Courtship Marriage and the Family
Seeking Intimate Relationships
Humans as Social Creatures
Our need to interact with our kind, with people like ourselves is a
basic human need. Loneliness (an absence of social interaction) is
defined as a
feeling of being isolated from desired relationships. Social loneliness
is having less interpersonal interaction, while Emotional
loneliness means having fewer intimate relationships. Neither are
related to being alone, which can be a positive or negative condition,
depending on the context.
Effects of Loneliness (over time
Loneliness (inadequate amount
intimacy) can lead to all these
intensifies our loneliness. Sources of Loneliness
- Feelings of worthlessness - Despair
- Constant worry/anxiety - Irrational fears
- Lack of Concentration - Irritability & anger
- Feelings of Guilt - Crying Spells
- Feeling tired - Insomnia
- Pains in the heart - Trouble breathing
- Poor appetite - Headaches
- Digestive problems - No interest in sex
- Eating disorders - Serious Illness
- Having a bad accident
Fulfillment through Intimacy -
Lonely people relate casually, but have
few or no intimate relationships. Healthy, fulfilled people operate
a base of intimacy. Evidence for the human need for intimacy:
- Failure to Integrate (feel a part of a group). Slater -
Modern society makes intimacy difficult
- Childhood Experiences & Sadnesses - feeling abandoned
Intimacy and Well-Being -
of contentment and passion -
come from intimacy.
- Harry Harlow's monkey studies pointed out that isolation
leads to mental and physical health difficulties.
- Spitz's studies of orphaned refugee babies documented
in which babies died from lack of emotional attention.
Intimate relationships enhance
sense of ourselves and also act
as a buffer against the cold, cruel world.
Perils of Intimacy - the bad news
that by sharing our lives with
another person, we open ourselves up for hurt - bitter, painful
hurt feelings. Nothing hurts like an intimate relationship going bad.
is a risk that we want to take, with careful planning and the right
of communication, we can always win. How do we maintain our
and freedom and still commit ourselves to an intimate relationship?
The Nature of Intimacy
The Meaning of Intimacy - Latin intimus
and deepest. Like love, there's no agreed upon definition. Intimacy
is defined as the capacity to commit oneself to
affiliations and partnerships and to develop the ethical strength to
by such commitments, even though they may call for significant
and compromises. - Erikson. Intimacy includes trust, openness,
mutual trust, self-abandon, and commitment, an orientation to the
& the relationship, where a person's thinking, feelings, &
are focused on the other. There is caring and concern for the other,
sexuality is a part of the relationship, it is focused on the
other more that on one's self.
Intimacy and Equity - Equity
fairness, in that a person
their fair share of rewards and costs of a relationship. People strive
to maintain a system of fairness such that each person in the system
rewards that reflect his contribution. In order to find love and
and caring, a person has to be willing to give more than they
True love - comes when a person is self-sufficient in every way, then
another to do for term things they can do for themselves.
Characteristics of Growing
Types of Intimacy
- Interaction occurs more often, for longer periods of time,
- When separated, the partners attempt to restore proximity
comfortable when it is regained.
- Partners disclose secrets, share physical intimacies, and
in criticizing and praising each other.
- The partners develop agreed-on goals, efficient means of
and stable patterns of interaction.
- Investment in the relationship increases, enhancing its
couple's lives and the feeling that their personal interests are tied
with the well-being of the relationship. With increasing investment
- Couple comes to define themselves in terms of the other
- Love, trust, and caring become stronger.
- The relationship becomes viewed in a mystical way, a
Intimacy as Self-Sustaining
- Emotional Intimacy- listening and caring
- Social Intimacy - spending time together
- Sexual Intimacy - sex is exciting prospect
- Intellectual Intimacy - mutual thinking through
- Recreational Intimacy - similar interests in activities
1. Effective Communication is the
a. Cognitive Information - the content, the words Affective information
- the style, the manner, Verbal and Nonverbals
2. Sending - Getting Through to the Other
- a. Be Specific
- b. Express feelings & perceptions - don't issue facts
- c. Check your body language
- d. Allow for the other person's Perspective
- e. Use Feedback
Telling Secrets - Should we be
- a. Pay attention
- b. Reading body language
- c. Uncovering hidden meanings
- d. Ask for Clarification
- e. Maintaining an accepting attitude Interaction is more
such talk is mostly positive.
- Mutual Self-Disclosure - the Balance
As long as we are absolutely
about the truth, then complete
is probably a good thing.
Truth is sometimes elusive,
however. Articulating a "truth" that
turns out to be momentarily true - something that hasn't withstood any
test of time may cause harm to our relationships. Introspection
deliberation is the key to finding truth.
Establishing ground rules for
prior to initiating
will help to provide structure to any budding friendship.
Meeting and Getting to Know Others
- What are the goals desired in a dating relationship?
- Assessment of our own intellectual and emotional maturity.
- How do we want to be treated in a relationship, and what
to do to be treated as desired?
- Do we want a relationship with complementary roles - each
the role and carries out the responsibilities not covered by the other.
- Do we want a more equalitarian relationship with reciprocal
give and take
- Standards of satisfaction are important - How do we know
- Know that relationship rules are most effective when both
backgrounds, goals, beliefs, and values, when the rules have been
and negotiated, when the rules are realistic and comfortable for both,
and when the rules are periodically reviewed and updated.
Prior to going on the
after gaining some insight into
the impression we make on others, and after deciding on the level of
we are willing to make to achieve our relationship goals, the
dater will have also thought about the characteristics they want in a
- the Shopping List:
Forming an Impression - First Impressions - How we Perceive
- 1. Personal appearance - height, weight, hair, eyes
- 2. Personality traits - intelligence, dependability, sense
- 3. Economic potential - career potential or attainment,
- 4. Beliefs and values - such as attitudes toward sex-roles,
and the values that guide the individual's behavior (morals).
- 5. Special interests and abilities - athletics, music,
- 6. Your secret hopes and desires - a fantastic lover,
take you around the world, whatever.
First impressions are rarely
accurate. They are also the initial
attraction. By knowing oneself as well as possible, a person is
to maintain or manage impressions they give off to others. An
that will enhance one's own ability to know oneself is to People Watch.
- First impressions are formed in a matter of seconds and are difficult
to change. These are mental ratings of others, formed by stereotypes,
language, a person's dress - snob, snooty, macho man, know-it-all,
nice, sweet, sexy, hot. We make mental ratings of others by relying on
our perception of three factors:
We often ignore those who have
power to meet our needs or influence
our welfare - and make great effort to seek out those who do. We
also enlist the help of our friends in this endeavor. There are
too many choices to make to allow every possible potential mate to be
So we cut the field down to a more manageable size. Which means we make
- 1. Physical appearance - dress, grooming, stature
- 2. Person's behavior - readily observed behaviors we are
to the person's self or personality.
- a. External situational determinants
- b. Internal dispositional determinants
- 3. interaction possibilities - is this one worth continuing
Common Sources of Error in Sizing
to Others? Studies show that
or not we admit it, the factors below, in the order of their
are the ones that guide our attraction to others:
- 1. Over generalizing - we too quickly arrive at a global
person without adequate information.
- 2. Relying on our own Implicit Personality Theory: -if we
are basically honest, we will approach new relationships as if this
person is basically honest.
- 3. Assumed Similarity - we tend to use ourselves as a
assuming that other people are pretty much like we are in terms of
beliefs, and values.
- 4. Use of Stereotypes - an overly simplified but widely
some group of people that is applied to all members of the group
considering the differences among them. - All black people have rhythm,
all white people have middle class values, all women are
all Latinos are hot tempered.
- 5. The Halo Effect - when first impressions distort our
the person - What a sweet person!!
- 6. Fundamental Attribution Error - a tendency to assume
arise from dispositional factors rather than situational factors.
- 7. Logical Error -if someone is handsome or pretty, then
be kind and sweet- and
- the Leniency effect -giving the benefit of the doubt when
us not to do so.
Developing a Relationship in
- 1. Physical Attractiveness - Beauty/Handsomeness, in
desirable traits - dimples, cute butt,
- 2. Similarity - after some conversation, a heightened sense
with the find - intelligence, dependability , warmth, honesty, and
health. Also, similarity in background - wealth, beliefs, interests,
and social background.
- 3. Complementarity - traditionally men have been valued for
success or potential, while women for their beauty. NEED
- filling in some of our gaps.
- 4. Mutual Liking - the biggest one - we like people who
displays of affection go a long way. Studies show that we are more
to those whose fondness of us starts out neutral and grows over time.
- 5. Competence and Special Skills - we are attracted to
least moderately competent at something. People who are vastly superior
at many things we ought to be able to do ourselves are a turn off.
In order to develop a
two people have to have opportunity
to meet each other. In high school, the opportunity occurs
hundreds of attractive people go to the same school. In college,
the numbers are even higher, although it is easier to hide out in a
After our education is complete, finding places to meet others is more
difficult because we are usually working 8-10 hours a day.
At some one we should begin
ourselves to engage in the
that encounters are made of - small talk.
We have to develop the skill of chatting about seemingly unimportant
things because this activity is relatively mindless and allows us to
on the more important factor of managing our impression and evaluating
the other person. There's no shortcut, one has to learn this by
it. Happily, the nature of encounters is that most people enjoy
other people - interacting, learning about how other people think,
our abilities to flirt a little.
How do we go about meeting
and check them out? We
to go where potential mates congregate - that is, mates that are likely
to possess traits we desire. If we want to find someone who likes to
alcohol, then a good meeting place would be where such activities are
If we want to find someone with the same religious beliefs as our own,
imagine where such a person might be found?
Further, in our society we have
definite NORMS (also known as
guidelines) that govern initial meetings. In our society, it is a
norm violation to initiate conversations with strangers. We DISTRUST
Speaking to strangers involves RISK of ridicule and rejection.
we need an introduction by someone that knows both of us. Still,
even with an introduction, in the beginning of an ENCOUNTER we tend to
be a little reserved, hesitant, and uncertain. All this DIMINISHES as
get to know the other.
Our intentions are almost always
disguised: A person might be
"I just want sex right now", but he/she manages to move close to
person he/she finds attractive and summon up a comment about their
or muscle tone. "You are in great shape - do you work out?" We
to start with small talk and move gradually toward more depth and
of conversation - ending with fairly revealing statements (revelations)
about ourselves. "I go to Gold's gym, the people there are
about staying healthy." "Me too, I haven't seen you there." It is
essential that we know ourselves, our interests - desires - hopes -
before we attempt to initiate potentially serious relationships.
performed during the initial encounter
Developing Intimacy From
- Determine the person's QUALIFIERS for initiating a
Does this person hold the characteristics you find attractive,
desirable? Check your shopping list?
- Determine whether the person is CLEARED for an encounter
by another, or committed to someone else, who has the same intentions
- Find an OPENER that engages the person's attention "How
(the person who introduced us?", "Have you chosen your humanities
Regular stuff - being cool might leave the other person with an
impression, such as "Hi, I'm very self-indulgent."
- Be ready if you are not the first to Open to respond with
OPENERS. Easier than it might appear ... "I know (the person who
us) from my service club.", "I'm a little confused about the humanities
electives too." Regular answers - one trick is to lean into the
a little, which shows the other person you aren't too shy or afraid of
- If things seem to be going well, finding an INTEGRATING
interests both parties will keep interaction going. Through small talk,
we cover a lot of social territory. It is called small talk
it is a small world. Any two people, when motivated to do so, can find
they have plenty in common. Birthdays, Aunt Edna's, visits to the same
- It is the Art of Conversation, and it requires a good measure of
Small Talk is very important. It isn't What You Say, as much as how
you say it and how you listen. Practice listening to your friends.
Appropriate head nods, Smiling at the right time, "un-huh", "me too",
Small talk is supposed to be informal, warm, inviting, and perhaps a
- After evaluating the encounter thus far, if this one
appealing - project a COME-ON SELF (a rewarding self) that induces the
other to continue the initial encounter and be receptive to future
Move in closer when she talks, make plenty of eye contact, use the
name once in a while ("That's an interesting point, Johnny), and if you
feel safe enough - try a touch or two on non sensual body points "Are
a piano player? You have such long, delicate fingers", or the ever
dusting off the other person's shoulder.
- Should you decide that this person is not for you,
set of CLOSERS - remarks that will end the encounter with a
of abrasiveness. "Listen, I have to go talk to some other people
now". Also know that CLOSERS of a slightly different kind are
is up and you have to go, but would like to extend: "I really must be
but I enjoyed our conversation. You seem like a nice person, Call me up
- If the person passes the initial tests, it is important
a SECOND MEETING in order to continue the relationship. "I have really
enjoyed meeting you. What would you think of going out sometime. You
fun to talk to." The Second Meeting should be in a setting that
more talk. little more intimate - low noise, nice atmosphere.
Very few encounters are
beyond the initial meeting - because
of time limitations, perceived incompatibility, or other reasons. We
no responsibility to continue to see others in order to make them
There has been no investment as yet, but sometimes there is INEQUITY in
The PRINCIPLE OF LEAST INTEREST
always at work while
are forming. Least Interest means that the person with the least
in continuing the relationship is in the most advantageous position to
dominate the form that the relationship will take. (That's why intimacy
is so difficult).
When attempting to UPGRADE an
to the status of
Ground Rules should be negotiated (what each person will contribute,
what each will get from it). These ground rules are hardly ever
- and there is the rub! Unexpressed expectations can and do lead to
disappointments and malfunctions. So try to make
Social Exchange Theory maintains
the rewards of a relationship
minus the costs of a relationship will help determine whether or not it
is continued. If costs are perceived by either person to be greater
rewards - it'll end. Exchange theory uses economic terms, such as
Building an Equity in a relationship, Rewards, Costs, Profits, Losses.
At first, we tend to stay in relationships that are more rewarding than
they are costly Rewards can vary in the form they take:
staying are greater than the costs of staying
We may like the sex, or the financial security that might result. We
may like doing things for our new sweetie. We may enjoy the
stimulation. Costs can also vary - the loss of personal freedom that
with budding commitment, which has nothing to do with the other person
specifically or our new sweetie can have problems that embarrass us or
gross us out. After a relationship is formed, we tend to stay if
The costs of leaving are greater than the costs of staying
Over time, we tend to INVEST
building up equity - so that we can cash in at a later date. Both
in a relationship tend to try to keep a balance of accounts for rewards
between each other. If one person does to much (makes the relationship
too rewarding) for the other, these rewards can become a cost. Nobody
to get into debt - because payback is a drag. Some other useful
in Social Exchange Theory:
The Toll of a Negative
- Market Value = your set of characteristics / What are
- Comparison Levels - What you have (in terms of the other
you feel you deserve. These are the standards against which we evaluate
our present encounters an relationships.
- Comparisons can be based on Experience
- Comparisons can be based on alternatives we perceive as
Perhaps the greatest tragedy
development of an individual is
the development of a negative self-concept. It is a way to control the
individual, to make you and me believe that we are just normal, nothing
special - or worse - we are substandard - too fat, too skinny, too
ugly hair, pasty skin, talk funny, walk funny, not very smart, too
for our own good - there are agents at work right now, trying to tear
the positive images we have of our abilities and qualities. Ever wonder
how a relatively plain looking person can have magnetism and grace and
charm and wit? Would you go out with someone who really thought they
Being a Rewarding (not
Person means that before you can
really love another person, you have to love yourself. You must
that you are the hottest thing on two legs. Those lips, those eyes.
advise that we should remind ourselves of the good things about our
and ourselves. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative,
mess with Mr. In Between. We must learn to sincerely love
Then we can concentrate on loving someone else. That means we should
them a while.
There are two types of dating: assortative (dating for fun and
experience) and exclusive dating (the precursor to
Traditional Dating generally occurs in the Marriage Market - out there,
where everyone can be had for a price. Dating is "window shopping" -
is "bargaining" - Marriage is sealing the deal. Each dating
puts on a face or "mask" by attempting to project personalities that
please and attract the exact type of person they are interested in.
is known as pluralistic deceit, but that doesn't imply real
People are just trying to be their most attractive and inviting selves,
even though no one is at their best all the time.
Finding People to Date and the
Selection of Dating Partners requires
Propinquity and the factors of Similarity, Complementarity and
Compatibility. Propinquity - refers to the tendency of
people to meet and
those with whom they have the most contact. So we find mates in school,
in the neighborhood d, at church - usually. This puts to rest the
of there being a "Mr. Right" - or "one and only" just for us. We make
happen. We also find prospects through friends, at work, fix ups, at
laundromats, the grocery store. Similarity, Complementarity, and
- Because of strong social norms surrounding who we date, there are
sociocultural factors influencing our choice of mates:
a. Exogamy - refers to the pressure to marry outside specified social
groups (outside gender, immediate family,
Over time in as dating becomes
exclusive, the layers of falsehood
are stripped away (erode away) and we begin to know the other more as
show ourselves more.
b. Endogamy - refers to the pressure to marry inside specified social
groups (opposite sex, within age limits) within religious and economic
limits, within ethnic or racial limits).
c. Homogamy - refers to pressure to marry people similar to ourselves
in social background, values, and beliefs.
The Process of Dating into
We are Initiated into Dating as preparation for marriage:
The Functions of Dating are
Recreation, Social Skills Building, Status
Achievement and later Providing a pool for purposes of Mate Selection.
- in preschool we see marriage as heterosexual.
- we pay attention to what mommies and daddies do.
- Marriage is taught to us as an attractive and desirable
- It is personalized
- we are quickly pushed together in mixed sex play
- we develop crushes (these are encouraged), and have
- in adolescence we learn the cues that will serve us later
Dating teaches us about members
opposite sex - how to get
with them and it allows us to improve communication and social
We learn to enhance our social attractiveness and promote intimate
We learn about ourselves through dating, get some understanding of our
market value and we learn to establish standards for later mate
Sexual exploration can occur and some degree of gratification can be
but dating is not used for finding sex partners exclusively. For
one thing, a person will probably become too transparent if sex is all
they want from a date. Through dating, we determine compatibility
with different partners and eventually select one.
Throughout the last half of the
century, dating patterns have
Today young people congregate in larger groups and get to know each
more in the context of their respective friendship groups. Thus peer
standards might be stronger in choosing dates today. Also there
probably a lot more use of media standards to guide both the choice in
dates and the expectations of behavior during a given date.
1. Gender differences in the first date exchanges: Men feel pressure
to "put out" financially Women feel pressure to "put out" sexually
nobody claims to like this system, it is titillating and takes on a
nature. Males approach dating from a psychosexual orientation while
females approach dating from a psychoaffectional orientation. Little
way of trust is shared early in the dating process. Both males
females fall back on traditional norms, developing skills in the
of complex "games" to manage themselves.
Traditional dating has its
Dating is: sexist
little choice sometimes, it is superficial as all encounters are it is
deceitful - we put our best effort, it is often unfair and arouses
- who calls, who waits - etc.
Other problems in dating:
As we move into an exclusive
relationship more investment is put
into the relationship - matched in equal parts by each partner. Friends
who are not in serious relationships tend to be pushed away, replaced
"couples" who will do "couples" things recreationally . We have couples
over for dinner parties, instead of catching a buzz with our friends
at the tavern.
- difficulty in getting dates
- initiative is up to the male, leaving the poor female in a
- aversive dating experiences
- lack of social skills
- violence and date rape are increasing problems
Engagement and/or Cohabitation - a period of extended
Sex and the Single Person
- Exclusivity gives time to agree on and work out any
arrangements - finances, place of residence, spending patterns.
- Provides time to re-examine the goals and means of the
- Allows each other's families time to adjust to the eventual
- Provides time to make a final check of each other in terms
values, goals, comfort in each other's company.
- Provides time to work out final details of the wedding.
AIDS has put a damper on sex
some segments. -the average
of sex partners for women was 4 (2-10 with the bell shaped curve) Sex
Intimacy - While sex is viewed as pleasurable (almost recreational at
the dominate value in our
society seems to tend toward sex with
affection (love or something like it).
Booby Traps on the Singles
as Sexual Exploitation
-Date Rape: 20% to 30% of all college students