NCSU COM 112 - COM 112 Chapter 10 (44 pages)

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COM 112 Chapter 10



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COM 112 Chapter 10

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Pages:
44
School:
North Carolina State University
Course:
Com 112 - Interpersonal Communication
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Page 313 CHAPTER PREVIEW 1 2 3 4 1 The Nature of Intimate Relationships 2 Communicating in Romantic Relationships 3 Communicating in Families 4 Creating a Positive Communication Climate IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH The movie Love and Other Drugs 2010 features Anne Hathaway as Maggie Murdock a young woman who has Parkinson s disease Maggie is befriended by Jamie Randall played by Jake Gyllenhaal a pharmaceutical sales representative known to be charming but emotionally shallow After a brief affair Jamie realizes to his surprise that he has developed genuine feelings for Maggie His feelings lead to conflict for Maggie who wants to be loved but is afraid of being a burden on anyone because of her medical condition The film concludes with both Jamie and Maggie realizing that true intimacy requires a commitment to support one s partner and a willingness to accept that support Page 314 I t s difficult to overstate the significance of our intimate relationships We may have many close friends co workers and other acquaintances in our lives but our relationships with romantic partners and family members are special Those are the people whose lives affect us the most and with whom we share our deepest sorrows and greatest joys We usually invest more in and feel more committed to romantic and family relationships than any others Those intimate relationships shape our lives in unique and important ways Family life and romantic relationships also influence each other Growing up in a family gives most of us our first exposure to the concept of personal relationships and our first examples of romantic unions Moreover the romantic relationships we form in adulthood often serve as the basis for starting new families Thus although romantic and familial relationships are different in some important respects there is often an intimate connection between the two 1 The Nature of Intimate Relationships Many people think specifically of romantic relationships when they hear the word intimate but intimacy is about more than just romance Intimacy means significant emotional closeness that we experience in a relationship whether romantic or not Some common characteristics of intimate relationships are that they require deep commitment foster interdependence require continuous investment and spark dialectical tensions Intimate Relationships Require Deep Commitment After being diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in 2008 that would eventually claim his life actor Patrick Swayze relied heavily on the commitment of his wife of 34 years Lisa Niemi During the 20 months of his illness and treatment Niemi helped her husband deal with physical and emotional turmoil and she was at his side when he died in September 2009 Like Niemi most of us are more committed to our intimate relationships than we are to our other relationships For instance we may be more willing to put aside minor differences and make compromises to preserve our intimate relationships Commitment is our desire to stay in a relationship no matter what happens When people are committed to each other they assume they have a future together That assumption is important because most intimate relationships such as families and romantic relationships experience conflict and distress from time to time What allows us to deal with those difficult times is the belief that our relationship will survive them Our intimate relationships usually include some level of emotional commitment a sense of responsibility for each other s feelings and emotional well being For example it s your emotional commitment to your romantic partner that leads you to listen to his or her problems even if they seem trivial Our intimate relationships also involve a level of social commitment which motivates us to spend time together to compromise to be generous with praise and to avoid petty conflict In some romantic relationships social commitment takes the form of spending time with a partner s friends or family members even if one doesn t enjoy their company Finally some intimate relationships are bound by legal and financial commitments which are more formal expressions of people s obligations to each other Parents have a legal responsibility to provide housing food clothing health care and education for their children who are minors and family members often take on financial obligations to care for relatives who are aging or who have specific physical or mental needs No matter what forms it takes commitment is one of the foundations of intimate relationships Page 315 Although deep commitment is important for many relationships people can take commitment too far At an extreme level commitment can turn into obsession a topic explored in Communication Dark Side Patrick Swayze was deeply dependent on the commitment of his wife Lisa Niemi during his year and a half of treatment for pancreatic cancer which claimed his life in 2009 Intimate Relationships Foster Interdependence Another hallmark of intimate relationships is that they include high degrees of interdependence meaning that what happens to one person affects everyone else in the relationship Because people in families and romantic relationships depend on one another one person s actions influence others For instance how parents use their time and money depends not only on themselves but also on their children s needs Likewise how children perform in school and how they treat their siblings also affects their parents Parents and children are therefore interdependent So are romantic partners If a woman is offered a job promotion that requires her to relocate for example her decision will affect her romantic partner as much as it will affect her The essence of interdependence is the idea that our actions influence other people s lives as much as they influence our own Almost all relationships have some measure of interdependence What distinguishes intimate relationships is their degree of interdependence You may feel very close to your best friend but you probably wouldn t sell your house and move if his job were relocated If your supervisor at work broke her leg you might send flowers or visit her in the hospital but you probably wouldn t offer her round the clock care Like most social relationships friendships and work relationships are interdependent to a degree What usually sets our romantic and familial relationships apart however is their higher level of interdependence That higher degree of interdependence often


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