Term Paper: Modern Relationship

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¶ … Relationship: Friendship and Love

The terms friendship and love refers to forms of relationships. These types of relationships are often termed close or intimate relationships. Close or intimate relationships can be defined as those relationships that are interdependent, long lasting and intense in their nature.

There are different types and forms of these close relationships. They can range for common friendships to love and marriage and the differences between these types of relationships can be understood in terms of type and intensity. Friendship and love are therefore different aspects of the concept of close relationships. Friendship can occur between two people of the same sex or two people of different sexes. From a more traditional and conventional point-of-view love is a type of relationship that takes place between people of different gender. This is known as a heterosexual type of relationship. However, hereterosexism is an issue that is debated in many societies, as will be discussed in the following sections of this paper.

1.2. Friendship

Close relationships are characterized by different attachment styles. This term is derived from the theory of attachment in relations, which was posited by Bowlby (1969). This theory referred to attachment as. "...lasting psychological connectedness between human beings" (Wagner). Friendship is an attachment style that is on a different level to love and marriage and has a different set of criteria in comparison with a more intimate physical relationship. Friendship can be described as an attachment style that is related to and associated with the concepts of sharing and interdependence between two or more individuals. Friendship usually also involves shared common interests, which often forms the basis of this particular attachment style.

Two other aspects of friendship are important to note. These are loyalty and emotional sharing. Loyalty can be defined as signifying "... A person's devotion or sentiment of attachment to a particular object, which may be another person or group of persons, an ideal, a duty, or a cause" (ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA: definition of loyalty). It is also sometimes the case in this form of relationship that there is a certain sense of belonging, which forms the basis of the relationship. While there is emotional intimacy in friendship it is differentiated from the intensity of a love relationship.

Another important issue that is increasingly referred to in contemporary discussion of this tope is self-disclosure, as a form of intimacy. Self-disclosure is defined as more than simply providing information to another person. Instead, "...scholars define self-disclosure as sharing information with others that they would not normally know or discover. Self-disclosure involves risk and vulnerability on the part of the person sharing the information" (Self-Disclosure). This is also an important concept in understanding love relationships.

Love

Love is an attachment or relationship between two people that is usually more intense than friendship, although elements of both friendship and love can exist in differing degrees in a relationship. An important part of love that differentiates it from friendship is sexual intimacy.

The term love as an intimate and extremely close relationship has been expressed in many different ways in an effort to express the value and the intensity of this type of relationship. For example, it is sometimes expressed as a force that cannot be resisted. This can be seen in an expression like, "I could feel the electricity between us" and "I was magnetically drawn to her'. (Love: the crucial issue in psychotherapy) the intensity of this very emotional relationship is also seen in expression about love that suggest that is a form of 'madness'; such as "I'm crazy about her" and " She drives me out of my mind." (Love: the crucial issue in psychotherapy)

The concept of love is usually associated with emotional intensity and it is also very close in some respects to the concepts that were discussed under the heading of friendship. The concept of self-disclosure is extremely important in love relationships and this form of intimacy is often referred to by experts as essential for the continuing growth and healthy development of a relationship.

In the modern context, love is a word that has been largely replaced by the term relationship. The contemporary environment has become as area for fostering relationships based on mutual interests, aims and dreams. What is also of significance are the different ways that the sexes relate to one another in a love relationship. One of the aspects that are important is the role that male and female stereotypes play in love relationships.

Differences in gender are also an issue that is essential in understanding love relationships. Numerous studies have found that because of gender stereotypes, men in particular often do not express their emotions and feeling as much as women in relationships. In other words, they are less open to self-disclosure than women are. This is sometimes a result of the male fear of being seen in stereotypical terms as homosexual.

Social exchange theory is also an important theoretical stance in understanding relationships such as love and friendship. A fairly comprehensive definition of Social exchange theory is as follows.

Social exchange theory proposes that social behavior is the result of an exchange process. The purpose of this exchange is to maximize benefits and minimize costs. According to this theory, people weigh the potential benefits and risks of social relationships. When the risks outweigh the rewards, people will terminate or abandon that relationship.

Social exchange theory)

This theory therefore refers to a sense of balance and 'give-and-take 'in any relationship. It is also an important theory in terms of the degree of openness and degree of communication in a relationship. If there is not a certain amount of self-disclosure and interaction, then there can also not be an exchange and reciprocation or balance of mutual needs and desires.

Analysis of resource article

2.1. Overview

The article that was used as reference was Close Emotional Relationships with Women vs. Men: A Qualitative Study of 56 Heterosexual Men Living in an Inner-City Neighborhood (2001), by Wagner-Raphael et al. There are a number of correspondences with the above sections and discussion of relationships. The study defines intimate relationships in the following way. "...Intimacy has been defined as an interpersonal process that involves the expression and sharing of emotions, communication of personal feelings and information, development of shared affection, support, and feeling closely connected with another person." (Wagner-Raphael et al.) This is a comprehensive definition, which cites aspects discussed above; such as emotional sharing as well as communication and emotional intimacy. It is also significant that intimate relationship have been found by psychologists to be important in terms of an individual's personal growth and development as a human being. This significant aspect that is often referred to in discussions about relationships

Another aspect that emerges from the analysis of the article is that self-disclosure is an aspect that that is extremely important for the development of meaningful relationships. In other words, self -disclosure, as the sharing of feelings and information that includes the aspect of vulnerability, helps in the communication and intimacy between two people. It also therefore also helps to establish bonds of understanding and acceptance. An important aspect that should be noted is that vulnerability is an element in the creation of trust and understanding in relationships.

Another significant fact that can be related to the research in the article was that there were definite patterns of gender difference in relationships. It was found in the study that men tend in general to be less open to self-disclosure in a relationship, when compared to women. It was also found that there were differences in men and women's perceptions of and experiences with intimacy. Men also reported that that their same-sex friendships are not as emotionally satisfying and personally gratifying as their opposite-sex friendships.

2.2. Questions and answers

What type of research was conducted?

Essentially this was qualitative research, which was conducted mainly through interviews with the participants.

What research design and methodology was used?

The research design consisted of organized and recorded interviews of men from both STD/health clinics and various community locations. The participants were involved in a 90-minute qualitative individual elicitation interview. These interviews were designed to investigate the feelings and perceptions of the men with regard to aspects such as courtship, romance, and sexual interactions with women.

What subjects were used?

The sample of participants consisted of 100 heterosexually active men. These men were recruited from STD/health clinics and high HIV/STD neighborhoods in New York City during a period covering fall 1994 to spring 1995.

How did the researcher define and measure the variables of interest?

The process of selection was random. The men were approached in the waiting room of the clinics and informed of the study and its aims. They were then interviewed, if they so wished. One variable that was controlled for was country background and cultural traits with regard to relationships and gender customs and stereotypes. However, age and ethnicity were not taken into account as significant variables;

Were standardized tests,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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