The Significance of Relationship Psychology
Out of all perceivable emotions in the world, love is perhaps one that is the fondest of all. Out of all its diverse vastness, humans seek the fulfilment of love through romantic relationships. For individuals seeking romance, love is nothing less than a source of nurture and fulfilment that far exceeds all other trivialities of life. As relationships and love are essential attributes of human life, relationship psychology has same level of significance.
Most humans possess an innate drive that compels them to form an intimate bond with another individual. While the drive may be innate, the act of nurture that allows one to form loving, healthy bonds is an acquired process. The tendency to form stable relationships is from infancy when infants comprehend the emotional attachment their caregiver provides them through warmth, nourishment, stimulation, protection and contact. The idea of relationships is hence a concept that is so deeply rooted in humans that often, we find people devastated when they reach the end of a particular relationship. Relationships, therefore, possess a strong psychological grip on individual minds.
In effect, finding love and a person to share our lives with is an interesting process. One can equate it to an adventure where one must complete several difficult challenges for unknown but enigmatic rewards. Seeking a partner becomes nothing short of responsibility once an individual has attained adulthood. There are several strategies to find one's true love, such as flirting, swiping through dating apps, asking friends to set up a date, writing long letters, etc. Whatever the method, we dedicate a staggering amount of thought to the process of planning and execution, often exploring far and wide out of our comfort zones.
The laws of attraction in relationship psychology
The attraction in relationship psychology felt among individuals is governed by several factors that are biological, evolutionary and sometimes just plain old quirky. Some attractions may be spiritual, some momentary, while some are indistinguishable from true love and infatuation. Not knowing is felt to be more painful than a rejection. There are scientific ways of determining if the attraction in relationship psychology is genuine, mutual or momentary from one's body language and the other person. A simple experiment to know if you're attracted to someone is keeping tabs on your anxiety levels. To talk or make attempts to communicate with someone for whom we have feelings is only natural. Research proves that repeated interaction with someone whose opinion matters to us will fuel anxiety levels. It is a fun way to know if it is a partner that you need or a therapist.
What causes attraction in relationship psychology?
According to evolutionary psychology, women who show physical indicators of health and youth attract men, as men subconsciously associate the two factors with fertility. While women supposedly look for maturity in appearance and behaviour. However, per the laws of the assortative union, one does not need to be exceptionally attractive. But, they are only attractive enough to entice their potential partners, as people who couple up have similar attractiveness. This means that we are on a quest to ourselves, with some exceptions, of course.
Recent research suggests that people determine if they find another person attractive within a fraction of a second of meeting them. Who knew that 'love, at first sight, had some ground in scientific research!
How to determine if your potential relationship stands a chance?
Knowing if our feelings for another person are mutual or not can be frustrating and blissful at the same time, ironically. But certain behavioural patterns can reveal some insightful details in knowing this if your partner is as eager as you to initiate conversations and sustain them. And if there is less use of singular pronouns such as 'I, me' and more use of 'us, we, and if there is no mutual hesitation in spending time together. So, displaying acts of affection such as holding hands, sitting together and hugging, the verdict is simple: do not let them go!
Finding the perfect partner
In most cases, the choice of a partner happens based on appearance or physical attraction in relationship psychology in the initial stage. However, personality and the compatibility of personalities will hold couples together. Things are often overlooked and ignored during the initial stages of love. At the same time, these incompatible traits fester up and affect the relationship inevitably in later stages. Therefore, it is better to avoid rushing into commitments, acknowledge red flags as they appear, and sort things out along the road. This prevents issues from piling up and causing problems later.
The idea of a soulmate
A soul mate, or the idea of an all-encompassing entity who is perfect for an individual, by all means, is an elusive concept. The quest for finding a soul mate can be rewarding in rare cases. Still, a belief in the idea of such an entity should not pave the way to the destruction of other potential relationships. Some people tend to avoid fulfilling relationships over easily resolvable issues as the reason the issues arise is that their partners may not be soul mates. However, it is much more meaningful and emotionally rewarding to acknowledge that, as with life, all relationships have good times and bad times. Going through the rough patches together is important to have better times.
Is it love that you're feeling?
This is an age-old question that lovers have pondered throughout history. No answer can be definite since love is not something that one can define. Passion, commitment and intimacy can be considered objective parameters of love. Still, their measure is subjective. one cannot answer this question. The solution lies in questioning it further. 'how many times do you think about them?', 'are you excited to meet them?', 'Do they know you well?' and are you 'all-in' for them?
Nurturing a Relationship
To build a strong bond with another human being, one has to provide constant emotional and physical affection. Both the partners involved must feel that they are being cared for and sense their partner dedicates time and effort to include them in each other's lives. They must also be accommodative and committed to resolving issues that eventually crop up in time.
In successful relationships with a strong sense of togetherness, couples afford room for doubt in each other. They take supportive steps, which create a sense of adherence and the feeling of existing on the same pages. Over a long period, research depicts that individuals in a strong relationship become emotionally capable of chasing their dreams with good focus and bouncing back easily from minor, unexpected setbacks in life.
Intimacy is also a factor that helps in the strong nurture of a relationship. Intimacy does not translate to sex. It may be inclusive of sex but not restricted to it alone. Intimacy can be the simple act of sharing something with your partner, an act of building trust. Over time, this trust becomes the very foundation of a strong relationship.
Sex and love in a relationship
Though sexual interaction may be a vital aspect of building a long-term romantic relationship, it is not necessarily the central aspect of a relationship. People have sex for many reasons that may be self-interested, such as for pleasure, to boost morale, for the thrill of it or for relationship-oriented reasons such as enhancing intimacy and closeness, building trust, or pleasing their partner. Sexual challenges are likely to happen throughout any long-term relationship as bodies and feelings are subject to change. Couples who talk to each other about their feelings – of love and sex are likely to form strong bonds and become closer as they age.
Sex is often considered a delicate topic partly because of the taboo associated with it over time and the general societal tendency to ignore all sex-related things. This attitude towards sex makes it the elephant in the room for couples who do not face difficulties discussing other matters in their relationship. People feel reluctant to talk about sex with their partners because it might hurt their feelings, fear getting shamed etc. However, couples who discuss topics such as sex are likely to discover happiness in finding each other's fantasies. It is important to realize that sex does not precede love in a meaningful relationship.
Challenges in a Relationship
Even though the tendency to form a relationship can be traced back to infancy, adult relationships require work and skills that individuals need to develop in their lives. Several problems pose challenges to any growing relationship. The first year of togetherness is when couples get to know each other and find out how compatible they are. The challenges are ever surmounting, from affording a place to stay together, raising children, and choosing a lifestyle are all small obstacles. Will you prefer to remain with your partner when you know that they will change over time? Change does not simply mean a physical change, but a change in the state of mind, which is inevitable as human beings only progress in terms of emotional growth.
The two people involved in any relationship are bound to change over time. Realizing this crossroad ahead in time and accommodating each other can go a long way in combating challenges in a relationship. It is important to understand that people are different. This difference can be because of age, height, culture, race or religion. There is always a possibility that others will address these differences. Building a strong relationship requires people to tune out these external judgements and prejudices. Long-term commitment only requires one thing. The confidence to stay together. When the day ends, what determines if a relationship survives? Simply the belief that it will.
Personality in Relationships
Personality is important in determining one's ability to maintain a relationship. Being extroverted or introverted, daring or docile, open to ideas or resistant etc., determines the type of partner you become. Many people try to find ways to accommodate their partner's nature if they feel their partner does the same.
Personality has an impact on relationships, but at the same time, it doesn't have to be a hindrance to forming relationships. For example, the attachment style fuelled by insecurity can take a huge toll on one's partner. Knowing one's personality traits and their partner's and talking about it creates a healthy habit for co-existence. And this helps manage the challenges caused by personality-induced conflicts. This is who I am is not a valid excuse after a fight. Cultivating toxic personality traits is immature and counter-productive to maintaining a happy relationship.
Toxic personality, however, is different from personality disorders. People with personality disorders rely on their partners to get them through tough times and dark moods. Sometimes we are affectionate, while we push our partners away, fearing abandonment at other times. A sense of security is a luxury for someone with depression. A study has shown that having supportive partners improves the treatment of depression.
End of a Relationship
Break-ups can affect people differently based on their character, background and the reason for the breakup. Some people can walk out of a long relationship yet feel like they have unburdened themselves. In contrast, some people experience years of trauma and emotional stress, even from short-term relationships. According to relationship psychology, whatever may be the reason for a break-up, it affects an individual's psychology and esteem. This usually leaves a long term scar on most people.
When do couples split up?
There will be a gradual decline in intimacy, affection, and communication in a failed relationship towards the end. In some relationships, one partner or both realize at some point that things are not working out. At this point, a couple has only one choice: determining whether their relationship is worth preserving.
Not all couples can imagine themselves signing a divorce petition while starting their marriage. Yet many couples find themselves due to several reasons, such as infidelity and the lack of affection. Divorces usually happen when the thought of living together becomes unimaginable for a married couple. It is the worst situation when people have no choice but to live together without love. Therefore, it is important to recognize if issues between a married couple become too big from the beginning of their life together. In this situation, they have to take a mature decision. So, they don't spend the prime of their life with the wrong person.
Bouncing back from break-ups
A breakup can still hurt even when one knows that a relationship is not a fairy tale. Rejection is not easy, especially by a lover with whom one built trust. Understanding why one terminated a particular relationship is important to bounce back from it. There are several strategies to get over a relationship.
- Keeping a physical and mental distance from an ex-partner.
- Reminding oneself of all the damage they did instead of just thinking about the sweet memories of togetherness.
- Take up a hobby, look after one's health, etc.
- Following the above points can accelerate emotional recovery from a breakup.
The feeling of loving and being loved is among the best feelings a man can ever have. But, it is important to understand that nothing comes alone, and for every coin, there are two sides. Similarly, love comes with pain in the form of breakups and divorces. Maturity is understanding the full picture and leaving it as a painful memory in the past rather than making it a part of one's life. Learning relationship psychology will help you achieve this maturity.
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