Relationship development and the dialectical model

Dialectical Theory |

relationship development and the dialectical model

Assumptions of Relational Dialectics Theory Relationships are not linear. A dialectical perspective on communication strategies in relationship development. Rkdhaugoda's dialectical model of theory of every thing. Social dialectics is not a single theory but a family of theories (Montgomery and is a helical model, in which responsiveness to one dialectical pole, or opposite, early or later in a relationship's development (Baxter ; Pawlowski ). "Dialectical Contradictions in Relationship Development. "Responses to Dissatisfaction in Close Relationships: The Exit-Voice-Loyalty-Neglect Model.

It is most often identified as "small talk", being primarily superficial. The talk is oriented around conversation that requires little or no self-disclosure, allowing for a controlled level informational privacy.

Some people experience stress and discomfort when listening to others' problems. In response to this, some individuals attempt to distance themselves in order to discourage others from confiding in them. In Erin Sahlestein and Tim Dun's study they found that, "participants' joint conversations and their breakup accounts reflect the two basic forms of contradiction.

Both antagonistic and non-antagonistic struggles were evident in these data". A study [21] measuring the display of symbols by lesbian couples, revealed that while same-sex couples experience similar challenges that opposite-sex partners do, there are unique challenges that arise to these same-sex couples. These unique problems in turn give rise to unique dialectical tensions within the relationship. Re-marriage[ edit ] In a study [22] that focused on dialectics in second marriages, six tensions unique to remarriages emerged.

Three tensions related to the remarried dyad: Old-new - Many participants found that within their new marriage, the individuals brought with them ideas and expectations based on their previous, or "old," marriages. However, participants recognized that they had since entered a "new" marriage, which would not necessarily carry over the previous old expectations or experiences.

Emotional closeness-distance - Participants expressed feelings of both emotional closeness and emotional distance with their new partners. While participants found that they experienced emotional closeness with their second spouse, they also found that either they or their new spouse had other close friends or family with whom they were close to. Past-present - Many participants found that they do not discuss prior relationships, or other things that relate to the past, with their new partners.

relationship development and the dialectical model

Yet, the new couples remained open about issues and topics related to their present life. Three tensions also emerged from the remarried dyad and their social networks: Their time frame-our time frame - Many participants expressed feeling tensions between adhering to a time frame that felt right to the individual, while acknowledging the expectations that they sensed from their friends and family members in regards to what an appropriate relationship and re-marriage time frame would be.

Dyadic revelation-network revelation - Participants found that they desired to share information with their social network, however, sometimes their partner did not desire them to share such information with that particular network, resulting in tensions among participants to decide between revealing to their partner and revealing information to their social network.

Old-new - Participants identified the tension that was created through interactions with friends and family from the "old" marriage while being in the "new" marriage.

Participants managed this tension primarily through recalibration and reaffirmation, where participants recognized that both sides had to be present in order for the relationship to exist. Long distance relationships[ edit ] Based on research by Sahlstein, [11] the uncertainty v. Her work exposed uncertainty v. In interviews conducted with couples engaged in long distance relationships, contradictions emerged.

For example, couples were found to plan interactions in order to obtain a level of spontaneity. Within this, three different forms of the praxis of relational dialectics emerged: Segmentation - referred to the partners' ability to live separate, independent lives when they were not together.

Relationship Dialectics

Balance - referred to the couple's ability to plan conversations about the future of the relationship. Denial - referring to the couple's refusal to admit the effect distance is having on the relationship. Friendships[ edit ] William Rawlins has examined the role of relational dialectics in regard to friendships. The tension of instrumentality v.

Aristotle 's "friendship of virtue" notion of caring for friends without instrumental purposes exemplifies this point.

relationship development and the dialectical model

The dichotomy of instrumentality v. This interweaving of concepts is what distinguishes different types of friendships. While this remains true, the subjectivity of the friends in question ultimately determines the outcome of how heavily instrumentality v. In the workplace Blended Relationships are close friends that are a part of the same work environment.

Dialectical tensions occur in organizations as individuals attempt to balance their roles as employees while maintaining established friendships within their occupations.

It is not necessary, however, to have a friend in organizations to experience dialectical contradictions.

Relational dialectics

Stress occurs frequently on the individual level as human needs and desires oppose. Friends within organizations desire to provide each other with special support and assistance but organizations strive for equitable treatment and discourage bias.

relationship development and the dialectical model

It is a tendency of close friends to be open and honest with one another, but organizations often expect a level of confidentiality that places strain on friendships that value the sharing of information. It can be easily understood from the above example.

Totality Totality says that contradictions in a relationship are a unified whole and cannot be understood in isolation. In simpler language, it means that the contradictions are intrinsically related to each other and cannot be separated.

It takes both opposing tendencies to form a contradiction. Motion Relationships are processual in nature. It means that relationships are not about a single event. Rather, they are about various social processes that are simultaneous and of recurring manner. We see Joe and Hailie do not feel the same with each other all the time. They move between the periods when they want to spend more time with each other and when they want to be their own person. This movement between contrary phases can be understood as motion.

Praxis Praxis focuses on the practical choices that human makes amidst the opposing needs. It contains the view that humans are choice makers and objects of their own actions.

How to manage Relational Dialectics? The founders of this theory have suggested eight methods by which individuals can manage dialectics in the relationship. These methods are briefly described below. Denial — Denial refers to the act of responding to only one side of the tension while ignoring the other side of tension.

Disorientation — Individuals can manage relational dialectics by disorienting the relationship.

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Similarly, relationship parties tack back and forth between the stable "givens" of their relationship and unpredictable "new" demands and experiences. This discussion of commonly identified contradictions does not exhaust the list of possible unified oppositions that face relationship pairs, but it provides an introduction to at least some of the dialectical tensions that friends, romantic partners, marital couples, and families face as they conduct their everyday relating Brown, Werner, and Altman ; Conville ; Rawlins Contradictions and Change Social dialectical scholars agree that the dynamic interplay of unified opposites results in ongoing and inevitable change for relationship partners.

Although the ongoing tension of oppositions can be negotiated in temporary moments or periods in which all oppositions are responded to at the same time, it is much more common to see an ongoing pattern in which one pole is temporarily responded to at a cost of negating the other pole. The communicative actions that parties enact at a given moment change how a contradiction is experienced at a later point in time.

For example, if parties embrace spontaneity and abandon planning, this will create pressure at some point for greater certainty and predictability in their lives. The most common conception of this change process among dialectical scholars is a helical model, in which responsiveness to one dialectical pole, or opposite, creates pressure to attend to the opposite dialectical pole Conville Over time, a relationship pair cycles back and forth between responsiveness to the opposing demands.

For example, a parent and child may cycle back and forth between autonomy and interconnection throughout their lives. However, each time a pair cycles back, it is never exactly to the same place they were before—the parties have acquired additional experiences and perspectives.

Relational Dialectics Theory - Definition and Examples - Businesstopia

Thus, relating is like a helix. Over time, the very meaning of a given contradiction is likely to shift. For example, Daena Goldsmith found that among romantic couples, issues of connection versus autonomy took on different meanings depending on where a couple was in their relationship's development. Several dialectical scholars e.

relationship development and the dialectical model

Turning points are often moments of heightened dialectical struggle that are negotiated by the parties with varying degrees of effectiveness, thereby resulting in a negative or a positive effect on the relationship. Existing research suggests that not all contradictions are equally important in turning-point relationship change. The integrationseparation dialectic consistently appears as the most significant family of contradictions Baxter ; Baxter and Erbert ; Pawlowski Further, the salience of various contradictions appears to vary depending on whether the change takes place early or later in a relationship's development Baxter ; Pawlowski Arthur VanLear has argued that dialectical change can function more modestly than the major moments of change captured in turning points of relationship development.

In examining the cycles of openness and non-openness behavior in relationship pairs, VanLear found that cycles can vary in amplitude, with large or small swings between dialectical poles.

relationship development and the dialectical model

Turning points capture only the dialectical cycles that are large in amplitude. In addition, he found that shorter cycles of change can be nested within longer cycles of change. For example, as part of a general upswing in openness, smaller cycles of candor and discretion can be identified.

Communication and Contradictions Dialectical contradictions are constituted in the communicative practices of relationship parties. It is through communication that contradictions are given a social life. How parties constitute a given contradiction at Time 1 affects how that contradiction will be experienced at Time 2. Several kinds of communicative practices have been identified in existing dialectical work Baxter and Montgomery Because of the helical pattern that frequently characterizes dialectical change, it is not surprising that researchers have found two dominant communication practices in the negotiation of contradiction.

In enacting spiraling inversion, relationship parties tack back and forth through time, alternating an emphasis first on one dialectical pole and then on the other dialectical pole. For example, a long-distance marital couple trying to negotiate the dialectic of integration and separation could alternate their week-ends between those spent together and those spent apart.

In enacting segmentation, relationship parties negotiate by topic or activity domain, agreeing that in domain A one dialectical pole will be emphasized whereas in domain B the other dialectical pole will be emphasized. The long-distance couple may decide that Monday through Friday are the days in which their individual lives will take priority, whereas Saturday and Sunday are the days in which their relationship will take priority.

Both spiraling inversion and segmentation allow a relationship pair to move back and forth between oppositions, but in different ways. When parties enact balance, they basically strive for a compromise response; that is, a response in which both dialectical poles are fulfilled but only partially. For example, family members struggling with the dialectic of expression-nonexpression might compromise by revealing partial, not full, truths to one another.