Intimate relationship  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
The Kiss (1896) by  William Heise
Enlarge
The Kiss (1896) by William Heise

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

An intimate relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship. It is a relationship in which the participants know or trust one another very well or are confidants of one another, or a relationship in which there is physical or emotional intimacy.

Physical intimacy is characterized by romantic or passionate love and attachment, or sexual activity.

Contents

History of intimate relationships

Ancient philosophers: Aristotle

Ancient philosophers mused over ideas of marital satisfaction, faithfulness, beauty and jealousy although their concepts and understandings were often inaccurate or misleading.

Over 2,300 years ago, interpersonal relationships were being contemplated by Aristotle. He wrote: "One person is a friend to another if he is friendly to the other and the other is friendly to him in return" (Aristotle, 330 BC, trans. 1991, pp. 72–73). Aristotle believed that by nature humans are social beings. Aristotle also suggested that relationships were based on three different ideas: utility, pleasure and virtue. People are attracted to relationships that provide utility because of the assistance and sense of belonging that they provide. In relationships based on pleasure, people are attracted to the feelings of pleasantness when the parties engage. However, relationships based on utility and pleasure were said to be short-lived if the benefits provided by one of the partners was not reciprocated. Relationships based on virtue are built on an attraction to the others' virtuous character. Aristotle also suggested that relationships based on virtue would be the longest lasting and that virtue-based relationships were the only type of relationship in which each partner was liked for themselves. Although Aristotle put forth much consideration about relationships, like many other ancient philosophers, he did not use systematic methods and therefore could not conclude that his thoughts and ideas were correct. The philosophical analysis used by Aristotle dominated the analysis of intimate relationships until the late 1880s.

1880s to early 1900s

Modern psychology and sociology began to emerge in the late 19th century. During this time theorists often included relationships into their current areas of research and began to develop new foundations which had implications in regards to the analysis of intimate relationships. Freud wrote about parent–child relationships and their effect on personality development. Freud's analysis proposed that people's childhood experiences are transferred or passed on into adult relationships by means of feelings and expectations. Freud also founded the idea that individuals usually seek out marital partners who are similar to that of their opposite-sex parent.

In 1891, James wrote that a person's self-concept is defined by the relationships endured with others. In 1897, Durkheim's interest in social organization led to the examination of social isolation and alienation. This was an influential discovery of intimate relationships in that Durkheim argued that being socially isolated was a key antecedent of suicide. This focus on the darker side of relationships and the negative consequences associated to social isolation were what Durkheim labeled as anomie. Simmel wrote about dyads, or partnerships with two people, and examined their unique properties in the 1950s. Simmel suggested that dyads require consent and engagement of both partners to maintain the relationship but noted that the relationship can be ended by the initiation of only one partner. Although the theorists mentioned above sought support for their theories, their primary contributions to the study of intimate relationships were conceptual and not empirically grounded.

Empirical research

The use of empirical investigations in 1898 was a major revolution in social analysis. A study conducted by Monroe, examined the traits and habits of children in selecting a friend. Some of the attributes included in the study were kindness, cheerfulness and honesty. Monroe asked 2336 children aged 7 to 16 to identify "what kind of chum do you like best?" The results of the study indicate that children preferred a friend that was their own age, of the same sex, of the same physical size, a friend with light features (hair and eyes), friends that did not engage in conflict, someone that was kind to animals and humans and finally that they were honest. The two characteristics that children reported as least important included wealth and religion.

The study by Monroe was the first to mark the significant shift in the study of intimate relationships from analysis that was primarily philosophical to those with empirical validity. This study is said to have finally marked the beginning of relationship science. However, in the years following Monroe's influential study, very few similar studies were done. There were limited studies done on children's friendships, courtship and marriages and families in the 1930s but few relationship studies were conducted before or during World War II. Intimate relationships did not become a broad focus of research again until the 1960s and 1970s when there was a vast amount of relationship studies being published.

1960s and 1970s

An important shift was taking place in the field of social psychology that influenced the research of intimate relationships. Until the late 1950s, the majority of studies were non-experimental. By the end of the 1960s more than half of the articles published involved some sort of experimental study. The 1960s was also a time when there was a shift in methodology within the psychological discipline itself. Participants consisted mostly of college students, experimental methods and research was being conducted in laboratories and the experimental method was the dominant methodology in social psychology. Experimental manipulation within the research of intimate relationships demonstrated that relationships could be studied scientifically. This shift brought relationship science to the attention of scholars in other disciplines and has resulted in the study of intimate relationships being an international multidiscipline.

1980s to 2000s

In the early 1980s the first conference of the International Network of Personal Relationships (INPR) was held. Approximately 300 researchers from all over the world attended the conference. In March 1984, the first journal of Social and Personal Relationships was published. In the early 1990s the INPR split off into two groups; in April 2004 the two organizations rejoined and became the International Association for Relationship Research (IARR).

Current study

Today, the study of intimate relationships (relationship science) uses participants from diverse groups and examines a wide variety of topics that include family relations, friendships, and romantic relationships, usually over a long period. Current study includes both positive and negative or unpleasant aspects of relationships.

Research being conducted by John Gottman (2010) and his colleagues involves inviting married couples into a pleasant setting, in which they revisit the disagreement that caused their last argument. Although the participants are aware that they are being videotaped, they soon become so absorbed in their own interaction that they forget they are being recorded. With the second-by-second analysis of observable reactions as well as emotional ones, Gottman is able to predict with 93% accuracy the fate of the couples' relationship.

Another current area of research into intimate relationships is conducted by Terri Orbuch and Joseph Veroff (2002). They monitor newlywed couples using self-reports over a long period (a longitudinal study). Participants are required to provide extensive reports about the natures and the statusses of their relationships. Although many of the marriages have ended since the beginning of the study, this type of relationship study allows researchers to track marriages from start to finish by conducting follow-up interviews with the participants in order to determine which factors are associated with marriages that last and which with those that do not. Though the field of relationship science is still relatively young, research conducted by researchers from many different disciplines continues to broaden the field.

One study suggests that married straight couples and cohabiting gay and lesbian couples in long-term intimate relationships may pick up each other's unhealthy habits. The study reports three distinct findings showing how unhealthy habits are promoted in long-term, intimate relationships: through the direct bad influence of one partner, through synchronicity of health habits, and through the notion of personal responsibility.

See also

Terms for members of intimate relationships





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Intimate relationship" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools