Interpersonal Chapter 11

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Committed Romantic Relationships
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Relationships between individuals who assume they will be primary and continuing parts of each other’s lives Voluntary in Western culture
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Dimensions of Romantic Relationships
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Romantic love consists of three dimensions: intimacy, commitment, and passion. Although we can discuss these dimensions separately, they overlap and interact
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Passion
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Passion describes intensely positive feelings and fervent desire for another person. Passion is not restricted to sexual or sensual feelings. In addition to sexual feelings, passion may involve powerful emotional, spiritual, and intellectual excitement. Research consistently shows that passion is less central to our experience of love than are the dimensions of intimacy and commitment. Passion may set romance apart from other relationships, but typically it isn’t the glue that holds romantic relationships together
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Commitment
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The \”something else\” needed is commitment, the second dimension of romantic relationships. Commitment is the intention to remain involved with a relationship. Although often linked to love, commitment is not the same thing as love. Commitment, in contrast, is a decision to remain in a relationship. There is a strong relationship between commitment and investments in a relationship—the more we invest in a relationship, the greater our commitment is likely to be
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Two categories of why people stay committed
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First: we find it comfortable and pleasing—we value companionship, emotional support, financial assistance, practical benefits, and so forth Second: we may stay with a relationship to avoid negative consequences that would accompany ending it—these barriers to leaving include violating religious values, family disapproval, and financial hardship. Couples who stay together because of barriers to leaving tend to be less happy, less satisfied, and less likely to stay together permanently than couples who stay together because they find the relationship pleasing. This pattern holds true for heterosexual, gay, and lesbian couples.
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Why we need commitment
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Commitment provides a sturdier foundation for a life together. Commitment is the determination to stay together despite trouble, disappointments, sporadic restlessness, and lulls in passion. Without commitment, romantic relationships are subject to the whims of transient feelings and circumstances. Commitment involves accepting responsibility for maintaining a relationship. Commitment is positively related to willingness to sacrifice for and invest in a relationship.
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Intimacy
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Feelings of closeness, connection, and tenderness. Abiding affection and warm feelings for another person. It is why partners are comfortable with each other and enjoy being together even when there are no fireworks. Unlike passion and commitment, which are distinct dimensions of romance, intimacy seems to underlie both passion and commitment.
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Styles of loving
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Just as there are three primary colors, there are three primary styles of loving. In addition, just as secondary colors are combinations of two primary colors, secondary love styles are combinations of two primary ones. Secondary styles are as vibrant as primary ones
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Primary Styles of Love
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Eros, Storge, and Ludus
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Eros
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Powerful, passionate suddenly and dramatically. Intense kind of love include sexual, spiritual, intellectual, or emotional attraction Most intuitive and spontaneous of all love styles, fastest moving. Erotic lovers are likely to self-disclose early in a relationship, be very sentimental, and fall in love fast. Men are more likely than women to be erotic lovers
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Storge
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Comfortable, even-keeled kind of love based on friendship and compatibility. Storgic love tends to develop gradually and to be peaceful and stable. In most cases, it grows out of common interests, values, and life goals. Storgic relationships don’t have the great highs of erotic ones, but neither do they have the fiery conflict and anger that may punctuate erotic relationships.
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Ludus
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Playful love, see love as a game, commitment is not the goal. Instead, they like to play the field and to enjoy falling in love … again and again. Many people go through ludic periods but not true ludics. Ludic loving may also suit people who enjoy romance but aren’t ready to settle down. Research indicates that more men than women have ludic inclinations.
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Secondary Styles of love
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Pragma, mania, and agape
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Pragma
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Practical Love, calculated planning of ludus with the stable security of storge, Pragmatic lovers have clear criteria, online matching services allow to specify Pragmatic considerations also guide arranged marriages, in which families match children based on economic and social criteria.
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Mania
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Passion of eros, but play by ludic rules—a combination that can be perilous. Typically unsure that others really love them, manics may devise tests and games to evaluate a partner’s commitment. Often experience emotional extremes, ranging from euphoria to despair. May obsess about a relationship and be unable to think about anyone or anything else.
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Agape
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Blend of storge and eros. Love others without expectation of personal gain or return. People who love agapically feel the intense passion of eros and the constancy of storge. Generous and selfless, they put a loved one’s happiness ahead of their own without any expectation of reciprocity. For them, loving and giving to another are their own rewards. Although the original studies of love styles found no people who were purely agapic, many people have agapic tendencies.
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Five issues related to identifying your love style
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1: most of us have a combination of love styles 2: styles of love are not necessarily permanent 3: a love style is part of an overall interpersonal system, so it is affected by all other aspects of a relationship 4: individual styles of love are not good or bad in an absolute sense; what matters is how partners’ styles fit together 5: perceived appropriateness, or desirability, varies across cultures
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Individualistic love style verses collectivist
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Highly individualistic: passionate love (eros) is culturally endorsed. Collectivist cultures: passionate love is not culturally endorsed because it can threaten familial values and kin relations. Storgic love is more the ideal in collectivist cultures.
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The development of romantic relationships
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Social penetration theory to explain how romantic intimacy progresses in Western cultures. The key idea in social penetration theory is that intimacy grows as interaction between people penetrates from the outer to inner layers of each person’s personality. Intimacy progresses based on our perceptions of interaction, not on interaction itself.
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Women verses men goals
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Women are more likely than men to perceive companionship as a goal, and men are more likely than women to perceive sexual activity as a goal.
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How men and women should act
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The majority of college students in the United States think that men should initiate and plan get togethers and make decisions about most activities, but that women control sexual activity. While only 9% of men think either partner could pay, 22% of women think either person could.
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Westerners typically perceive romantic relationships as evolving through three broad phases
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Growth, navigation, and deterioration
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Growth
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Researchers have identified six growth stages through which romance typically, but not always, progresses.
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Individuality
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Each of us is an individual with particular needs, goals, love styles, perceptual tendencies, and qualities that affect what we look for in relationships.
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Invitational communication
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People signal that they are interested in interacting; during this stage they also respond to invitations from others. The most important meaning of invitational communication is found on the relationship level, not the content level.
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Hooking up
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Engaging in some degree of sexual activity with a person with no expectation of seeing that person again. Broad surveys of college students report that 72% of both sexes have hooked up (40% intercourse; 35% kissing and touching; 12% hand and genital contact; 12% oral sex). African Americans are less likely to hook up (35% ) than are Caucasian Americans (60% )
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Hooking up is an alternative for several reasons
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1. women students outnumber men students so heterosexual women have fewer choices and heterosexual men have more choices. 2. individuals want freedom from commitments that might interfere with summer internships and jobs or early career focus women are more likely than men to regret hooking up, to feel guilty, and to be depressed
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Three of the greatest influences on initial attraction
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attractiveness, proximity, and similarity
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Preferences
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Gay men: priority on physical characteristics, including slimness, body conditioning, and grooming Heterosexual men: importance on physical attractiveness; many prefer women who are slim and beautiful Heterosexual women and lesbians tend to emphasize qualities of personality, such as kindness, honesty, and integrity
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Preference across cultures
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Americans place more emphasis on appearance than Chinese, and Chinese place more emphasis on personality, fulfilling needs, and social influence.
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Proximity
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Proximity and similarity are major influences on initial attraction. We can interact only with people we meet in person or in social media, so where we live, work, and socialize and the social media we use constrain the possibilities for relationships. Nearness to others doesn’t necessarily increase liking.
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Environmental spoiling
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This happens when we’re forced to be around others whose values, lifestyles, or behaviors conflict with our own.
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Similarity
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In the realm of romance, \”birds of a feather flock together\” seems truer than \”opposites attract\” The hypothesis that the United States is classless has been disproved by the fact that most people seek romantic partners of their own social class or above it. Most people seek romantic partners whose values, attitudes, and lifestyles are similar
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Online sites
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Over 16 million Americans say they have gone online to look for dating partners. Online dating services may be especially helpful to people who are shy about launching romantic relationships.
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Explorational communication
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Third stage in the escalation of romance, and it focuses on learning about each other. It’s also possible for this phase to be where a relationship settles—that is, stabilizes as a casual hook-up or hang out-relationship. What we tell each other during these early stages of relationships isn’t necessarily entirely truthful.
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Online Misrepresentation
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In online dating, men are more likely than women to misrepresent their personal assets, relationship goals, personal attributes, and personal interests. Women are more likely than men to misrepresent their weight
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Intensifying communication
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Partners spend more time together, and they rely less on external structures such as films or parties. They may immerse themselves in the relationship and may feel that they can’t be together enough. Further disclosures occur, personal biographies filled in, partners increasingly learn how the other feels and thinks, develop dual perspective and begin thinking and talking of themselves as a couple, usually agree to make their relationship exclusive, Also characteristic of the intensifying stage are idealizing and personalized communication, overlook problems in the relationship. It is also during euphoria that partners begin to develop private nicknames and language
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Revising communication
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Although not a stage in the development of all romantic relationships, problems are recognized, and partners evaluate whether they want to work through them
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Commitment
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Final growth stage is commitment, the decision to stay with the relationship. Before commitment, partners don’t assume that the relationship will continue forever. With commitment, the relationship becomes a given, around which they arrange other aspects of their lives. Commitment also leads partners to invest more in a relationship, especially in terms of communication to maintain satisfaction
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Navigation
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Navigation is the ongoing process of staying committed and living a life together despite ups and downs, and pleasant and unpleasant surprises. During navigation, partners also continually experience tension from relational dialectics, which are never resolved once and for all. As partners respond to dialectical tensions, they revise and refine the nature of the relationship itself. To understand the navigation stage, we’ll discuss relational culture, placemaking, and everyday interaction.
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Relational culture
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The nucleus of intimacy is relational culture, which is a private world of rules, understandings, meanings, and patterns of acting and interpreting that partners create for their relationship. Relational culture includes the ways in which a couple manages their relational dialectics, also includes rules and rituals, when one partner does something thoughtful, the other partner is likely to feel grateful and that gratitude acts as a \”booster shot\” for romantic relationships
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Placemaking
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Process of creating a comfortable personal environment that reflects the values, experiences, and tastes of the couple together.
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Everyday interaction
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The importance of everyday interaction for couples becomes most obvious when it’s not possible. People in long-distance relationships say that being together for big moments is not what they miss most; instead, they miss sharing small talk and the trivial details of their days with each other.
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Deterioration
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Some relationships end abruptly. Most relationships that have reached the level of commitment, however, deteriorate through a series of stages. describes relational deterioration as happening through a five-stage sequence: intrapsychic processes, dyadic processes, social support, grave-dressing processes, and resurrection processes.
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Intrapsychic processes
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One or both partners begin to feel dissatisfied with the relationship and to focus their thoughts on its problems or shortcomings, partners may begin to think about alternatives to the relationship
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Dyadic
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Involve the breakdown of established patterns, rules, and rituals that make up the relational culture. Partners may stop talking over dinner, no longer text when they are running late, and in other ways neglect rules that have operated in their relationship. As the fabric of intimacy weakens, dissatisfaction intensifies.
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Sex Differences in dyadic
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For many women, unhappiness with a relationship tends to arise when communication declines in quality, quantity, or both. Men, in general, are more likely to be dissatisfied when specific behaviors or activities change. Women also tend to be more concerned with relationship equity than men. Marital quality diminishes for women as they contribute more whereas men’s marital quality increases when they contribute more to domestic labor. women are more likely than men to notice tensions and early symptoms of problems, women are more jealous of emotional commitments and men are more jealous of sexual involvements
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Dyadic processes may also include discussion of problems and dissatisfaction
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If partners lack commitment or the communication skills needed to resuscitate intimacy, they must decide how to tell outsiders that they are parting.
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Social support
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Phase in which partners look to friends and family for support. Partners may give self-serving accounts of the breakup to save face and to secure sympathy and support from others.
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Grave-dressing processes
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Burying the relationship and accepting its end. During grave dressing, we work to make sense of the relationship: what it meant, why it failed, and how it affected us. Grave-dressing processes also include explaining to others why the relationship ended. \”What if\” thinking are more likely to experience depression and lack of motivation and to adjust less well to breakups than people who ruminate for a short while and then move on
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Resurrection processes
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Two people move on with their lives without the other as an intimate. We conceive of ourselves as single again, and we reorganize our lives to break the synchrony that we had with our ex-partner.
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Conclusion of stages
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The stages we have discussed describe how many romantic relationships evolve. However, not all people follow these stages in this order, because relationships are embedded in larger systems, romantic intimacy follows different developmental paths in other cultures.
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Social Media and Romantic Relationships
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In many ways, social media have made it far easier to form and maintain romantic relationships. Deception is perhaps more easily accomplished online than face to face, another concern about social media is the potential for cyberstalking, social media also offer opportunities for infidelity. College students responded that online infidelity was just as wrong and hurtful as in-person betrayal
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Guidelines for Communicating in Romantic Relationships
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Romantic relationships often experience unique challenges. We’ll now discuss four guidelines for communicating to meet such challenges and to build and maintain a healthy, satisfying relationship.
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Engage in Dual Perspective
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Engaging in dual perspective requires us to get to know the other person really well, and then to use that knowledge to guide our communicative choices. I-Thou relationships, dual perspective is especially important.
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Practice Safe Sex
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Engaging in safer sex is a communication issue for two reasons. First, cultural views, often mistaken, about who is likely and not likely to have sexually transmitted diseases are communicated to us through everyday conversations as well as media. Second, engaging in safer sex requires communication between partners. They must talk about their sexual histories, medical checkups, and what each of them requires in terms of protections to feel safe
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Committing to communication about safer sex
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Matter of health and survival. 2 million people die of AIDS each year Each year 56,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with AIDS More than one and a quarter million people in the United States are living with HIV today Contracted the virus through sex with a hook-up, casual date, or serious romantic partner. New HIV and AIDS cases have actually increased since 1999 Every single day, worldwide, 6,800 people are infected with HIV (Schott, 2008).
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STD
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One in four girls ages 14-19 is infected with a common STD In 2008, 1,210,523 cases of sexually transmitted chlamydia were reported to CDC In 2008, the chlamydia rate in black men was 12 times higher than in white men; the chlamydia rate in black women was 8 times higher than in white women
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Reasons we fail to practice safe sex
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Impaired by alcohol or other drugs, so they don’t use their usual good sense and caution. A second reason is the belief that you are not at risk. Many people rely on talk with friends instead of health professionals. Less than 25% of boys aged 15 to 19 have received counseling about STDs whereas nearly 66% of sexually active girls have received some counseling about STDs. One in five people with HIV do not know they have it. A final reason people don’t practice safer sex is that they find it difficult and embarrassing to talk about it with an intimate.
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Manage Conflict Constructively
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First, romantic bonds, particularly serious ones, are important to us, and they are fragile. Lack of skill in handling conflicts can end a relationship that really matters. The second reason for giving special attention to managing conflict in romantic relationships: violence and abuse are unfortunately common between romantic partners, and they cut across lines of class, race, and ethnicity
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Domestic Violence
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1 in 4 U.S. women have been violently attacked by husbands or boyfriends, and 1 in 7 men have been violently attacked by wives or girlfriends. Nearly 10% of high school students report being physically hurt by a girlfriend or boyfriend, and 1 in 3 high school students report psychological violence from a girlfriend or boyfriend. Women exceed men in social aggression, the majority of reported physical violence is committed by men against women: 95% of cases involve male abusers and female victims
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Most common form of violence committed against women in the United States
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intimate partner violence, It’s important to remember that the statistics on violence between intimates are based on reported incidents and are therefore significantly underrepresented
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Stalking
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Repeated, intrusive behavior that is uninvited and Unwanted 13% to 21% of students report having been stalked About half of female victims are stalked by ex-partners and another 25% by men they have dated at least once Stalking is particularly common on campuses because it is easy to monitor and learn others’ routines. Social networking sites give stalkers more ways to learn about (potential) victims’ habits and patterns.
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Violence
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Violence seldom stops without intervention, instead, it usually follows a predictable cycle. People who engage in dual perspectiveand who develop skills in identifying and expressing their emotions and in managing conflict are less likely to resort to violence in their romantic relationships
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The violent cycle
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Tension mounts in the abuser; the abuser explodes, becoming violent; the abuser then is remorseful and loving; the victim feels loved and believes the relationship will improve; and then tension mounts, and the cycle begins again Honeymoon, tension, remorse, explosion
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Adapt Communication to Maintain Long-Distance Relationships
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Three problems experienced in long-distance relationships, and each can be addressed with communication. Greatest problems are lack of daily sharing of small events, and unrealistic expectations about time together. The lack of routine contact leads to the second problem faced by long-distance couples: unrealistic expectations for time together. Because partners have limited time together, they often think that every moment must be perfect and that they should be together all of the time. One-third of the couples broke up not long after they were in the same place. The key reasons were that being physically together denied the couples what they most valued in the long-distance relationship: novelty and autonomy. A third common problem in long-distance relationships is unequal effort invested by the two partners. The inequity in investment creates resentment in the person who is assuming the majority of the work to keep the relationship alive and may create guilt in the partner who is investing less.
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Noteworthy advantages of long-distance relationships
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Because couples aren’t together continually, they tend to be more loving and passionate when they are together
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Help partners meet the challenges of keeping romance healthy and satisfying over the life of the relationship.
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Commitment, flexibility, and effective interpersonal communication

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