SPD 110: INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP PAPER
By Timothy Sanersri
Due Date: March 20, 1995
The purpose of this paper is to examine interpersonal relationship in which you are involved and ANALYZE it according to the interpersonal communication concepts in Chapters 6 and 7 of the text.
The paper must be TYPED and must cover the following areas:
A little history of the relationship that I will be analyzing. I have been dating a 35 year old woman for the past two years. The relationship started with her advances. Weíve talked about the beginning a few times. She was fascinated with me and wanted to get to know me a little more. I did not realize that she was interested in me for about two months. In fact, I thought that she was just a nice lady that I worked with. I know you shouldnít dip your pen in company ink, but I was not happy in the relationship I was in and she interested me. I was not interested in developing a long lasting relationship, especially since my wife had left me just a few years earlier. My new girlfriend also expressed that she wasnít interested in developing anything long-term. I had hardened myself and would not allow myself to fall in love and was living life one day at a time. Earlier in our relationship, she started to want me to commit. I was unaware of this, since the communication lines were not fully open at this time. This went on for about a year and a half, before she started to lose interest and began to see other people. Thatís when I realized that I was making a mistake by not yielding to my feelings and started to really think about her as a girl friend and a partner and really communicating my thoughts to her. The relationship has been dragging along for the past six months: neither of us really wants to break up. I have admitted that I love her and am willing to commit my self to her today and tomorrow. This 180 degree turn around has confused her and she is now unwilling to commit.
1. How the relationship developed: (see pp 162-163)
I. What was the attraction?
II What were the rewards and costs?
I. For me the attraction was the fact that she was attracted to me. I wanted to find out why she was interested in me. We entered the relationship as an open one. Neither of us was seeing anyone else or did we care to. I was happy with the way things were and the way things were going. We did not talk a whole lot about our feeling in the beginning, although I kind of knew that things were becoming more intimate. But since nothing was said I didnít pursue it. Now the attraction is that we complement each other, I have been some what of an introvert, Since I have been dating her, I have gone out and seen much more that I would have otherwise, Also together with her I have been able to develop myself into being more of a partner in the relationship, and I think I can be a much better partner in any other relationship.
II. In the beginning the rewards were many and the costs were few. She made most of the effort to keep the relationship going. We traveled together and went out a lot and spent a lot of time together. She worked very hard to keep things together and I did little. After about four months of this I started to assert some effort to balance the workload some. I say that I contributed about 35% of the cost and reaped 70% of the rewards. But for the past six months I have contributed considerably more of the costs (80%) with a pay back of 20%. I hope as time rolls on that the costs and rewards will become more equally distributed
2. The progression/regression of the relationship through the Stages of Interpersonal Relationships: (see pp 156-162
Working together at the same company, we were at the contact stage for a year before we moved on to the next stage. The involvement stage went very quickly, lasting about two months. We talked about mountain biking and hiking; she even bought me a tire for my bike on my birthday. I would have to stay till 20:30 and she would work late too. She would sit at one of the computers in my area as so I wouldnít get lonely. I would walk her out to her car, thinking I was just being kind, worrying about her safety. She expressed some interest in multimedia, which I was working on in my spare time as a hobby. We worked together for a week or two on my project and before I know it we were at the next stage. We were at a modified stage of intimacy. I say modified because we did everything but say "I love you" and total self-disclosure. This lasted over a year, before moving to the deterioration stage. We are now between the deterioration and the intimacy stages. But this time we have total self-disclosure working on our side. This way we both have a greater idea of what the other expects.
3. How the relationship was maintained: (see pp 164-166)
I. Did you and/or your partner use the test for Effective Relational Communication? Why or why not?
II. Were/are your needs and those of the other person met in the relationship?
I. I took the test and scored less than I thought I would (19). Especially in the area of Supportiveness. I will have to try to avoid evaluating her feelings and just ask her how she feels about things. I My girlfriend took the test and scored 29 on it. We talked about it a little and she feels that she has not been able to communicate her feeling to me as well as she would like, I on the other hand feel that she has been doing a great job of telling me what she is feeling, Itís just I miss her very much when weíre not together and I tend to employ unproductive conflict management .
II. This is hard to answer since my partner does not know exactly what she wants. I know what I want and that is a relationship that I can count on tomorrow. Building a bond that will last forever, with a home and children. I feel that we are on our way to achieving this now that we are working to repair our relationship.
4. Communication behaviors during the relationship: (see pp 135-143)
From this list of behaviors, select 1 or 2 that you feel you use in the relationship and also select 1 or 2 that you feel the other person uses. How do these behaviors affect the relationship?
The two behaviors that I think I most have exhibited are supportiveness and other-orientation. But, after taking the Effective relational communication test Iím not sure if supportiveness is the right word to use.
Trying to be supportive and understanding on my part has given us an open channel to effective communications. Being supportive allows us to say what is on our minds and a certain amount of openness affords us the opportunity to grow. To illustrate this I will use the example of when she started to see others. I stood by while she was soul searching trying to find what she wanted, hoping that she would come back to me in the end. I tried to be supportive and positive even those she may have found someone that she may like more.
Having the ability to step into my partnerís shoes helps to create a great deal of understanding. Using Other-Orientation I can see what my partner is feeling and what may be bothering my partner. An example of this is: she is a military brat. All of her life she made and lost friends because she moved a lot. Her relationships were not long and the commitments were not long term. We feel that this attitude has become part of her life cycle and we both want to fix it. I for personal gain (her) and her so that she can settle down and get married and have kids. We both feel that her destructive attitude towards relationships is not productive and conductive to a long term relationship.
The two different behaviors that I think she used are empathy and expressiveness:
I believe that she knows how I feel because I have express to her what I have been feeling and she seems to understand and she can describe what Iím feeling. She is not able to control what she is doing to me but she can empathize with me about the way I feel.
She is able to express her active involvement in conversations. And takes responsibility for her actions as well as for her feelings. An example of this is her not being able to make up her mind to commit. She has express that it is her problem and that she needs to work it out (hopefully with my help and some professional help we can make it through the ruff time) and it is of no fault of mine..
5. Relationship Deterioration and/or Repair: (see pp 166-174)
has there been a deterioration in the relationship? Explain why or why not.
Did you exit the relationship? If so, what disengagement strategies did you use?
Were you able to repair the relationship? Explain.
Itís funny that this paper should happen along at this time. Many of the ideas here in these two chapters apply to my current relationship. I feel that we were in the deterioration phase of our relationship about four months ago, lasting two to three months. We are now working towards repairing the relationship. Without reading this she has applied cherishing behaviors and has made steps to go back to the intimacy stage. I myself have been moving back and forth though the stages of intimacy and dissolution. At times I feel that there is no use in continuing and even wanted to end the whole relationship by disconnecting myself from my feelings and telling her that we need to exchange our personal possessions. That action would close the loop of our relationship using the behavioral de-escalation strategy of disengagement. She is unwilling to give up at this point and does not want to disengage yet. I too donít really want to give up, but Iím having trouble keeping up the maintenance behaviors because the costs are much greater than the rewards. Before doing this paper I was feeling down about our relationship and the direction that it has been going, but now I feel a bit more positive about how we are both working to repair our relationship.
I think I need to state a mistake that I have been making, that I have caught during these two chapters.
I. In the area of Unproductive Conflict Management, I have been using the personal refection tactic to try to break her down. So that she would make up her mind and stay or go. An example of this is when I talk to her on the phone I tell her that we need to end this now and break up. That this indecision of hers has gone on far to long. When I did this, I am cold and unfeeling, separation myself from the call. Acting unwilling and uncaring that this was the end of the relationship. She would cry, but I would not withdrawal. After a day or two I would call back or she would call me. And we would agree not to breakup yet . This has happened two or three times in the past two months. We talked about this paper and we both agree that none of the other unproductive conflict management methods apply to us. We felt that we mostly use productive conflict management techniques.
Iíd also like to add that we have made some rules of our own.
Papers will be graded on the following criteria:
COVERAGE OF THE 5 AREAS LISTED ABOVE 25 POINTS
USE OF EXAMPLES TO SUPPORT CONCLUSIONS 25 POINTS
INTEGRATION OF TEXT CONCEPTS 25 POINTS
ORGANIZATION, APPEARANCE OF PAPER 25 POINTS
There is no minimum or maximum length for this paper. However, an average seems to be 3-4 pages.