Tension in Relationships Essay

1154 Words Jan 7th, 2013 5 Pages
The relational dialectics perspective is useful for understanding the ups and downs and sometimes illogical nature of interpersonal relationships. Developed by communication scholars Leslie Baxter, Barbara Montgomery and their colleagues, the dialectical perspective assumes that relationships keep changing. They are not maintained, but rather sustained through changing statuses. There are three sets of tensions that are common in relationships: integration-separation; stability-change; and expression-privacy.

The first dialectic identified is integration – separation, more commonly known as autonomy versus connection. This is the tension in a relationship where either partner desires to be independent but also connected. The desire
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There needs to be a compromise made so that both partners get equal time at doing what they like to do while enjoying time with each other. Or, one relational partner is a social butterfly and the other is a social hermit. The point is that we do tend to get together with partners who will test our patience and force us to grow through finding ways to co-exist and resolving problems.

The second dialectic identified is stability – change, more commonly known as predictability versus novelty. This refers to the tension in a relationship where either party of the relationship wants the stability of a relationship but at the same time wants to be able to enjoy spontaneity. The tension of predictability versus novelty can present itself in a couple of ways. First, many couples struggle to balance the tension between their need for stability and their desire for excitement. Getting tired of doing the “same old thing” is always going to be an issue in any relationship. Individuals that are involved in a developing relationship become comfortable with knowing what is going to happen next. However, always knowing what is going to happen next can become extremely boring. What can we do to spice up a relationship? We could easily change the routine a little bit. Do something that you don’t normally do together. If you normally don’t go out on dates – then go out on a date. If you normally don’t buy each other gifts – then buy a small gift every once in a while.

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