Manual Intimacies: A New World of Relational Life

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  3. Introduction | Intimacies | Taylor & Francis Group
  4. Sexual intimacy is sacred and beautiful

Dialectical tensions occur in organizations as individuals attempt to balance their roles as employees while maintaining established friendships within their occupations. It is not necessary, however, to have a friend in organizations to experience dialectical contradictions. Stress occurs frequently on the individual level as human needs and desires oppose.

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Relational dialectics can be applied when considering the significant change in family life that siblings experience when one sibling moves out of the family home for the first time as part of the transition into adulthood. In a study [27] conducted on discursive struggles among siblings experiencing transition, all participants acknowledged that moving away from their sibling s resulted in a discursive struggle between the old and new meanings in the sibling relationship. Two specific discursive struggles were identified:.

In a study [29] focusing on the adult stepchild perceptions of communication in the stepchild- stepparent relationship, three contradictions were found to be experienced by the stepchildren participants:. In another study, [30] researchers aimed to identify the contradictions that were perceived by stepchildren when characterizing the ways that familial interactions caused them to feel caught in the middle between parents. The participants expressed that they wanted to be centered in the family while, at the same time, they hoped to avoid being caught in the middle of two opposing parents.

The main contradiction identified in the study was similar to the autonomy-connection dialectic: stepchildren desired the freedom to communicate and enact the desired relationship with their parents. However, these stepchildren also felt the need to manage the constraints that resulted from parental communication, particularly when both parents did not cooperate with one another. While the stepchildren wanted to know what was happening, at the same time, they also wanted to be protected, resulting in a second dialectic of control-restraint.

Through this study, the researchers believe that openness-closeness dialectic between parents and their children is important to building functional stepfamily relationships. One study, [31] focused on the relationship and communication between college-aged stepchildren and their nonresidential parents, found two underlying contradictions: parenting and not parenting, and openness and closeness.

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Many participants expressed that they wanted their nonresidential parent to be actively involved in parenting them but did not desire it once they were. Participants also expressed that while they wanted open and intimate communication with their nonresidential parents, they felt that they could not closely communicate because of the nonresidential parent's lack of familiarity with the child's everyday life.

Relational dialectics theory can be applied to the context of health care, specifically end-of-life care , providing a system for caregiver communication that contains tensions and challenges. The quality of the end-of-life journey is influenced by how these tensions are managed. When making choices about end-of-life medical care, family members, friends, or surrogate decision makers often experience feelings of tension and burden.

In a study [32] that focused on the communication tensions perceived among the Maori culture during the end-of-life journey, it was found that despite the culture's focus on collectivism and its emphasis on harmony, four communication tensions existed between caregivers family and friends and patients: autonomy and connection, conflict and connection, isolation and connection, and balancing the needs of self and other. The human grieving process is marked by relational dialectics.

After the death of a child, bereaved parents often experience tension between presence and absence by grieving their child's permanent absence while still experiencing an emotional bond toward the deceased child. One study, [36] aimed at focusing on how families make sense of contradictory discourses, found two discursive contradictions: family members' wishes vs. Through interviews with participants who had experienced the loss of a loved one, researchers concluded that many of the end of life decisions made by family members, patients, and doctors were centered on making sense of the simultaneous desires to hold on and to let go.

Participants recognized that they experienced tension between their own preferences and the preferences of a loved one, and with that, experienced the tension between desiring to make decisions based on emotions versus making decisions based on rationality. Dialectical contradictions have also been found among parents who have lost a child.

One study [37] found that two primary dialectical contradictions occurred for parents who had experienced the death of a child: openness-closeness, and presence-absence. Parents experienced openness-closeness when they desired to talk about their child and their loss, yet they perceived the outcome as risky, especially if they sensed that friends and family wished for the parents to move on.

Is Your Marriage Worth Saving?

Participants explained that they were able to manage this contradiction by being selective with their disclosure and taking control over the communicative situation. When dealing with the presence-absence dialectic, bereaved parents experienced tensions between the ongoing bond that they experienced with their child, and the physical absence of the child. Participants expressed that when people were not willing to remember their dead child, the physical absence of the child was deeply felt. However, when people chose to remember the deceased child, the parent experienced feelings of comfort and continual bonding with the child.

Applying relational dialects theory to studying interactions of autistic individuals starts from approaching autistic individual as an actor during the interaction and deeming competence a result of the interaction. The investigation of dialects includes integration-separation, expression-privacy, and stability-change enhance the understanding of the communication between people with autism spectrum disorders. Dialogue is typically a conversation between two or more people. These conversations are what constitute relationships, as communication is the very foundation of any relationship.

According to Cools, "the four important concepts that form the foundation of dialogism 1 the self and the other situated in contradictory forces, 2 unfinalizability, 3 the chronotope and the carnivalesque, and 4 heteroglossia and utterance". While some theorists, along with Baxter, may argue that communication is simply a feature in a relationship, examining constitutive dialogue suggests that communication is actually what creates and maintains a relationship instead.

According to Baxter, "a constitutive approach to communication asks how communication defines, or constructs, the social world, including our selves and our personal relationships. From a constitutive perspective, then, persons and relationships are not analytically separable from communication; instead, communication constitutes these phenomena" [40] When initial researchers studied relationships, they found that similarities, backgrounds, and interests are usually what hold people together while self-disclosure is the root of these components.

Dialogic researchers would argue that differences are just as important as similarities and they are both discovered through dialogue. To understand utterance chains, we must know that an utterance is what a person says in one turn of a conversation. When utterances are "linked to competing discourses", they are considered utterance chains. Baxter believes that there are "four links on the chain where the struggle of competing discourses can be heard. Baxter also suggest that to understand an utterance, we must also understand the discourse.

She posits "in the broadest sense, a discourse is a cultural system of meaning that circulates among a group's members and which makes our talk sensical. A dialectical flux is "the unpredictable, unfinalizable, indeterminate nature of personal relationships". Spiraling inversion and segmentation are two strategies that Baxter and Montgomery have established to respond to this complexity.

Spiraling inversion is generally a no-win situation; a struggle between two different thought processes. For example, if you were to do something your parents did not approve of, you could lie about it, but your parents might yell at you for lying. And on the other hand, you could tell them upfront, and they could be completely quiet in shock. Segmentation is pertaining to more than one role in a relationship that must be altered depending on the situation.

For example, if you were working at your father's shop as a part-time job, he would be considered your father AND your boss. This could mean that he has different expectations of you in different circumstances and his attitude towards you might change between roles.

Aesthetic moments are brief incidents in a relationship that bring participants together through the use of dialogue. There is a temporary feeling of wholeness felt between partners involved in this dialogue. It is easy to see examples of aesthetic moments in romantic relationships, such as a first kiss or a reciting of wedding vows, but these moments can be experienced by anyone.

According to Griffin, critical sensibility is "an obligation to critique dominant voices, especially those that suppress opposing viewpoints; a responsibility to advocate for those who are muted". No one person is more powerful or dominant than the other, and they are able to communicate without these imbalances interfering. This does not mean that the dialogue is free of competing discourses as listed in Utterance Chains.

When communicating, we must understand that morals do not apply for all people. Sometimes lying can be entirely minor in communication, but there are oftentimes that lying can majorly affect the perspective of those being lied to.

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There are several times where most people would justify a "white lie", or a lie that causes no harm. For instance, if your mother was in the hospital, you could tell her she still looked beautiful, even if her appearance was far from it because it would make her feel better. Other actions that are only followed through based on whether they have a positive or negative outcome are called "consequential ethics". Bok believes in the "principle of veracity" which says that truthful statements are preferable to lies in the absence of special circumstances that overcome the negative weight.

In an area where contradictions seem like the norm, it is even more important to share the truth. Incorporating varying and often times opposite view points is critical because communication is grounded in human nature which forces ethics. According to theorist Leslie Baxter, there are three major limitations in the work of relational dialectics theory.

Introduction | Intimacies | Taylor & Francis Group

Naturally occurring talk between relating parties could be qualitative work utilizing the observation method of relating parties or small groups. Non-participative or participative observation would be appropriate for continued study of relational dialectics theory. Baxter also believes that more future work needs to include multiple voices instead of focusing on the more popular research on the dialectics between "two voices".

Lastly, Baxter shares that future research should focus on discourse through time, such as studying dialogue and how it transforms over a longer period of time. The latter would take significant time so it would be studies that incorporate earlier works compared to more recent work. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Interpersonal communication theory. A dialectical perspective of communication strategies in relationship development. Handbook of personal relationships pp. New York: Wiley. James A.

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Anderson Newbury, CA: Sage , — Relating: Dialogues and dialectics. New York:Guilford. Journal Of Comparative Family Studies serial online : — A tale of two voices: relational dialectics theory. Western Journal of Communication. I'm it. Communication Quarterly. International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. Child Development. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Qualitative Research Reports In Communication. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter. Training and Education in Professional Psychology Advance online publication.

Child Development Perspectives. Voicing relationships: A dialogic perspective. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Journal of Applied Communication Research. Health Communication. Journal of General Internal Medicine. Southern Communication Journal. Using relational dialectics theory to better understand autistic communication competence. Relational dialectics in intercultural couples' relationships. Personal Relationships. To stay vital and alive, they require something I call fierce intimacy, which is rooted in the courage to tell the truth to each other about how you really feel, daring to rock the boat.

The first casualty when you choose not to deal with your partner is passion. Resentment builds and generosity, goodwill, pleasure dry up. Much of the art of love involves knowing how to respond to a dissatisfied partner, which is a skill that too many people have never learned. All relationships are an endless dance of harmony, disharmony, and repair; closeness, disruption, and a return to closeness.

This dance can play out over decades. It all usually begins in the honeymoon phase that I call love without knowledge. Then comes the second phase, a time of disharmony, disillusionment, and what I call knowledge without love. Knowing love is the final phase of repair, or mature love. This is where relational reckoning comes in. These are skills like: knowing how to stand up for yourself with love; or, conversely, how to yield when the relationship needs it; how to satisfy an unhappy partner; how to stay moderate when your spouse has lost his mind. These are some of the essential skills I teach couples every day.

Old wounds and old defenses take over. Your prefrontal cortex—the reasoning, choosing, deliberate part of you—is asleep, and instead, automatic reflexes rule. The most important relationship skill to develop is the ability to right yourself and get back into that adult part of you. The spiritual work of intimacy requires that first you get yourself sane.

You could call it keeping your eyes on the prize. Do you ever feel like one partner is throwing away a relationship that can be saved? The media may sometimes paint a picture of callous, selfish people who thoughtlessly throw their marriages out the window. As the song says, breaking up is hard to do. Most people have been pushed pretty hard before they jump, especially once kids are involved.

But there is one noteworthy exception to that rule. Sometimes, one partner falls for someone outside the relationship and gets lost in a state of total infatuation. Too much damage has occurred, for too long a time. But none of them take that decision lightly.

Adults may give children unconditional love, but not other adults. Partners need to have limits. People unable to draw the line in intimate relationships about what they are willing to tolerate can fall into a kind of emotional enslavement—and that does not breed a healthy connection between people. So, fight the good fight, stand up for yourself—with love. And if none of that works and you continue to be stuck, for goodness sake, get help. Do you think relationships can be restored after massive cracks, like infidelity? Statistically, two thirds of marriages survive infidelity, with or without therapy.

But I want couples to do more than survive these kinds of profound disruptions.

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As crazy as it might seem, I want partners to use such crises as a springboard toward real transformation—both as individuals and as a couple. If you were suspicious, now be more so. Angry before? Now be twice as angry, and so on—when actually, for the couple to heal, both partners need to do a on their usual, dysfunctional behaviors.

Sexual intimacy is sacred and beautiful

I remember a particular couple who sought out therapy with me: The man had been very jealous of his unusually beautiful wife to the point of taping phone calls and putting tracking devices in her car. Control and anger were the order of the day. Finally she got fed up, fell in love with another man, and was about to pack up their kids and leave. Faced with imminent loss, this man did a turn and, for the first time in years, opened his heart to his wife and began to really love her.

Rather than working eighty hours a week, he came home, played with his kids and started having a different experience being in his family. Seeing this, his wife relented and they became closer than they had been in years. The only problem was that he knew she was lying to him when she said she never had sex with her lover.

One day in my office, the light went off in both his head and his heart. You know what, honey? Why would I need to mess that up by insisting you confess to something I already know? Now, that was a moment of transformation. But notice, I say transformed, not merely saved. Your old relationship is over. People can transform with the right kind of help. You fall down, you hurt, and you learn. Just the other week I was in session with a couple in which the husband had been a pathological liar since his troubled childhood. From that moment forward, this man was a different human being.

For him now, lying is simply off the table—for good. I have a very high bar for my clients. I expect dramatic change quickly and, for the most part, they deliver. There are some people so stuck in their ways and attached to blaming everyone else for their misery that they just will not get it.