as a common-law marriage in the eyes of the court on issues of child care
and spousal support.
Gay and Lesbian Partnerships
Challenges to successful homosexual relationships often stem from the discrimination they face
and from difficulties dealing with social, legal, and religious doctrines.
Success in Committed Relationships
Accordingly, children are raised with a very strong script for what is expected of them as adults.
Each group in society has its own partnering script that prescribes standards regarding sex, age,
social class, ethnicity, religion, physical attributes, and personality types.
The Importance of Nurturing
1. Accountability means that both partners see themselves as responsible for their
decisions and actions. Each and every choice is one’s own responsibility.
2. Self-nurturance goes hand-in-hand with accountability. In order to make good choices
in life, a person needs to maintain a balance of sleeping, healthy eating, being physically
active, working, relaxing, and socializing.
Elements of Good Relationships
Trust can be defined as the degree of confidence felt in a relationship. Trust includes 3
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1. Predictability means that you can predict your partner’s behaviours.
2. Dependability means that you can rely on your partner to give support in all situations,
particularly in those in which you feel threatened with hurt or rejection.
3. Faith means that you feel absolutely certain about your partner’s intentions and
Trust and intimacy are the foundation of healthy, committed relationships. Sexual intimacy is
also a major part of healthy relationship exist.
Having a child does not ‘fix’ a bad relationship, usually it makes it worse. Single women or
lesbian couples can choose adoption or alternative (formerly “artificial”) insemination as a way
to create a family.
Ending a Relationship
The Warning Signs
Breakdowns in relationships usually begin with a change in communication. Either partner may
stop listening, ceasing to be emotionally present for the other.
Seeking Help: Where to Look
The first place some people look for help when there are problems in a relationship is a trusted
friend. Most communities have private practitioners trained to counsel married or committed
Sometimes a relationship becomes so dysfunctional that even counselling cannot bring about
significant change. Moving apart for a period of time may allow some preliminary healing and
give both parties an opportunity to reassess themselves and their commitment to the
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Why Relationships End
Relationships fail due to poor communication and cooperation of additional stress, and unmet
expectations. Many people enter marriage with unrealistic expectations about what marriage
will be like. Differences in sexual need, is another factor. The bottom line is that if couples do
not grow together, they often grow apart.
Deciding to Break Up
Coping with Loneliness
Your Sexual Identity
Your sexual identity is determined by a complex interaction of genetic, physiological, and
environmental factors. Actually, it is your biological father who determines whether you will be
a boy or a girl. Here’s how it works. All eggs (ova) carry an X sex chromosome; sperm carry
either an X or a Y chromosome. If a sperm carrying an X chromosome fertilizes an egg, the
resulting combination of sex chromosomes (XX) creates the blueprint to produce a female.
The genetic instructions included in the sex chromosomes lead to the differential development